On Friday I went to Cambridge to stay with Jenny and Matthew (and their son Douglas)

Douglas as Boris

Crikey! Douglas does his Boris Johnson impression.
[click image to enlarge]

and to attend Cathal’s leaving party / St Patrick’s Day celebrations. After a few months you forget just how surreal a night out in a Cambridge pub can be.

I talked with a Chinese histopathologist about photography, in between her flitting around snapping shots of revellers. The identical replacement for my first real camera was £60 from eBay; hers and her brother’s first, an old Rollei, required them to save until they had collected two months’ salary.

I caught up with old colleagues, was offered an inevitably unpaid scientific collaboration, and listened to wildly contrasting views of what should be done with a gene factory when the flagship product is finally out of the door.

And I met the lead singer and drummer from Britain’s top Bon Jovi tribute band. When I mentioned this to people afterwards they all said, “Why would anyone want to be in a Bon Jovi tribute band?” Strangely enough, the members of the Bon Jovi tribute band admitted that very often on stage they’d think, “What the fuck am I doing here on stage, with my shirt off, in a Bon Jovi tribute band?” As far as I could see the answer was: “Making surprisingly good money.” As “Jon Bon Jovi” himself pointed out, he’s always managed to make a living making music and that is about as rare as a jazz chord on an AC:DC album a Bryan Adams album.

The lead singer is exactly what you would expect. He’s from Detroit. He used to be in one of the United States’ leading Mötley Crüe tribute bands (until the call came to England via the global tribute band grapevine). His big hair is a remarkably convincing wig. His favourite word seems to be “motherfucker”. If the bottom falls out of the Bon Jovi tribute market, he could clearly make a fortune doing voiceovers for all kinds of extreme sports broadcasts.

Then it was on to an Irish pub round the corner from where I used to live. The lights were off, but there were definitely a lot of people in, many of them getting past the door by claiming to know Cathal. I left before the rebel songs started.