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This article is taken from PN Review 155, Volume 30 Number 3, January - February 2004.

Strippers Grevel Lindop

Apart from the fact that there's a bouncer on the door - a bulky man in black with a mobile phone, drinking coffee out of a styrofoam cup - Browns looks like any other London pub, only darker. Wandering into the twilight I cross the thick, navy-blue carpet to join the smoky lunch-time ranks at the bar, a mixture of unplaceable casually-dressed men and city types in suits. We're between worlds here, a short walk in either direction from the dusty construction sites of Shoreditch and the banks and investment houses of the Square Mile. Getting to the counter I give the pumps a glance and order a beer at random.

Having secured a drink, I wonder which way to head. There seem to be very few tables, though the walls and pillars all have ledges where you can rest your glass. This is a place designed for standing up. There are also very few women, and with the exception of one or two chatting near the bar, those who are here seem dressed for a different time of day, as if they'd turned out in their heels, minis and eyeliner seven hours too early for a very serious hen night. A group of them are deep in conversation at the back of the room around one of the few tables, though it's hard to imagine how they can hear each other, because the plump DJ at the console up on a platform near the door is ...


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