Friday, 19 June 2009

20. A world without Beer : Week One.

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Yes, I gave beer a capital letter. It's like a friend, it means that much to me. I started (properly) drinking in about 1990, at around age seventeen. Yes, I'm that old. Seventeen is actually fairly 'late' by today's standards, and things were no different back in the day. But I looked a young-seventeen (as today I like to think I look a young thirty-six), and trying to get served in pubs before that age just wasn't going to happen. I started on Cider because Lager, Bitter and Ale all tasted foul, and spirits would just be stupid. I don't recall any 'alco-pops' in 1990, but I believe Bacardi-Breezers were new in 1993? A good friend weaned me onto the Brown (...Newcastle Brown Ale, not heroin) in 1991, and when I moved down south in '93, I figured that would be a good time to start on the Lager. I already had an on-off relationship with Jack, but that's another blog.

It's not that I consider myself an alcoholic or anything, but I've always had a healthy fascination with booze, and I'm always keen to find new limits and combinations. I don't enjoy being drunk, you understand; but I fucking love getting drunk.

Anyhow, it is with a heavy (and sober) heart, that I am writing about my latest stupid experiment: No alcohol for 100 days.

Yes, you read that right, and no, I'm not sure that I do know what the fuck I'm thinking. But I'll give it a go. I've had a month-off on many occasions, but it gets easier each time. I even did two-months at one point. But it's been a good-long-while since I took any time off, and I feel like a challenge, dammit! Richard Herring did the same thing last year, but I'm not sure if his hundred were intentional, or if he just gave up at that point.

I should point out now that I've made some concessions;
• My fianceé's birthday in July
• One of the nights when we're having a short holiday in August
• My best buddy's birthday, also in August.

Now, the fact that I'll be drinking on those days does NOT mean that they'll be a 24-hour, Amaretto-fuelled blitzkrieg, just that I'll be enjoying a refined drink in good company. Well, thinking about the third one on the list, who knows? I'll have to monitor that one.


Of course when I'm not drinking, I end up explaining it to bemused people far too often, and usually end up telling people I'm on antibiotics. It's just easier sometimes.

I also get what is now a classic question from people who don't quite 'get it': "Oh, but you can have one beer, can't you?
...Yes. I can have one beer in the same way that a Muslim can have one sausage.

I could have twelve beers if I wanted to, and on any other night, I just might - but just not for the next (insert seemingly insane number here) days.

...I'm just getting that one out of my system now, because it's bound to happen.


One of the great things about no-beer, is you suddenly have the mental wherewithall to get stuff done. I've got a fucking mountain of jobs that I've never got finished; four PTN videos to edit, that Doctor Who/GTA artwork to complete my GTA trilogy, getting the last Mark&Lard show onto CDs with tracks in the right places, the list is ridiculous.

Not that I'll suddenly get an extra four hours magically inserted into every day, of course, but I'll be less inclined to lose time by having a beer and playing Vice City Stories. Although I'm not giving up VCS, that'd be really stupid, so there's always that avenue of procrastination to lose myself down.

Which is good, because one of the pain-in-the-arse things about no-beer is having to think all the time. I don't know how some people cope without that 'Standby' switch.

Still, at the end of it all, I'll save a bit of money, lose a bit of weight, and might actually be a better person for it.


So, the last day I had a drink was on Monday the 15th June (because the PTN festival ran past midnight on Sunday). And I haven't re-done the maths with the three concession-days, but I think it's late September when I can get trolleyed again. 25th-ish? I'll work it out.

When you're taking a month off, the first week and the last week are the hardest. The two in between are relatively easy, because in the first week, your body (and mind)'s almost in shock at losing its regular "get me the fuck out of here" drug. In the last week, that beautiful bottle of Newcastle Brown you've kept in the fridge for a month is like a light at the end of the tunnel; a life-preserver to a drowning man.

I honestly can't say what this is going to be like, but I'll keep you informed. Probably with belligerent rantings, when I'd sell my own family for a can of Skol, but hey.
At the moment it's been less than a week, and everything's cool. It felt a bit weird to finish early on a Friday and not pick beer up on the way home, but I had quite a bit to do so once I was home it wasn't an issue. Ho-hum.

Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger.

...well, apart from a stroke, obviously.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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