Well, so here I am in Brussels, 937pm. Brussels under security lockdown. And yet Cine Paris is open and showing a couple of good films to me and 1 other discerning customer. The girls are still in the Rue des Commerçants, including my Beatrice. Fifth Avenue is still open, including Ina in a stunning floral body suit. Her appeal does not diminish, it just grows. She is like a flower that is just starting to bloom, and she just keeps on blooming. I must admit, when I arrived at Gare du Nord and decided to step off the train there (and therefore stay) I felt scared. And coming out the station, passing the soldiers with massive machine guns, I felt scared. And walking down the road from Gare du Nord to my Max Hotel, I felt scared. Every bar and café and restaurant was closed along the whole length of the road, but then, incredibly, Brussels Grill was open, the first place I saw open. And even incredibly the Café du Dome was open! Bravo for them. What if gunmen walk in and start shooting you? Nothing you can do. But you have to go on don’t you. And bravo to them. And then you have a couple of cans of beer and you start to relax. And then you see Cine Paris is open and you relax more. And then you see the street girls in the Rue des Commerçants, and you relax more. And then, amazing, even Fifth Avenue is open as normal. Less girls than normal, it is true, but Ina is there, and you relax even more. This is how courage breeds courage.
Something I discovered, or re-discovered, last night, drinking in the Ibis bar even after they turned the lights off, till 1AM, is that I DO feel more like doing naughty things late at night—and those post-midnight Brussels expeditions and Berlin Walks to Stuttgarter Platz were for a good reason. I am a nocturnal creature, and I do feel more alive in the dead of night; I shall resume my very late night visits to Gare du Nord in Brussels; I felt completely safe last night and was completely unaccosted both in the Rue d’Aerschot itself and on the long walk back. That bizaree 4-trips-in-a-row sequence of being targetted by pickpockets or necklace snatchers seems a long time ago. And by the time I got to the Rue d’Aerschot, 130AM, it was PACKED. Busy, busy, with people. Like Oxford Street. I felt so comfortable sitting in Le Cigalle and the Derniere Minute drinking, watching the men passing to & fro. I will resume my late evening trips to the Rue d’Aerschot and I think Stuttgarter Platz in Berlin, if anything is left. But my KEENNESS to go out after 1AM last night was a very notable realisation. I feel more at ease in the early hours of the morning; more alive. I look forward to drinking in the Berlin Plaza bar till they close, and then walking at 1AM in the morning along the silent empty Berlin streets—christ, you could NEVER find a central London street quiet and empty at any hour of the night—to Stuttgarter Platz. Though for little point—as Hanky Panky is gone, Mon Cheri is gone, Startlight, Night Dreams, Golden Gate, Blue Bananas are all gone. By the time I get back maybe even the last couple will be gone too—Sissi Bar, and Monte Carlo. And over the road Bon Bon (I never liked) and around the corner Club 77 (no good since Angelique decamped far across town). Le Coin is just a short stroll away, but I don’t even think of going there.
1115 in the Ibis bar. First beer of the day. I was thinking maybe today I could have an old style Brussels day. Getting very drunk in the bar in the evening to prepare me for a trip up to Gare du Nord. Switch from beer to vodka to get me proper drunk. Not as late as midnight though; try to get the last train back.
1149AM in the Ibis bar. No point going back to Fifth today sadly; maybe try Le Coin again then walk up to Gare du Nord, and pop in to Le Coin on the way back. After returning to the hotel early yesterday evening I then slept through to 3AM, and missed the Bayern v Barca game. I hope I can catch the Real v Juve game tonight. The Ibis Stella is lovely and cold. I noticed Fifth Avenue has now got frosted glass in the windows with its opening hours displayed on it—in English. They’ve just started laying out a buffet of hot food in the Ibis bar, and it smells absolutely gorgeous. If I eat though I will not want to go out. All I think about when I travel these days is drinking, and eating. I have to make a real effort to force myself to go to the naughty places. Better to go to Gare du Nord later, when it gets dark, though not too late, this being Brussels. I discovered that using the crossing about twenty yards down the road makes crossing much less terrifying. Late in life I make these blindingly obvious discoveries. Late in life; what a thing to say. I still feel like a child. Still feel at least in my twenties as I was (just about) when I first came to Europe. Where did my life go? So many years lost to depression, and unable to face the world, and unable to cope with life. It was only in the strip clubs and brothels of Europe that I really learnt to cope with life and discovered some comfort and calmness. Then I would come back to London and be able to cope with life and work much better. I love Europe. I want Britain to be out of the EU but I love Europe. I love the countries of Europe and the people of Europe.
Now all I can think about is: I want to STUFF myself with food. Well, I am sick of Cine Paris and I am sick of 5th Avenue, so finally tomorrow let me go to Old Masters and Fin de Siecle Museums. Then I can finish in Le Coin or O’Reilly’s. There’s whores all around me: in the Rue des Commercants, in 5th Avenue, in Gare du Nord—but all I can think of is eating then getting back to my lovely hotel room bed; to my internet and then to sleep. So now I am drinking myself into absolute oblivion in the Dome, and I enjoy this so much more than yesterday’s visits to Cine Paris or Rue des Commercants or Fifth Avenue. It rules out me going on to Gare du Nord later today, unfortunately.