Grey clouds scudded across the foam of Champion's Freckled Johnson. I raised the pint to eager lips, and then to my own.
The K-Man was building an Antifaschistische Schutzgrenze of ashtrays between himself, the Dog and Fuelrod. It was lunchtime down the Tethered Goat.
Dazza disentangled his moustaches from a sandwich and sighed. "The latest Iranian Revolution is all over."
"Why?" we chorused.
"U2 are supporting the Tehran protesters. It's all over."
We knew what Dazza meant. The Iranian Propaganda Ministry television documentary would write itself:
[Five minutes of Bono gobbing on, green flag in hand atop a giant speaker, while a crowd of Fanta-crazed Irish teens wonder whether the video backdrop of militant Iranian youth is the new single.]
[Dead-eyed TV announcer] Dear viewers, this ill-informed Nazarene dwarf is the foreign leader of those who would criticize our God-ordained system. We asked Professor Margbarian of Tehran's University of Occlusion to explain why...
Meanwhile, in garrets, salons and cafés throughout Iran, stormy petrels of democracy see support seep away:
"Maryam, Reza, you coming to the demo today? We've got the nutters on the run. One more push, know what I'm saying?"
"Well, I think I'll give it a miss this morning. Got a lot on, y'know."
"Whaddyou mean? Oh..., hang on. It's because of Bono, isn't it?"
"Sorry. Freedom's all very well, but I've got my rep to think of. U2, for The Hidden Imam's sake! Even my little brother was laughing at me, and he likes Steps!"
"Maryam's right. It's over, man. Bono dropped the big one."
The Revolution That Died of Shame.
The success of any political movement depends a great deal on celebrity backing, or the prevention thereof. Musicians, novelists and lingerie models are as fickle and brittle as butterflies, and must be netted gently with bright colours and primary flavours.
Take Cuba, for example. Nasty, nasty government. Doesn't like gay people, trade unions and other good things. On the other hand, also dislikes America and mobile phones. This, coupled with a good climate, memorable flag, hip-gyratin' indigenous music and a positive attitude to drinking and smoking, attracts all sorts of blues-tinged endorsements.
And learn from Nicaragua's mistakes. The Sandinistas were doing so well. They worked their way through the Cuban checklist, racked up The Clash and Billy Bragg, but then - disaster. They got the unbidden endorsement of Glenys "Bloody" Kinnock, and were swiftly ousted.
The price of power is ceaseless cultivation of your public image. One Kinnock can undo the work of a thousand Bianca Jaggers.
I witnessed a neat display of chaos deflection in Ukraine, during the Glorious Orange Revolution of 2004. Mr Yushchenko and his band of well-dentured Westernisers were set for victory:
- The outgoing government were a bunch of malodorous Morlocks being ridden through sewers of corruption by President Putin;
- Ukraine's decent singing stars - Talita Kum, Vopli Vidopliassova, Ruslana - were all Orange, while Ukraine's singing dinosaurs - Taisia Povaliy, Iozif Kobzon, Natasha Mogilevskaya - were for the evil old Commies; and
- The Orangemen had a snappy anthem, decent PA systems and wives who didn't look like they'd service you in a pedestrian underpass for a fistful of dried fish.
I was having a drink one evening with an influential pro-Orange music producer (yes, I both rock and roll) when he received a worrying phone call:
"Bono and Sting want to big up the Orange Revolution on MTV."
"Oh God, can you stop them?"
"No, but I can divert them."
There followed some spectacular telephonic ego-massages, which amounted to persuading the publicists of the Leather-Trousered Ones that they did have an important role to play in Ukraine. But that role didn't mean endorsing one side or the other in a "difficult, nay explosive situation", but rather in issuing a sober call to calm.
Only one thing is more attractive to pop singers than being La Pasionaria, and that's being Secretary-General of the UN. Understated, measured, classic, like a good suit.
Sure enough, these absurd minstrels gazed solemnly into the MTV cameras and said they hoped the people of Ukraine, both black and white, would resolve their differences through over-amplified jangly guitar riffs and cod-jazz sung in a vaguely insulting Jamaican accent.
We had gazed into the abyss, but its denizens had put their shades back on and splashed off in pursuit of shinier prey.
This is a lesson that we in the Cymru Rouge have learned well. In the event of a British Socialist Revolution, this is the advice we shall offer to our struggling comrades in Bragggrad (formerly London):
At first world opinion will be with you. The break-up of the big estates, the expulsion of the Windsors (apart from Prince Andrew's fun-loving daughters), the closure of US air bases, the adoption of the bass-line of "The Guns of Brixton" as the national anthem - everyone loves this sort of stuff.
But then things will get trickier. The reconquest of Ireland, the jailing of all Guardian and Independent journalists under the repressive "Git Laws", the numerus clausus on Scotchmen in the National Assembly and BBC, compulsory independence for Wales - these will trouble bien-pensants and editorial writers throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
That's when you carry out your masterstroke. Bono and Sting will declare their support for the Revolution, and fly into Aneurin Bevan (formerly Heathrow) International Airport, possibly in aeroplanes, to do their bit for the People. You will have them summarily shot on the runway, and send their Amazonian tribal singers back home to tell the tale.
Cut to plush apartments in Le Marais, Manhattan, and Malmo:
"There's a demo outside the British Embassy this afternoon. Free Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, that sort of thing. You coming?"
"What! The imperialists are stealing the Revolution! It's like Cromwell all over again. We've got to stop them through the deployment of placards, and we've got to do it NOW!"
"Yeah, I know they're bastards and everything, but they did shoot Bono and Sting, didn't they."
"Yeah, they did do that... Maybe they need a little time to let things settle down."
"Some breathing space."
"...I heard Bob Geldof's off to London soon."