Sunday, 16 February 2014

Slight Return

So I had planned on writing up another ale festival this week, what with there having been one thrown on Warwick campus this week.

Ultimately, though, the booze was by far the least interesting part of the evening.  I can confirm that peach wine does indeed taste of peaches; lemon and lime cider is functionally equivalent of poorly diluted lime cordial, at least until you start having problems moving your eyes in tandem; and chocolate and vanilla ale is not so much less than the sum of its parts than a stinking wasteland in which the parts have slaughtered each other with shit-smeared swords.

Mainly, though, it served as a reminder of why I thought so little of student-run events back when I was an undergrad. These people have no idea how to run a bar.  You don't stand chatting with your punters when they're backed up eight layers deep to buy a drink.  You number your casks so it doesn't take you precious seconds to locate the particular brand of booze one of your umpteen patrons has just asked for. You certainly don't put together a bill of fare that apes the standard ale/cider ratio found at CAMRA festivals and then act surprised when the youngsters all want to try the sweet strong stuff.  One couldn't move in the cramped SU for young gentlemen challenging each other to feats of alcoholic excess that even I thought imprudent. Twenty-five minutes is a long time to wait for a half-pint of mango cider when surrounded by idiot men convinced overindulgence at university is somehow remarkable, and idiot women apparently all too willing to indulge them in their fantasy.

On the other hand, these people know how to book a band.  What says ale-sloshing like rousing shanties belted out by a musical troupe featuring three tambourine players?  What, you think that's too many tambourines? Fuck you, you wretched folk-vacuum!  The only reason these cats didn't employ five tambourines was because two of them had to bank sticks covered in tiny cymbals on the floor.

And the songs.  Not even Metallica dared put so much grinning, bawdy oomph into "Whiskey in the Jar" [1].  Nothing shows dedication to your craft like hiring an actual postman to be on-stage - not doing anything, mind you - during some shambolic ditty about delivering packages to women.  Or waving plastic chickens around during your oh-so-clever song about cocks.  The entendres aren't exactly two-deep here.

Plus, nothing promotes international harmony like your Mexican drinking buddy grabbing your arm and shouting drunkenly "These people are pirates!" at you.  Apparently piracy is second only to football in its universal applications.  Long may that continue.

[1] That's a thought, actually: drunken folk covers of Metallica songs.  Until you've slurred Enter Sandman in a bad Somerset action, you simply have not lived.

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