Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A brief Summary of Christmas

Well its all over for another year, only new years to look forward to now, until we face another 52 weeks of work! Oh the depression of it all!

Anyway, enough of that. Christmas was this year, all in all a sucess, and I will sum it all up in the following points

1. Christmas Eve in Town (back in Wales) - Went well, didn't have to hide from any ex's who I last saw after I uttered the words "I'll call u tomorrow". Happy Days!
2. Christmas Eve in Town - Went well again, as I didn't bump into any Old Friends who I last saw after uttering the words "I promise, I will keep in touch this time!"
3. Christmas Day with the Family - Good and Bad - Good as I ate lots, Drank lots and one of my sisters has just had a baby, so I could just disappear into the background, while the whole family fussed over the baby and not me. Bad as brand new babies cry a lot and typically its when beverage is trying to sleep. Bad as I spent far too much money on presents for my family!
4. Boxing Day - Ate lots, Drank Lots, Slept! Total success!
5. Wednesday - Family leaves me alone with parents who will now fuss like there's no tomorrow. I dont leave till Friday!

So Christmas was not so bad, the next couple of days could be torture. Back in Londinium on Friday and The Nameless One, we will be having lots of beers!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

Actually, it wasn’t. It was last night – a Friday. But it was the last time that young Beverage and your humble author would be going out before Christmas in each other’s company, so in some respects it was the night before Christmas. Besides, it makes for a topical title.

The evening started early. At about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, to be precise. Two reasons for this – Beverage had to leave the pub early to go home to pack and wrap his presents and then get across to his sister’s ready to disappear to the land of Male Voice Choirs early this morning, and also because I finished work at about 2.

Well, I say *work* - as always the day before breaking up before Christmas was not that productive. At about 11am my boss sent a colleague and me out to buy wine – a mission we accomplished with some aplomb, even if we did come back with a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale as well as the plonk. As soon as the wine was uncorked (well, unscrewed – we went for quantity rather than quality) any chance of doing any work went straight out the window. From that point, I managed to accidentally form a band called The Drunken Bakers (after the characters in Viz, of course) and persuaded a colleague to spray Savlon disinfectant spray into his mouth (which, even though it cost me a fiver, I class as my sole achievement of the day).

I met Beverage in the pub and had a couple of beers in his lunch break, before he returned to the office to ring his mates to arrange New Year’s Eve drinking session. I chose this sacred time to get something to eat and dump my bag back at my flat. We had arranged that Beverage would call me when he finished up work for the day, week and year. And so he did – his timing was absolutely uncanny, and he called whilst I was having what I believe cockneys would call a Richard the Third. He left a message, asking me to call him back. Which, of course, I did – only to find that he has wandered away from his desk leaving his phone behind. After a little bit of telephone tennis (it turns out that we struggle to organise a piss up in a brewery) we arranged to meet back at the pub we had been in for lunch.

When I arrived back there I saw the landlord, S, on the door. I asked him how everything was going, and the reply came back “fucking ridiculous”. Roughly translated from the Canadian, this means “my pub is really busy, making loads of money, thanks for asking.” I am not saying S doesn’t like his job – what I am saying is that he is amazingly good at hiding it.

Beverage turns up and we proceed with the evening’s main activity – binge drinking. We were supposed to be joined by a friend, A, but unfortunately she had to work (she redeemed herself totally by buying us Christmas presents). However, in one of life’s arbitrary moments, we were joined by H.

Now, H used to be the Assistant Manager in the pub we were in. And to say that she didn’t like her job would probably be an understatement. She lived and worked in a quiet, vicious rage against her staff, the customers, and the world in general. She has perfected a stare that can chill the blood – despite the fact that she is short and slight, I would never, ever see her losing a fight. She could take on King Kong, Jason Voorhees and the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan and win without even breaking a sweat. If you want a dictionary definition of feisty, then H would be your girl.

And, as always, a lot of her of caustic vitriol was directed against Beverage. I kept a tally throughout the evening of all the put downs and insults that hit the mark – the final score was H - 79, Beverage - 3.

The evening proceeded as you might expect with people getting slowly twatted. There was some controversy over my failed attempts to buy a round – whenever I tried, the landlord paid for them. There was talk about Daniel Craig, which led to the legendary line from H that Daniel was “grrr”, whilst her boyfriend was “lovely”. I sense that her boyfriend would be kicked out of bed for Mr Craig, but I could be wrong… Owing to Beverage’s native land there was some talk of sheep shagging – it was all in good taste, and not at all racist. And H mentioned that of the pair of us, I was the quieter one. Apparently this is because I am “intellectual” – which I think is a fucking result, frankly, because I thought I was the quieter one because I just don’t have a lot to say.

At some point we moved pubs. I have no idea of the reason(s) why, or any real recollection of the journey between venue. Alcohol induced amnesia is a blessing in disguise, and one of my lasting fears is one day all the horrifically stupid and embarrassing things I have done in one nerve shredding, and soul-destroying, moment. But this is an aside – the real reason why I mention the change in venue is because it was at the second pub where Beverage made a new friend – and a new enemy.

The enemy was partly H’s fault – mainly because she was smoking the gayest cigarettes in the world. Ever. Now I know that one should not use the word gay in an insulting way, but there is no other way to describe these cigarettes. Called Vogue, they were long, thin, and menthol. I never thought H would ever look camp, but smoking her way through those fags, she managed it. And when she finished the pack, Beverage showed his disdain by throwing the empty packet behind him. Sadly, on top of some bald headed fucktard.

The fucktard decided to come over to ask what Beverage thought he was doing. We thought it was a joke at first – after all, you can’t do a whole lot of damage with an empty carton of gay cigarettes. But no, alas, the fucktard was serious. By the time we realised that he was threatening Beverage, he had wandered off back to his embarrassed looking mates. We barely had time to discuss the fucktard before he came back, apologised and left the pub in a strop. We may have been to full of the Christmas spirit(s), but he could have done with being a bit less like a pissed up version of Scrooge.

Beverage’s friend was a different kettle of fish. Tall, middle-aged, with really bad hair and the rosey red cheeks that can only come after years of binging it, he ended up having quite a long conversation with Beverage. About what I could not tell you, partly because I was having an in depth conversation with H (in *no way* about what CDs her boyfriend could burn for me) and partly because I could tell that this was the sort of gentlemen that you could not lose for love nor money once you had acknowledged his presence. As H and I found out…

Beverage left the pub after his conversation with his new friend. I am not saying his new friend drove him from the pub, but it may well have been an opportune time for Beverage to leave as he had planned (prior to the boozing) that he would leave at 8pm, and it was now 9:15pm. So, after a good bye that took forever (mainly because we kept on getting distracted and forgetting that Beverage was trying to leave) H and I continued with our conversation. Fuck knows what it was about, but it seemed relevant and entertaining at the time.

However, Beverage’s new friend would not leave us alone. It is difficult to know exactly why he kept on pestering us, but I think he might have taken a wee shine to H. I doubt it was me that he had taken a shine to, but my butt cheeks were clenched just in case. It became clear that we would struggle to lose this fucker, so H and I decided that we were actually a happily married couple enjoying a pre-Christmas drinks. Eventually, after some blatantly unfriendly body languages, we parted company with Beverage’s new friend with a surprisingly emotional good bye from him, given we had only just met the bastard. Last time I saw him, Beverage, your new friend was lurching off into the night, no doubt to irritate the living piss out of some other poor bastard.

There is nothing more to add to this story, other than I have a terrible head this afternoon, which feels not unlike some sort of evil gremlin has crawled into my head through my ear and is now taking a lot of pride in bashing the living crap out of my cranium and my eyeballs. I’m going to go and have a bit of a lie-down, but Notes From A Drunken Evening will return in the New Year…

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Wit And Wisdom of a Drunk

"The most important thing to remember about drunks is that drunks are far more intelligent than non-drunks. They spend a lot of time talking in pubs, unlike workaholics who concentrate on their careers and ambitions, who never develop their higher spiritual values, who never explore the insides of their head like a drunk does."

Shane MacGowan

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Tit, the Fool and the Free Beers

And now we have the first entry from Beverage. Hurray! I could start with many stories of drunkenness and debauchery from the last 10 years or so, however I feel that many of these stories are now the stuff of legend and I can barely remember the difference between fact and fiction, although the same can be said of the story from last Saturday.

It started relatively later than normal at 4pm (reasons for this delay will be revealed in another tale) at pub in London Victoria where myself and The Nameless One (TNO) had previously found the drunkest bar manager in the world……ever. I was quite looking forward to reliving the experience again of being served by this amusing individual and it was hard to hide my disappointment when I walked into the bar and was served by a sober, un-entertaining, normal barman! So disappointed was I was that I failed to notice the music stop, the chatter cease and feel everyone’s eyes on the back of our heads! Such a good start to the night!

After running from that first bar, the intension was to do a pub-crawl from Victoria to our usual drinking holes in Covent Garden. However TNO was in charge of directions and we seemed to do far more walking than drinking and I was cold! THO stated that I should not complain as I was wearing just a T-Shirt, I stated that I didn’t expect to walk 3 miles in between each pub! Anyway after about 3 more pubs and 11 miles of walking, we reached the first of our 2 intended destinations. The idea of visiting this pub was to 1. Check that I wasn’t barred after my performance last week (I will explain later) and 2. To get some much needed Dutch courage for our second destination. Point 1 and 2 were successfully achieved and within a matter of an hour we were on our way to destination 2.

Now this is the point of the night where things started out well for me and got worse and things for TNO were OK and got better! First of all Don Coleone (the bouncer) didn’t stop me from getting in, he just smiled and shook my hand. So far so good. We made it to the bar and ordered our drinks, the bar maids (who nearly all are really fit) did serve me and things were going well.

Its about now I should explain that the Sat before I drank a little too much to ease the pain of Wales being totally destroyed by NZ and made a bit of a tit of myself. Not really remembering anything of the night and relying totally on TNO to tell me what happened – he painted a bad picture!

Anyway things got even better for me when the red headed bar maid came round to our side of the bar and started chatting me up….again. I had spent a lot of time working up to this, nearly two whole evenings! Anyway I plucked up the courage to ask her to come for drinks with me and TNO after they finished their shift, she smiled and said yes! Happy days, the old beverage magic!

Things even got better again, when this tit and his mates decided to leave the bar and their half full pints for about 20mins. Now considering this is a busy Sat night, anything left on the bar unclaimed for that long is taken away and rightly so. However titman comes back and complains like hell that they have cleared away his drinks and demanded 4 more pints. The bar staff complied with this and gave him his drinks. TNO was saying to me “I would have told him to Fuck off” when titman suddenly realised all of his friends had left the pub and gave the four pints to TNO. Titman was suddenly promoted to just “fool” in the eyes of TNO and absolute bastard in the eyes of beverage! Why the f*ck did he not demand any free vodi’s!?! I could have had some then, but no, I had to suffer an extremely smug TNO who looked like the cat who had all the cream, well actually he looked like the man who had all the free beer!

Anyway, due to the success of Red head saying she would have a drink with me later and TNO getting free drinks we consumed lots more beers and Vodi’s and even went for the cigars! Anyway TNO said he had drank enough and would walk home, I got the bus. On the bus I saw Don Coleone. Now my immediate urge was to wander over and say hello and indulge him in drunken chitchat, however I know I did this last week and it probably didn’t go down too well. So I resisted the urge! However it’s a long bus journey and I’m only human. I walked (stumbled) over and said hello.

He had a look of sheer bewilderment, now I’m not unused to this at that time of night, but I had to ask why he was looking at me so strange? “what are u doing here?” he replied, “damn fool, I’m catching the bus home” I responded (without the damn fool part, I’m not that brave!)
He then shrugged his shoulders and said that the Red Head and the girls were going to the pub I had previously suggested to meet me and that he just wondered why I would be on a bus going in the wrong direction!?!

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s how the night ended and I am a fool!

"Great Ideas"

At long last, I get round to describe the concept of the “great idea” that makes up the other half of the fundamental reasoning behind this blog. Now you may think you can define a "great idea", but you would be wrong. Because there are two different versions of the "great idea".

The first one is a genuinely great idea. Like the caveman deciding that the wheel is actually quite a good invention. Or the Greeks deciding that the Trojans actually were fucking stupid enough to accept the gift of a large wooden horse, big enough to contain the Greek army, after years of war. Or the decision to bring back Doctor Who. These ideas tend to be made by sober people after periods of discussion, debate and reflection.

Then there is the other type of great idea – the great ideas that occur after a prolonged period of heavy drinking. These can include walking over cars whilst singing “Show Me The Way To Amarillo”, propositioning strippers, telling your boss exactly what you think of him/her, ringing the girl you have just dumped and not remembering the content of the conversation (and only really knowing that you have had the conversation owing to the fact that you have a text message from her saying “you arrogant cock”), and thinking “I’ll go for it, she’ll still look alright in the morning”. This type of “Great Idea” tends to be made by slightly drunken people, who are unable to string coherent sentences together and often sway unnervingly, even though they are stood still. For a recent example, there is the recent discussion about the problem of obesity and how the best solution is to turn really fat people into soap.

Needless to say, Beverage and my good self are very experienced in coming up with the second type of great idea. Many a morning (or, indeed, early afternoon) has seen us exchanging text messages and e-mails that say “what the fucking hell were we jabbering on about last night?” It is far rarer for us to come up with a genuinely great idea that stays great in the harsh, unforgiving and sober(ish) light of day. However, one day (I think it was a Monday, but I could be utterly wrong about that) Beverage came up with a gold plated, 100% great idea. He came up with the idea of JT1.

When he first told me he had had a truly great idea, I didn’t believe him. In fact, I am not sure he entirely believed himself. But when we met in the pub to discuss, it turned out that he had been struck by a moment of (fleeting) genius.

The idea is simple – a gaggle of borderline drunks go into pubs, take some photos, drink a lot, and then write reviews of the evening the next day on the website. That way, you slowly build up a proper pub guide – not with shit like “oh, the ambience was a little bit nouveau riche” but rather the basics like “the beer was cheap, the staff were friendly and tolerant and the toilets didn’t make you want to dry retch”. And if the website took off, then we would accept challenges of pubs to review and would also start selling advertising space on the site. A genuine pub guide, written by people who aren’t complete cocks.

I think it could have really taken off. But real life intervened, Christmas came along, then Beverage had to go away travelling with work (he was working the world’s longest notice period at the time) and stuff just kept on happening. And it all fell away to nothing.

Until I was discussing the blogosphere with Beverage one evening (when he wasn’t being chatted up by the red-haired bar maid). And suddenly I realised that we could set up a blog that followed exactly the lines of JT1 but was much easier to access and amend. So we set this up. When I can be bothered, I will download site meter and if we find that Notes From A Drunken Evening has an audience, then we can revert to JT1 and turn this into more of a professional pub guide/website.

So… enjoy. There will be stupid stories to come, and hopefully we can give you a good idea of where to drink in London. And as for an opening story, I would just like to point out that I got four free pints last Saturday. And how many did Beverage get? Precisely zero… The moral of this totally rubbish story is I rule. Oh yeah. Go Team Me!

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Night of the Drug-Dealing Tramps

A little bit of background on this. So, why does this blog exist? What is the point of spending time on this?

There are two answers to that – firstly, we wanted to share some of the compellingly surreal things that happen (like a pissed up version of Dave Gorman or Danny Wallace) when you get utterly twatted. And secondly, this is the result of a *great idea*. I’ll explain about the *great idea* side to this another time. But at this stage let me give you an example of the stupidly surreal things that happen when the beer has flowed freely.

It is the story of the evening on the steps of St Martin’s in the Fields. It is the story of Night of the Drug Dealing Tramps.

Now, Beverage was unusually drunk. Don’t get me wrong, he is often wasted – but he is a seasoned drinker who can hold his own against the very best; in fact, a police man friend of ours once noted that Beverage was able to out drink even a policeman, which was rare, as normally those who could out drink him were members of the “street community”. However this night his level of inebriation had reached unusual heights. We later discovered the reason for this – the measures of vodka he was drinking was actually 35cl rather than the 25cl… but at the time our focus lay elsewhere. Because Beverage had decided he was going to go back to his ex-girlfriend.

Now this would be a really stupid idea. In fact, it is difficult to explain just how stupid an idea this would be. However, once someone has drunk their body weight in vodka and red bull, they really don’t listen to reason. But given I had drunk my body weight in Fosters I had forgotten this golden rule and thought with my clever reasoning and banter (or drunken, slurred rants) I could convince him otherwise. And what better venue than the steps of St Martin’s in the Fields?

I suppose we should have noted the large number of homeless persons also using the steps as a temporary refuge, but as I have already hinted at, we were wasted. So we sat there, merrily talking away whilst the people around us wondered which park bench they were going to sleep on that night.

And two people wander up to us. A short, fat man and a tall, lanky guy who we later realised was supposed to be the heavy – the man who was supposed to intimidate us. Just a quick note for any Drug Dealing Tramps who might be reading this – a strong man should look, well, strong. Not like someone who has contracted some sort of wasting disease. This strong man looked as if a strong gust of wind would have seen him flying across Trafalgar Square and down Parliament Street.

The short fat guy opened our conversation by saying he knew somewhere where we could sleep for the night, and then pointed down a dark alley. Which prompted derisive laughs from both of us and a comment along the lines of “do you really think we are going to walk down a dark alley with two people we have just met? How wasted do you think we are?!”

Then a crucial question crossed my mind. And being half pissed, I did not hesitate in asking it.

“I’m sorry, do we look like tramps or something?”

The short fat man didn’t reply, but you could tell from the look on his face that the answer was a resounding “yes”. And in retrospect, who could blame him? I hadn’t shaved all weekend, we were both dressed badly and we were slumped on the steps of a London landmark at midnight on a Sunday evening. Frankly if I had seen us I would have looked the other way and crossed the road.

Instead the short fat man came up with another question.

“So, do you want something to keep you awake?”

Before I could indignantly protest that I hadn’t just spent a small fortune on eight pints of sleep-inducing lager just to go and buy something else to keep me awake, Beverage intervened.

“How d’ya mean?”

Beverage backed up the urgency of his question with an aggressively pointing finger and a slurred delivery.

The short, fat man looked a little confused but decided to plough on anyway.

“You know, something to keep you awake. Speed or something.”

Great. Having realised that he could not convince us to wander down a dark alley so he could mug us, the short fat man had fallen back on Plan B. He was going to fleece us by selling us (no doubt poor quality) drugs.

Now I was stumped at this, but fortunately Beverage was on form. Again, with the pointing finger and the drawled delivery, he posited a cogent question.

“How d’ya know we aren’t undercover police?”

With masterful understatement, the short, fat man said
“You don’t really look like undercover police.”

“Ah-hah! But what do undercover police look like?” explained Beverage, with the iron certainty in his statement that only the utterly wasted can achieve. “Surely if we were properly undercover you wouldn’t be able to tell?”

A valid point, I think you will agree. A valid point made even more remarkable when you consider the levels of inebriation Beverage had achieved. I was stunned at his logic, not least because I was compellingly arseholed as well. Had I not been quite so wasted then I might have been able to see what the short, fat man was getting at - because whilst Beverage’s point may have been valid, it would have been equally valid to point out that had we been undercover policemen that we probably wouldn’t be quite so drunk…

But at this stage the short, fat man realised he was fighting a losing battle with us. And so he glanced at his emaciated strong man for some support – but that support was not forthcoming. In fact, the *strong* man was looking around nervously. Like he wanted to anywhere other than where he was. And like he wanted to run away as quickly as possible.

Never one to pass up on an opponent’s weakness, Beverage seized the moment.

“What are you looking at him for? Is he supposed to be your tough guy or something? He’s fucking useless. The worst strong man in the world. Ever!”

At this stage the strong man started to back away. Realising this, the short, fat man decided it was time to give up.

“You have a good evening, guys…”

And for the rest of our time sat on the steps we felt smug, having out-witted the Drug-Dealing Tramps.

This sort of thing happens to us a lot. And from now on it will be shared with the world. Partly for the therapeutic elements, and partly for shits and giggles…