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London’s Regent’s Canal will forever hold a special place in my heart. Specifically, the chunk from Coal Drops Yard to Angel. For my twenty-seventh birthday I fulfilled my lifelong dream of having a glamorous boat party. To keep within reasonable budget, I settled on less of a yacht and more of an enlarged canoe. One balmy September evening, we embarked on the voyage of a lifetime.
The prosecco was popping. The houmous was flowing (Waitrose’s own, no less). To our collective delight, the trip took an unexpected twist.
Our route had Thorpe Park-level thrills on offer. We opted for the Islington Tunnel, which connects King’s Cross and Angel via a narrow opening (insert joke here). It looks like somewhere goth teenagers would go to have an engagement photoshoot.
‘If anything it felt like our closeness informed their lovemaking’
Picture this: the darkness had settled. Our patient captain turned on a string of sparkling fairy lights as we glided back to the narrow opening (ayo). The speakers were blasting the timeless nautical bop, ‘Under the Sea’, from Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’. Suddenly, we spot a couple on a canalside bench, mere inches away. A picture-perfect scene: two people madly in love, one holding a bouquet of flowers. They are also nonchalantly engaging in full oral sex. Our proximity did not bother the couple. If anything it felt like our closeness informed their lovemaking.
I will never forget all of us standing there, plastic champagne flutes in hand, in stunned awe. ‘Darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me,’ belted the anthropomorphic crab from the boat’s sound system. Man, I love the canal.
Olga Koch: ‘If/Then’ is at Soho Theatre, Feb 12-18 2020.
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