From an old website, Alien in Montreal
Taking a bottle of Gin to a party is a bit of a gamble. On one hand, it's no more expensive than buying a bottle of wine and a six pack of beer, but on the other, it's possible to drink much too much and black out into miserable outrageousness.
Luckily, we managed to drink slowly and retain a thin veneer of sobriety all through the evening.
You could tell it was a European influenced party because Kylie was blasting out as we walked up the stairs. The whole lounge area had been virtually blacked out and made into a large dance floor. People were leaping up and down as only drunken people in the dark can do.
We set ourselves up in the kitchen with glasses, ice, lemon, tonic and gin. This is our number one priority. Without a drink at a party, you're nothing – you either have to pretend to drink vodka by drinking water, or smoke a lot of cigarettes on the terrace.
I always spend a lot of time at parties in the kitchen, mainly because it's where the alcohol is, but also because it's also not connected with dancing at all (I'm not a big dancer). The rest of my time is spent, usually, on the terrace, smoking.
Curiously, as I attempt to smoke my first cigarette of the party, everyone else decides to have one too. The entire room empties out onto the tiny terrace and stands, on each other's feet, jammed together, talking and smoking. This is another recognisable European influence – only a couple of people in the whole party don't smoke. They peer out into the kitchen from the suddenly empty dance floor, wondering what the hell is going on.
So I drink, and smoke and talk to people from France, Romania, Germany, Hungary, and Canada. The question most uttered in this evening is, 'Where are you from?' People sigh and take a deep breath before answering.
Then I find myself chatting to a girl that I talked to at another of these parties, last year. I remember writing about her that she found my English accent somewhat appealing.
It begins again.
'Do you have a light?' She asks.
'Yes, indeed I do.' I say, getting it.
'Oooh! I love your accent.'
Then Jana, nearby, joins in, 'Oh yes, it's soooo sexy, that accent. A man with an accent like that, I can fall for, even if he is weird looking and slimy, he just has to talk to me.'
They both look at me as I try to dismiss the claims, without talking too much. I wonder if they are mocking me. I wonder if she means that I'm weird looking and slimy. Perhaps they read my other article and are now teasing me.
'Oh, look, I've run out of Gin, won't you excuse me?' I say, escaping.
It's getting chaotic inside as alcohol levels rise. I find myself floating between Gin-topping-up and smoking outside, constantly.
Xena turns up with hiccups, which apparently can last for days. At this point everyone has a solution, guaranteed to work. This is the point of course, everyone finds a solution that works for them, and assume that it works for everyone else too. The only people left out of this loop are the ones unlucky enough to have not actually found a solution yet, and they must endure the advice of others.
I add my solution, which is long-winded, but logically sound, so I like to think.
Xena tries and fails with my method.
'But you're not trying hard enough!' I complain. I don't want my method to be dismissed as non-working.
Then the girl turns up who earlier in the evening had been telling us how one cat in every 1000 years can speak.
'I know a solution,' She says, and we all listen intently, 'You have to put your fingernails together like this,' We all stare at her fingers, 'but not really together, but close, as close as you can get them without touching.'
(Some day I'm going to collect hiccup solutions and write a book of them. If you have any good ones, post them in the comments for this page.)
Then the worst happens, the absolute worst.
We run out of Gin.
'What, the whole bottle?' I ask, incredulous.
My wife nods solemnly. Now we must go.
Before we leave I have to wait for the bathroom, which is just off the dance-floor area. Jana mistakes my jiggling up and down for a dance and comes over to dance with me.
'I don't really dance,' I tell her.
'It's okay,' she looks at me conspiratorially 'no one has to know.' And dances on.