A lock-in! A lock-in! I got a lock-in last night, only my second in two and a half years in London.

I was only recently thinking how much I missed the thrill of seeing the curtains drawn come quarter past eleven and the smiling complicity of all involved. And sure enough, the blinds came down last night just as I was finishing my last, and no-one was throwing any kind of “time to leave now” shapes. And what happened? I had to leave to get the tube home. Ah, cruel fate.

Of course I’m not telling you where it was, this is a public forum.

It does occur to me that if the licensing hours in the UK are ever changed to a more civilised arrangement, the thrill of the lock-in will pass into history, and I can’t help but feel a twinge of regret similar to the one I felt when, on turning eighteen, I realised that a whole layer of naughtiness (and hence enjoyment) had been removed from going out for a pint.

I remember the joys of the afternoon lock-in, before all-day opening came in. Ah, it was a great thing, emerging into the early evening gloom in search of something to eat, happy in the knowledge that I had got drunk all afternoon, illegally. Glory. The afternoon session still has a special magic for me, even now.