From an old website, Alien in Montreal
Ah, another party, and one I remember this time. How novel.
The party is supposed to start with a game of football in the park at 4pm, leading onto lengthy shower-queues at the party venue, followed by drinking large amounts of alcohol whilst eating BBQ.
The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that, so a thunderstorm appears and flashes great bolts of lighting as it throws down sheets of rain.
We sit inside our house, at 3.30pm, and look out of the window. We have the lights on. We decide not to go to the football, and instead just turn up for the post-match party.
So I drink just one beer before we leave, at about 7pm. We take a bus, and then walk. The rain has stopped, and though there is a damp chill in the air, it is pleasant. We meet Leaf in the area, and enter the party with him.
Pristine, pearly white walls shout their non-smoking origins, in a tidy, comfortable lounge, African style voodoo masks adorn the walls, but not in a scary way. It's the kind of apartment that looks tidy, and not in need of a glass of red wine on the sofa.
New people, all interesting. I just brought six beers, in an effort to not drink too much and / or stay too late. Interesting strategy.
There is a BBQ after all, and we watch Bjork cook sausages until they are blackened and charred. Consumers stare at their plates, prodding their elongated charcoal with forks, in a forlorn manner.
MC explains to me, 'It is how Germans cook meat, apparently. Every time he cooks meat it is like this. He's always saying, "I don't think it's quite cooked enough.." and then blackens it.'
In the end, others are sent to seize control of the BBQ and sausage browning. There are sighs of relief. It is Bjork's birthday, so I suppose he should be allowed to burn the meat if he wants to.
Once the variously-shaped bits of animal have been consumed, and the blood soaked up with bread, the drinking begins in earnest. There is a lot of beer in the fridge, so much so that a great deal of it waits patiently outside for its turn to be chilled. But in the end it all vanishes, of course.
No shots in sight. I'm very glad.
'I was bought a bottle of whisky,' Bjork tells me, as he lights his cigarette, outside, with a new zippo. He points to an ominous bottle of single malt, on the shelf, high above the milling crowd.
'Ah.' I say.
'Maybe later, we can have a small glass?' He suggests.
'Ah.' I say. 'Maybe not, I don't really drink spirits any more, especially at parties.'
'But if it is the end of the night, and your last drink before you go home?'
He is the devil, and I listen to his bargain, as all lost souls do.
'Hmm, perhaps,' I concede.
The wife finds me and asks me, too many times, if she is red in the face.
'No, why?' I ask.
It turns out that there is a 'famous person' at the party. Famous in Quebec, that is, as I've never heard of him. I ask not to have him pointed out. I don't want my behaviour modified by knowing. In fact, I take a perverse pleasure in knowing that I'll probably talk to him and not know that he is supposed to be famous.
I drink more beer and lecture people about how to give up cigarettes, as I smoke outside.
I wander around inside and watch people dance to cheesy 80's anthems, screaming and shouting their hearts out.
I smoke some more and talk about how hard it is to learn French in Montreal, and how easy it is to learn English (in English).
I then spend a considerable amount of time with Xena, extracting all the English words from the French magnetic poetry on the fridge, and then making nonsense phrases out of them:
'Metal bras excite' and so forth.
I finish my beer and go to the depanneur to buy 2 more bottles, and another bottle of wine for the wife. At the time I'm don't contemplate that perhaps two bottles of wine is a lot to drink
Back at the fridge, drinking, I talk to a pretty girl whom I had noticed earlier showing off her cleavage to her girlfriends. She is surprised to hear that I'm married. She looks disappointed, and thinks about this for a moment.
'Can I French kiss you then?' She asks.
I think about this.
'No,' I say, 'I think my wife would be upset if you French kissed me.'
'Hmm.' She says, and thinks some more. 'Maybe at another party then?'
I think she is missing the point.
Suddenly the fridge is empty and the whole world is looking for beer. I spy a bottle, unopened, hidden away behind some boxes, and take it, free of guilt as I do so.
We stay for another fifteen minutes and then leave, not, for once, the last people to go. And, thankfully, without a glass of malt whisky for the road.