My ex brother-in-law once said that when you begin working life the people you meet are not friends but merely acquaintances. I haven't see him since which I guess makes him an acquaintance. Then again, my ex-wife falls into the same category.
This all came flooding back to me when we went out for birthday drinks with Withers and Marc on Friday. We were joined by Rosey, Becks and the Voice of God.
Now I class these people as friends but perhaps I should reassess the situation after the dastardly deed done to me in the City Arms.
I should put this into context by confessing that I made the supreme sacrifice on Withers' behalf by going up to my own personal DJ and, with great trepidation, requesting our political writer's favourite tune.
Withers sees himself as a bit of a musical guru - a mould-breaking expert when it comes to new talent on the scene.
So let's explode that myth. His favourite song is ELO's "Mr Blue Sky".
The agonies of requesting this song were all worthwhile when I saw the happy little cherub dancing around, flapping his arms around like he was at a Crewe Alexandra promotion party. The only thing I would have been able to do to brighten up his doom-filled existence even more would have been to pay the ginger (sorry red-headed) barmaid in the Yard to peck him on the cheek.
Feeling that I had performed an act of great humanity, I met a couple of female acquaintances from work and preceded to engage them in conversation, only to be interrupted by the call of nature.
On my return I carried on chatting for a while before I became aware that the bar of the City Arms was a lot emptier than it had previously been. What's more there was no Withers flapping his arms about, beaming happily. Nor was there a Marc, a Becks or a Rosey. And even more noticeable by its absence was a booming Santa-style "Ho, Ho, Ho" which regularly emits from the Voice.
There was, however, my coat, left neatly folded on a table some way away from me. The pile of coats "my friends" had discarded was also missing. They'd gone and left me.
When I later inquired as to their whereabouts, with an alcohol-fuelled text message containing various swearwords, I was told they had left me for my own good.
Apparently, I looked like I was getting on famously with said female acquaintances and they didn't want to cramp my style.
Not that anyone had asked me, or even left a message to say where they had gone. They had just departed, like ships in the night.
When I got home I wasn't really fit to cook so this is a recipe I made earlier. Boil some spaghetti, or any dried pasta, then two minutes before the end open a tin of Irish stew, put it in a microwaveable dish, add a good sloshing of chilli powder, and heat up in the microwave.
Add it to the pasta.
Brief and simple. Like my Friday night acquaintances.