Me, Hagar, Max Arthur and Malmaison

Hagar is not Hagar’s real name. It’s his blog name. I was inspired by the cartoon in The Sun, called Hagar the Horrible, who was a grumpy Viking warrior married to a feminist she-Viking called Helga. It seemed fairly apt. In real life I call him Mr ‘his real name’ so for this blog he’s going to be Mr Hagar. I am not sure why I started calling Mr Hagar, I think it was some play on Mr Darcy but somehow it’s stuck and causes some amusement amongst the more hardy fellas with whom he does business with. They like to refer to him as Mr Hagar too with the same deferential glib emphasis that I like to add to his title.

Mr Hagar is deploying soon and the away journey starts well before he walks out the door. I expect it to happen a few weeks before he boards the aircraft at Brize – he will mentally leave us and start preparing himself for the job at hand. After New Year, he’ll start to go, and also, I am popping off to Dubai for a week for some business, which may or may not, include lying on a sunbed, and also I have a commission to write. Now was our time to get some fun time in before the mentalness of next year falls firmly into play.

London town was calling us grockles from the shire. It was time to tap into once again to the Malmaison military discount. If you want to take advantage of the offer then email: and say that A Modern Military Mother sent you. Laura squared away the most amazing room. It had two bathrooms! Hagar and I were most impressed.

My lovely friend, Max Arthur, who I have re-named Maximus Arthurius, because of his noble and esteemed writing status had agreed to meet for cocktails at The Groucho Club. He is writing legend. He’s just recently released a book called Last Of the Few and he also turned up with a copy of his latest tome, The Road Home, which once the liquor flowed he very amusingly signed it to Mr Hagar.

The Groucho Club is a private members club open to men and women formed in 1985. Dreamt up by a group of publishers as an alternative to stuffy gentleman’s clubs who wanted somewhere to meet and relax, they approached Anthony Mackintosh owner of ‘The Zanzibar’ – a members bar in Covent Garden – and Restaurant 192. Tony and his partners got to work and The Groucho Club was created. It’s called so because of Groucho Marx’s famous quote “I do not wish to be in any club that would have me as a member.”

Premises were found in Soho, the bohemian heart of London, and the doors opened to a membership drawn from the Arts, Publishing, Film, Music and Advertising, many of whom were working in area. It soon became the approved watering hole for the creative industries.

Max is the member and he signed us in. The Club is staffed by flamboyant eccentrics that are incredibly theatrical. They flounced around and Hagar and I felt like we were in a documentary not dissimilar to the Pineapple Dance Studios – I am sure it’s only a matter of time until the ITV2 sends in the camera crew. As it was X Factor final night – the staff had very excitedly arranged an X Factor Party, which we drunkenly re-named X-Pactor Farty. We were ushered into the Soho room by a very camp man, with hair like Denny the drug dealer from Withnail and I, and the facial features of Kathy Burke. He swished up and down, flapping his arms being very busy and dynamic. We had to surreptitiously sneak downstairs again to the bar, run by the best cocktail waiter in London for Mai Tais and Mojitos. We kept our head down so that we weren’t forced back upstairs.

After getting well oiled – we headed off to 32 Great Queen St to meet up with some friends, with the plan to come back to Grouchos for Karoake after dinner. It was very calorific-tastic night as we gorged ourselves on rare rib of beef, with chunky chips, cabbage and bernaise sauce, washed down with 1997 Grand Reserva Rioja. Then cheese and tawny port. It was amazing!

Then back to Grouchos for more cocktails and some karoake. The world was blessed by the fact that I did not sing. There are people on the planet, who are very bashful about their singing ability and say, ‘no, no I can’t sing a note’ and then get on stage and belt it out like Whitney Houston but I am not one of those. I genuinely can’t sing a note and can do a very good impression of a cat being slowly and brutally tortured. Ask Hagar about my rendition of ‘Brass in Pockets’ one year on a Sunsail holiday in Turkey. It was a memorable but tragic occasion. Hagar on the other hand does a very impressive Mustang Sally!

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It was a great night and just what the doctor ordered to remind Hagar and I what fun is like. These happy times are important memories to cement the relationship with the pending absences forthcoming in the new year.


  1. I’m tone deaf but I belt it out like Whitney Houston at karaoke – at that point you’re shit faced and think you’re a superstar. I can’t stand those people who think karaoke is actually an audition for American Idol and don’t even crack a smile. You’re there for our entertainment you bell end I want to shout at those types!

  2. Very entertaining post – the “facial features of Kathy Burke”!!
    Will try and remember your special code for Malmaison – I love trying out hotels and always fancied giving this hotel group a try.
    So pleased you enjoyed your time with Hagar before his deployment.

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