Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fruit Cocktail

I've lost count of the number of times drink has made me sick. I haven't got my dad's capacity for alcohol, just one in a long list of things I'm glad I didn't inherit. If I drink too much, I'm sick. I've been sick on bacardi, vodka, lager, bitter, white wine, red wine...(the very worst incidences have been after an evening of red wine). But the first time was on cider. And you always remember the first time, don't you?

It was a schoolmate's 18th birthday party. I guzzled a couple of pints of Strongbow, a drink my dad was really into at the time. The prog rock was making us feel drowsy, all 20 teenage boys and 2 teenage girls. I'm sure we were all bored shitless. I've never been to a party where I haven't been, so I must have been then.

And then someone put on Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band who didn't get to use all their air miles. And Freebird is their classic. It starts off slow but it builds into a monstrous 24 hour guitar solo, ideal for air guitar and headbanging nonsense.

So you've got 20 young wankers, bored shitless, and suddenly there's a chance for a bit of exercise, for us to let those so-called raging hormones free. Right foot forward, head bowed, right hand holding an imaginary plectrum, left holding an imaginary guitar neck...And let those flowing locks fly.

Except my locks aren't flowing, they're barely down to the collar of my cheesecloth shirt. But the head bangs away anyway, the brain thinking of those poor ol' southern boys plummeting to earth, as free as a mortally wounded bird.

And then the cider begins to make its appearance. Strongbow. As strong as your thirst. Put hairs on your chest this stuff son. Dry, fizzy and appley, and here it comes. Excuse me. Out to the garden.

"And this bird will never cha...a...ange".
"Eurrghhh!"...That's better...Shit, no it's not.
"Eurrghhh!"...That's better...Shit, no it's not.

I think that's all of it but I feel fucking awful. I go inside. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is on the turntable.

"I need a lie down," I tell my host. He gives me his bed. I lie down and die.

So since that day, not a mouthful of cider has passed my lips. The smell of it reminds me of my first time...

But here in the fridge is a can of Merrydown cider, left over from a visit from our cider drinking friends. And the use by date is only just up! It would be a waste of money not to drink it, wouldn't it?

Merrydown cider. One can and you're merry, four and you're down. But one won't harm me, will it? I've got to banish this cider demon. I've got to drink the Merry down.

I open the can. I pour a glass. It smells of sick and piss. It looks like fizzy urine. I feel sick. But I feel brave. I haven't got to get up early tomorrow. I've got the dentist first thing. He'd want me to be brave.

I drink some. It tastes like Babycham. Babycham for men. Except without the big men's fuck-off cherry. Mmm, nice.

Still smells of sick, though.


  1. I can't remember the first time - is that bad? I can remember the longest projectile, the most-painful, the most-lumpy, and the worst dry-retch. But not the first.

    I'll stop now and go, shall I?

  2. god,,my first time i woke up in a bathtub (no water) with my hair done into a million elastic bands (to keep it out of the puke presumably). Oh,, wait,,is that first time drinking,, or first time ????? "something else" ????

  3. i bet the dentist was pleased you had special cider breath for him.

    the only time i drank merrydown i got arrested. mind you, i was also smoking spliffs in the high street with some homeless, so you could argue i sort of brought that one on myself....

  4. Wyndham - I only remember the first time because I was a late developer.

    Lori - I've thankfully always ended up in bed, just a few steps from the nearest toilet.

    Surly - I think the dentist got his own back as my teeth still hurt even after the fillings.

  5. It's always cider the first time. It's a sort of Law of the Universe. Here in the UK at least.

    I don't come to this blog often enough. I get distracted by the dream one. This one's very interesting, though.

    I think I'll visit more often. (I was going to say 'come more often' but then I realised I was walking into a trap).

  6. I'm cutting it down to once a week, Mark (the blogging, not the cider), so hopefully there'll be less crap to wade through in the future.

  7. I can't count the number of times I got puking drunk when I was younger. I just can't do it any more. Here's a link to one of my favorite stories from back in those unglorious days!