I figured it out – the inability to go to sleep, the tendency to make bad decisions all week. It all came to me when a fellow Friday reveller asked me if I knew a cure for insomnia. That was it – the Friday post-midnight Buckfast sharpener. Friday was going so well – I’d only had a double espresso to perk me up before the charade that we passed off as a pool playing evening began. One double espresso may not sound like much, but given that I’d been off caffeine for about three weeks, it certainly did the trick.
Coupled with the bargain jugs of nasty lager in the dodgy pool bar, the caffeine worked wonders for my wit, spit and repartee. As more combatants surrounded our table, the rules began to change. Each player seemed to have their own unique game swinging twists to be tossed into the ring of rules like so many car keys at a wife swapping party. Not the kind of regular pool cheat rules – like “two shots on the black”, or the method of breaking known as “the Loughborough stir”. My favourite new rule was introduced at a match winning point by Dipsomaniac Jim. DJ had both introduced the term dipsomania into my vocabulary, and proved his life-long membership of the Dipsomaniacs Unanimous club, aka the Successful Alcoholics by having a few solo jars before meeting us at the venue. The new pool rule he introduced involved only using one hand to pot the black.
A full-bodied meal followed, and some of the more adventurous tykes in the party partook of what can only be described as a devilishly hot curry. It was described on the Spicy World menu as “a devilishly hot curry”. All that can be said of the satanic sauce was that I was glad that not much passed my lips. And also glad that unlike some of the party there assembled, I did not much later in the early morning attempt to insert any stimulant suppositories where the sun not only refuses to shine, but doesn’t even send Christmas cards.
Remembering student days, I managed to inexplicably lay my hands on Spicy World’s only can of aerosol adhesive. This I pocketed with the simple intention of detonating it in an amusing, eyebrow singeing incident. Thanks to a few bottles of the finest house wine, this notion fortunately escaped my mind for the remainder of the evening cum early morning.
After a small ruckus concerning an evident lack of chocolate mints, orange segments were served to cleanse our palettes. Presumably a chocolate mint drought had been caused by overfishing by rogue Spanish chocolate eaters, or by the assembled party’s previous visit to Spicy World. A visit which in an obnoxious anglo-saxon type had previously suggested that the number of coins in the tip would be represented proportionately by the number of chocolate mints wrapped in shiny paper that were inserted into the palm of the said anglo-saxon type.
Reeling from the orange segment / chocolate mint debacle, the team split up, with the hardy perennials being forced to an un-licensed, late-licensed, off-license. There, the price of strong continental lager for the trio remaining made it economic sense to invest in a bottle of the abbots’ foulest mix of (their own words) “inert ingredients” and a fortified wine base. Time’s winged chariot marched ruthlessly on, so that the well-meaning friends did not notice that they had violated the seldom spoken law that surrounded the drinking of Buckfast after midnight. Luckily, Victoria station staff shifted the gibbering mass, one of whom came out of the closet as being allergic to caffeine, from their less than comfortable perches on a train station bench.
If one thing strikes me from the evening (aside from being blighted by insmonia), it is that you should always follow the advice of any off-licence staff who sell you Buckfast. The advice we received saw us at Pacha – not the hip, loved-up pleasure club that we had possibly visited in Ibiza – but the haven for paedophiles that School Disco really is.
Presumptions about School Disco were shattered when we entered the doors with a set of brank spanking new polyester ties, and a complete lack of school uniform. Not the dirty old men (aside from us) that we expected at all. In fact, between the professional dancers shepherded on the diminutive stage by preposterously overlarge bouncers, and the obstreperously drunk men in shorts there were in fact, lots of people in their current school uniforms. They would even admit, when not even pressed, that they were underage drinkers from a given school. Or again they could have been professional school person imitators, paid for by our polyester tie donations to a school disco club that I am now apparently a member of.
Were it not for the mystical properties of Buckfast Tonic Wine, (although the monks diligently scribe that the word tonic in no way implies any medicinal properties on each bottle label with their ancient quills), I doubt that the circle of whirling limbs on display by our dancing team would have been quite so effective in clearing a circle, nay, a theatre of dance, amongst the schoolie gyrations.
Suffice it to say, after throwing out time at the club, a confused cab ride home followed to get into more trouble. A ride in a vehicle that afforded us sun roof access to the sixty mile per hour winds that the speeding taxi-bus generated. Somewhere around 4am, we arrived at a suitable place to spend the next three hours in and out of consciousness, babbling with the zeal, caffeine and “inert ingredients” of the Buckfast.
Damnit. It’s a week later and I still can’t sleep. Despite my appeals to ‘Cadet Claret’ which I figure must be better value than wine from far-off lands. A five GBP bottle of French wine must be better than a five GBP bottle of wine from Chile. Have you ever worked in logistics? It costs a shed load to move anything anywhere. So I figure they probably import wage slaves from places like Chile to France to make them work in the vineyards, and then make them work off their passage fare through debt bondage. Hey, maybe that’s unethical. And neither the wine, nor the exploitation help me sleep at night.