Agh, Mother's Ruin. Cursed fiend with fury fraught indeed...
So... Saturday, me, TSB and our friend Mel caught the train to the deep south for The Rognon's "gin tasting". Gin's probably not my spirit of choice but I'm certainly not averse to a nicely mixed G&T (preferably by someone other than me - I always make them too strong), so I was looking forward to comparing different varieties. TR picked us up from the station and was in fine form, pointing out that all had been blue skies before we arrived, trailing dirty rainclouds in our wake. In fact, it was rather lovely getting gradually drunker in TR's light-filled living room, listening to the rain against the windowpane and watching a nearby copse of trees (a remnant of Lobb's Forest, apparently) swaying in the wind. And eating pie. Mmmmm, pie...
We brought a bottle of Blackwood's ("handpicked in Shetland") and started with that. It was delicious, quite fruity but perhaps a little subtle for me. Then moved onto Plymouth, Tanqueray (still my favourite, I think), Gordon's... At one point, I decided I needed a break from all things ginsome and moved onto champagne. The healthy option.
Mel's American, and confirms that, by US standards, quite a few Brits would be viewed as alcoholics. I'm pretty sure me and TSB would; we love our booze, especially when it's good quality - and TR's gin party was fuelled by good stuff. I suspect that's the only reason I don't feel horribly hungover today. That and the fact that we've stuffed ourselves with an excellent value Sunday roast at the Oval Lounge. With a cheeky wee Pinot Grigio.
Ah well, we've got the working week to atone.
We'd tentatively planned to hop on the train back to London in time for Duckie. TR hummed and hawed about joining us but, in the end, decided not to. That was the sensible choice. The insensible choice was to pitch up at the Vauxhall Tavern ready-sozzled after an afternoon's gin-guzzling, and that's what we did. It's never a great idea to arrive at Duckie already drunk but, in the course of the one-and-a-half-hour train journey, we managed to convince ourselves we'd sobered up. Dear reader, we hadn't.
I'm a sociable drunk, by and large. Last night, I was in full I Am In Love With The World mode, and found myself chatting to all and sundry, including a particularly elegant lesbian couple who were sipping champagne ("cava", they said, dismissively) from an ice bucket perched on the edge of the stage. One looked like Sharleen Spiteri (although she bridled when TSB remarked on this) and the other like a slimmer, better-dressed Beth Ditto. Ms Ditto hailed from Ayrshire, and seemed to have taken a shine to Mel (who, although straight, is very lesbosocial). They left somewhat abruptly, hopefully not as a consequence of Mel's relationship-wrecking dykonicity...
It was a classic Duckie, albeit without Amy again. Guest host Scottee (who I reckon works better as host than actual cabaret act) was somewhat unkind about CelebAir - it's candyfloss but I quite like it - and I do wonder whether Amy's missing Duckie. I don't think she's ever been consistently absent for such a long period. Makes me realise how much commitment the Duckie Six put in over time. Simon was particularly resplendent, in canary yellow jacket and three-quarter trousers - making me feel positively dowdy. Must make more of an effort to dress for Duckie.
The Readers Wifes were sterling as ever. We really do take them for granted. High point of the evening, for me, was Paper Planes which, since I discovered it via Chelsea Kelsey's excellent blog, feels like my own secret aural gemstone. It's impossible to listen to it and not do shooty-gun motions at the chorus. Me, TSB and Mel gave full vent to our inner Sarah Palins, gunning down every moose and bear in the joint (and there were many of both).
Intriguing cabaret. First act was one Buggerchops, a yellow-eared fellow who sang a number of songs, including a notably instructive piece entitled The Best Hepatitis Yet. Actually, STDs was the theme throughout, with such detail that I wondered whether Buggerchops himself came from a medical background. Catchy, well-written stuff with a music hall vibe - do visit his site and have a listen. Hugely enjoyable.
There was a sort of buskery thing going on too, in the nearby railway arch/bypass, something Bob Dylan themed, I think. They later came in an performed one song on stage. It was okay but, after Buggerchops, nothing special (or maybe I was just too gin-addled to appreciate them).
Cringey Oh God Did I Really Do That Moment: I have a slightly murky recollection of scaling the DJ booth at the end to burble some sort of incoherent "I love yous, yous're my besht matesss" dribble at the Readers Wifes. Oh dear.