Last night saw a trip down memory lane courtesy of Mahiki. Out celebrating a friend’s birthday in the vip area the treasure chest cocktails kept coming – complete with sparklers and an entourage who turned the razzamatazz on for the punters.
‘Jeez, it’s like someone gave the kids the run of the bar and they made the cocktails. Where are we – on a cruise ship?!’ Pinky said, as I tried to manoeuvre the straw past the flowers and pineapples to find the liquid Hawaiian tropic beneath. ‘Don’t mix your drinks’ he added as I sipped the champagne next to it and wondered when I might start on the vodka martini.
The noise ratcheted up. The 80s tunes rang out. I headed to the DJ booth: ‘Any chance of some Michael please?’ I asked. ‘Nah, we don’t play the music of dead people’ he replied.
I headed back, suitably chastened and crossed the ropes. A’ boy band’ – all in white shirts with evidence of serious hair product, had arrived and an endless stream of girls appeared to have photos taken. ‘What are you called?’ I shouted over the din. ‘The Graduates’ he shouted back as he turned to pose with his fellow mates.
I headed to the Ladies. 18 year olds abounded in six inch heels and dazzling dresses. Hair was everywhere and the conversation was no holds barred: ‘Yah, well she’s a bitch alright – I told you that. Like, totally’. ‘Anyway, her Dad’s gonna get her the white Mercedes – do you know the one I mean? Like, Gaaaad I wish I’d worn my other shoes!’
In our exclusive zone, the party was reaching a crescendo. Lady Gaga blasted out: ‘Just dance..it’ll be okay’. And everyone did. ‘You’re not really a boy band, are you?’ I persisted. ‘Well, no but we are choreographers – in fact he’s on Strictly tomorrow night’ he replied pointing at a young boy drinking out of a large pineapple, surrounded by screaming girls. ‘And, yeah we like, teach the X Factor contestants how to dance – we help them’. ‘Oh!’ I said. So, you’re sort of X Factor mentors?’ ‘Yeah’, he replied. ‘I like that. Yeah, that’s what we are’
We made our way past the ropes, and now bouncers, and out into Mahiki proper. Carnage reigned. A girl sat alone, head in hands bowed over the table, hair asunder. Two boys in tight t shirts looked on amused. People were falling into each other, some were kissing. Sparklers were everywhere.
Was this my Stringfellows, my Wag Club, my Funkin’ Pussy, my Rhinodrome, my Timepiece? The names are hazy now but at 4am as the beginnings of a hangover started working its magic, I looked around and it struck me, reassuringly, that nothing had really changed at all – just the price.