Tuesday, 5 April 2011

I do...

April has arrived, the countdown to the Royal Wedding has officially begun, and whether you’re a diehard Royalist or full blown anarchist there is no escaping it. Brands, the media and entrepreneurs alike are all after a slice of the action (or should that be cake!) With everyone from LegoLand to PoundLand cashing in on ‘Royal Fever’ it’s the common consensus that the whole of Britain are planning Street parties, trips to London, and good old fashioned family gatherings round the telly to see if Kate's dress and of course much coveted barnett will live up to the hype. 

But has Britain really turned into a nation of pro-monarchy, corgi-loving royalists? Or is it all just media propaganda to fill the dreary news pages with something other than tales of natural disasters, the sorry state of the economy, and government cuts? 

According to a new survey from CitySocialising UK’s leading online2offline socialising network for young professionals, only 38% of Brits actually planned to watch the wedding. It would also appear that all this talk of street parties and picnics in the London parks under the big screens are a completely groundless as only 10% of Brits have made special plans to watch the wedding – Looks like Boris can call of the extra policing.
Personally ever since i watched Helen Mirren's portrayal of The Queen, i have found myself warming to the Royal family - Ironic given the very reason i have a new found respect for our Liz was down to her stoic composure in the face of a nation in mourning! I believe like Liz, that as Brits we should live up to the stereotyped image of the stiff upper lip and reserve any displays of emotion (or indeed affection) for the privacy of our own homes or at a push funerals and weddings -  and even then we're talking direct family only!
I believe the very purpose of the Royal Family If nothing else aside from the tourism they bring is to provide resolve and reprieve in the face of adversity and hardship, just take 'The Kings Speech' - who has ever been so happy at hearing they're a nation at war!??!!  I don't think it's any coincidence that the wedding has been planned for this year , especially given their 'thrifty' - we can cut back on still be happy'' theme! They are a family who have to put the needs of their country before their own personal interests (well maybe not Harry)  besides which i'm sure Katy was collecting dust up on that shelf.
As to whether i'm looking forward to it, If i'm honest, I can't wait - and it's not just down to the extra time away from the desk (I wont lie, it helps). However I think that in these 'uncertain' times when we're constantly being bombarded with news of unemployment, rising living costs and a complete lack of faith in our Government , it's come at the exact point when we do need  a reminder of what it feels to have a sense of pride and belonging in our Country. 
So Wills and Kate, I shall raise a glass - or several - to you on your big day, safe in the knowledge that not only have I got 3 days to recover but also that you will have united Britons and tourists alike on the streets of London for an assemble that for once doesn't involve smashing up banks, burning effigies of Nick Clegg, or hauling Fire Extinguishers at unsuspecting police officers... Although admittedly it's early days....

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Chim Chim Cher-ee

The last couple of days I’ve had to face my toughest challenge to date...The Weekend. 
It all started with an impromptu invite from a close friend. I don’t know what part of ‘’I’m going for a few drinks after work tonight for a colleagues birthday if you’d like to come” (loosely translated to “come and sit with randoms you will have no common ground with and make small talk all the while watching them down pints as you sip on your soda water”) sounded like a great way to spend my Friday night but for some unknown reason I took up my friends offer and thought it would be a good opportunity to dip my toe into the Bacardi filled pool that is socialising sober so went along to toast good old Dave on his 38th Birthday.
My arse hadn’t hit the chair before the realisation set in that I’d made a severe error in judgement, everyone was already half cut, double my age and laughing at their ‘in’ jokes while I sat on the side lines feeling as irrelevant to the group as Anthony Costa was to Blue. It's not as if i have no social skills, I can chat shit with the best of them pissed or sober, however I also happen to have the shortest attention span and little patience for those I find uninteresting or unbeneficial in any way. In fact it was the very traits that I’ve inherited from my father that could threaten the challenge he set for me. After 37 listless minutes I’d decided that for my first foray into this unknown territory I’d made a gallant effort so turned it in for the night and had all but written off the prospect of leaving the house for the entirety of February.
Saturday however was a different story,  for a kick off I didn’t realise how productive a weekend could be, I assumed the majority of Britain was in a booze fuelled slumber like me untill at least 12pm but as it happens the shops are open, the birds are singing, and there is actually a lot you can achieve before those bloody smug T4 presenters sign off for the day. I was bouncing round the streets and markets of London like a scene from Mary Poppins, if ever there was a time for Dick Van Dyke to pop up with a show tune this was it.

Getting ready to go out for the night and Instead of my standard bottle of Sainsburys £2.68 table wine (I swear it's right up there with Blossom Hill) and 3 Strongbows, I settled for a green tea, pro plus and longing glance at the bottle of Vodkat carelessly thrown on my bedroom floor. then the housemate (whose back on the wagon) and I headed out to Camden to meet some friends. I thought this would be a particularly challenging evening, mainly because anyone whose experienced Camden will know that even pissed out your mind you feel as if your one state of euphoria behind the rest, and I wont lie it got off to a shaky start.
I'd lost confidence in my ability to maintain a conversation relating to anything other than the reason I wasn't drinking, I'd happily of talked about that all night but I got the impression that with the constant texts begging for support, facebook updates about my progress and pained expressions when I heard so much as a cube of ice hit a glass I'd pretty much exhausted this topic of conversation.

However against all the odds and all my predictions it actually turned into a bloody good night. For once I can actually remember quite clearly how it transpired. I didn't wake up with that knot of regret in my stomach about what inappropriate remark I'd made or have to sing to myself just to concentrate on anything other than the memory of those dance moves I swore were cutting edge the night before. No pieces of jewellery left in precarious places, no treck across London to reclaim jewelery (in the highly unlikely event I remember where precarious place was), no miscellaneous calls or texts at stupid O'clock, No shady character to kick out of your living room (or worse),  no banging headache, no bin full of vomit and about £40 better off to boot!!

I honestly think I could get used to a sober existence.....

Tuesday, 1 February 2011


"Ooops"  - Just one little word and yet so much significance behind it. It was the word I'd been expecting since about 7pm yesterday and yet didn't think for a second it would come so soon. A single word that has thrown up another hurdle along my path to the continent and made my struggle that little less bearable.

To put it into context for you: 
Yesterday I confided in my house mate and closest ally, my 28 day plan for prohibition and asked for her support in helping me through. ''It's a Brilliant idea" she professed "Infact I think I will join you". 

I knew this was a terrible idea from the start and advised that she reconsider. In theory we would help one other through, making cups of green tea, planning cultural trips out, coffee dates, sessions at the gym and anything to stay distracted. However in reality I knew that what it really meant was when she failed, which she inevitably would, it would make it that much harder to justify to myself the reasons to continue my plight! 

Regardless of this I agreed it may be useful to have someone suffer with me and share in my pain. Until....

Today, on this the first day of our dry run I received an email from said housemate. She had been offered an invitation to attend a work Jolly complete with FREE BAR. Immediately the warning lights started flashing and deep down I knew it was the beginning of the end for my accomplice. Nevertheless part of me still wanted to believe we were in this together so I listened to her when she told me she was strong and she'd come out fighting on the other side and it made me feel good that together we could get through anything. 

So while she swanned off to entertain her colleagues I sat down here tonight to write to you all about the power of friendship and my optimism for the next few weeks and how together we can achieve whatever we set our minds too...and then my phone flashed up - message from housemate. One solitary word..."Ooops."

Monday, 31 January 2011

The eve of abstinence...

After spending yet another Sunday lying on the bathroom floor, shaking uncontrollably, vomiting into the porcelain thrown (and my hair a little bit),  and wishing the gods would strike me down and end my agony I made a vow to myself. Never again I promised, next time it would be different. No mixing drinks, taking drinks off strange men, no downing shots, no necking pints in under 30 seconds. From now on I will be in control and I will never again put my body through the ravages of a 12 hour bender.

Don't get me wrong, I've been there before and no doubt will be there again, however this time was different..... When I finally crawled back into my bed and regained some conciousness my worried father came to me and asked me to do him 1 favour, just promise him 1 little thing which will help him sleep at night. 
 Reluctantly I enquired further... ''Please, please go 1 month without drinking, just 1 month thats all i ask!"  and in return for this one little thing ....an all expenses paid trip to the European Miami that is the Costa Del Sol!!!! 

After much internal debate I decided the obvious thing to do of course would be to lie. I live away from home there's no need he even find out. In fact I was half way to changing my Facebook privacy settings when I remembered the concerned look etched across his face, that topped with my sheer fear at the thought of entering a pub or going to a gig without a bevy came with the realisation that if I can't got 28 days without a drink then I have issues worse than I first could have imagined. The comedown helped as well.

So there it is, February is going to be a month of sobriety for me (it helps it’s the shortest one) I've decided to blog about my experiences of a sober existence  mainly because I need to feel the pressure that people actually will be keeping track of whether I succumb or not and also to prove to the girls back home that it can actually be done. No doubt the blog will get swerved off before my sobriety does, but it was a nice thought. So for those that know me and will be socialising with me this month I would ask that you all give me your support through this difficult time, do not let me succumb to peer pressure, don’t mock me, or ridicule my choice of lifestyle and at all costs do not offer me a drink.

So on this final night sat at my computer, I raise a glass to you Dad!!! 28 days and counting.... Viva Espana!!!