Friday, 13 February 2009
Still Here, Remarkably
My my, have I given my liver some stick over the years. I’ve been pissed in Peking and hammered in Hamburg. Smashed in Santa Barbara and trolleyed in Teignmouth. I got plastered in Acapulco with Charlie Nicholas* during a hurricane and completely arseholed with Ozzie Osbourne in the downstairs bar of the Belmont in Leicester. I nearly pulled Fiona Fullerton after an all dayer. I am your archetypal booze bore.
I started drinking seriously when I went to that shining beacon of academic excellence, Leicester Polytechnic, and have never really stopped apart from when I went mad in 1993. I am the Chairman of The 51 Club. I watched open-mouthed as Paycheque Wells and The Doctor created The Mexican Bollockshaker. We used to kidnap garden gnomes and hold them for ransom. I laughed until tears ran down my face when Shag Unsworth was refused his eighth Long Island Iced Tea at the South Street Seaport and Shag Ashley and I weren’t. I drank without a break for eight years in Bristol, ping-ponging between pints of Courage Best virtually anywhere and cloudy pints of Inch’s cider† at the Coronation Tap in Clifton. Eight months after I left Bristol in 1991 Courage shut the brewery. And then there was London. Oh dear Christ, London. I don’t even know where to begin.
Of course, my years of heavy drinking are NOT my fault. It’s my father’s, Gerald Combo. If he were still alive I’d sue his arse off for seriously infringing my human rights by taking me to The Keyberry Hotel in Decoy (a scruffy suburb of Newton Abbot, itself Devon’s ugliest town) when I was a young lad and leaving me outside on a wooden bench with a glass of Cydrax and the inevitable bag of Smith’s Crisps with the blue twist of salt. But the gorgeous smell that wafted out of that pub scarred me forever. It was a Bass house and the aroma of ale, all mixed up with cigarette and pipe smoke and blokes laughing turned my head.
There is not enough space on the flight decks of the few remaining aircraft carriers¶ in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy to carry all the glasses of booze I have poured down my ever-ready throat because of my father’s∆ malign influence.
And the doctor looked at my tests yesterday and said my liver was back to being in virtually perfect nick.
As Toby ‘Intrepid’ Savage said at the end of October: “It’s all bollocks”.
And do you know what? He’s right.
*A professional footballer from the 1980s.
† Don’t ask.
¶ But probably not the new Ark Royal as it’s got one of those flight decks that curves upwards towards the end so lots of the glasses would actually fall over.
∆ Only joking Dad! I’m very grateful actually.