How are things? Sorry I haven't written for a while, but work is so busy these days. London gets worse. If I'm not flogging myself to death I'm sitting in a smog-covered traffic jam; my social life (what social life?) consists of yawning over a glass of Chilean red in some pretentious wine bar. And according to this new Geodemographic Pocket Book, that's absolutely typical.

I think you made the right choice staying up there on Tyneside. I know you never quite managed to give up smoking and your salary is a pittance (how is life at the bank?), but you always seem to have such a laugh still, just like we did years ago.

Just what is it about the Toon that makes going out so good? I suppose size helps. We could always stagger home in 20 minutes, or a cab cost hardly anything. None of this seven-quid-if-we-stop-at-a-cashpoint-guv I have to put up with here. And everyone you know goes to the same pubs. If they're not in the Baltic then they'll be in the Barley Mow just up the hill.

But it's good mainly because there's such a manic desire to have a brilliant time. Such a brilliant time that you can't even remember it the next day. And you want to have a great time because it's cold and your job is boring or you're unemployed and you're fed up with your boyfriend or husband or mam and dad. All these things you have no control over but come Friday night you know for sure that you can pile on the slap, pull on the heels, meet up with the lasses and go from pub to pub till you can barely crawl, till your best friend is standing in the middle of the road, legs crossed, trying desperately not to pee because you're making her laugh so much. Everyone is doing this sort of thing. There are so many people around, you wonder where they all come from.

And can you ever recall having such a sense of solidarity with your sex? That matriarchal tradition of the North bred in us a rigid code of honour; cross it and you die, but adhere to its rules and you would always be part of that swaying, goose-pimpled mass wending its way across the Bigg Market or the Quayside. There'd always be someone to say "Ah telt yer man, he's a reet bastard" as you moaned and sobbed in the toilet queue. And you'd always be able to count on the lasses coming on your hen night - you in the huge hat decorated with rolled-up coloured loo paper.

I'm not surprised that Geordies go clubbing three times more than the average. It's all part of the search for the Holy Grail that is the perfect night out, the thing that reminds you there's more to life than 9 to 5. Now, sitting in a big white restaurant staring at my roast bone marrow and parsley salad, I can't help wishing I could go back.