London Meet 5th February – Founders Arms, Blackfriars

Aeia, Beermat and I arrived at the pub early, after a hard days shopping in Camden and Covent Garden, shortly to be joined by Azmodan. The first round was purchased, and a table was hunted down. As is traditional by the first arriving shadists at any London meet (well any involving me that is…) we all placed bets on who we thought would turn up next. Beermat bet on Twoflower, I bet on Wizzo, Azmodan bet on Brid and Aeia placed her bet on Branwell.

While we eagerly awaited the result of our wagers, by twitching every time someone walked through the door of the pub, the discussion turned to the old days of Prestel, and the sex lives of the Micronet Shadists, with Azmodan scowling every time Micronet was mentioned, due to him not being old enough to play back then.

The door twitched again, and a familiarish face appeared. We stared at this newcomer intently to see if we could scare him off, but Amstar didn’t run away, but offered to buy a round of drinks instead, so naturally we all leapt on THAT suggestion :)

So Amstar, having purchased aforementioned alcoholic beverages, settled down to enjoy yet more talk of days of old, causing Beermat, Aeia and I to stare as this fresh faced youth, hardly able to believe he was old enough to type back in the days of Micronet. But it turns out Amstar was a clever little 13 year old at the time, and like us, could still remember his Prestel login ID. How SAD! At this point Azmodan decided to shrug off his student persona, and bought a round of drinks!

Azmodan then went on to relate the fact that he was so bored that he couldn’t wait to get back to University for something to do, but this statement paled into insignificance as he then went on to admit that as he had nothing better to do, he decided to see how long it would take to make immortal from scratch. Aided partly by a bug on shades recently, which only allowed one mortal per game, Azmodan succeeded in playing constantly for 12 hours, and made it to immortality from nothing in that time! You d o have to worry about the youth of today, don’t you?

Of course by this time, although not exactly late on in the proceedings, rather a lot of alcohol had already been consumed and the conversation had taken a turn for the worse, with Beermat challenging Azmodan to a thickness competition (I didn’t like to ask any more), and Azmodan proclaiming that he likes his Llama, it’s a big llama. There was then a serious discussion into the chemical properties of glass, Azmodan having studied glass in great detail at university apparently….

Just when we all thought there was no hope for the evening at all, Badriya and her slave Moz arrived. This event lead to Beermat getting out a 3 player chess set he had bought in Camden, and Aeia changing into a rubber skirt she had bought. And before you ask, no, I have no idea what relationship either of these things have to each other, or the arrival of Badriya. Ours is not to reason why, only to nod sagely and say "Hmmmm Shadists…." An in-depth and articulate appreciation of Aeia’s new wardrobe was offered by Azmodan in the form of "Way Hey!". Obviously not studying English then…

Aeia and Badriya then started to compare membership cards to dodgy clubs, while Moz and Beermat set-up the 3 player chess set, and Azmodan attempted to read the rules, which were in Polish… Azmodan cheerfully announced he would strip naked to get into a club if necessary. We thanked him for sharing this piece of information, quickly changed the subject, and watched the chess match starting between Beermat, Moz and Badriya.

Just as we thought that no one else was going to turn up, and the sweepstake was going to go unclaimed, I noticed a few familiar faces walking past the window. With a cheer from Aeia, Branwell was the next to enter the pub, closely followed by Hypatia, Kali, Twoflower, Brid, Wizzo, Pauli and Poppy! Much pub furniture rearranging ensued, and having scared away the locals, we all managed to get around a few tables together.

By this time I had consumed just the right amount of alcohol for everything to get slightly fuzzy around the edges. Much cheerful chattering, hugging and drink buying followed. Another 3 player chess game started up with Beermat, Moz and Branny playing this time. Branwell managed to confuse everything by resigning, which was not covered in the scant, and mainly Polish, rules. At some point Azmodan was heard to proclaim "As long as its got alcohol in it you can give it to me". Aeia was busy running round taking photos of everyone (I’m sure they’ll get posted up somewhere soon) and Amstar was busy showing off his monkey bites gained during a recent visit to Venezuela to see the elusive Arch Pippin. In fact, full marks to Amstar for still being awake at this point, having only flown back into the country that morning!

Then all too soon the bell tolled last orders. It seemed like everyone had only just arrived, and then it was time to go. Azmodan demonstrated his disgust at this prospect, all over the carpet in fact, prompting some rather stern looks from the pub staff. Yes, its true what they’ve been saying, Azmodan lost his lunch! Amstar bravely admitted responsibility for Az, who was now looking decidedly pale. I dunno, what is the world coming to when you can drink a student under the table!

It was time to run for trains, attract taxis, fetch cars, and generally part company. We all took part in much hugging and waving before we all wandered off in our separate directions. And so ended the first meet of the year 2000.

Full marks to Amstar for arranging the meet and making it having only flown into the country that day and to Brid who also flew in to the country to attend (and to have a holiday). Waves to Wizzo, Pauli and Poppy who I didn’t really get a chance to talk to.