I’ve always had an odd relationship with alcohol.

It’s like two people who haven’t seen each other for a while meeting up, spending an evening in each other’s company and then parting, remembering why it was that they hadn’t seen each other for so long.

Photo: a round of drinks.
A moderately-priced round of drinks at the Leeds Trinity University bar.

We all have our drinking stories. My last few involve reunion events at Leeds Trinity University. What happens in Horsforth…

In the early days I didn’t know what sort of drinker I was, so I started with cider. Two pints and I would fall over. As I used two say: two pints and I’m anyone’s, three pints and no-one wants me.

We used to have a regular set of pubs we’d drink in on a Friday night, sometimes followed up with a kebab before heading home. This turned into just one or two pubs, partly because we were growing up and getting more sensible, partly because it was getting harder to hoik around years-worth of lager and kebab fat.

Believe it or not, I only drank my first pint of bitter in a pub in 2007. Before then it was lager (Beck’s, mostly) all the way, with a decent Merlot or Rioja when out dining. But my drink of choice is rum & coke, partly because it goes straight to my liver, not my head. Not Bacardi, but a dark rum. Definitely not that spiced variety. And then I discovered rum-based cocktails, such as the Zombie. Mojitos are nice too, especially of you don’t like your bar staff much (they’re a lot of work).

Apart from the rum, that was then. Now, I try and avoid gassy lagers off tap, for obvious reasons. I’ve switched to mainly white wine from red, although this was prompted by an event a couple of years ago when I went to an 80th birthday party and we all had a half-bottle of red included with the meal. Somehow1 I ended up drinking a bottle and a half of red, then had to make my way back home from Huddersfield to Leeds, walking in a not-very straight line near the river at midnight. The day after was a mostly a washout.

Let’s be honest; nothing about me being drunk is going to make me more appealing or interesting. And nothing about everyone else being drunk is going to make me more appealing or interesting to them2. Plus, being drunk interferes with my unnatural habit of making sure everyone is safely on a bus, on a train or in a taxi at the end of the night.

And, my hearing starts to go after a while, a problem I’ve had throughout adulthood. Even if you’re standing next to me I can’t always hear, which is a problem for a man with my looks, as intelligent conversation is the only chance I have. And over the last 20 years or so, the sound systems in bars and pubs have got louder and as for clubs… forget it.

So if we’re out, and you see me order a glass of water with some lemon; I’m not ill, nor trying to sober up. I just don’t like what else is on offer (company excluded).

  1. I know how, you could guess who, it’s not relevant. []
  2. There was that one time, but we only talk about it if absolutely necessary. Actually, two times. Possibly three, I don’t always pay attention. []