Friday night upstairs in Cafe Gandolfi in Glasgow.
A group of Herald hacks (what's the collective name? A misery? A weary?) have gathered together to celebrate the arts editor's 20th year in the job. It's getting on. Prosecco has been taken. The conversation has turned to who's "hot".
Or to be more specific, who's "hot" but also of the "wrong" political persuasion (1). Thankfully, no-one has yet said Nigel Farage.
It's the women who start this game. Both Nick Clegg and Kenny MacAskill have been mentioned. Our token Tory complains that there are no "good-looking Labour MPs" so he can't play.
It's my turn to choose. I've had a glass of Prosecco myself so my inner eighties new man has been parked. I contemplate the choices. There aren't many. "Kirstie Allsopp?" I suggest.
"You know she's a horrible, terrible Tory?" the Nick Clegg fan asks.
"Well, yes, but I thought that was the point of the game?"
She thinks for a moment. "You clearly want to be dominated," she says.
Token Tory is laughing his head off and threatening to send an email round the office. I'm not sure why. Kirstie, for all her political flaws, is hardly Marie Le Pen.
"And I'm just playing the game," I point out. "She'd only be ... I don't know ... maybe 25th in my list of "hotness". (2) Way behind Diana Rigg circa 1966 (3) or Zadie Smith." (I don't mention Judith the weatherwoman on Reporting Scotland as I don't want to give the Nick Clegg fan any more ammunition for her psychosexual theorising).
Is the promiscuity of my vague fancy for women I've only ever seen in pictures a typically male trait? J is much less scattershot in her admiration. She only has eyes for Denzel (with maybe a slight thing for Keith Carradine in the Robert Altman movie Thieves Like Us).
It's later now. A cake with candles that spell out "Art Ed 20" has appeared. Someone is eating it while drinking gin at the same time, which is just so, so wrong. Things are clearly beginning to get messy. I take my slice of cake, wrap it in a napkin and go for the train. Half an hour later when I get home I make a cup of tea and eat it.
As I wipe the last crumbs of sponge off the corner of my moutth I have an epiphany. I realise I like this celebration cake even more than I like Kirstie.
Either I'm getting old or, when I give it some thought, I just can't get past her ideas on housing policy.
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