Friday, September 17, 2010

vs the World

God damn it Lee-Roy!

Seriously. Oliver, John, Lee-Roy and myself were sat at a table in the all-you-can-eat dining hall enjoying some banter (barn tare if you're English) when John received a message. Max had realised his licence could be misinterpreted by Americans, changing his birthday from October 5 (5/10/89, British date) to May 5 (5/10/10, the wrong way). Both he and Michael decided they'd give it a go, but I was reluctant to tag along.

Being the wisest, maturest and best qualified of the group, Lee-Roy said "I don't want to pressure you, but we'll only go for one beer". I  thought I could trust him, given his reputation for smoke-bombing nights out and bailing early. I agreed to go out for 'one', got my jacket and met everyone at the bus stop.

We entered an Irish Pub, with everyone getting their identifications checked before Max. He showed his licence and his student I.D. and was in. We all did our best to hide our grins at outsmarting the system, but as soon as he sat down a guy comes over, taps Max on the shoulder and asks "Are you Max?" The colour washed out of him, but the guy said they were in the same politics class and the crisis was averted.

Max went to the bar, ordering a pitcher of Bud for the group and immediately forgetting the tip. Worse still, my one beer had just turned into rounds. The banter continues with the rounds. By about 5 the jukebox was playing Oasis and the security had come over to marvel over the way we spoke. As a collective we decided to leave, heading for Monkey Bar, Amherst's trashiest watering hole.

'It's $5 each, but I'll let you all in for fifteen", said the security. No thanks. We instead went to some other bar in-between (there are only 5 in Amherst) and continued the rounds. After a segue outside, we ventured back indoors where the karaoke was playing. John felt all-sorts of patriotism arising in him and requested Midnight Oil. Michael and I had consumed the requisite amount of beers to join him. Together we mumbled and groaned our way through 'Beds are Burning' as the room quickly emptied and the mics were turned down. It was hardly a performance to write home about, but one drunk guy at the bar was pretty excited by it.

We went back to Monkey bar before close, waiving the cover charge but getting the cream of Massachusetts' finest stumbling around and grinding anything that moved. The 15 minutes we spent there was enough, and given that every bar here shuts at 1 the party continued out on the street.

Max and I were suitably unimpressing some girls on the street, though he was willing to give up his jacket for one of them. Again, after some pressure I relented and followed suit. When they inevitably left, I grabbed my jacket, rolled down the sleeves and hid an American flag stolen from someone's lawn up it.

God damn it Lee-Roy, my one beer had turned into a whole night out.

The next day Michael and I went into Northampton. I bought a second pair of shoes, some comics and tickets to Wavves and Broken Social Scene. The city has a reputation for being the lesbian capital of the East Coast, but it took us a few visits to even realise that. But enough of that, after doing some errands Michael and I have seemingly got most of our shit together here. We even managed a skate in the evening. Word.

Lee-Roy and I went to dinner at the Asian section of the dining hall last night. It was a very civil affair and eventually ventured into the larger area for some coffee. Once in there we immediately saw John again. Not long after Alex, Richard and Sam joined, with Max not long before. Within a few minutes he had decided to go out again...but only for one right Lee-Roy?

The plan was to go into Monkey Bar early, while it was a restaurant and they don't check identification. It also circumvents the cover charge and is a pretty nice place with the lights on. Same decided to sit the adventure out, but Alex and Richard joined Max in some under-age drinking (though it's legal in their home country). We all sat around the bar, while the girls from Essex and Oliver sat at a neighbouring table, enjoying an under-age dinner. Matt, the birthday boy, joined us later on.

My cultural assimilation was complete with a few Bud Lights and right on cue, the lights went down and the place turned into a filthy nightclub. We stuck around as the girls in short skirts arrived separately to the baseball caps. Everything became super crowded and the dance floor became a sauna. Richard and I were pulling off the types of moves that should have seen us removed, while the locals around us just grinded (ground?) each other, because no one has rhythm.

Max had been using his London charm on a group of girls and it had worked so well that he was going to buy them all drinks. I started talking to one, and when she asked me to get her one she seemed shock with my refusal. I added, "it's poor etiquette to ask for a drink, you should know better." Jog on. Besides, this is an American college town, the next pleasant girl with a nice smile is only round the corner.

There was more dancing, more grinding, some banter between over enthusiastic Americans and time spent making sure the Essex girls were behaving. Lee-Roy made up for his arm twisting by buying a few drinks and being an absolute gentleman.

The group had thinned out by the end of the night and eventually it was only Matt, Richard and myself left. There was some street walk charming before Max texted through saying he had found his way into a sorority. We did our best to join him, but there was a drunk girl crying that she was lost. She had somehow managed to confuse Amherst's two streets, and eventually Matt had to walk her to safety. Richard and I did our best to high-tail it to the sorority, but the drunk walk had caused some time confusion. Everyone bar Max and his companion had left. Matt caught up, but it was time to call it a night.

God damn it Lee-Roy.

I'm moving rooms tomorrow. I'm heading for a hall named 'Lewis", so I have no excuse for confusion. My room-mate here, Joel (pronounced Jo El), is an absolutely top guy, but no one in this building talks to anyone.

The Tallest Man on Earth - The Gardner.
His name is misleading, but his songs are brilliant. I first heard him on a mix-tape made for me by my mate Brenna, a lovely girl. He is touring Northampton in a month and again, I can't wait to see him.

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