14 October 2010

why this weekend won't be like last weekend and other tales

There are times in my life when I will admittedly regress to my younger self. Well, that's what I think I'm doing. I feel like I'm chasing some version of me that could drink more, party longer and get up the next day without any sign of the damage from the night before.

Last Thursday, for example, a bunch of us went to a whisky tasting, including four genuine-actual-really-grown-up booze trade professionals (myself included). We were excited. Not just because it was a whisky tasting, but because it was an Adelphi Distillery whisky tasting, and they bottle some utterly spectacular drams. So we were professionally excited, kind of, and excited because pretty much everyone of us (six in total) loves whisky. We met beforehand and had a bite and some overpriced beer and pretty much all we chatted about was what was going to be available to taste? Apparently, everyone at the table was an adult. I ate a massive burger, deluded that this would provide adequate ballast against the 5 whiskies to come.

We left the pub and skipped down towards the hotel where the tasting was being held. A queue for tickets indicated we were just in time and sure enough it sold out just seconds after we took our seats. Many disappointed whisky fans had to be turned away at the door. We were quite close to the door and oozed schadenfreude at their misfortune, thumbing our nose at both them and karma. Oops.

The tasting was full to the brim and all five whiskies showed well. We delved deep into the mind-numbing analysis of whisky chat, but always with our tongues firmly in cheek. No one had the same favourite, though quite a few had the same least favourite. The outing of a Talisker-skeptic caused the always rambunctious and legendary Broomie to howl in outraged disbelief, hurling insults of such epic fury that I daren't transcribe them here. Too much would be lost.

The crowd grew louder the more drams supped and the remains of the tasting bottles were raffled off for extra drams. I won far too many. The majority of whiskies were cask strength, never less and often more than 50% abv. At this point, they were going down like ambrosia, and I just happily glugged away. We all did, but I probably glugged a little bit more.

We went to the pub after that. We didn't need to, but we did. Then Broomie and I went to another pub and I remember us attempting to barter for the remains of a bottle of Tio Pepe sherry they had in their fridge, to no avail whatsoever. Broomie is usually quite the barterer when it comes to leftovers. The barmaid was having none of it and so we simply supped our pints and muttered in the language of drunks, not listening to each other while nodding sagely at changes in volume. There was live jazz too.

Megan walked me home as she didn't think I'd make it on my own, and she was right. I woke Friday to a brickbat of a hangover and a cat in my face, demanding food. I stumbled, made some phone calls, cancelled lunch and went back to bed. When I finally left the house it was for a hair-of-the-dog pint and a chicken and ham pie at the the Crit. There was a beer festival on and the pint tasted good. I didn't hang around long as I had the weekend's next big event the following days.

The Luvians Wine Fair and I have a long history, with me both as a customer and employee. It is a Bacchanalian extravaganza involving well over 150 wines and finger food. Students, adults and adult students all descend upon it with a thirst and a glass and everyone gets gleefully merry over the course of a Saturday afternoon in October. While not unbiased, I can assure any reader of this blog that it's a pretty spectacular bash and the wines are exceptional. It takes a lot of work to pull off, and every year it seems as though we're on the verge of disaster but it all comes through fine in the end. 250 people have a great time and stagger off into the fading afternoon light while the Luvians crew has to clean up. And do something with all the half-empty bottles of wine.

So we went for the obligatory after-wine-fair pint or two and then headed into the dark and foreboding suburbs of St Andrews for the aftermath party. It's one thing to see 150 wines spread over 15 or so tables on 2 different show floors. 150 wines on one small kitchen table, spilling over to the countertop and coffee table is all the more imposing. It started in a rather stayed, gentrified fashion. I searched for wines I'd not tried at the fair, or was curious in sampling again. There were quite a few. The chat was almost civilised, with the possible exception of the odd roar when a new arrival appeared at the door. I switched somewhat into elder statesman mode for awhile and regaled all with tales of wine fair after parties in the days of yore. I made the mistake of mentioning the one particularly painful party where some undrinkable Portuguese grappa made its way into the room. Faced with its undrinkability, some people started snorting it.

Snorting booze is irredeemably stupid. Really, really dumb. It is so dumb that animals sniff booze and instinctively flinch. It goes against every shred of intelligence we've evolved since the dawn of the universe.

Broomie brought out a bottle of Spanish grappa. Not quite as vile as its Portuguese cousin, though fairly undrinkable nonetheless. He also produced a snuff box, complete with snuff inside. By this point I'd tried a few more wines. I was perhaps becoming less selective. My mental images are certainly more impressionist than photographic. My judgement on all things was certainly, and beyond question, impaired. Everyone's voices became louder and I lost track of how many people were there. Amateur boxing played out silently on the television, for reasons unknown. A teaspoon appeared and someone poured grappa onto it - too much.

The guitars and the bongos came out, much to the neighbours' disdain. We sang and shouted and some people left and more arrived. Whisky made an appearance with a couple of teaspoon encores as well. I retreated from the snorting (whisky, snuff and grappa) and grabbed a beer. Its merciful bubbles washed clean the tannic remains of the day's wine tasting. I phoned a taxi and headed home.

Sunday morning I woke to find my flatmate had bought me a breakfast roll. Not just any breakfast roll: a Munch breakfast roll. I rose slowly and unsteadily and devoured its fried-egg-bacon-sausage-tattie-scone-haggis-y goodness and then retreated back to the warmth of my bed. I slept another four hours. When I rose again I found Alex and Jamie in the living room discussing tunes and contemplating dinner. We went for a curry. When we got home, we watched Anchorman and called it a night.

Thus ended four days of drinking, hangovers, sleeping and revelry. Sometimes all at once. I certainly didn't recapture any youth, though I did discover that being older doesn't stop you from acting like a moron. Or having fun.

3 comments:

Hoff said...

Ah the Life of Danger

Alex said...

This is a good post, but there's something about it that's not quite right.

broomie said...

I feel hungover again reading it