My high school buddy, Pete and I have been hitting up the Midlands like the Hilton sisters do Manhattan. He, having returned from a year in Portugal, and I, from the similarly exotic Lancaster University (and once upon a time, California), have alternated days in each others company in an implicit programme of support.

On Saturday we met in the park where a very young boy, clearly having just grasped English, observed with some confusion that we were “two boys, no girls”. Unperturbed by the juvenile naysayer we staged a gatecrash of the school governors’ ball in an attempt to remedy the noted circumstance. But without suitable attire and not a quart of booze we instead and rather feebly snuck behind some trees and listened to the band.

Monday we ventured further and to the England’s second city and home to its most peculiar accent, Birmingham. It is also a hotbed, we have decided, of hot totty. (And that readers, I assure you, is my first and last use of the word.) We fished sushi from a conveyer belt and established a music club whose members, currently Pete and I, buy and burn CDs for each other. First to the flames were The Killers and The Walkmen with their stellar albums, Hot Fuss and Bows + Arrows.

Wednesday, and we extended our party to three boys (still no girls) with the induction of (ooh ah) John McGrath, a current Lancaster student and recent alumnus of the University of North Carolina. With him we saw Shrek 2 and, like two ogres and a donkey, looked out at a summer together in this swamp of a town, dreaming of a land Far-Far Away where we might live Happily Ever-After.

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