“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
When I was 17 and as soon as I had passed my driving test, I set myself up as a mobile disco called Arson Annie. Armed with a twin tape deck and my trusty turntable I spent the whole of that summer ghetto blasting my way through rural Gloucestershire. Guaranteed to rock up to the homes of all my friends who had grabbed the opportunity to arrange a party when they found out that their parents would be away for the night.
During one fiery party in a briefly parentless home, my friend’s twelve-year-old brother volunteered to act as the bartender as we availed ourselves to the contents of the parentibus abessent’s drinks cupboard. I asked for a gin and bitter lemon. What I actually got was a lethal concoction, which tasted like bitter lemon but had enough alcohol in it to fell a 16-stone rugby player and I was given more than one.
It was hot and steamy on the makeshift dance floor as I swilled what I thought was a lot of bitter lemon with a little gin, but the bitter lemon disguised a lethal cocktail of various spirits. With my sound system set to max volume, Tina Turner’s Nutbush City Limits began to sound hollow and distant as my surroundings blurred and my speech slurred. I somehow made it up the stairs to the bathroom where kneeling in front of the lavatory, I projectile vomited the fermenting brew inside my stomach.
Exhausted I collapsed to the floor and rolled on to my back. The bathroom walls were plastered with wallpaper, decoratively adorned with single stemmed roses, spaced about 6 inches apart.
I could see twice as many roses than the designer created which were animated, Walt Disney-style, spinning, twirling and dive bombing me. If that wasn’t bad enough when I closed my eyes my head felt like it was being repeatedly thumped with a sledgehammer.
I came to the following morning, the party long since over and still lying on the bathroom floor. Enveloped in the smell of wet dog, I realized I was curled up with the family’s golden retriever. Every inch of me felt nauseous with the headbanging hangover from Hell.
It had been a sound learning curve, although I was unaware how much and how many different types of alcohol there were sloshing around in my bitter lemon. Whilst lying on that bathroom floor breathing in the smell of wet dog, I promised myself that I would never drink again. Unfortunately, I broke that promise by the time the next party came around.
Since then, however out of sorts I might feel after having one too many, I have never and hopefully will never feel quite as appalling as I did with my first ever hangover, having been traumatised by dive bombing single stemmed red roses.