They were at the oldest jazz club in the world.
Ronnie Scott’s intimate environ oozed class & good taste, and to them, it was refreshingly devoid of flip-flops and shorts.
They fled the crowd within, and out went they, into the cold, crisp smoke quadrant.
They were fans of smoke areas.
It was there that they felt people escaped the loud tunes and spoke their hearts whilst the alcohol brought out their expressive best and they sucked on their cigarettes.
They were deep in conversation with a gentleman and his pretty lady.
She was in a red satin dress with his coat wrapped over.
He was in a tux.
He pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a gold lighter.
He lit up.
Chugging on the cigarette over a glass of scotch.
It was the wee hours of the night.
Ella Fitzgerald played in the background.
They shared stories of the architectural grandeur that rose all around in the West End, of the ancient remains dotting the City, of the charming pubs punctuating the historic quarters, of the leafy suburbs and river banks.
They played verbal ping-pong about the city’s creative milieu, theatrical innovation, contemporary art, pioneering music, writing, poetry and design.
He took another puff of his cigarette.
He lamented on Mr. Scott. He spoke of how Scott and King started the club up on Gerard Street.
How Scott, a long-time heavy smoker, relished his smoke breaks on the side path, away from his saxophone.
He said the moment could best be encapsulated in Mr. Scott’s own words,
‘I love this place, it’s filthy and full of strangers’
The woman didn’t speak. Who are they, she thought.
They were strangers. Strangers to the world.
They frolicked in her wide open green expanses, immersed in her history and rich seams of eye-opening antiquity.
Her buildings were striking milestones in a unique and beguiling biography.
She was London.
They were here to add to the innovation.
To put a crackle in the air.
To add to her seasoned, centuries-old narrative.
They told of how they were on a constant discovery like London Town, with her new restaurants and bars, outstanding museum refurbishments, once-derelict but now trendy neighbourhoods.
They spoke of how even with the spectre of Brexit looming over the city’s famed cultural diversity, they took heart in the fact that London always seems to buck the trend.
They were the trend buckers.
They poured out the force that drove them and the passions that made them burn the midnight lamp.
The gentlemen marveled at their energy, ideas and imagination.
To him, they were kids with big dreams that would be stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway of life forever.
To her, their fiercely independent thought was infectious.
They were the tireless innovators of art and culture.
They were the avant-garde.
He planted his cigarette on the ash tray and bid adieu.
As she left with him, in all her elegance, she glanced with a sparkle in her eye.
She knew, did they?
‘it’s filthy and full of strangers…’
The Mario Jude was born.