The Spencer Street end of town. It was one of those bars with deep shadows and retro red furniture and lampshades everywhere; and cigarette smoke drifting through the open wall-width windows from the area smokers have to go to avoid choking the people in the bar. You can tell it's an industry function because people smoke in a different way when they're networking. Kind of mechanically and efficiently, while trying to converse above the music and keying each other's phone numbers into cell phones. It's a desperate game. Every contact could mean business. Waitpeople with leg tattoos and too-short skirts plied silver trays: chicken balls glazed with sweet chilli, rice rolls tied up like parcels with dipping sauce, savoury pastries, and things you couldn't make out in the semi-darkness. The paper napkins were sensibly black because you can't see the smudge of chilli sauce when you mop it away from your face. Things were bad, was the general consensus. Are you busy?