An emotionally constipated night out in a posh Dublin restaurant

Michael Harding: The General stared at me ... he hates looking silly in front of city people

We ate at a ‘place of white table clothes and wine glasses as big as goldfish bowls’.

We ate at a ‘place of white table clothes and wine glasses as big as goldfish bowls’.

 Of course I know that medieval Europe was a horrid place where mad clerics burned witches at the stake before breakfast and ate children for lunch and poked whoever they fancied when the day was done.

Even the upper echelons of 18th-century society was a suffocating world of body smells, excessive farts and bad breath, but none the less it must have been fascinating to live in an age before psychiatry, when men were possessed by demons that caused them to pepper every dining table with lecherous conceits, scatological metaphors and satiric verse.

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