I’m hibernating in Bali, Indonesia for the next month or so in an attempt to slow my brain down and get away from the terribly distracting impact of hot women [1]. A key goal while here is to complete my next book, volume two of the memoir. It was already good to go last month but I decided I’d like to do another rewrite to get it into the best possible state. So now I’m incorporating feedback from two editors and my test readers. Here’s a section from chapter sixteen:

Shitsville for women

Shitsville for women

We were nothing if not grandiose. If Rock Solid Game had a larger budget we’d have carved our faces into Mount Rushmore or bought ourselves an island and declared independence. We’d then take great joy in attending United Nations assemblies and trolling the shit out of them.

âCould the ambassador for Trollistan please leave the chamber,â would become a common refrain in such a future.

We were determined to build ourselves up both in reality and within our own imaginations. This was something Jimmy had become world-class at. When you met him he had a rock-star vibe and would regal you with some tales that seemed eminently plausible to hear but preposterous should you ever write a bullet-point list of the information they conveyed. He had some established favourites but was quite capable of spinning such yarns on the fly.

âI’ve only been to Malta once. It’s the last of the Mediterranean islands I needed to tick off the list,â Jimmy would drop in to a conversation with a girl. âI’ve heard it’s great for scuba diving â crystal clear water and underwater wrecks from World War Two â but unfortunately I never really got a chance to try it. I’d taken my band there as a celebration for finishing our demo, so we could all hang out, try the local foods, and try scuba.â

âYou can scuba?â asks the girl.

âNo, that’s why I took us there. To learn. It must be fantastic to glide through the water, totally weightless, hearing shoals of colourful fish swim by while you’re investigating sunken warships. I’m sure that’s how freedom feels.â

The girl grips her drink, and her eyes go wide at the imagery.

âBut my nephew had a motorbike accident on his holiday in Cyprus the same evening I arrived in Malta. His friends had rung me up, frantic. Jimmy! Jimmy! Dave is in hospital with a broken leg, and the police are sniffing around because he had no motorbike insurance.â

âOh my god!â the girl gasps.

âI know. We were all sitting in a Maltese restaurant built into the fort walls of Valletta harbour, drinking wine and looking out over the water. A bunch of local girls we’d just met were going to take us nightclubbing, and then my phone is ringing.â

âWhat did you do?â asks the girl, leaning forwards, hanging on his every word.

âI had no choice â he’s my nephew. So I booked a flight that night and rushed over to Cyprus. Once the doctors assured me his cast was solid and he could be moved, I took him back to Manchester. I must admit, once we got back, he was safe, and his mum stopped crying, I lost my temper a bit and bawled him out for being so careless and putting us all through so much worry.â

Just stop and think of the impression that kind of story makes on you. It’s basically a story about a group of mates who went on a cheap holiday to Malta, got drunk, and had to abort on the first night. A cluster-fuck and yet somehow Jimmy emerges looking like an international traveller, rock star, and adventure sport enthusiast who is king of his gang yet loves and protects his family.

That’s the power of DHVs, and I learned it from him. When we first met, he was a low-level project manager living in a squalid flat by Elephant & Castle. That’s all. And yet sitting, listening to him in a bar you’d think George Clooney felt lucky at the chance to buy him a drink.

Château Hampstead was itself an exercise in grandiosity, taking a battered Jewish care home and rebranding it as a hotbed of rebellious adventure. No stone was left unturned, and when we finally got done redecorating the ground floor common rooms our attention turned to a small office room on the top floor.

âWe could create our own member’s lodge, like Milk & Honey,â I suggested to Mick as we lay in hammocks in the garden on a warm spring day earlier in the year. We convened a house meeting and made the proposal.

We asked the house to chip in money and labour towards the project, but they all declined. So Jimmy, Mick, and I pooled £500 and set to work. Or rather, Mick and I set to work. Jimmy bumbled around making a great show of interest but did almost nothing until we’d already finished repainting the entire room.

The walls were split horizontally at hip-height by a runner, so we painted the upper section and the ceiling dark brown and the lower walls dark green. Heavy velvet blackout curtains covered the windows and both inner door and fire exit to give a permanent late-evening mood. I found two deep green leather Chesterfield sofas on Gumtree and had them delivered. The room was finished off with 1940s style furniture â a low table with a world map underneath the glass surface, a chest of drawers with an art deco lamp perched on top, and then Jimmy finally made himself useful discovering a portable drinks cabinet disguised as a globe. We filled that with bottles of rum, vodka, and whiskey. Discreet lighting tucked behind the sofas completed the classy, speak-easy vibe.

The next day Mick came knocking on my bedroom door.

âNick, put your shoes on! Someone has left a cabinet on the road outside. It’s perfect for the room.â

So Mick and I ran across Finchley Road, each took one end of the abandoned cabinet, and hefted it two hundred metres and up the fire escape stairs into the room. We’d claimed it literally one minute before another pair of locals who’d also meant to nab the free furniture and instead stood on the pavement bemused, scratching their heads.

Despite us feeling like a pair of gypsies, Mick had found a gem. The hip-height thick oak cabinet was fronted by two glass doors and perfectly suited the room.

We’d created a time capsule of the 1940s, our very own Red Room from Milk & Honey.

âWhat are we going to call it?â we mused, the three of us standing in the middle of the room absolutely amazed at how much better than expected it had turned out to be. Various names were mooted, each trying to capture something of our philosophical or aesthetic spirit.

âThe Roark Room,â suggested Jimmy, who’d just finished reading The Fountainhead and was very much enamoured with Ayn Rand.

âThe Atlas Library,â I thought, blending the twin influences of Atlas Shrugged and the Bioshock video game we all played.

âBut there’s no books,â said Mick. We fixed that by putting up a small bookshelf in the corner and filling it with the Penguin Classics series of Tolstoy, Dumas, and Dickens that none of us read.

Finally one of us â I forget which â uttered âThe Hemingway Suite,â and we immediately seized on it. It captured the time period, the manliness of Hemingway’s writing, and the upgrading of our mere âroomâ to the grander âsuiteâ. I had a brass nameplate engraved and superglued to the outside of the door to the corridor.

âWe’ll need some rules. Memberâs Clubs always have rules.â

We quickly settled on a list that made us laugh and also feel so very important and sophisticated.

  • Non members are only allowed in when invited by a member.
  • No music recorded later than 1959.
  • No television or YouTube.
  • Women may be invited in, but they must never express an opinion on any topic whatsoever.
  • No member may raise his voice or use profanities.

The rule that created the most fun was this: All insults must be delivered from a seated position. It was intended to minimise the chance of fisticuffs and ensure gentlemanly discourse. What actually happened is we’d wait until someone stood up to mix some drinks at the bar, then we’d brutalise him with insults. To respond, they’d have to run back over to a seat, sit down, hit back, then return to the drinks.

We had a grand old time. We’d suit up and hang out there every evening for weeks on end, drinking whisky and smoking Cuban cigars while listening to jazz greats like Django Reinhardt in the dank atmospheric surroundings. We’d tell stories or debate issues, the end result of which always seemed to demonstrate that we were cooler than everyone else in the world. We each felt like the Most Interesting Man In The World from the Dos Equis beer commercials.

We also consumed great quantities of liquor.

It was during our Hemingway Suite reveries that we’d develop various theories about women, lifestyle, and how to achieve the financial and geographical freedom we aspired to. We felt completely unplugged. We weren’t even in the same decade as all the traffic whizzing by outside on Finchley Road.

We were James Bond. All three of us.

Predictably, the Suite was a tremendous aid in seducing girls. We’d be sitting in the bright, airy, tumultuous environment of the common rooms downstairs and then whisper confidentially, âLet’s go up to the Hemingway Suite.â

âWhat’s that?â the girl would ask.

âIt’s our own special members room. Like a whiskey and jazz room. Come on, let’s walk up.â

The girl would be led through the maze of corridors up to a thick wooden door with the brass nameplate on it. The door opens, and she’s led into a time-warp. We’d already arranged a deal in advance where the player could text one of the other members to set the room up in advance once he was about to pull the trigger. More than once, Mick would have a girl in the lounge and message me so I’d run upstairs, turn on the lamps, set the music playing, then squeeze out the fire exit a moment before Mick rolled in with his girl.

Once inside, it was game over. They’d fall in with the rules, accept a drink, and ease into the languid atmosphere. It was the Lust Bubble expressed in architecture, an escape from reality for just two people.

It was also a thirty secondâs walk from our bedrooms.

The finished suite

The finished suite

If this section of masterful writing caught your attention, you’ll probably want to buy Volume One of the memoir to bring yourself up to date. Just a tenner for the PDF or £20 for a reassuringly heavy paperback


[1] Bali is absolute shit for women. I’m more likely to see a hot girl in Newcastle. I’ll keep my eyes open but my current opinion is that no-one is banging hotties in Bali no matter how many rep points they have on RooshV forum. I haven’t even seen a girl above a high six here.