So I decided that I couldn’t be arsed to knock up a 463832-course dinner for my friend Lucy’s birthday, which I’d rashly said I’d host at my house for about eight of us. It was a Friday night and I was feeling a bit poor. I’d just buy some fresh pasta and a packet of novelty birthday napkins from Sainsbury’s. That would do it. But then I went to Lina Stores, the Italian deli in Soho staffed by handsome men who look like they’ve just fallen off the set of a Fellini film, and was taken in by all their deliciousness. So I bought some fresh tagliatelle and some tomato sauce – both spicy and non-spicy to, you know, shake things up a bit – and took it to the counter.
‘That will be forty pounds please,’ said a handsome Italian chap behind the till.
FORTY POUNDS FOR A BIT OF PASTA AND SOME TOMATO SAUCE. I MEAN IS THE PASTA MADE OF GOLD?
But because he was so handsome and Italian, and because I am so feeble and English, I paid up meekly without saying anything.
It was the best pasta I have ever eaten, but, Christ, I wish I was less pathetic.