Posts Tagged ‘beer’

Is it possible to fall in love with a pub? I don’t mean in any weird, sexual way either. Seldom do people reach climax upon entering their favourite establishment and those that do are promptly escorted away from the premises to never be seen again (as per their restraining order). No what I mean is, have you ever stood at the entrance of a pub you’ve never frequented before, hands on hips and making slow nodding gestures as you gaze at the decal, and felt a rich warmness fill your entire being? If you have, I assure you that’s not custard, but the unequivocal attachment you to feel to a local drinking…er…building.

I don’t think it’s weird at all. Why would you judge so harshly?

Let me set the scene. I walk into a local pub I haven’t stepped into since its renovation some time ago. I pause after the double doors close behind me. The interior unleashes a burst of rejuvenation, like a patient that’s been given good news about an unusual growth. The bar gleams in the distance and bottles and taps wink cheerfully in my direction. I see the chalkboard dailies announcing some equivalent of a regal banquet. The air is bouncing with musical vibrations and a sense of welcome. Also it’s totally happy hour, yo.

"Wooooo!" Said everyone except you because you're totally classy...

“Wooooo!” Said everyone except you because you’re totally classy…

The pub is called The Alb and my god what a difference a building can make to a weekend. Do you not think the discovery of a pub you haven’t been in before is like discovering the librarian you’ve had a crush on also likes ICP and neo-liberal values? Externally she may not have everything you think you want in a woman, but inside she embodies your soul interests and disgusting fetishes.

Sometimes it’s hard to really appreciate what a pub has to offer. I don’t just mean the drinks (maybe). What I mean is, so many places you’ll go into because it gets you out of the rain, or it has cheap food, or the mafia have traced your IP address. But to happen upon a new establishment that simply ovulates personality is a joyous moment. To seek a place of temporary refuge that encapsulates everything you desire in a public house is such a heart soothing sensation.

I genuinely feel sorry for people who don’t drink. They’ll never know this feeling. The closest they’ll ever get to experience this is finding a new brand of flavoured water in between their daily sobs. It’s an immense discovery in most adult’s lives to find that special place where the world is separate from them and they feel a fresh pang of revitalisation that speaks to them in an entirely awesome holy crap you can tell I’ve had four pints at The Alb this afternoon…

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With brain-exploding tenacity I have made an effort to not use this blog as an online diary/journal (I have one of those fancy-schmancy paper ones for that purpose). The posts are my own thoughts obviously but I’m trying not to use this as a dumping ground for inane things that I do during the day.

But after going through the archives of this guy’s site (a place that is sadly no longer updated but has been filed in my mental vault as part of my Internet blossoming) I’m making an exception to my rule which I have totally just made up on the spot…

To paraphrase Eddie Izzard slightly: this is all true. Except for the lies…

This was an event that took place in August 2010 and would – under normal moral codes – be labelled as something of an embarrassing incident. However, seeing as at the time I was nostril-rapingly drunk I was unable to see it from that perspective. The summer was coming to a gracefully shit close after several disappointing months of monsoon rain and fully clothed women and the festival scene was withering away to leave but a few esoteric ones.

Welcome to Bloodstock Open Air; a festival that makes Download look like a nerdy teenager who rebels against bullies by purchasing KoRn merchandise and not being social (or attractive). It pertains to many variations of the metal genre that make god fearing folk wet themselves dry and shrivelled. Also, take note of the bottom passage of that web site. You see the bit that boasts a ‘metal karaoke’ event? Keep your focus on that aspect. Yes, I know it’s difficult with that third helping of morning vodka swirling around in your bloodstream but just try and keep a one-track mind for the moment…I’ll make it up to you. (I won’t)

Traditionally the festival ends each night with a heavy metal karaoke which takes place in one of the smaller tents. After failing a number of times to be chosen to grace the stage in 2009 my friend Mike and I made a valiant effort this time round. I don’t quite know how you make an effort to get selected out of hundreds of equally inebriated metalheads eager to test the decibel restrictions of a microphone machine, but there you go.

On the final evening of 2010’s event our names were drawn and numerous stage hands and volunteers (their signature giveaway being that glazed, thwarted look in their eyes that tells a thousand tales of sadness and loss) ushered us to an area behind the stage to get ready to go up.

By this period of the night I was gargling through my 809th beer of the day and surpassed the rational part of my brain. Or rather, it had been flooded down Frontal Lobe Avenue like a pickup in a rushing deluge. (see Australian news for citation) It was that comfortable (if wibbly) stage of drunk where one is no longer capable of hypothesis or sense of foreboding. I was cool with the fact I was about to crawl onto a stage in front of a festival crowd and butcher a song I liked.

This, for reference, is the song we chose:

I professionally sipped a nearby bottle of water that had been left for karaoke contestants (like GODS we were!) while we waited for our names to be announced. I felt something was amiss when we were called up and there appeared to be only one microphone. For two of us. This was error number two. Error number one occurred about eight milliseconds before we went on stage where I suddenly turned to Mike and – through a forcefully expressed grasp of the English language which was currently hanging onto a low branch as it was being swept down Frontal Lobe Avenue – dribbled the approximation of the following sentence:

“Dude…I just remembered…I don’t actually know the lyrics to the song.”

Mike being the sober citizen he was (pfft! Amateur!) advised that I could simply look at the words scrolling by on the monitor purposefully situated on the stage for just such a scenario. I looked across at the monitor. All twelve of them. This is what alcohol does to me. Though I’m utterly convinced that had there actually been twelve there my drunken equilibrium would have balanced out nicely and I’d have had perfect vision and focus. (Your challenge, Science, should you choose to accept it…) What with having  only the one microphone we decided the best method was for Mike to do the verse while I did the chorus. Nothing could go wrong!

Too late to turn back we walked into our fifteen minutes. The crowd clapped with hands and cheered with mouths. The song kicked in and away we went. Error number three kicked in. For much of the day I had been subjected to varying degrees of death metal; a genre of music that requires vocalists to have diaphragms and voice boxed to be constructed of Bond villain-esque mill saws. This was a problem because the song did not call for death metal style vocals but the leaking remnants of my brain felt otherwise.

I growled and screeched the entire chorus when it came to my turn, with no care in the slightest for any evaluation of my artistic interpretation. The noise was over powering and the vibe was pumped and the air was sweaty. I was executing perfect head banging and wind milling techniques liked I’d been doing it for years when suddenly I felt a slight thud on my head. This was followed – in a classic case of cause and effort – by slightly cool liquid to come emanating down my hair and onto my t-shirt. I looked down for a second to see an empty beer cup roll about on the stage like a dying bee that had done its duty. A quick glance at the audience revealed no immediate culprit. My brain fought tooth and nail to tell me that I had just been physically heckled and that I should feel very very bad.

I didn’t. I continued to do exactly what I had been doing for the remainder of the song.

Suddenly, booing...

It’s funny how the mind works during intoxication. My first real go at karaoke was thwart with peril and audience unpleasantness but I don’t really see it like that. For the specific clientèle at the festival our chosen track is one that is generally revered and well liked by the listeners. And I like to think that somewhere, in someone’s home, months after the festival has ended, several people will turn this song on (either by accident or design) and think of the dribbling drunk who closed the festival by performing the audio equivalent of a coat hanger abortion on something that should have been a pleasant and fun experience. And I like to think that I had an affect on someone’s life. For the worse.

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