“And we can do this until we pass out...”
-Tinie Tempah, Pass Out
It seems impossible for me, now, to visit Blackpool without doing something highly illegal. It seems that drugs of some kind will find their way into the excursion arbitrarily. Someone will always bring something potent, and I'll indulge. Before I put whatever it is into my body, I'll think to myself, what's the point of not doing this? I'll feel more regret if I don't.
As a result of this indulgence, the weekend will be a weird one. These parties are usually spectacular. However, something crushing will occur at some point that forces me to question the point of my existence. Something will piss me off eventually, normally once alcohol has entered my system. The drugs don't really bother me that much. some people feel great once they are on coke. After a line, I normally feel like I've drank a gallon of Red Bull without getting bloated- instead I'm a hyped up, arrogant cock. And once I'm on it, there will always be something absurd to document later- without fail. But it won't make me feel particularly good. Eighteen hours on, the tip of my tongue is still numb after snorting two short lines of coke, lining my gums with the remnants and then manically trying to lick the powder off the back walls of my teeth.
Vasquez turned thirty this weekend. About twenty of us trekked to Blackpool to celebrate, including a guy I went to primary school with. I hadn't seen him since he left in about 1991. As nobody in this group uses my real name, Primary School Guy must have recognised me, presumably from when I was about eight. How the hell he did, I don't know. If there had been a Facebook event for the party he might have noticed my name in the 'attending' list- everyone remembers my real name- but there was no such information on Facebook. I guess I've just got one of those faces that never changes, even after two decades.
Vasquez had chosen a Mexican theme for the proceedings; Hudson had aquired a poncho, 'tache and pointed hat for me so I matched my latin-styled cohorts, all wearing the same brand of outfit. He had also aquired a vast quantity of Columbia's finest that he divvied out into a series of short, white lines. Once we were fully Mexican-ised, the fifty was handed around and, one by one, we picked a line and hammered it.
Hicks, Ferro and Apone had cross-dressed for the occasion. I had driven down with my seniorita passengers, whose outfits were complete with wigs, dresses, stockings and heels. Hicks had found what appeared to be a porn DVD in the glove compartment of my mum's car, mixed in with Simon and Garfunkel and the Bridget Jones Diary Soundtrack. I'd like to reassure the world that none of these discs were mine. How the porn got there, and how long it had been there, is beyond my knowledge.
What followed was only a blur- I can recall a karaoke bar just off the pier in which I did a duet of Robbie Williams' “Angels” with another Mexican that I'd only met that day. We drank lots of tequila, of course. Half of the shots were administered by a Mexican with a semi-transparent orange water-pistol, spraying it straight into the mouth of whoever was nearby. In the toilet I found Ferro who, as far as I was aware, hadn't done any coke but was on the way to being steaming.
I dug into the pocket of my jeans. “You want some poppers?” I held out the bottle of Pure Gold alkyl nitrate.
“You fucking gay bastard,” he said. Then, “Here y'are, give us that.”
He inhaled the bottle's fumes hard through each nostril. I did too, and walked back out to the bar, chest stuck out like I owned the place. And maybe I did.
Later, back at the hotel, we pigged out on chicken dippers and oven chips, devouring tray after tray of steaming food brought in by the hotel manager. More karaoke followed as we were eating. People were dropping out, disappearing into the night. Hordes of us had taken over the likes of Brannigans and Tower bar (the latter of which was also populated by painfully hot air stewardesses), but most had drifted off into the night. Some had driven back home.
We changed into jeans and t-shirts and prepared for the clubs. Still drunk and wired, with the floor shifting under my feet, things were getting worse. Apone was dishing out his trademark cynicism- the banter had now crossed into spite. He's a big, dangerous guy, and my patience with him was wearing thin. He was drunk too, and the more he drank the worse his tone became. His exact words are a blur, but there was no point arguing. I walked out of the room to calm down.
Where do I go from here, I thought. He knows everyone in this group. I'm close to these people now. Ferro and Hicks went to school with him. If they had to choose between me or him, I'd be out in a flash. Do I address it? Does it have to come to this? Should I tolerate it? Am I just not getting the joke?
Within moments (and after another line) I was bundled into a taxi with Ferro and Hicks and Apone of all people, and I found myself in Walkabout, Underbar and finally Sanuk, a multi-roomed club on the Blackpool seafront. I recognised a few of Vasquez's friends who'd found their way there, but Vasquez himself was nowhere to be seen. He had a lot of guests to buy him birthday drinks. Maybe he just hit his limit.
I was stood sipping pineapple juice and trying to control my breathing when Ferro put his hand on my shoulder.
“What the fuck is that?” he asked, staring at my drink.
I quelled self-pity. “Dude,” I mumbled, “I just get a bad feeling every time...”
“You're with us,” he said. “Nothing's going to happen.”
“It's not just that,” I said. I'd joked about people wanting to batter me because I stare at them when I'm pissed. Not a total lie, but not the reason I don't like beink drunk. I paused. “I can't explain it.”
In one of Sanuk's rooms, both versions of Tinie Tempah's “Pass Out” played alternately between every other song to the point that his lyrics were just an urban, melodic mantra. I pulled some girl with an impressive cleavage in a prohibition-style gangster outfit, and she took me to the smoking area where her friends were dressed in the same theme. One of them asked me if I am of Asian origin, although not in those words.
I glanced down at my arms to check. “No,” I said. “No, I'm not.”
One of her team got a phone call. Their minibus had arrived. I swapped numbers with the girl that I pulled- it turned out she lives a few miles from me- and she mentioned something about sexual fantasies her possible bisexuality before kissing me and disappearing into the night.
The club connected to a takeaway selling burgers, chicken and pizza. I found my team in there, with Hicks laughing his arse of.
“I turned around and she was stood behind me,” he said. “I just looked at her and went, ewwww!”
“Hicks got lamped off some girl,” Ferro said.
“It was a fucking good shot as well,” he admitted, eyebrows high.
The next morning I awoke, ravenous, the tip of my tongue still numb from the coke, my teeth feeling like dentures: senseless, alien. A decision needed to be made, once I was level-headed. I was hoping that the giant fry-up would cancel out the booze and drugs, and I'd be cool to drive. Well... you're reading this...