Bit of a longer break than I was expecting from my Badgerly soapbox, due to not actually asking the people I was going away with for new year how long we were going for.
Five days without a computer or a phone call at a farmhouse on a hill in the High Peak on the Derbyshire/Cheshire border. Fuckin great. Daytime baths with a gin and tonic, extensive gourmet feasting, and steady drinking that just sets in.
Imbibingly speaking, if the Withnail game is a high dive into a shallow pool where you crack your head on the bottom, this was a slow wade out to sea from somewhere like Southport where after two miles you're still only up to your waist.
Still, our judgement was clearly somewhat impaired when we spent the final hours of 2004 writing dares and then putting them into a hat and picking them at random. There was some variety; 'Do serious full-on hardcore moshing to Susan playing her mandolin'; 'do a headstand'; 'snog everyone here'; 'go outside and moon at the horse'.
However, the most lasting memories come from either end of the dare spectrum, though peculiarly from the same person. 'Sing a soppy song - no speaking or silly voices, give it your sweetest best shot' brought forth an amazing song about Joseph Mary Plunkett, one of the leaders of the Irish 1916 Easter Rising, who married his sweetheart he night before the British executed him.
The same person who had moved us with such a beautiful poignant song later drew 'fake an orgasm'. A combination of intoxicants conspired against him, as both the handwriting and the power of comprehension were poor and it was misread as 'fuck an orange'.
We instantly knew this was a much better undertaking, and to his credit our Irish rover went into the kitchen and came back carrying an orange where no orange should ever be carried, doing so with a greater degree of subtlety and dignity than you'd have thought possible.
As is traditional, we sang Ace Of Spades at the turn of midnight, then burned the lyric sheet for good luck. We then went out and looked down from our hill northwards where, six miles away, the plateau of the Manchester conurbation begins. The shimmering orange lights were alive with thousands upon thousands of fireworks pricking the darkness, right to the horizon. We watched in psylocybin glee and I smoked a big fat football manager style cigar.
Indeed, the psylocybin supplanted the alcohol for the rest of the evening. So it was that we ended up with five of us under a single bed at about 2am. This is made more odd by the fact that five people couldn't fit on a single bed so surely they shouldn't be able to fit under it.
We giggled and gurgled there until realising that we'd only ended up in the room cos one of our number wanted to go to sleep, and it's not helping having five people lying under her bed thumping away seeing if it's possible to do that Kill Bill Vol 2 punch-your-way-out-of-a-coffin thing.
New year's day saw a big load of proverbial cobwebs blown out by a walk along the River Goyt. Refreshed, rotund, and returned to your screens; a splendid 2005 to you from the Bristling Badger.
A morning in court with the Heathrow defenders
10 months ago