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» Nights Out Gone Wrong

And that's the thanks he got
I spent most of my university years as a devout muslim, so spent a good deal of time playing scrabble while my livelier chums were out clubbing.

In my final semester I tearfully realized that I didn't have faith any more, and my excellent friends, in their efforts to get me out of the blues, were quick to cotton on to the fact that I could now 1) Eat pork, 2) Dance with (and perhaps even shake hands with) women and 3) Drink. When my good friend Joe heard the news that I was a filthy apostate he immediately handed over the sausage sandwich he was eating. Bless him. A group of buddies including Joe decided that a night out was essential, partly out of their innate philanthropy and partly because they were awfully curious to see what I was like when under the influence.

The plan was to go to a night of cheesy dance music- I think it was called "Buttoned Down Disco", a place in London famous for its easy going clientele. Before heading to the club, my friends gave me a wonderful introduction to alcohol:

"This is a "beer". It's fizzy, like lemonade. Try it while eating peanuts. Good boy, no need to drink it all at once. This is a "gin and tonic". It's posh. That's it, down the hatch. This is a "tequila". It's utter rat poison, but traditional for students to drink on a night out. Good lad, the tears will go away soon."

After this introduction to the world of drinking, I was feeling very good and pretty gregarious, despite the world shifting nauseatingly beneath me (thankfully Joe had warned me beforehand to stay close to supporting masonry, so that I could choose to have a refreshing lean against the wall should the need arise). When we got to the club I warmed up the dancefloor with a few alcohol lubricated moves (which felt amazing! Dancing while drunk is simply splendid). With the ladies at the club suitably impressed with my flailing it was time to start schmoozing. MY memory of it is a little hazy, but according to Joe I walked up to a girl, shouted at her "I'm the cleverest man in the whole world, bleaargh!", lost interest and proceeded to look at something on the floor.

Shortly after this I pushed my friend Tom down a flight of stairs, and didn't particularly care when he was rushed off to A&E (he needed stitches and does not hesitate to show me the scar today). Of course I didn't care, I was a combination of the Jameses Bond and Brown. Joe, however, decided that was a good opportunity to call it a night, and he dragged me homewards. He tells me that my chat-up technique had improved tremendously on the journey, and I was well on the way to scoring with a woman at a bus stop. The lady in question was a homeless sixty year old who was visibly trying to run away.

I actually rather enjoyed myself, but I guess my friends didn't appreciate the evening much, which is my tenuous excuse for posting this under "nights out gone wrong". They've steadfastly refused to buy me a drink since.
(Sun 27th Mar 2011, 13:22, More)

» Guilty Pleasures, part 2

The opportunity doesn't arise that often
A few circumstances need to come together for this one, which I've experienced twice in my life, but on both occasions filled me with unholy glee.

1) I need to have a seat on a train that has no other seats available, but where there's still plenty of standing space.
2) A parent needs to come in with a young child (old enough to walk, young enough to be ickle), and both must have to stand because all the seats are full.

I will offer my seat to the child, as in general parents are more concerned about their kid's comfort than their own. As they reach their destination they normally head towards the door, standing up a minute before the doors open.

My guilty pleasure is timing a smile and a wave at the little kid just before the train starts braking. As they wave back they take their hands off the handrail, and if my luck holds the deceleration of the train makes them land flat on their face.
(Mon 17th Mar 2008, 2:17, More)

» Stalked

The terrorist
First, the backstory. I happened to be doing some volunteer work in a hospital in the occupied territories. Not glamorous stuff, just supporting the IT guy who had flown in earlier and needed an extra hand. The nature of the work meant that in the evenings my fellow Englishman and I could ooze around the hospital chatting to the various shrapnel filled Palestinians. And, cliched though it is, I've never met a friendlier bunch of people. They all, without fail, complimented me on my long eyelashes and big eyes, both features which I detest because they result in my being seen in the eyes of the world not as a macho leader of men, but more of a Bambi type. Grr. Anyway, Arabs love these eyes. "Camel eyes" they call them.

So, I settle into the hospital with my camel eyes fluttering hither and thither, and one young bullet sponge really takes a shine to them. Oh yes. Mohammed, I shall call him (name changed, naturally), loved these ridiculous eyes of mine, and the head that housed them, and the body that supported that head. Oh, and he particularly liked my arse.

Mohammed was a twenty-something lad, walking on crutches as a result of being hit in the leg with an IDF bullet when he was chucking stones one day. He was a patient at the hospital. Walking on crutches gave him a superhuman like strength in his arms, which were abominably hairy and made his resemblance to a gorilla in a fez rather striking. He made it his life's mission to grab my bottom (with a vice-like grip) as much as possible. It came to the extent that I'd have to poke my head round corners to see if he were at large before walking into a room. If he spotted me he'd give an unearthly shriek and hobble towards me like some kind of terrifying, rubbish cyborg.

I was stalked by a gay crippled terrorist.
(Sun 3rd Feb 2008, 5:02, More)

» Beautiful Moments, Part Two

I'm lucky enough to have a girlfriend who, despite having lived in the UK for a few years, didn't quite get au fait with some of the more peculiar British customs. One such custom (I hope that I'm not coming across as a frightful weirdo here- please feel free to correct me if this isn't a custom at all) is feeling faintly triumphant after breaking wind particularly lavishly.

When we moved in together there came the awful realization that we would have to be in the proximity of each other even when at our least soigné. As the days went by I grew tired of running to the loo every time I needed to fart, and had to figure out the best way of broaching this delicate subject.

Eventually, I decided to bite the bullet. While we were gazing into each other's eyes on the sofa one day, I asked her, in my most debonair manner, to pull my finger. She complied, and what followed was my beautiful moment.

I let fly an absolute rip-snorter; one of those guffs which go down in legend and song. It started off with a basso-profundo growl, and then climbed in pitch, with occasional bird-like trills providing the soprano. Her eyes grew wide with wonder, then crinkled with glee as she realized the momentous event which was unfolding in front of her. Her beautiful face gasped with amazement and wonder as I loudly voided my bowels of foetid air.

It is probably the most enduring image I will have of her; the memory even trumps (ahaha) even her expression when I proposed to her on top of a wind-swept hill. In fact, I'm welling up even thinking about it.
(Tue 10th Aug 2010, 11:37, More)

» Your first cigarette

Smoke, pills and passion thwarted
I was very religious until I was 23. That meant no smoking, no drinking, no girlfriend (when I was kissed on the cheek by a girl at university I prayed for about an hour afterwards), but worst of all, no bacon. Imagine that.

When I stopped being religious I knew that my life would be turned upside down if I went on a long-overdue binge of booze, sex and drugs. So, beyond developing a taste for beer, and meeting a lovely girlfriend, I haven't really experimented. So, to this day, I haven't smoked cigarettes and haven't tried drugs.

Apart from one day.

My girlfriend and I were at a beach party. The sun had set, but the glow from the moon and the lights on the ferry pier illuminated the beach with a soft, blue light. We were far enough away from the main stage for the distant thump of bass to blend nicely with the waves lapping on the beach, with the rustling of palm trees singing a whispering song.

I was laying on the sand, chatting with a group of Germans I had met on the ferry. The beers were kicking in beautifully, and all of us in our little group were wrapped in the perfect feeling of contentment that bathes you at that stage in the evening. As we started heading our separate ways one of the Germans offered me a cigarette, and, glowing with bonhomie and a taste for something new, I took it from him, placed it between my lips and pulled the smoke slowly past my throat, trickling it slowly backwards to prevent myself from spluttering. It was a little harsh perhaps, but the dark hit perfectly complemented the beer.

Later my girlfriend and I were standing by the shoreline, watching revellers splashing in the sea by moonlight. At that perfect moment I leaned in to kiss her, but alas, she recoiled at my smoky breath. Frustrated, I stared moodily at the palm trees.

As I was staring, a young man skipped past, beaming from ear to ear. He reminded me of Puck from a Midsummer Night's Dream. He met my eye, broadened his grin and traipsed towards me.

"Hey there! You don't look terribly chirpy! Have one of these," he says, dropping a white pill into my hand. He skipped away before I could respond.

I was at a crossroads. Should I consume a pill from a strange man at a party? Am I ready for this? What direction will my life take if I put it into my mouth?

After wrestling with my conscience for a second or two, I popped it onto my tongue, not knowing what to expect.

It was a Mentos. I got my kiss in the end.
(Mon 24th Mar 2008, 4:58, More)
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