In the seventies you used to get lots of buff women with heaving breasts in vampire films, but now it’s just buff men
Wandering past the Bentleys and Chelsea tractors towards my drinking destination in the middle of Mayfair, I make a mental note to hold on to my receipts. Will expenses be sceptically scrutinising a bill for seven bottles of Bollinger come next pay day, I wonder?
Humberts’ watering hole of choice doesn’t lack star quality, but luckily it’s not strong on pretension. The Punch Bowl is Guy Ritchie’s pub, Alex informs me as the five of us sit down on one of the hefty wooden tables inside. It was where Ritchie, Jude Law and Robert Downie Jr went for a post-Sherlock Holmes pint after a tough day on set solving Victorian murders.
As it turns out, the Humberts team has strong views on film.
“I think the new A-Team will be a big disappointment,” says Nigel. “Mr T has been doing Snickers adverts - he’s just too busy,” says Alex, possibly unaware that the original Mr T is not going to be playing the group’s most flying-averse member in their new screen incarnation.
Martin is unconvinced by the new Twilight series, and longs for the time when vampire films were not aimed at teenage girls. “In the seventies you used to get lots of buff women with heaving breasts, but now it’s just buff men,” he moans. A rather stern portrait of Winston Churchill stares down at us disapprovingly from the corner of the pub.
As is perhaps inevitable in a group of men gathered around alcohol for any prolonged period of time, a dissection of the World Cup commences. Perhaps feeling Churchill’s eyes on the back of his neck, Alex is polite enough to refrain from calling Sepp Blatter, FIFA’s president, anything more than an “absolute so-and-so” for not allowing the goal line technology that would surely have seen England only lose to Germany 4-2 in their last 16 clash. He is also convinced that Paul the psychic octopus was rigged. “Maybe they had some kind of female pheromone in the tank,” he speculates.
Mark, who has a twang in his voice that hints at his South African origins, has received only rave reviews about the tournament from back home. “We’re hugely proud of the World Cup in South Africa,” he says. “There was a 90% drop in crime while it was on.”
Alex has slightly less fond memories of the wildlife in the Cape. He describes his encounter with a baby Portuguese Man o’ War in the South African sea. “It was all over my arms and legs,” Alex recounts. “It was like no pain I have ever experienced. The cure was to go to the butchers, who put several steaks over my limbs. Then we had a barbecue with the steaks! South Africa is great, I loved the people, but I’m not going back in the sea ever again.”
Perhaps the sea creature was simply trying to tell Alex he foresaw great footballing success in his future …
Chosen venue: The Punch Bowl, Mayfair, central London Ambience: Cosy Topics: The new A-Team film, Twilight, Paul the psychic octopus, the agony of jellyfish stings Drinks: Five pints of Spitfire, three pints of Fosters, nine Amstels, two packets of posh crisps
Alex Campbell surveyor
Mark Lucas account director
Nigel Mills associate director
Martin Taylor director
David Matthews Building