Sunday, 21 September 2008

Star-Gin Troopers

So I'd been watching movies with my British flatmate for a while, when this one night he suggests we do Starship Troopers. I have a very ambiguous relationship with that movie. I kind of love it for many of the things that it does right, but also hate watching it because it's so gory and awfully depressing.

Normally these are just movie-nights, but my Indian and German flatmates were invited, so the Indian guy asks, 'Are we drinking?'

Fuck yeah.

We are going to purchase some vodka but I am busy with the application forms for the police service and I can't get out. I don't want to mooch my British friend's gin and besides we all know it tastes fucking abysmal if you don't dilute it into twenty-seven litres of mango juice or whatever, so I go and check what I have left: only two cans of cider. Might as well turn them into a power-hour.

Just before the beginning of the movie, however, I have the clever idea. I say, Dude, let's have a shot of cider for every time they say 'Sir.' Anyone who's seen the movie knows that this happens about two hundred and twenty million times over the course of the film, so the idea sounds like a blast. When me and my Indian flatmate begin, however, it turns out to be idiotic. For the first twenty-five minutes of the film they say 'Sir' about as often as I say 'thermonuclear biomechanics,' and when they finally get to the training scenes, they utter it so often and with such verve and gusto that we finish two cans of the cider in the space of four minutes.

Now what?, I ask myself, looking at my empty cans. 'I've got some gin,' says my British flatmate, jokishly suggesting that I'm going to keep doing the same thing with shots of gin. Obviously I take him up on it and I pour myself and the Indian a shot of gin.

The thing about gin is that it really tastes ghastly on its own. It has this sort of soapy backtaste spirited with a smatter of dirty frost. I take one shot and my taste-buds officially go on strike. (I guess that's to my advantage). After the third shot the Indian has to cop out because it is frankly beyond disgusting, and while I would do the same had we been watching any other film, in the case of Starship Troopers the movie turns out to be so goddamn depressing that I can't watch it without constantly feeling the need for a drink. We are at the scene when they undergo the first offensive and there are people dying all over the place and saying 'Sir' even as they die, so that by the time the battle is over I am lying on the bed alongside the scenes of the wounded like I were partaking in their agony. I am actually having fun though - the thing about gin is, it's really not that heavy a spirit. If I were drinking something like vodka, let alone absinthe, I probably couldn't stick to that rhythm, but things being as they are, I am downing like a restaurant sink. So much so, in fact, that eventually my British friend has to stop me. I accept it until he goes to the bathroom and I find myself with the bottle of gin accessible right next to me and a scene where fifteen year old kids are being sent into battle, and I think, what the hell. So I decide I'll try and see how many consecutive shots I can do while he is taking a piss. I have approximately just under sixty seconds, so I down one, two, three and by the fourth one he is out.

For that matter, so am I.

We walk out of there for a smoke after the movie was over and for some reason which has now completely escaped my memory I decide it would be a good idea to pull my trousers down and walk around the college in my underpants. The fact that I'm here writing it rather than in the office of the provost waiting for my turn to go in and bullshit my way through an explanation is testimony to the fact that no porters were around that night. After a while I pull my pants up and decide I am tired of walking and indeed of standing up, so I sprawl like a fallen star onto the grass and just lie there. I have some conversations with my mates while watching the leaves above me. Then I walk back to my room and after pondering whether to spontaneously throw up or not, I go to sleep.

The next day, I kind of wished I had thrown up whatever liquid hadn't yet been absorbed by my stomach. I had a headache which could have made it into a Virgilian epic, a backtaste on my tongue which felt like twenty lizards had taken a shit in my mouth and then used it as a cemetery for their oldest members, and most importantly, it was bloody half-seven in the fucking morning! I rolled over and tried to get that one extra hour of sleep I had before having to wake up and go send my police service forms (yet another reason I'm glad this blog is anonymous... I don't know if this story would help my application), but I couldn't. I just rolled over like a national government after a landslide election and couldn't get my brain to switch to unconscious mode.

I stood up and went to work. No love for gin now. Much prefer vodka.

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