Sunday, October 24, 2010

DSC_8180 [psp] - Park ViewEek, it's nearly the wedding and I still haven't done the stag do (blogdone, not lifedone you understand).

And so it came to pass that I found myself on a coach to MattDamon'smouth (because early organisation didn't really happen and the coach was ten minutes more than the train but half the price and things aren't going quite as well as they might). Having wandered over to the hotel, I'm rung as I'm just outside (the three numbers I had all went unanswered; this I expected) to be told that they were inside in the foyer bar. Despite this it took ten minutes to get in because reception were ignoring the intercom (um, I can see you busying yourself with something else, so um, thanks for that, Miss Superba Customa-Surveese. I can also see Freecell reflected behind you) and the muppets the other side of the blinds couldn't work out there was this knocking sound coming from the window.

So dump bags in the room, go downstairs again, remember just how crass and homophobic some of the people from that uni were, be quiet, dread the entire weekend. Is the idea of two humans asleep in any vague proximity to each other really that outlandish? I'm also guessing that they've never twigged, not even with the all-invasive Facebook's help. Oh well, cloaking device on.

Fortunately I'm in a room with two unknowns, sharing the bed with the duller, who only echo back the idiotic comments. I endeavour not assess this in the light of my relationships with those I'd known for years; clearly I fail at doing this.

So a hotel bar, filled with what looks like at least four stag or hen parties. Yep, cheap rooms of multiple occupancy which don't ban all-male parties. So basically a confluence of glittering pink and a seething morass of checks. I'm there too late for a Stella (such calamity), so wait for everyone else to finish and head off into town.

I'd forgotten what provincial town and city centres get like. Oh. Pavements sticky with, well mostly, the discarded reduced entry stickers for various clubs and bars. And I've never been offered so many excellent rates for brothels and massage parlours (see Mother, not quite as screaming as you think).

And so because, it's downhill, we end our great meandering wander at AsAustralianAsWellington, which features a live DJ. It's dire, and this is from someone who, on occasion, can just get on with enjoying himself. Fortunately because everyone else has been drinking a lot more, this means they try to enforce drinking in others by buying them drinks, albeit glow-in-the-dark milk-based drinks (which came in a plastic test-tube with a screw cap four of us failed to open until someone did it with their teeth). Yep, viscous off-white fluid which fluoresces under UV around the mouth of every member of a heartily male group, that's not at all... um, yeah, considering how much effort you lot put into denigrating others you don't seem to be particularly self-aware.

Oh, and a shout out to the DJ: We have watches, or phones, or can read time off the till; we do not need you shouting out the quarter-hours. "Hands in the air, Wankabout Boremouth! Two fifteen AM, make some noise!"

Shout out number two: Hey, Mr DJ, put a record on, and then leave it. Do not play ready-made remixes featuring at least four songs, some of which don't really go to together and none of which keep roughly the same rhythm throughout. If you get to the stage where everyone on the dancefloor has given up trying to keep up and are all standing puzzled trying to work out what the sources are then you've probably killed the vibe. Oh, and maybe learn to make longer mp3s so there isn't a pause at the end quite so often (cue: let me here ya if you're from Devon! *tumbleweed*). Oh, and if you play one mangle of grime and that clears the floor do not keep it up for another two goes in case they change their minds; Dorset is not Dalston.

Put it like this, the stag, who grew up in Louisham, and so can dance to anything, and who was really rather drunk, and so was likely to dance to anything, got bored. I at least tried to keep going as long as him, though hit occasional patches of, well, not so much wake me up when the tune starts as wake me up when the rhythm starts. But there were plenty of old fogeys in our group (please don't point out that some are at least five years younger than me) who'd given up at the first thing that sounded like does-her-own-eyebrows-on-X-Factor would like it. Incidentally, on the latter point, just imagine anything she does as it would be done by Cher Horowitz; far more fun.

So everyone just got decided they had to be up in the morning and went home.

And then it was morning, with daylight and everything, and off we went straggled to breakfast, at a little cafe someone had discovered, which turned out to be a Withharpoons (which are much nicer places during daylight). Cue a battle to finish breakfast (um, guys I had the large and I finished ages ago. Are you not eating that? BTW does anyone know why I still have hollow legs? Or am I just missing some enzyme?).

Anyway, then off we went to Goa PE, which I didn't even know what it was. And bizarrely they didn't insist the stag change out of his gorilla suit, despite the myriad safety warnings (but then they did have the signed waiver). Basically, like Scouts, but with wires and padding instead of worn ropes and more rope.

Of course, it somehow came to pass that the part of the group I knew buggered off and left me stranded at the tail, waiting for everyone else to clear everything, and really, really not liking the whole concept of down. Shaking on a rope ladder doesn't make going up it any easier. And then you get to the top and hug a tree, which then lurches when someone jumps off. Oh my, what fun.

Although as the day went on I became more preoccupied with my complete lack of upper body strength and less with the doom at my feet. Though telling people not to look down when you're walking on a succession of swinging things that won't be under your foot unless you watch is a bit unhelpful. And it's probably quite a good thing that the zip lines are at the end of each round because then you get the whole nerve-racking thing, the straining and draining thing, just left up on the last platform, sloughed off with glee. Although I never quite managed to launch with the élan I intended. Usually it was a case of "Geroni... [clench eyes closed as the lurch of the launch bites]... Oh bugger it". That or just going with a very manly "Weeeeeee[oh, I need bigger lungs because this thing goes on a long way]eeee". Look, it's not like anyone was going to hear me, having just ditched anyone not gung-ho. Though that did mean that they got to see the end of the zip-line and wonder aloud how it was I didn't crash backwards at the bottom, pocketsful of woodchip (because I did it in Scouts, which didn't run to woodchip, just mud if you were lucky, so have learnt to put your weight on the line before setting off, learnt to weathercock, or if necessary to flick dementedly, although nearly all of them were just feet-pointed straight runs, breaking into Crouching Tiger air-running about ten-foot above where the ground actually is).

Anyway, so that was all gruellifun, with added glimpses of a gorilla dancing on a treetop wooden platform. Bewilderingly someone else in the group didn't know what I was talking about when I said the stag was an Ewok. Seriously, there's an English-speaking male slightly older than me who doesn't know what an Ewok is? I nearly pushed him out of the tree just to rid the world of this aberration, but he was clipped on.

Anyway, that was that. And then we went back to shower and change (or not in the case of one of the guys I sharing with, who hadn't bothered that morning either), and then back out to misordered calzone (the intended dosa place not really coping with the customers it already had). And then the restaurant enforced split was perpetuated as the other half vanished off who knows where, and so missed the karaoke joys of a gorilla performing "in the style of" The Monkees (he can't even have been drunk by this stage, and wasn't anywhere near as bad as he might have been, though had the distorting mask to save him).

And then the inevitable headless chicken herding cats bit, which featured, amongst others, a great place with two for one cocktails, the weekend papers on sofas, and Star Wars playing behind the couple who couldn't understand why everyone was staring at them, although the place did first steal our table and then actually pulled the rug out from under us, so we lingered over our melting ice and went to meet the rest, and so found ourselves in a sleek urban joint, which was all white leather and ever-changing lights projected on the wall, except they projected it down the length of the room, in both directions, so there was nowhere that didn't have bright pulsing lights firing into one's retinas, so the whole thing was like standing inside a fibre optic cable, complete with music that was mostly binary with a modem thrown in (we were enticed in by the free entry/free shot combo. Didn't even bother to claim the free shot).

So we headed out and downhill once more, and collecting free-entry stickers left, right and centre, and slathering my wallet with them because I'm not walking round with one on, and somehow managing to steer the group past Wankabout (seriously? You want to go back in there? You've just been complaining that the whole place is a succession of chav bars [though quite frankly, m'dear, you could be mistaken for one], but you're hoping it'll be better tonight? Um, ok, whatever, I suppose they did have some cute yet clueless guys there along with the bad transvestites, oh look, we've gone past it now. Shame). And ending up at the bottom of a hill at somewhere with an actual queue which you had to pay to get into, and which had different music in different rooms (how revolutionary), so I spent about four hours solid dancing [and probably singing along] to indie, cheese and the irredeemably camp, and don't even know what the other room (or rooms) had. But then the stag was there too, and it would have been rude to leave him, like the best man had, repeatedly.

It's amazing how curmudgeonly young men can be. How much sulking goes on. How much arms folded killjoying. How much concern for tomorrow.

Anyway, that was quite fun, finding myself part of the abandoned nub that refused to leave quite yet, give it to quarter-past if the songs are good. And still I got back to the hotel way before most others (I have legs, cold-induced impatience and no craving for a kebab).

Then the next day was paintball, with the children (we were offered the choice of playing with the men who had brought their own kit, or with the children and teenagers. We are not fools. We were also largely hungover [not me, but well, that's about par for me; it's the not keeping pace that does it]. Except some of the teenagers had brought their own kit too).

The bit about paintball I don't like (along with the cold, wet, muddy, bruisingness of it) is knowing quite how much each paintball costs, being able to see the coins flick out of the gun to bounce pointlessly of the opponent slightly too far away. So being me I made the ammunition I had last all day, to avoid spending a fortnight's food on small bits of yellow. And yet still had some quite good games (um, guys, and presumably gals, but it's hard to tell with overalls, if you keep getting shot from the right when you walk past a bush, could you maybe not walk past there again, or try to work out where the shooter is, because, well, to be honest, while I'm getting a very high, oh, you just don't learn do you, bah-bye, anyway, a high shot-kill rate, this is using up my ammunition and I need to keep some for the stag-hunting at the end, oh, if you insist, sayonara sonny, anyone else? Oh hello generic lemming-sheep hybrid number seven. Goodbye too).

So basically good at hiding, sniping, crawling, climbing, not so good at making swift headway, as demonstrated by standing up after the whistle to a conversation something along the lines of:
Oh, hello, was it you I was shooting at for most of that?
Oh, hello, yes, I got the one behind you, but just couldn't get the line for you. I think you managed to hit the safety on my gun. You definitely messed something up for a while.
Oh, I wondered why you'd stopped, but couldn't tell if you were waiting for someone who didn't know you were there.
Were you the one I who was over there just after the start?
Where? Yes, then round under that tree, hanging off the bank. Who won by the way?

So sort of quite fun, despite a firefight from three-foot with the stag at the end (the other had all chased after him and I knew he'd have to come round, so scurried over to cut him off, faceplanting spectacularly along the way, thanks to worn out Converse and flapping overall legs. Oddly the first shot I fired after that was mostly soil), which involved both our guns jamming and both backing off to make it fairer and more fun. And then he shot me in the neck, which hurt quite a lot, but didn't bruise.

Final tally: Minor bruises and grazes, though I've done worse than that selling cards (or sailing). Oddly it was only at the end that the stag revealed that under his overalls, under his cloths, he was wearing a variety of padding. Cheating, but understandable.

And then we all went home, finding in the process who is the most unthinking, who the most dismissive and who the most kind (how? Because those of us who weren't driving had arranged travel from the place we were told we would be, whereas the drivers were either happy to leave us in countryside a dozen miles from the nearest station or would maybe consider dropping us off at a station if it was on their way home, where we could all buy new tickets. One, who had the furthest to drive, went the long way home).

And so to bed, and photo editing, except I only took photographs of me things, so buildings, reflections, coast, because I didn't think having a camera while paintballing would be a good idea (though I was the only one of the group to see the sea [excepting the bit by the roundabout] the whole weekend despite only being a block over from it).


A really lovely account. I need never now attend a stag weekend - thanks.
Oh, but you'll miss out. Don't you want to try something approaching egg-nog served in a test tube in a hell-hole?

It was quite fun, there were just a few jarring sections too.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?