We’ve all been there: we’ve all risked it in rush hour, gone up to the top deck knowing the odds but giving it a go anyway, tilting our chin up, peering expectantly looking for a spare seat while also trying to discreetly check why it might be free. And there you are in front of everyone, head bobbing side to side, squinting down the bus. A pointless move at this time of day and everyone knows it, so you have to retreat quietly back down the stairs while, you imagine, the seated roll their eyes at the back of your head.
I assume that everyone in here is a Londoner because knowing about this place is the only common thread. Tourists don’t go to bowling alleys, and even if they did, they probably wouldn’t go to this one. But they should because – I realise, as the night gets louder and later – there is nothing more typically London than this.
Last week, the day after my 34th birthday, I decided to take a break from Twitter, which I’ve used almost daily for 10 years. It’s not an easy thing to switch off.
The concept of the mid-week accidental boozy dinner never really went away. But in this shiny new 30-something world where midweek evenings are all about scrolling through your phone, weekends are the domain of Events (with a capital “e”), and ‘catching up’ is reduced to 10 minutes of rushed speed-dating style Q&As conducted while following the host into kitchens, gardens, toilets, or towards front doors, they’re more important than ever.
If you’ve had a less than brilliant day at work, here’s where to go instead of going home, putting on The Bodyguard, and getting into bed. Although getting into bed does sound kind of good, to be fair.