Last night I went to see the new Bond film, Casino Royale, with my chums Alex, Kenny and Gerry. Marvellous stuff and Daniel Craig may well unseat Piers as my second-favourite Bond (could he one day challenge the über-bond and former milkman Connery? I'm on the edge of my seat with anticipation.). I digress. Well the AMC cinema, which had never seen such queues, by the way, disgorged us into the late evening streets of city centre Manchester.
This was Saturday night and it's been a while since I ventured forth from the People's Republic of Chorlton on a Saturday. There were pissed up boys dressed like Pete Docherty swaying over girls in doorways, there was complete meltdown at most of the taxi ranks, but the sight that requires some musing over, was the state of undress of a host of barely-legal young girls.
Now I'll come clean here. I've been to raves, got bladdered on everything from Crucial Brew to the year's new Beaujolais, I've read William Burroughs, watched Tarrentino, joined the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign and flirted with communism: I am NOT you're average Daily Mail reader; but here's the thing, parenthood has changed me at a very, very fundamental level.
Faced with a lengthy row of girls in see-through frocks, thongs, and bits of masking tape queueing in the freezing cold to get into 'Mutz Nutz', my first thought was a long, long away from a lascivious leer and some impure urge; I didn't even think "Poor love, where's her coat?"; actually, me first thought started with the words: "If that were Maddie..."
It's a sobering moment. You're in town on Saturday at 11.10. You're looking for a cab and you're feeling like a Dad. Like I said, something's changed... for the better, methinks.