It’s been a while, but I went on a stag do yesterday, which meant a rare foray into the smoke. Having frequented less-than-desirable residences sarf of the river for nigh on a decade traversing the millennium, I embraced the rats, violence and general unpleasantness and thought I never wanted to leave. Now, when I travel to Peckham, Camberwell and other past haunts I engage the central locking and have a tightly rolled up copy of Mountain Bike Weekly to hand should I wish to fend off the enemy who aspires to take ownership of my hard-won possessions.

I digress, the stag was for an old friend, Will, and was perfectly orchestrated by the logistical maestro, best man ‘Pete’. It is a thing of wonder to bear witness to 15 middle aged men, all with differing baggage and needs, at varying levels of the alcoholic tolerance charts, all managing to get to point B from starting point A with no men down.

Wanting to relive my youth, I had visions of chaining Will to a lamppost in Leicester square attired in a bow tie and mankini as we smothered him in hair removal cream and took copious selfies around his flailing body. I addressed this thought train with Pete on the eve of the stag and his response put me in my place: "We're too old for that mate. Bunch of 40 to 50 year olds."

Seeing that in writing was an epiphany for me. He was right. Gone are those days when flaming drambucas would leave you sick as a dog for the next week as your wallet bled. Stags now are more inventive, refined and ultimately enjoyable. For mine, 25 lads hit Brighton where we spent half the night failing to get into hostelries who didn’t like all male parties (strange, considering it was Brighton), before ending up in a techno garage club listening to what sounded like a 12-inch remix on repeat of a pneumatic drill turned to 11. Meanwhile, dribbling wrecks with eyes the size of lake Windermere hugged us, professing undying love as they gave us a close-up dance while looking less than resplendent in white snooker referee gloves.

Highbury was the first location for Will's soiree where we attempted the ‘escape room’. In effect, it is north London’s version of the crystal maze and I, naturally, passed as Richard O Brien. Teams of four or five are locked in a room with a series of cryptic tasks to undertake. I thought to myself: I am fumbling around in a pitch-black room with four random men I have never met as we attempt to find a key to unlock a padlock. To be fair, a few miles down the road you would pay more than £27 for that privilege. Suffice to say, a teacher, administrator, Lawyer and IT ‘professional’ were not capable of solving the riddles and had to be rescued by a teenage part-time worker who proceeded to show us the complicated method of unlocking the final puzzle. By that point we didn’t really care and made speedy escape to Piccadilly for a comedy show.

Amateur comedy is always hit or miss, but generally miss. With seven other people besides our party in attendance, the omens weren’t good, but the acts peculiarly were. Star of the show was Joshua Robertson, aged 23, despite our pre-conceptions when he came to the mic. He was assisted on stage as he has serious physical (and speech) difficulties. Joshua suffered serious brain damage aged 11 in a motorbike accident, where he ‘died’ twice and spent many months in a coma. At the time, he lost the power of speech and his life changed for ever. Watching him struggle to negate the step and then lean against the back wall to support the weight of his slight frame I must admit I thought this was folly: The disabled comedian comes up, gets a few laughs out of pity and goes back off with a little more confidence that he came on stage with. Preconceptions were soon annihilated: his act was self-effacing, filthy, genuinely funny and with his catchphrase of ‘Yeah man’, he simply stole the show.

As I write this the morning after the night before, I am surprised that I have no hangover and am contemplating pulling the mountain bike out of hibernation for a jaunt around the green spaces Hertfordshire has to offer, before the council fulfils its promise to concrete them over.

Suffice to say, Pete was right. We did not have to strip Will semi-naked and publicly humiliate him to have fun. It is behaviour unbecoming of a 40-something-year-old. Despite his righteousness, I feel there is unfinished business however. After I get back from my ride I am going to slip into some cords and brogues and sip on an americano as I plot ways to have one over on Will on his wedding day. Now where did I put that mankini and Veet hair removal cream...?