The Guinea Grill, 30 Bruton Place, Mayfair
"You're my beast of burden, Tinseth." He said Tinseth with a 'z' instead of an 's' and it always annoyed me. "I'm what?" I asked. "My donkey. You do my heavy lifting, mate." And I did. I was also well compensated for it. He was my biggest client and he was and is a friend. I'm proud to say he invited me to his wedding... both of them.
The Lamb Tavern, 10-12 Leadenhall Market
Holding pints, we stood outside the Lamb Pub in Leadenhall Market. He asked about another client of mine and a competitor of his. I lit a Silk Cut and spit a stream of disgusted smoke at his chalk striped shoulder. "How would you feel if they asked me the same question about you?" He laughed,"I suspect they already have," and took a sip of beer. We pause to watch a beautiful broker in high heels and a mini skirt walk drunkenly past us, her nail head heels slipping dangerously between the cobble stones.
The Tintin Shop, 35 Floral St, Covent Garden
I turned to him and, as he watched the broker stumble away from us, he said, "You're not being very forthcoming, Tinzzzzeth." The mother fucker had stones. And luck. He also suffered through a political incorrectness that took no prisoners at Lloyd's. His mother was English and his father Malaysian. We all had nick names. I picked up Tintin never realizing how lucky I was. His was the Slant Eyed Rice Monger.
The client didn't give a shit. He made millions and made others millions. A couple years ago we sat on the beach together a day after his second wedding. He asked why I was wasting my time writing and suggested I get back to a career I hated. He would help me and there were a lot of things he could do. I tell him I've dreamed of writing, 'tick, follow tock' for 30 years... and that I pass. I add we're probably still friends because he's no longer the client.
The Lloyd's of London Shop, 1 Lime Street
22 years ago, we had our first dinner in London at the Guinea. A pub/steak house that was smaller than a match box and was banging 12 on the virile meter with men tucked into Savile Row suits, Hermes swathed collars and tiny dining rooms. A loud American, with two quiet Brits, sat next to us. The American spoke from his diaphragm, like a drill sergeant or a trader at the Chicago Merc. Thunderous and more so when he asked the client, "WOULD YOU MIND NOT SMOKING WHILE I'M EATING."
Politically Incorrect Silk Cut Ad from the '70s
With elbows on the table, the client held the cigarette in one hand loosely folded over the other, and slowly turned to the American, "Yes, actually. I do mind if I don't smoke while you're eating." The client turns to me and says, "He isn't in America anymore," adding, "How is it, Tinzzzeth, that you Americans can eat mean little salads with iced tea in no smoking sections?" I laugh as quietly as I can and hear the American asking his waiter for a table in the no smoking section. "I'm sorry," says the waiter. "We don't have a no smoking section."