We catch up amidst the beams and await the party. Having Byron Badger’s bird confirm our later meeting allows me a chance to relay my news of recent happenings beyond the normal, of which Barton knows much. Just a few short years ago and ten minutes hence he would have been fighting for the wine with me and Growler; smoking recklessly on the sneering lip of the building with me and Brandon Blaque. Times have certainly changed, but whereas the last five years have seen me producing a smattering of new words, he has searched a plethora to locate just the one – albeit highly original in nature. It brings him peace without any notable loosening of the mind, which is all a man can wish for his dear, deepening bro.
At a rowdy Wig Bar, Ancoats way, we meet Mimi, Tattetta and Amy-Lou amongst a group of more alleged writers. While Blaque entertains the ladies with naval tales of sea monsters in Turkish baths I fade into a dark corner of the beer garden where the Badger awaits. I steel myself, getting ready to rob one of the biggest, yet least seen beasts known to prowl the Manchester undergrowth. What price a visit to his flat to read some more of my worshipful poetry?
My question hangs in the air like a bad simile. Tattetta has found us and nothing will prevent her telling us of a nearby club we simply have to attend. Byron waits patiently for her to depart; acknowledges her lingering smile with one of his own.
‘A date – with your woman,’ he tells me, before gathering up his enormous top hat and departing with a whistle between his gleaming incisors.