Monday, March 12, 2007

Late Nights, CAMRA, Traction

I am fucking exhausted. Ruthlessly fucking exhausted.

I went down to Brighton to see Monkey Dave straight after work on Friday. 24 hours later, and I was spending my Saturday night fighting to get home via a train that started life as a replacement fucking bus, only to get to London Victoria to discover the Central and District lines had been spirited away to Neverneverland for weekend repairs.

But I'm in a pretty good mood.

Work had piled up on Friday. The Boss Boss, or Capo Di Tutti Roger, left for the countryside the day before as he's semi-retired and doesn't much want to work anymore. He also doesn't seem keen to pass his business on to his son either, so Rog still comes in now and again to call me a London Peasant and complain that someone's taken the pens from his desk.

His son, the actual company runner, is currently skiing down a black run in Switzerland. So I'm in charge of the whole show, solo, the only one available to deal with those demanding, insolent, timewasting motherfuckers also known as customers.

I left the office at 6pm and ran giggling to Victoria train station. The weekend queue for tickets was unsurprisingly vast and, when reaching the machine with the faulty touch-screen, I was overwhelmingly thrilled to be afforded the chance to spend £25 (US$48/ CAD$57) to travel 60 miles south and back again the following day.

Monkey Dave was in the pub when I got to Brighton, and quite pissed. He's a Science teacher down there so I got to hang out with a bunch of other teachers, all drunk and sweary, and referring to their charges as 'Those Cunts'. At one point, Dave got very excitable when another Science teacher told him that Justin Donaldson had snogged Gemma Wilde, because Justin's a surly cool kid, and Gemma's a hippopotamus. I asked how old Justin and Gemma are. They're about fifteen. I reminded Dave that he's 31 and their teacher, but it made no difference; Dave hadn't been this animated since he escorted me to hospital with broken glass in my bottom. Dave then told me cheerfully that Michael Sanders greeted him the day before by yelling 'Morning Sir, you bald cunt.'
Monkey Dave replied, 'Thank you Michael, you're excluded.' Now he doesn't have to teach him for a week.

I wish I could do that to the people who come into the shop.

The follwing morning, Dave and I ventured off to the Sussex 17th CAMRA Beer & Cider festival, my reason for being there. True to form, I hadn't really paid any attention as to why I was going to Brighton in the first place and was somewhat surprised to find myself in Hove town hall about to get drunk at 11am.

We tried not to laugh when we got there. A stereotypical real ale drinker greeted us, all volumous patchy beard, thick glasses, and wearing a wordy festival jumper. In the main hall, the place was awash with the fuckers. The older members, mainly men, all had sturdy beer guts which were tightly encased in t-shirts from previous festivals. The younger ones wore Iron Maiden tops. Beards were everywhere, particuarly on the women, and I suddenly felt very very attractive. In front of us sat a Bore of balding pony-tailed hippes in matching t-shirts, eagerly poring over the tasting notes and scribbling in remarks of their own. We'd never seen anything so sad.
Half an hour later, we were doing likewise.

We started with a pear cider as I wanted something refreshing, so opted for Troggi Seidr without realising it was 7.1% until it was too late. After dabbling with halves of ales, the Golden Bine, the Saas Demi Wheat, and the Grumpling Premium, we were a lost cause. My notes in my booklet attain to this, writing intelligent comments next to the list of beers such as 'Roasty and verbose', 'Flirtatious' and even 'Saucy little bitch', meaning I was either very drunk or desperately in need of a shag, or probably both.

Yet by 3pm when we were thrown out, I was hooked. It was a marvellous afternoon, even if I couldn't walk. For £3 entrance fee, we'd been allowed to keep our limited edition Sussex 17th CAMRA Beer & Cider festival commemorative pint glass. I'd tried seven quite wonderful ales and ciders. And even though they'd run out of the raspberry wheat beer and a bitter called Mother-in-Law, I'd cultivated a taste for decent real ale.

So now I'm going to grow a thick beard and get myself an air of geeky arrogance.

I went to work on Sunday. But that too was marvellous as I finished what I'd left on Friday night and got myself to a point of No Work Outstanding.
And then today was the busiest day this year, on the only day of my working life where I'm likely to be running the place on my own.
And with more work than ever to finish.

But I couldn't care less. I'm dedicating myself to beer festivals.

Next Month ~ Becoming enthralled by 'Star Trek: Insurrection', learning Klingon, and dressing up like a twunt.


Huw said...

Hurray for CAMRA festivals. Perhaps my favourite bit about them is that by the end even the earnest and overly serious beer-spotters are head-over-heels pissed.

actonb said...

OK, slightly weird way to make me miss Sussex, but it worked... They do get fanatical about their beer down there. Especially in Lewes.
And next time remember to add AUD into your conversion parentheses. Pretty please...

Fussy Bitch said...

Working too hard, drinking too much.

You'll get an ulcer, you know.

VI said...

You'll have to make the trek to the 'original' beer festival 'Munich Beer Fest'. Just avoid the Haufbrah house, not a pretty sight watching an aussie scull his stein of beer, throw it back up in the stein, and drink it again.

isabelle said...

hahaha that made me laugh outloud.....a bore of balding pony tailed hippies....enthusiasts of any sort are a weird bunch. Wait till you have to deal with iron collectors, they are seriously weird. Definitely socks and sandal brigade....anyway, I'm glad you had a good weekend xx

la fille mariée said...

Beer. Mmmmmmm.

(Trying to post something uncharacteristically short to make up for the "chatty", soap-boxy comment on last post. Oh damn, ruined it with this explanation).

Little Bird said...

Ah CAMRA, we love you we do. Many a misspent afternoon has been had in their wonderful beery company. There's something about the amazing things they can make ale and beer from that makes me all nostalgic. Must look up when they're in town here again.....

luna said...

Aaaaargh not the Camra sect orgy!
You sound like my ex.He used to make me keep a stack of Real Ale Guides next to the bed for me to memorize.
I could recite them backwards.The names,the pubs,the malting strength,the rankings.
My job was to work out for his illiterate selfish self where and what to drink on the following night.He'd get boozed and I'd get a pineapple juice.
For my troubles he did give me the pint glass though.Remarked it would be handy for when he'd come and visit.

Joie de Vivre said...

Haha!! "GET myself a geeky arrogance" I love how you pretend stuff.

Freddy said...

There's cask conditioned ale in the north of the country too you know!
Not just in posy sussex

Love Beer Festivals, hate most beer festival goers with their tasting notes and serious faces.

fwengebola said...

Huw ~ Yes, yes, "overly serious", that's exactly spot on.
Like any 'niche' enthusiast, mind you.
Act ~ I had no idea there was this netherworld of ale funkery down there. And what is AUD?
FB ~ Hnnng, nnng... that's what that pain is. Oh dammit.
Vi ~ Funnily enough, Munich was discussed in earnest when we all went to that beerhall last month. And nice image, thanks.
Is ~ Well exactly re: enthusiasts. But why would anyone want to collect iron?
LFM ~ That was your contribution? I looked up the exchange rate for you!
LB ~ I really can't tally your Hed Kandi persona with attending CAMRA festivals. Still, I feel I've discovered a new and exciting way to get legitimately drunk in my sensible thirties.
Not that I needed a reason.
Luna ~ He sounds like a good bloke, in fairness.
Albeit probably with a beard.
JDV ~ Are you suggesting I'm arrogant and geek...
Oh, ok.
Fred ~ I didn't realise I'd marginalised the rest of the country but if it makes you happier, I'd go to a do north of Watford.


luna said...

Beard?Huh!He wished,but the 2 whiskers duelling on his chin wouldn't play ball.

Actonb was made Miss Sussex?
Pics please!

la fille mariée said...

I actually really appreciated you doing the Canadian exchange rate thingy for me. It made the whole story meaningful for me. In fact, it gave meaning to my empty life.

Better, ducky?

Mmmmm. Beer.

fwengebola said...