The build-up to the New Year was filled with talk of dryathlons and giving up the booze for January in the name of some charity or another.
I’ve never fully bought into the idea that abstinence, of any kind, is good for the soul. Eat, drink, and make merry I’ve always said. The search for hedonistic pleasure has always been my preoccupation, much to the detriment of my bank account.
So it was with little surprise to my friends, family and local landlords that I concocted the idea of a wetathlon. A minimum of a pint a day, every day, for the whole of January. A kind of pointless protest and defiant stand against the temperance dreariness of the dryathlon.
It was perhaps a way of reminding myself of the fun and frivolity that can exist in life outside the stifling confines of health, wealth and career.
I accepted my challenge with little reluctance.
The first day was easy.
January 1st 2013 was brought in under a shower of champagne, Jack Daniels and Rum. We sang ‘Auld Langs Syne’ and danced and hollered to The Pogues until the morning hours;
“We’ve a thirst like a gang of devils
We’re the boys of the county hell”
The day was seen off with a quiet bottle of Budweiser for good measure.
The rest of that first week passed without incident. My indulgences over the festive period had left me feeling rough and, for the first time in a long time, adverse to the prospect of drinking. I just had a few cans of Becks each night, a task which was made all the more pleasurable by the stark, grim reality of being back at work.
The following week I would be looking for much more excitement.
I stirred from my slumber, saw the time and panicked. Eleven fifty five! I hadn’t had a drink all day!
I leapt out of bed, threw on my dressing gown and hurtled down the stairs, clattering and banging as I went, waking everyone up in the house. I stormed into the kitchen, slung open the doors to the whiskey cupboard and grabbed the bottle of Isle of Jura that was still left from Christmas. I poured out a glass, eased it down my throat, let out a sigh and relaxed.
I looked at my old backwards clock on the wall, two minutes to spare. The wetathlon was saved. Cause for a celebration. Another shot of whisky I thought? “Don’t mind if I do!”
“I’m telling you,” Jack said, “they’re all strippers on some sort of belated Christmas party!”
“Can’t be,” I replied, “Why would 20 strippers be out drinking in this dive? Surely they could afford somewhere a bit better than this?” There was a group of 20 or so unbelievably stunning girls cavorting, dancing and generally displaying their impressive flexibility at the table to our right.
“I’ll prove it,” Jack said as he sauntered over and started chatting with the girls, picking a slightly older brunette who seemed in some way to be the leader of the group.
A few minutes later he came back: “She says they’re a dance school.”
“That settles it then,” said Evan at the top of voice to try and make himself heard over the bellowing music, “they’re definitely strippers.”
No sooner had he said that the girls decided to move on, and so did we. As we walked passed the next bar I noticed the back of Ben’s head at one of the tables through the window. I nudged the other guys and we decided to go in. Once we’d ordered drinks we turned round and noticed he was on a date. After several minutes of hysterical laughter we decided to go over, but not to talk.
“Excuse me,” I said interrupting their conversation, “can you take a picture of us please?” The look on his face was a mixture of fury and amusement. “OK,” he said, and promptly took the shot, all the time giving us the evils. We finished our drinks and left.
In the net bar we were accosted by two incredibly drunk girls, and Ben. One girl was all over Evan, leaving us to chat with her friend who turned to me and said: “you’re so cute I could punch you.”
“Why don’t you,” Ben then said. And she did. Full on, in the face.
While I was trying to work out how to respond she promptly jumped on me and proceeded to stick her tongue down my throat.
A strange end to the week.