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  • Writer's pictureMike Melbourne


The other night, I went to see a friend's cabaret show at a dank little club in the Chelsea section of London. I'd made a reservation online and well in advance. I arrived at the club, which was a dreary and dark room where the "stage" was merely a suggestion for a performance space: a teensy area carved out at one end and barely large enough to accommodate the piano and microphone stand, let alone a singer, too.

Anyway, the hostess at this place, a tall-ish, reed-thin, twenty-something wearing a black sleeveless dress, black lipstick, long black hair, and too much glitter on her eyelids and cheeks, was behind her lighted lectern chatting with a guy who was probably a waiter. From how they were sniggering in low decibels, they were probably making plans for whoopsie doodle after the show. He was certainly damn cute with his black shirt opened several buttons down.

Anyway, I swear I stood there for at least 20 long seconds without receiving so much as an acknowledgment that I was a tangible physical thing with a somewhat decent new hairstyle and a new shirt from Gabucci, my favorite men's clothing store in Bath, that I'd purchased for the occasion. I pretended to be patient but finally gave up. "Hi! Reservation for two, but I'm actually down to one. My friend bailed. It's under Melbourne. Mike. Seven o'clock, although it's only 6:45. I'm always early."

To her credit, the hostess looked at me! But, after scanning her reservation list, she shook her head. "Are you sure it's for tonight?" she asked.

"Pretty darn sure. It's been in my calendar for weeks. Plus, it's a one-night-only sorta thing."

She looked at me as if she really didn't know what the hell to do. I'd thrown a rusty wrench into the ever-so-slowly grinding gears in her pretty noggin. She was utterly perplexed.

I'm the type who dislikes drama and always wants to smooth the rough edges of any potentially unpleasant bit of folderol. So, I took out my cell phone and scrolled through emails until I found the reservation confirmation I'd received. The poor, puzzled thing was still muddled. She couldn't quite comprehend (nor could I) why I had a confirmation on my screen, but I wasn't on her printed list of expected guests. She literally did not know what to do and said as much, but in a way that suggested this really was more my problem than hers.

I looked at the tacky performance room behind her. It was nearly empty. So, I suggested the obvious, that a reservation probably wasn't really all that necessary anyway, was it? There, I solved our mutual dilemma. "Any table is fine with me," I smiled.

Not so damn fast, Mike.

"I'll have to check with my manager," she said as if there could be a problem seating one solitary body in a room as vacant as a U.S. Senator's head for a performance that definitely wasn't going to attract a Taylor Swift-size mob. She walked away but rather quickly returned with a half-smile. She picked up a menu. "I can seat you … this time." As if I must never let this happen again.

NOTE: The show was terrific. My friend is very talented. But, this cloak of invisibility thing didn't work when the bill came. Darn!

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