Last week, I told you about the roughest hen party in the history of mankind, and promised an account of my brother’s stag do to Edinburgh in 2012 (well, the bits I can repeat – Mum will be reading this).
The weekend started around lunchtime on the Friday, when I picked my cousin up to drive the two of us to my brother’s house in Preston. My cousin is the same age as me, whereas the rest of the group were mostly younger (as they were all my brother’s friends) and by all accounts they were more accustomed to heavier nights out than us.
On the journey, we shared our concerns about being seen as lightweights if we couldn’t keep up with their drinking, or if we started flagging by midnight, but came to the mutual agreement that we would just have to ‘man up’ and deal with it.
It was at this point that my cousin offered me a fizzy Chewit and, without thinking, I asked him how fizzy it was, because I was driving.
“Fucking hell, mate, you’ll need to man up a bit more than that.”
Fair enough, I deserved that.
We arrived at my brother’s house, and he introduced us to his friends. I had met one or two of them before, but not the others. I remember taking my brother to one side to explain about the stomach bug I had been suffering with during the week, and that I would have to take it relatively easy that night, if I was to be in any state to enjoy the ‘main event’ – which was essentially just solid, non-stop drinking – the following day.
Sadly, telling my brother not to drink too much on a Friday night is, I imagine, a little like telling Donald Trump to stop being a dick. He might smile politely, as if he understands what you are saying, but you just know that your words are being ignored. And this was no ordinary Friday night either, it was his stag do. I had no chance.
Sure enough, on the short walk to the train station (which was only about twenty minutes), we managed to stop at a pub and consume three pints each, and I immediately knew I was in trouble. Not in the ‘I’m going to be sick’ sense, but more in the ‘if I keep this up, I’m not going to make it home alive’ sense.
As we got onto the packed train at Preston, I suddenly noticed that my brother – who always travels light – had packed a holdall only slightly smaller than himself. In fact, it seemed that everyone (apart from my cousin and I) had brought most of their worldly belongings with them. Then, as soon as we took our seats, the bags were unloaded to reveal a hoard of alcohol so considerable, George Best would have winced.
There were only seven of us taking the train (the other two were driving to Edinburgh and meeting us there), yet between us we had:
Various cans and bottles of lager;
Two bottles of Jagermeister;
One bottle of Jack Daniels;
One bottle of Tequila (turns out, it does not make me happy);
One bottle of Rosé wine (don’t ask);
A cheap supermarket Red Bull substitute (to make Jagerbombs); and
A bag of Haribo Starmix.
Oh well, at least I could soak up some of the alcohol with a fried egg or a cola bottle.
By the time our train pulled into Waverley Station a little over two hours later, every last drop of alcohol had gone. In short, we were a mess.
Now, bear in mind this was the 5.00pm train from Preston to Edinburgh, so our carriage was almost entirely filled with either business commuters, or families going away for the weekend – two groups of people not usually known for their tolerance of feral, drunken morons on their train – so to say we were unpopular, would be an understatement.
About half way through the journey, a man approached us from the next carriage, and asked if we were on a stag do. Seemingly, our excessive drinking and the fucking STAG IMPRESSIONS we had been doing, had given young Sherlock a few clues.
Nice work, detective.
Anyway, it turned out that he was also on a stag do in the next carriage, and was being berated by his friends because he had only brought beer for the journey when, as best man, he really ought to have known that the groom didn’t drink beer.
As his punishment for being the most useless best man ever, he had been ordered to approach the drunken louts in the next carriage (that was us, in case you hadn’t realised), to see if a trade could be done: some of our spirits for some of their beer.
The short version of this story is that, rather than agree to the trade, my brother decided that they could try to win some of our spirits instead – by beating us in a series of card or drinking games. However, if we won any of the challenges, we would take some of their beer in return. I was naturally delighted with this suggestion, as I was just starting to grow concerned about our apparent lack of alcohol for the remainder of the journey (sarcasm).
‘Worst Best Man Ever’ gratefully accepted, and some of their group came and joined us for a bit, much to the delight of everyone else in our carriage (more sarcasm).
I can only remember one of the challenges, which was for each ‘team’ to nominate someone to try and drink a pint of lager the fastest. My cousin fancied his chances, and seemed relatively confident, but when the other stag party nominated ‘The Bear’, we all feared the worst. One of their group went to fetch him (I can only assume he had been chained to the luggage rack in their carriage), and a silence fell over our group.
We actually heard ‘The Bear’ approaching our carriage, long before we saw him. In fact, the Jack Daniels I had been gently nursing up to this point, started to ripple with each of his footsteps (not dissimilar to the iconic T-Rex scene in Jurassic Park) and I was genuinely scared.
When he did eventually fill the doorway with his giant frame, I honestly thought that Chewbacca and the ‘Rancor’ monster from Return of the Jedi, had got drunk one night in Jabba’s palace and made a baby together. Ok, my vision was blurred slightly – as I was crying at the time – but he was honestly massive. And very hairy.
However, it is often said that ‘the bigger they are, the harder they fall’ (metaphorically speaking, since if he had actually fallen the train would have surely collapsed), and my cousin won – rather convincingly, as it happens. Even more amazingly, this trend continued, and despite the fact most of our party could barely say their own names by this point, we successfully won most of Rubbish Stag Party’s beer, to add to our potentially life-threatening cocktail of booze.
It was at this point, that one of the other group asked if he could have a Haribo sweet and, feeling sorry for him, we threw one over – which he promptly caught in his mouth. Fair enough, it was a decent catch, but from around three feet away it was one you would expect him to comfortably make. It certainly didn’t warrant the overly enthusiastic praise that the rest of his party gave him. Even ‘The Bear’ looked up and grunted something in Wookie.
My brother’s good friend, who we shall call Ross (because, well, that’s his name), then suggested that he and I could do better than that. Unable to coherently form the words ‘no thank you’, let alone ‘I’d better not, old chap, as I’m rather intoxicated and it’s only 6pm’, it wasn’t long before I found myself at one end of the train carriage, with Ross ‘going long’ as he put it, towards the doors at the other end.
In order to try and get the correct trajectory, for the sweet he was about to launch directly at my face (along a packed train carriage of highly pissed-off travellers, don’t forget), Ross suggested I should ‘crouch down a bit’, and – again, unable to protest – I duly obliged. To be honest, I just wanted to get it over with, so that the angry people would stop glaring at me.
I knelt there with my mouth open, waiting to receive Ross’ sweet (behave), and all of a sudden he hurled it down the carriage at me.
I cannot claim any of the credit for catching it in my mouth, as I remained more or less motionless (apart from some uncontrollable shaking), so it was entirely the precision of Ross’ throw which lead to one of the single proudest achievements of my life.
Bizarrely, once I had successfully caught the sweet, the entire carriage erupted in applause, and Ross and I ran up and down the train, high-fiving and (if I remember rightly) hugging our new fans. Everyone seemed to have forgotten that they didn’t like us, and for a few, glorious moments, we were heroes.
Anyway, it’s safe to say that, by the time we literally fell off the train shortly after 7pm, we were extremely drunk. Dangerously drunk, in fact. Yet, despite this (and to this day I am not entirely sure how), my cousin and I managed to keep up with the others until around 2am.
We went to bars. We went to clubs. Some we stayed in for a while. Some we were forcibly ejected from in under ten minutes.
Can’t imagine why.
We consumed more ‘Jagerbombs’ than I could possibly keep track of (mostly due to the fact my brother kept trying to convince everyone that, and I quote, ‘they only sell them in trays of 8, with a beer chaser’):
We even persuaded one delightful bar maid (not sarcasm this time) to line up nine colourful shots for us to down. She did us proud.
I seem to recall I got the murky brown one (third from the right), and it was every bit as foul as it looks. It may well have been raw sewage for all I know.
Beyond that bar, I cannot tell you what happened. Not because I am forbidden, or because I think it might offend you, but because I genuinely have no idea. I have a vague recollection of going to a club, where my brother and Ross managed to clear the dance floor by doing some Russian Cossack dancing, and I’m relatively certain the same club had a cinema which was, rather randomly, showing Airplane! at 1am, but other than that it’s a mystery. Probably for the best really.
The main thing is, I survived. And, best of all, I survived without looking like a complete tit.