Pre-university booze ups in a mate’s ‘free house’ taught us all we know
Now we go to bed at 10am, not 10pm
Can you remember your first party? And I’m not talking about the sixth birthday of the kid from your swimming class with the perpetual nosebleed that you only went to because your mum bribed you with a McDonald’s as long as you didn’t moan for an hour. Nor am I on about the one in year ten at that girl in the year below’s house when your mate put his hand through the neighbour’s greenhouse after strawpeedoing a 70cl of whiskey. No no, I’m talking about a decks in the kitchen, bar out the back, K-holes in the bath type shindig.
There’s an alarming number of people convinced that getting wrecked at any point before leaving school was their drinking glory days, as if getting chased by a bored PCSO, arguing with your best mates then walking home covered in spew was the epitome of the halcyon days of yesteryear. I mean it’s funny in hindsight, but if that constitutes a fond youth defining memory then you definitely need to get out more. That, or you’re a fresher during a rugby initiation and envious because spewing down yourself is the least disgusting thing you’ll be doing tonight.
Don’t get me wrong, those days were great, drinking way before you know how to handle it teaches invaluable life lessons. Once you’ve humiliated yourself in front of everyone you know (and everyone has done this) you’ll very quickly realise that you’re not the special little prince you might have once thought you were. Fucking Cersei Lannister would have struggled with the walk of shame into the playground on a Monday morning, following the previous Saturday when your dad had to pick you up because you passed out in someone’s garden and pissed yourself.
It’s also true that our memories will have fogged in the intervening years so let’s remember that parties back then were no Project X . They took place in semi-detached bungalows at the bottom of sleepy cul-de-sac’s. There were no swimming pools, and if there was someone would have swiftly thrown in a prized family heirloom. There were no souped-up cars adorning the drive either, just someone’s mum’s Citroen Picasso with the windscreen wipers pulled up and a penis drawn in garlic mayo on the boot.
Uni parties however are a whole different beast. Whereas the brevity of parties in the past meant that you had to cram everything into like, a three hour window, now, sans both parental repercussions and anything approaching moral responsibility there is absolutely nothing stopping you from going as hard as you can physically manage.
Gonna call up PartyOn? Good idea, we’re running out of tins. Getting another bag in? It’s half seven in the morning, going a bit far now. Just gonna power through to tomorrow night? You won’t in any way be regretting that the next evening, when during pre-drinks you go an unspeakable shade of pale and proclaim to your slightly disturbed but amused friends that you’re thinking of dropping out to become a DJ. Of course, this is an exaggeration. If you went at every night like this you’d crash and burn faster than you can say ‘MXE-bender-induced breakdown’. And no one wants that.
So, although demonstrably less restrictive, university partying doesn’t contain the same levels of enlightenment that it did when we first began. How can it? Time’s arrow has effectively rendered us black belts in getting fucked up. Seeing every one of your school peers in one tiny enclosed space, all behaving with insane levels of disreputability is burned into my minds eye like a flagon-shaped lightbulb. Witnessing the most popular girls in school doing vodka shots in their eyes or dudes now with careers and in long term relationships that didn’t stop until the sun was up and the booze was dry. Everyone was on a level playing field, still learning their craft, and I have no doubt that the fifteen year olds of today, with their roadman ambitions and thirty quid fades, aren’t going to experience any of this essential humiliation.