So while it is very true some people develop a “drinking problem” — I had somehow developed a “sober problem”.
And this may seem quite bizarre to people who know me now and didn’t know me then. Because we all know what a boozy McBooze-hound I am now.
And having a attention span that might generously be described as “fleeting”, and crucially a very, very low threshold tolerance for fools — this led to a disastrous social life. I was boring — like epically boring. And serious and judgmental and generally a massive deadshit.
On top of that I think I had a mild dose of agoraphobia stemming from *that* incident on the plane where at 16 I vomited all over myself and was forced to sit there for half an hour (plus vomiting again to add to my woes).
Here is a story from those years.
But then I turned 27 and that is the cut-off year for being eligible for Miss Universe — and also the year Brian and Jimi and Jim and Janis and Amy and Kurt and Robert all died. And that dude from the Manic Street Preachers went forever AWOL.
So I had a birthday party — which was mostly an excuse to have my new band play it’s first show. And although I specified no presents (and I was pretty obviously not a drinker) someone bought me a bottle of vodka. And so I put it in the freezer cause I remembered from when I was a kid you could do that cause one of my dad’s ex-girlfriend’s liked vodka and blew my mind when she proved it didn’t freeze.
And it sat in my freezer for a while, not turning to ice, which I was still quietly impressed by. But then one evening I decided to see what happened if I indulged. I “destroyed” maybe an inch and a half of the bottle and had a glorious time and went to bed fully prepared for a massive hangover the next day — but for some reason I woke up feeling strangely fine. No ill-effects.
It took me a few weeks to finally finish that bottle and I remember then experimenting with wine. And I did get into some trouble occasionally, but gradually I worked out my *limit* and I was pretty determined about it. I can remember being out and talking incessantly about my limit. I must have been thoroughly boring to all those around me. And this was the last vestiges of my sober-deadshittedness.
So then I started hanging out with drinkers and there are a few people I need to acknowledge.
My mum — who visited once and was appalled to find no bottle-opener (or wine glasses) in the house — so promptly ensured I was well-equipped.
My Dad — who showed me how to safely open a champagne bottle (hold the cork still with your left hand and twist the bottle at the base with your right) — just as a safety-sam dad would do.
Wintah — who taught me what “wintah-drunk” looks like (and I am not sure I really want to go there — but cheers anyway)
Pat — who taught me how to fall asleep when things got too much. I have used this technique occasionally and managed to party on quite effectively.
Laura K — how to vomit ANYWHERE and how to talk at a million miles an hour. Laura also has a secret super-power of being able to inform EVERYONE at ANY STAGE OF THE EVENING exactly how many alcoholic beverages she has consumed like it was crucial life-or-death knowledge.
Dale — who taught me that if you are playing a rock n roll show in some form of intoxication — just adopt a wider stance for extra anchoring. (And he also said that if you wanna perform drunk — you need to get accustomed to rehearsing drunk too. Sage advice.)
Craig — how to turn up early to maximise drunken opportunities.
Mitch and Timmy — how to be the happiest/most-zen drunk ever.
Ryan — for the stories — which probably shouldn’t be documented.
Liesl — for being all sober like me for ages — and then getting over it too.
Gypsy — who years later still seems to be gobsmackingly overwhelmed at how crazy I can get on the turps.
The “carpark” — when we were all poor and more adventurous we would get drunk on takeaway booze and head up to the top level of a carpark at the top of the Chinatown Mall. We had this great view and a bench to sit on and only very, very rarely any hassle from security.
Dee — who taught me that when I am pointing or accentuating any statement by smashing my finger into the table — I need to get a taxi.
And finally Steve who I am reliably told survived trying to take a piss from a ledge three-storeys up.