It is 2.30am.
Techie Chris, Vintage Queen and I are sitting in the front of a beaten up van in a car park in the centre of Leeds.
I am drunk, the kind of drunk you get after a weekend of almost concussion and harsh realities, after having eaten only a sandwich all day and then drinking mulled wine and riccardi and vodka (though not at once). Vintage Queen has a pizza balanced on her knee, Techie Chris a kebab and I have settled for my drunken staple of chips. Volume control having disappeared some time around the second drink, our words and sentences trip over each other. Old jokes. New jokes. In jokes.
Even with my Shakespeare Boys (and indeed Girls) replaced by a gaggle of comedians I knew it was to be a good night when PYFB's 'New Shoes' came blasting out of the speakers during the interval. For there is nothing like a blast of PYFB to get you dancing around the bar, even if you probably shouldn't be dancing for health and safety reasons what with all the liquid and the glass and whatnot. But I doubt PYFB would have such concerns, so dance I did.
Afterwards we giggled and gossiped, of drummers and actors, of penguins and hobbits. We decided to spend the CSA money for Baby David on shoes and handbags and beer and fireworks. Vintage Queen and I vowed to go out drinking together more often. Techie Chris decided he is to handcuff me to him when we go on tour to Oxford, to stop me getting into mischief. His guesses as to who would be my favourite actor this year were good, knowingly accurate, though in reality - as we all knew - the position had been filled some time ago. I even managed not to flinch too much when Vintage Queen looked over the table and asked: "Why aren't you and [History Boy] together?".
But sitting in the van it all seems to hardly matter. I feel a surge of affection for my companions, for my extended Shakespeare family.
Filled with such affection I move to take our empty takeaway packaging out of the van. I half stumble out and then - it scatters across the floor, littering the early morning air.
Unable to do anything else I stand and laugh until it hurts.