I want to take a moment to explain to you my favourite day of the year.
But before I go on, I want you to promise to hold your judgement until I’m through, because my favourite day of the year isn’t a bank holiday, or my birthday, or some commercialised national awareness day, like National Crumpet-Hurling Day, or Skydivers’ Bird-strike Awareness Week, or whatever (though they are no doubt worthy events).
No, my favourite day of the year is Drink Like A Twat Day.
Like William Wallace screaming until he’s blue in the face, tell your judgement to “HOLD!” and let me explain.
It all started in the spring of 2007, when my mate Kenny and I decided we’d had enough of our respective offices, booked a half-day off and met up in Soho with our friend Sophia for an afternoon of boozing on the Tattershall Castle, which isn’t actually a castle at all – quite the opposite. It’s a pub on a boat, moored on the Thames near Embankment, and one of the best spots for a beer in the sunshine in an otherwise shadow-strewn city.
Some of our, shall we say, less employed friends joined us on a whim, and suddenly we were a group, enjoying the sun when we might otherwise be working hard, in doors, among the droves of the office-bound (or not, as the case may be). It was liberating and intoxicating, in more ways than one. So much so, we organised a repeat event, on the last Friday of May, to which we’d give people more notice and try to make it a thing.
This second incarnation would become the annual event. And it needed a name.
Growing old disgracefully
Now… at this juncture in my story, it’s worth remembering that I’m so old, now, I have to use maths to remember my age. When I was twenty-five, I knew how old I was – it was easy. “Twenty-five!” See?
These days, I have to take the current year and detract the year of my birth to figure out how long I’ve been alive. Nevertheless, I was twenty-five when we started this thing, and at that age, “Drink Like A Twat Day” seemed a tremendously clever and witty name. It was as straight-talking as a Ronseal advert, and as care-free as a Doug Stanhope routine.
Now that I’m <does maths> thirty-four, explaining to people I need to take a half-day off because it’s Drink Like A Twat Day is a little harder to do without a grimace. But we’ve been doing this for a decade now, and I can’t very well change the name of an institution now, can I?
The thing is, I love DLATD. I love that my friends look forward to it every year. I love that some of them come up to London from the south coast specifically for the event, or down from Sheffield, or east from Bristol. I love that friends who emigrated to Australia make sure to tweet us pictures of them having a pint at some ungodly hour of the morning in uncompromising, synchronised twat-solidarity.
I love the excuse it gives me to Photoshop my mates’ faces into film posters. And I love their gleeful reaction to this dubious “honour”.
I love that the sun almost always comes out on that last Friday of May. I love the year I bet Gary that I could wear my sunglasses for longer than he could – and he woke the following morning still wearing his. Alas, I made it to midnight before succumbing to the lurid temptation of being able to see.
I love that one year, in a naïve attempt to accommodate more people, I suggested a different Friday and put it up to a vote, only for two dozen people to tell me “YOU CAN’T CHANGE TRADITION”. I’d created this thing – and people genuinely cared about its integrity.
I love that my mates have started bringing their BABIES along.
And I love that, despite being in Asia last May, I got to follow the London-based madness on social media, which MADE ME CRY TEARS OF LOVE-WATER.
Now we’re older, lives slowly drifting apart upon the inevitable current of marriage and parenthood, DLATD has become all the more important. Yes, it was founded on frivolous intentions, and its moniker is one of drunken abandon, but it’s the one day of the year all of my friends do their best to come together, unhindered by the familial commitments of the festive season, or the venue constraints of a wedding.
My hope is that, regardless of the crass name, we’ll be drinking together well into our 40s and 50s, because it’s my friends that make DLATD so amazing. They’re the reason we all get so excited every year.
And I’m proud to stand among them, our glasses of lager held aloft – a rabble of twats on a boat that never raises anchor.
In loving memory of the third instigator of DLATD, Sophia, who lived the mantra she so vigorously advocated: