(contains gratuitous rudery)

'A new restaurant has opened in London that leaves diners completely in the dark. Dans le Noir?, which opened last week in Clerkenwell, bans any form of lighting in the dining area. The food is served by blind or partially sighted waiters, who guide you to your table and will even take you to the lavatory if necessary.
   "Your other senses are awakened by the dark,' says owner Edouard de Broglie, who set up the original Dans le Noir? in Paris.'

                                   - Sunday Times, March 5th

No. No. No, no, no. This, this cannot be permitted. What moron? This must be stopped at once. Because it will catch on, and sooner or later someone will want me to go to one. And that will not be good. Because I find it hard enough comporting myself with grace and decorum and basic physical co-ordination when all five senses are in play, and this... The results will not be pretty.

What are they thinking? What are they thinking? What about the knives and forks? What are they going to have, rubber cutlery? Because when carried away in conversation I tend to gesticulate wildly, with whatever happens to be in my hand at the time, and if they don't have rubber childproof cutlery I can guarantee that any person sitting at my table will be genuinely blind by the time we finish. Either that or neatly lobotomized, sitting there drooling with my knife sticking out of their head. Or tracheotomized, or desperately trying to stop the blood pumping out of their severed jugular veins.

That is, those that I haven't hacked to death merely trying to cut up my food. There is absolutely no question that if I set foot in one of those places I will somehow manage to cut all my date's fingers off and eat them. She would be slumped on the table in shock, and by the time anyone realised I would have eaten half of her head as well, wondering why she was being so quiet. I would be holding hands with the breadsticks and murmuring sweet nothings to the potatoes, and she would be lying there bleeding to death while I munched happily on one of her ears. This will happen unless it is prevented.

Except it won't be my date, it'll be someone else's, because I can state with certainty that within five minutes of entering I will be at the wrong table, even if I am chained to my bloody seat. I will find myself whispering endearments to some hairy ten-foot psycho gorilla gangster or his bird, expertly feeling up ten-year-old girls out with their families, sitting on elderly grannies who will expire under me... cracking Irish jokes at some fucking IRA reunion or something... something like that... I can't quite foresee all the details of the terrible mistakes that will happen but it will be grim.

And lavatories! Lavatories! They just don't get it, do they? Hire all the blind waiters you want; have ropes or guide dogs or teams of sherpas leading me to the toilets. I will still manage to piss all over the occupants of the table opposite, who, when the screams go up and the lights go on, will turn out either to be a party of nuns, or my boss and his wife, or a psycho gorilla gangster and his bird and his mum and nuns, all dripping wet.

No, no, not even that. My inner compass and sense of direction isn't even that good; the evil genius of my fatal accident-proneness wouldn't stoop to something so obvious. What will happen, I will bumble along darkened corridors for five minutes or so. Maybe there will be draughty cellars, steps to stumble down, doors to walk into; I will soldier on blithely. Eventually I will find what I am sure must be the toilets and I will set to work. Then lights will go up and I will find myself onstage at a frigging packed opera house three streets away, pissing into the lead tuba in the orchestra.

No, no, no, no, no. Cannot happen, must not be allowed. I'd be cleaning wine out of my clothes and food out of my ears for weeks... they'd have to hose it off the walls... and the blood, Christ... the blind waiters' faces as they realise everything is too quiet and feel all the dead bodies slumped everywhere... they'll think the Borgias have been dining with them... I would have snuck out quietly and the whole thing would be some Marie Celeste mystery but with bloody corpses... people would think the Vikings had returned...

March 11th 06