So Friday comes rolling around looking all smug and I decide it’s time to take the gloves off and go a night with Edinburgh’s finest. I am clearly not ready.
I started at the Tron, the place with the cheap Best lager. Met a Zimbabwean, and told him I knew a few of them. He laughed. I proceeded to name every Zim school I knew with contacts from each. I got the “yea I know them, but they were a bit before my time”. O shit. I’m in that age group now aren’t I? Having never been too old for something, I had another drink just in case some maturity came creeping around.
Dropped into Whistle Binkies since there was a Thin Lizzy tribute band. Had a drink. Realised I didn’t like Thin Lizzy as much as I thought. So I decided to mosey on down the lane. I, in a rare bit of sanity for the evening, avoided the Hive (Edinburgh’s real DropZone) and headed to some goth place called the Banshee Labyrinth. This is Aandklas’s moody teenage daughter and is a bit on an acquired taste, even for me.
It’s set in the haunted vaults of Edinburgh and the stories are even more frightening than the patrons. Dark and dingy, with all the haunted paraphernalia that goes with it. But it had a nice vibe and I seemed to have been wearing enough black to blend in. A very pushy promoter tried to convince me to pay £5 go to the stage downstairs were some metal band was playing. I said I needed at least another drink. He understood.
I checked Binkies one more time, as they charged after midnight too (clearly not a Judas Priest tribute act then). They branched out with a few of their covers, but after “the Boys Are Back in Town” I heard the Banshee calling. She is a cruel mistress indeed.
So I pay the ferry man and cross into this cave were a handful of people are watching two middle-aged people alternate screaming into a microphone. It was nice, but not exactly catchy. I got lost through a maze of doors (hence the labyrinth part I guess) and found a new bar. In my state, this was like Christmas. Same drinks same prices, but a whole new bar. How do they do it. I exclaimed my fascination to the bartender who had clearly been down this road before and largely ignored me.
Next thing I knew I was having a full on conversation with the bassist from the previous band about the gig scene in Glasgow. He pretended to give a shit and I pretended to know what he was talking about. I tried to South Africanise it and he pissed off. I decided that, in order to enjoy the next band, I was going to have to do what I had not done in Scotland yet: order a shot.
Now there’s a bit of a stereotype that Afrikaans guys can drink beer and brandy all night, but when a shot comes out it’s game over. I am English, but I appear to have been in Pretoria long enough for this to apply to me. If only I had known.
Tender- What shot you want there pal?
Rabbit- I don’t know, what’s cheap?
Tender- They’re all pretty much the same.
Rabbit- Ok what you got besides tequila? (as if this would help)
Tender- Well we have this thing called Black Death… (motions toward a bottle that screams Black Death like a- well you know)
Rabbit- Na that will kill me. How about a Jager?
So I take that shot and it all seems to go downhill from there. I re-enter the cave to find more shouty people. The crowd is smaller, but seems to be a bit rougher. Check the time. Night busses are leaving. Spent all this money, might as well stay. People passing out in fire places. Mini-mosh pit forming. Should I join? Don’t know the words. How’s my drink? Not sure. Maybe…
What I assume was Black Death. Or two.
There’s a knock on the door. I’m huddled on the floor. I wake with a severe case of “I’m better than this”. Do a quick scope. I’ve managed to make it back to my cousin’s place. Great. Although I feel I’m not quite where I should be. How did I get home? I investigate further. There’re pine needles in my hair. I’m rather chilly. I’ve made it back home but not quite. On further inspection, I find out the situation: I spent the night sleeping on my cousin’s front door mat. Bits of “welcome” on my face. Pot plants in my hair. Impeccably clean shoes. I like to think I made it home by some kind of Devine intervention, but judging by my end position it may well have been the Royal Postal Service.
This all runs through my head as I do and inventory check. Shit, I must have lost my keys then? Check. Keys are there. Later found out that they work, so the fault was not the keys but rather the Rabbit. Don’t tell me I lost my phone, I’d been so careful up to then. No, phone is accounted for. Wallet is there too. No money or bank card. Then I remember I limited the money and took the bank card out before I left. Having little moral high ground, I take this as a small victory. Then it hit me. O, sweet Mother of all things dear, don’t tell me I’ve lost my Zum-buk. I can’t get that for kilometres. No, it’s there too. I try to apply some to my freezing lips. Can’t get the fucking tin open. I wonder why they don’t just put that little tab thing that they put on Kiwi polish. Decide this is not the time. I try to open the door.
My cousin stands on the other side, having opened the door for me. “You just got in?” he laughs. I don’t respond. “Tell us the story” they remark. “I’d quite like to hear it myself” I should have replied, unable to be that witty in the moment, before sleeping it off.
It is at this time that I acknowledge how lucky I was. I was going to hold off the big bender until I felt I really knew the place or had made some friends. Turns out one of those things is true. But the big man upstairs seems to have better plans for someone like me on this little sabbatical and I vow to be more careful. Less of a vow, more of a bet. A friendly one.
I have since recovered, but have laid low and avoided the Labyrinth. As penance, and out of something to do, I’ve decided to volunteer to help out at some event for each time I do something like this. Google tells me there’s an all-day fun run for some kind of woman’s issue. I cringe, but investigate.
Thinks seemed to have worked out, and then I checked my texts.
Rabbit (down and) out.