I wasn’t a partner in a conversation – I was an accessory. Just like you might carry a beer, or a handbag, or a cigarette, so too I was being carried around for a ‘look’. The young friend at the bar was speaking to me from his subconscious, mumbling nonsense soaked in smiles and over elaboration. The jokes were not ‘funny’ jokes – that wasn’t their purpose. The purpose of the jokes, and the laughter, and the bar, was to show that we were part of the group that was young and full of potential. He kept turning away from me whenever I spoke, scanning his eyes around the crowd, looking for a better conversation. He mustn’t have found anything because he turned back and burst out laughing at my mild joke. Around us the room swelled with nihilism, and then we were and out onto the street.