Having recently decided to go sober (a week before my 21st no less) I put myself through my first sober night out in a very, very long time this week. It was a strange mix of sheer terror, boredom, hysteria and bewilderment.

To ‘kick off’ the night, I went to a house party. In stereotypical Uni party form there was the appropriate blend of stoned beyond belief indie boys, discussing the finer details of playing bass, a sprinkling of blonde Southern lasses full of snobbery and cocaine, the party racist, the token gay (myself) & the funny fat guy. Despite my contribution to the stockpile of Asda/Tesco value booze being naught but a 2litre bottle of diet Coke, I was received warmly enough. That may have just been the vodka dulling everybody’s senses however. After hiding in the back garden with the four people I knew there for the length of a cigarette we braved the house. The party itself seemed to be in full swing in a living room/lounge/band roomy thing in the basement, we glanced in, smiled then fled to the kitchen. Ikea party style. As we relaxed amongst the crockery, everybody began to really drink with gusto, with that sort of determination and dedication you get when you glance at the clock and realise you only have an hour of pre-drinking left, and shit you will take full advantage! I was drinking coke, from a tea cup.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I was having a laugh, but it was usually at the expense of somebody else, or my own jokes (which everybody else was too drunk to really get, at least that’s what I told myself) and the novelty of observing everybody stumbling about soon began to wear off.
I too wanted to get so drunk that I could only communicate in grunts, giggles and squeals, I wanted to forget who I was, where I was & what my sexual orientation is/was (a frequent occurrence).
Before I could cave to my carnal desire for fortified wine however, I was saved by of us braving town. The first port of call was ‘Bumper’ – a club that will be near enough duplicated in every city. Jammed full of indie kids clad only in Tshop, Urban outfitters & American Apparel – sale rail of course, I mean ‘I’m not made of money!’ Those overtly alternative folk who simply refuse to acknowledge your existence unless you look like the love child of Morrissey & Kate Bush, mixed in Glasto’ mud – with the appropriate wristbands of course.

So upon arrival at Bumper, we queued alongside all a manner of drunken and under the influence things. I was seriously considering heading to Passion Pizza, getting fat & going home.
Bumper & me have a fractious relationship…
From the time I convinced myself that my best mate had been kidnapped by a witch & thus warned the bar staff, the time I managed to snap my phone on the bar after having it for a day to the time I fell asleep/passed out/died on a couch and Spanish tourists spent a goodly hour taking pictures with/of me in various poses. Puta’s.
I wasn’t convinced of my own will power to stay sober here, by the gods (old and new – ten points if you get that) I was wrong.

After the usual 20minute wait at the bar, I was treated with a look equal parts disgust, surprise and suspicion by the bartender when I asked for a coke. I instinctively felt like I was up to no good, like when you see a police car drive past and you very deliberately look the other way & make no eye contact. I didn’t tip the bastard & paid in silver.
We then (after some seriously questionable dancing from afore mentioned funny fat guy, Sorry Johnny..) made our way to a booth with a table. This table was right next to the dance floor, and sweet gods above was I glad I had not gone home. The group of people dancing were, quite clearly loving life, and under the influence of a lot more than just booze. One girl in particular kept throwing out move that basically entailed her bending down, waving at her feet and slowly standing until her arms were above her head at which point she would unleash some sort of keening like some hipster banshee throwback.
It was beautiful. I love people watching at the best of times, but this was gold. I settled in, with my coke (second one now, I’m just that mad) and enjoyed the show.

I wont/cant attempt to fit into words some of the moves that this group demonstrated, only please believe me when I say I shall never be the same. Just before I was getting ready to leave and head home, they gifted me with seeing the crème de la crème of the night – One lad (who I nicknamed Shamu) had been very, very energetic with his moves (much to the dismay of all nearby as he was over 6ft tall and grossly overweight) belly bounced a mate of his & I kid you not, the poor bastard flew, not just knocked down – I mean off his feet flew – a good 3 feet back into the table with all their drinks on, landed on it and promptly rolled off. I was in hysterics. It took him a good five minutes to get up, by which time the belly bounc-er had lost all interest in apologising and was getting obscenely low to Nikki an her Minaj.

In the taxi home, I got to thinking. If that group of mates could see themselves, I mean have the night played back and let them see themselves deteriorate and descend into ruin – how would they feel?
How would any of us feel and would it really change the way we act?
I myself was asked by a friend who does various bits of research if the Open University could film and interview me and my best mate – on a study about binge drinking. I first thought it was hysterical and agreed, but now with my relationship towards drink changing a little, I wish I hadn’t.

A tad longwinded, but I needed a good booze free ramble. Thanks for reading!