Last night 2 beautiful ladies from Southwark's Licensing Unit brought me an invite to meet Nick Stanton, the leader of Southwark Council, tomorrow evening at Potters Fields Trust's office 2 minutes' waddle from Tower Bridge. I don't normally agree to meet people who call themselves Nick or Tony or Dave to strangers. The ingratiating informality of our would-be masters makes me want to expectorate on their jeans, but on Friday Nick's licensing committee meets to determine Potters Fields' application for booze-fuelled, all night, amplified, fairtrade yodelling. I don't mind the Special Olympics head-trampolining - I might join in - but yodelling frizzles my feathers. Anyway I suspect that the eloquent objections from the blood-sucking nimbies in Shad Thames, not to mention the avenging angels of Shag Thames, have made Nick nervous that the Committee might nix Nick's license notwithstanding he's their boss.
So let's recap: Nick is on the board of Potters Fields and he's leader of the Council whose committee grants licenses. Conflict Of Interest, n'est-ce pas. But Old Nick is an honourable man, so are they all, all honourable men...yeah right, as the Bard would say. Ok so he wants to meet and make me a proposition. He'd just better not be wearing £100 jeans.
Here's a precis of the new licensing conditions proposed by the Trust:
Corporate Events till 1am - max 25 per year of which max 12 per month.
Translation: charity mud-wrestling in a marquee near City Hall with drunken, sex-crazed brokers and traders (I know, I was one) staggering down Tooley Street at 2am to the lap-dancing club and urinating on City Hall en route. All fine by me.
Cultural Events till 10.30pm - max 55 per year of which minimum 45 would be free to the public.
Translation: Tosca al fresco and Free-Palestine-Or-We'll-Blow-Up-Tower-Bridge rallies (speaker, the Mayor of London) and so on.
Tell me, Nick, if this is all for the sake of revenue to run Potters Fields, why is it free ?