Was I ever a party animal?
I didn’t like shouting above loud music. I could dance but preferred sitting. I like drinking and chatting with friends. I’ve often had too much to drink. I like a drink every day. In the eighties there were many “parties” which involved sitting in a room, chatting and getting past the point of civilised sobriety. I was very good at it. The practice was sometimes difficult but if you “work on it…” (See previous blog.)
Working in a school led to a little more temperance from the nineties onwards. But weekends were for heightened deference to the demon drink. It went well. But Mondays could be tricky.
I’ve just had five nights up north where I reverted to party animal (my version) status.
They have involved late nights (ooooohhhhh), lots of wine (oooooooohhhhhh) and fantastic food. (What? No kebabs?) You could say it was almost middle class.
Then on Monday, I went to the pub with old friends. It had to be Wetherspoon’s because of the proper disabled facilities. Now this pub was already full of familiar faces when I arrived. It was almost like ghosts from the past; the people you always saw but never went beyond a brief acknowledgement of familiarity. A bit like the stoic “Morning!” on the daily commute.
So here is a run down of events as they unfolded: Thursday.
Flawless journey to Liverpool via trains and cars. On the crowded Liverpool train, I chatted to a highly intelligent and pleasant man-hating lesbian. As she began an almost bestial guzzling of a semi-cold burger king monstrosity, I coolly whipped out my ramekin of home-made chicken liver pate and large piece of equally smug-making home-made focaccia. I also had some Andalusian green olives and a 250cl bottle of claret.
There was only one glimmer of darkness on my familiar trek. My chair wasn’t fully charged because whilst multi tasking the previous day (moving on the chair and speaking on the phone), I ran over the charger and snapped the connector.
It took some serious internet activity to ensure there was a replacement waiting for me in Wallasey. There was; panic over. Then my brother popped in with a bottle of Talisker. How could I refuse?
Later, I fell asleep in the chair and retired at about four o’clock. Now does that count for partying hard?
Friday was a day of quiet until my friends Julie and Colin picked me up. Not from the floor, I hasten to add. We were to create a wonderful Middle Eastern mezze. I had to borrow a jumper so I looked like a bargee.
It was a very late night and after returning home I fell asleep in my wheelchair. It was five thirty when I retired.
My daughter and ex-wife arrived. They stayed a short time as the Sunday was to be the main visit. I had a bet on the Grand National and won. I even shouted “come on my son”. I drank more whisky.
At six fifteen AM, I actually made it up the stairs.
The main visit of Rose to see her granddad. I had the impression they were pleased to see each other.
Then they went off to see a Smurfs film. I ended up having a thoroughly brilliant time at my mates Pete and Jean’s house. They were the finest roast potatoes I have ever eaten. We did a team selfie but I didn’t pout.
Pete and Jeanie are my oldest friends. You know when you are real friends when you can meet up after years and just carry on.
Another late night; no idea of the time.
Pub day. I was flagging but rallied late afternoon. It was an absolute joy to be with everyone.
When I returned I had the onerous task of finishing the whisky. I was brave.
Now come on, that was partying.
The journey back was equally smooth. At Euston I eschewed the white knuckle ride of the taxi ramp and rolled down to Charing Cross under my own steam power.
It was a strange experience. It alternated between roaring traffic and quiet long sunny streets. I went past a few of the capital’s icons which I’ve grown to like. There was the British Museum of course, sitting proudly in the afternoon sunshine, adorned with a buzzing throng of excited tourists, academics and students tucking into their M&S sandwiches and the statutory Costa style latte in a cardboard cup.
A large part of Gower Street is UCL territory. Large august doorways lead into the jungles of dark polished wood and echoing footsteps. They look grand and knowing.
Running through theatre land the sun disappeared under the darkness of the awnings and covers. With open front doors there was a minimal buzz of activity. Outside every stage door was a character smoking. I wondered if they rued their status. Did they want to just be close to the action? Were they ex-actors? Silently they returned into the darkness of their prison, with a smoking stub left seething on the floor.
In St Martin’s Lane the sun returned. I sauntered past the Coliseum with its aging dull globe punching upwards to the glorious blue. Trafalgar Square shimmered in the soft warmth of spring.
Charing Cross was humming in pre-rush hour quiet. The Tunbridge Wells train was empty. This was a rare moment. A long way from the vomit comet of post theatre land riot. Time to rest from the whisky.
Thank you for reading.