Fright Night – a Valentine’s Day date with a difference

I want to hate Valentine’s Day. I really do. Valentine’s Day, with its nazi romance-by-numbers, corny clichés and billboard naffness. I want to ignore it and coolly say: “Oh no, we don’t celebrate things like that,” when people ask what plans me and the bloke have for February 14. Every day is Valentine’s Day for us. We don’t need an excuse to be romantic, etc, etc.

But truth be known I don’t hate it. I can’t quite manage to hate it. For all it’s been commercialised to within an inch of it’s life and is just another excuse for the consumer industry to sell us more shit we don’t need, I just love the base idea of it. A day devoted to the special person in your life.

Yet when I think back to Feb 14ths gone by I can’t think of a single one that stands out from the others. But I certainly won’t have that problem about Valentine’s Day 2010, which I’m sure I (and the bloke too) will remember until we’re 80.

I’d told bloke to keep Saturday night free, as I had a surprise for him. He agreed, and proceeded to display a range of emotions for the rest of the week, from mild excitement to slight fear.

This continued, right up until five minutes before we left the house on Saturday night. “Please tell me where we’re going,” he begged. “I don’t like surprises.” Then, with a look of complete horror: “Oh my god, we’re not going to the place with the transvestites, are we? Please tell me we’re not.”

After I’d faithfully promised there were no transvestites involved, we grabbed a taxi into town, and departed on Calle San Roque. As we approached the place where we were going to spend the evening, I felt a pang of disappointment when the bloke said: “Oh I know what this is.”

But his guess: “It’s that nice Mexican place, isn’t it,” was so far off it wasn’t even in the same dimension. We walked through the door to be greeted by this sight:

“Oh my god, what the hell is this?” said the bloke, half laughing, eyes wide with shock. “What have you done?”

What I’d done was booked us into el Ultimo Mordisco (the last bite) Self titled “the most terrifying restaurant in Madrid. Twee house track Lady by Mojo was playing loudly over the soundsystem, but the CD kept skipping. Sound effects of people screaming and what sounded like Vincent Price laughing were playing over the top.

“Do you think this is going to be alright?” said the bloke nervously, trying to look everywhere at once. “What on earth are we going to find in there?”

Before he could make a run for it, We were greeted by a man wearing a maid’s costume, (ah so much for my promise of no cross dressers) wig, and huge platform shoes. He said the lady of the house, the Duquesa wanted to welcome us but she had a terrible hangover. And she was having some trouble with her daughter, who had been left at the altar.

He took us through and showed us to our seats, and left us to peruse the menu –shaped like a coffin and featuring dishes with names like Pesadilla (nightmare), Hombre Lobo (wearwolf) and Fantasma. (ghost)

The place - I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Decked out in skulls, snakes, cracked mirrors and extoplasm. Gloomy as hell, but with a clubtastic lazer system, weird electric fake crystal chandeliers and flashing mini LED trees brightening the place up.

As the bloke put it: “This whole thing is so wrong. The staff are wrong, the music is wrong, even the food is wrong. I don’t want to eat it ‘cos I’m having psychosis it’s come from a dead person. It’s like every horror film we’ve ever watched rolled into one. It’s brilliant.”

He was right. We soon got to meet the Duquesa – the maid, now in a different outfit and blonde curly poodle wig and the splitting double of the real life Duquesa de Alba – and her daughter, fully decked out in a wedding dress and corpse-like makeup. Their whole aim was to mess with your head, whether it was getting up on stage and performing a routine to a mash up of Mecano songs or telling you they’d put drugs in the sangria.

I could hardly eat my food either. My solomillo came with a frambuesa sauce that just looked like congealed blood.

The music was similarly designed to freak you out. It ranged from The Final Countdown by Europe, to some unidentifiable early Nineties techno to Thriller, with all kinds of weird noises thrown in for good measure.

To my absolute delight there was even a bingo at the end of the night. And the icing on the cake – bloke won. So we came home with the possibly the best prize I’ve ever seen up for grabs in any competition, ever – a garish looking fluffy cat toy that raps and wiggles about with a mouse hanging from it’s mouth. We spent ages making it sing when we got home and trying to figure out what it was saying, and in what language. “Filthy bitch” and “mother and father” were in there somewhere, but beyond that, it’s hard to tell.

So that was Valentine’s Day my way. Not everyone’s cup of tea, and certainly not many people’s idea of ‘romance’. But just as I thought he would, bloke loved it. And our shared love of things like that, things which are quite off key, which is one of the things I really love about our relationship.

We really are two weird peas in a weird pod.

***Click here to see the rappin' cat in action


  1. Very funny post. We went to the local Peckish Pony and had a steak... which I enjoyed but my girlfriend was still hung-over from the night before so it lacked that certain romantic something! I agree about all the consumer crap. Next thing is the shops will be full of Easter Eggs.

  2. True - and I've just remembered about Mother's Day too. Argh!