"We’ve sacrificed everything for this band"
Wednesday morning, All Bar One, Moorgate. It’s not quite the classic Simon & Garfunkel album title. We’re being served Smarties in shot glasses. These treats come with an order of a cappuccino; they come with an order of a pale ale. This is not an advertisement. 11am. The wisps of afternoon accountability creep upon us, nobody touches them.
The polite conversation before we start always seems to come back to King’s Cross. It’s where I work most of the time. It’s the accidental Word Art in the background of Coals Drop Yard – a kind of elite companion of Westfield, with more fountains than affordable breakfasts – and the location of the latest press images to accompany the new Housewives album, ‘Twilight Splendour’. If product placement could exist for a neighbourhood, then this is certainly a good working heartbeat of the city – a strange point of exit for many in a daily routine. It pulls a certain interest for a band who abandoned their London rents at the end of last year – one, for a new life with his partner in Sheffield, the others, to live on houseboats. (Not the same houseboat, they emphasise. “We’ve sacrificed everything for this band.”)
“It’s nice not being tied to one place in London,” they say, choosing to talk as one rather than individuals, telling me at one point that they’re not themselves when they’re in the band, and that this band is the most interesting thing about them. “Because we move around so much, we end up in places like this all the time. We don’t have much choice. It turns out that a lot of London is like this.” (This being the All Bar One in Moorgate.) “You lose a lot of the complacency you get from living in a house. These kinds of destinations end up being an extension of the home. You have to be resourceful; you have to find most things somewhere else. You can sit in here with one coffee and have at least three hours of Wi-Fi.”
More Smarties come out. There isn’t even an accompanying order for this round to decorate. Perhaps the waiters heard the nice words, or saw the implied loyalty card from the ease in which Housewives fit their surroundings. The myth of the artist’s rider – wanting only the blue m&ms from the packet – is replaced fervently with wanting quantity over quality. More Smarties? No one’s complaining. They all seem at home here, unfased by slotting into a social etiquette of how you should view spaces in the city. I promise this isn’t an advertisement. Or a cultural geography essay.