Matthew Racked Up a [Pounds Sterling]1,000 Overdraft on Wine in His First Year at Cambridge. (Drink)

Article excerpt

Fortunately, Matthew gave us very little warning of his brief visit from Japan. This meant I was unable to attend the supper cooked by Robbie in his Kilburn flat. Robbie specialises in teasing his guests. He once said he was going to ask everyone as they arrived their gross income in the past tax year and seat them in descending (or possibly ascending) order, and was only dissuaded at the last moment. This time Robbie had given notice he would serve goat.

Instead, I promised to meet Matthew at his hotel the night he arrived, after a dinner elsewhere. A devotee of high living, Matthew has even more grandiose ideas than he did in his first year at Cambridge, when he became the talk of the college after racking up a [pounds sterling]1,000 overdraft on wine, expensive hot chocolate and classical music.

I would have felt just a little bit silly waltzing out of Pont de la Tour restaurant, jumping in a cab and crying, "Claridge's, please!" and so I tacked on a lame, "on Brook Street." Matthew admitted he'd done the same, but said he was only paying [pounds]179 a night for his room, which seemed so cheap that I was tempted to sell my depreciating flat and move straight in.

The marble bathroom alone was big enough to hold a dinner party in. We had a long discussion over whether it would be more appropriate to pull the rope inscribed "valet" or "maid" if tea or a back-scrub while in the bath was required. …