Sunday, 17 February 2013

My real life Selfridge drama !

Watching tonight's episode of Selfridges got me reminiscing about the 1990s when I would regularly meet my good friends Ben Davies and Rodney Jones for lunch or drinks at the store. Quite often we would meet at the Seafood Bar in the food hall to share a Platter of Fruits de Mer with a bottle or two of Champagne. Rodney and I would have a dozen native oysters on the side.
This particular day we were all in Town separately. Ben & Rodney had been to meet one of their 'interesting' Arab ship owners who all, for some reason, arranged meetings in the public bars of down-at-heel 3* hotels off Bayswater Road. I had been to lunch at Rules. By the time we regrouped at Selfridges, none of us were exactly sober.  Realising closing time was in sight, we had to hurry. The first bottle of Pol didn't touch the sides so we ordered another. I then recall three glasses of Absinthe appearing.  Pretty soon thereafter the lights went out (literally and metaphorically) and we were asked to leave. Not that we were obnoxious, loud or incapable (perish the thought, we were accomplished imbibers) but the store had closed and we were the last customers still in the building.  As a security man showed us to the only unlocked door, Ben peeled away for the loo. We arranged hurriedly to re-group in the nearby Lamb & Flag.

Thirty minutes passed and no sign of Ben. In this time several large gins with tonic had been consumed. Then the mobile rang. It was her (yes - Ben is a woman, short for Bernadette, but don't tell her I told you, as she will kill me).  Apparently she'd nodded off on the loo and when she woke up they had locked all the doors and turned off most of the lights. "Can you come and rescue me...?" 

Rodney and I headed back to Selfridges. Half way there, the phone rang again.  "I found an open door which I thought led to Oxford Street, so I went through it. But it was actually a door into a window display, and I can't get out as the door swung shut behind me and there's no handle to open it. Can you rescue me as quite a large crowd is gathering."

Alarm bells started to ring. Although Ben was pushing 50 she was in great shape and liked to live up to her Patsy Stone (AbFab) sobriquet. She had been known strip off and would, if encouraged, flash her tits to shock and amuse! As soon as we turned onto Oxford Street we could spot where she was. A crowd had indeed started to form, mainly tourists who clearly thought she was part of an interactive display. Fortunately she was fully clothed and quite relaxed.  We rattled the doors and found a bell, but no-one came. In the end we called the store. The phone was answered by an out of hours service, who put us through to security. Within seconds they appeared in the window and led her out to Oxford Street. A happy end!

I suspect if the real Harry Gordon Selfridge is anything like the character in the TV series, he would have approved!

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