They came into The Shakespeare in two separate gangs over the course of the evening. The first, all hipster beards and colourful clothing, sixties glasses and dapper shoes. The second, more earthy, the odd Hawaiian shirt notwithstanding - pints of beer were the order of the day for these dudes rather than the G & Ts and white wine of their colleagues. Yes, they were all colleagues - working on the Malaga shoot of the Netflix series The Crown.
I didn't speak much to the arty chaps but presumed they worked with make-up and costume and set design and stuff like that. They weren't building camera rigs, that's for sure - not in those jodhpurs, anyway.
I did talk to the pint-drinkers though and asked one of them what he did.
"Grip," he growled as he shook my hand far too firmly. So I pressed a little harder as the blood drained steadily from my face.
"No, no, that's my job - grip." I withdrew my lightly crushed fingers and nodded sagely as if I had the slightest clue what a grip is. It's one of those job titles that you see at the end of Starsky and Hutch when you're a child and you ask your dad for enlightenment and then realise that nobody in the world can actually know as he looks at your two uncles for support and all three shrug their shoulders in unison. Or maybe that was just our house.
Anyway, Tom - the grip - played the trumpet and, as luck would have it, he'd brought it with him. We jammed on a half-decent version of Moon River and, bizarrely, The First Cut Is The Deepest until, before we knew it, it was closing time - closing time being two o'clock in the morning. It was none of my business, of course, but I was a little taken aback by the witching-hour pint-drinking and trumpet antics given that filming usually requires alarms being set for, well, about a quarter past two. One of the group made for the door, pausing on his way.
"See you in the hotel bar!"
His rejoinder was met with unbridled enthusiasm all round. Blimey, I thought, maybe I should step in here and make a stirring speech about hangovers and alarm clocks and the queen and trumpets and housewives and responsibility and things like that.
Tom interrupted my thought flow.
"Goodnight, Peter. Thank you. We won't see you tomorrow, mind you - it's our day off."
"Goodnight, chaps - by the way, what exactly is a gri..." The door had, alas, already closed.