Friday, April 21, 2006

Mirth and Woe: Party III

Party III

The scene of the crime: The Old Devil Inn in Knowl HillI regretted it immediately.

My sister said: "And Nikki's let me down - I've got nothing to do on New Year's Eve."

"You can come down the pub with us, then."

Oh God. Why did I say that? We were planning to go down the pub, and spend New Year's Eve getting stupidly drunk, before relying on sober people with cars to get us home again. This last bit was important, mainly because the Old Devil was miles from home, and nobody fancied a zig-zag walk that would probably not seeing civilisation until sunrise.

And a nightmare evening it was too. I drunk and I drunk and I drunk. And being the Old Devil, home of the largest chill cabinet in the world, we also put away terrifying artery-clogging portions of chocolate gateau. And the latest in thing: dry roast peanuts, which also doubled up as a handy weapon against the drunk, gateau-guzzling oiks on the next table. Who did they think they were?

It wasn't just binge-drinking. It was binge-scoffing too.

As the evening wore on and the pint-count rapidly approached double figures, I took my fateful first piss of the night (the one that means you will visit the toilet every ten minutes thereafter) and soon found myself trotting in and out of the can at regular intervals. It's at times like that you find yourself fascinated by the vending machines in the Gents'. Which might also explain the packets of novelty, flavoured and ribbed-for-her-pleasure gentlemens' chewing gum in my pockets the following morning.

And these drunken trips to the can had other disadvantages: "Hey Scary - while you're up - get the drinks in."

"Yeahright... same again?"

"Yer a pal."

Up to the bar I went, and summoned Paul the barman, who was soon to be my boss.

"Six packets of Royal Oak an' four pints of dry roast, mate. An' whatever your havin'".

He sprung into action. Or rather, he would have done, if it wasn't for the fact that he'd ignored barman's rule number 27: When they say "Have one yerself", add a quid to the bill but don't actually have a drink. Especially on busy nights.

Paul, instead, had had about sixteen himself, and it was beginning to show.

Spring! He went, into action. "AAAaaaaaarrgghhh....!" he went as he fell down the hatch into the cellar.

Service at the bar was temporarily halted, until a blood-stained Paul staggered back up the step-ladder, and sizzled fool that he was, got on with his job.

It was also at this point that I spotted a certain, unnamed relative of mine playing tonsil-tennis with one of my best friends. A regular reader of this site, he too remains unnamed.

I considered this turn of events rather fortunate. If she was too far gone to remember anything that evening, then I was home and hosed.

She didn't mind too much, then, when I puked on her foot, shortly before Paul fell down the cellar hatch again*, and a fight kicked off at the other end of the bar over puke landing on somebody's foot.

"Right! Thatsh it!" screamed an enraged and increasingly battered Paul, "We're closhed!"

Out into the cold, cold night air we staggered, and the rarefied, smoke-free atmosphere was too much for most regulars, and the gutters were soon running with rich, brown vomit.

It was 11.30pm, and the New Year was just half an hour away. We, and there was a crowd of at least twenty who had not yet given up on the night, were cold and drunk and celebration-free.

"Hey!" somebody slurred, "There's another pub jusht down the road."

As one mob, we staggered over to the none-more-posh Bird in Hand Restaurant, Bar and Carvery, where the manager met us with a welcoming "Fuck off or I'll call the police."

Any other bright ideas?

"All back to mine. I've got a helicopter." I'd forgetten that Matt the Bullshitter was still with us.

There was nothing for it. New Year 198-something was seen in in a freezing cold car park, waiting for ever-patient parents to come and pick us up.

I'm pretty certain that I didn't foul up the Renault 18. All I remember was coming to, face down on my own bedroom floor, vomit clinging to the side of my face, freezing cold damp stain in my trousers and beery, cake-flavoured puke everywhere except the bucket that had kindly been provided for me.

And the hangover.

January 1st was a complete loss.

January 2nd was dark, dark and headachy.

January 2nd was also back to work, where my boss Mark was still wearing his New Year fancy dress. At least the Roman Centurion outfit was marginally better that the previous year's Marilyn Monroe, even if I could see right up his skirt when he sat down, stood up, or did anything at all.

January 3rd was the first day I could manage actual food, and by Twelfth Night, I had actually stopped saying "Never again".

Best New Year ever. So I'm told.

* Paul would fall down the cellar hatch, every night, even when sober. He's still there and has a season ticket at the Royal Berks Hospital

No comments: