If you ever have a drink with Moxon Architects, wait until you’re about four pints along and mention the city of Helsinki. The chances are that they’ll start acting like Basil Fawlty with a corpse in the laundry basket. Or at least, the men will

Ben: “I have some stories but they’re all along the lines of Helsinki tales. And there’s no way that’s coming out. Seriously, I swear to God don’t even print the word … we’re all human. We all cut things close to the bone.”

The women (as one): “What happened in Helsinki?” Ben looks at the table. Bethany points out that you can’t bring up a subject you won’t talk about. “I didn’t bring it up,” says Ben. “You did,” says Bethany, accurately. Ben: “Oh yeah, maybe. It was the lack of light. No, the lack of darkness … the lack of clarity. I never knew how much I needed darkness.”

More about the capital of Finland later; it has been a long road to reach it. Subjects on the way have included the despising of Belgians, Bethany’s resemblance to Father Dougal (as if), the books of Paul Virilio, a strange smell of burning, and shoes.

It was the lack of light. No, the lack of darkness … the lack of clarity. I needed darkness

We have learned that on average a woman owns 19 pairs of shoes, but that Helen has 40, that her boyfriend always pulls when he wears pink flowery shorts and that Tim M used to own satanic boots, with an inverted cross and spikes.

These discoveries have led to further revelations: principally, Tim M’s view that Metallica’s Anaesthesia Pulling Teeth contains the best bass line ever, that he once got into a Brazilian ju-jitsu bout with a chap who turned out to be Guy Ritchie and that his iPod was killed.

Sample dialogue from Tim M: “The death of my my iPod – I’m so sad, still. I came out of the office, saw a bus coming, sprinted to the bus stop, and my iPod came out of my jacket pocket. I actually did a slow-motion dive and it bounced in front of me, then landed in the road – it was still illuminated when the bus came … when the second tyre went over it, it exploded … I scraped it up and took it to the Apple Store. I thought they could save the memory chip but the man said, ‘Sorry mate you’ve broke the seal’.”

Tim reveals that Anaesthesia Pulling Teeth by Metallica has the best bass line ever

Incidentally, as he said these words, the source of the burning smell is revealed to be my bag. I have dropped a cigarette on it and after smouldering for 30 minutes, it has burst into flames. Luckily, I have the presence of mind to throw Ben’s pint over it.

Anyway, back to Helsinki. Bethany: “They went for four days and I’ve seen the receipts …” Tim M: “It was the Living Steel competition.” Tim B: “It was just a mental few days .. the sun never slept; it’s two in the morning and you think it’s seven at night, so it’s ‘where should we go now?’” Tim M: “We had five hours’ sleep in four days. We had dinner sitting next to Glen Murcutt in a three-star restaurant on an island in the archipelago and that was the least thing that happened.”

Ben: “There’s a street called Erotic … Strasse, I don’t know what happens there …” Tim M: “Well nothing … that weekend has much darker tales. I actually don’t remember much but there are traces in the expenses …”

At this point Bethany picks up my recorder to admire it and inadvertently presses the stop button. I don’t remember what happened after that, but I do recall thinking on the way home that Helsinki sounded like a nice place for a short break.

Venue: The Grand Union, Westbourne Park  
Ambience: Pleasant pub with canal-side tables  
Topics: A lost four days in Finland, death of an iPod, setting fire to your bag, shoes  
Drinks drunk: 15 pints Staropramen, 1 pint London Pride, 5 pints Guinness, 4 gin and tonics, 5 glasses of white wine (large)

Ben Addy director
Tim Barwell part II architect
Hannah Cox PR
Helen Horton-Smith PR
Tim Murray director
Bethany Wells architectural assistant
David Rogers Building