Alley Bar’s “The Great Gatsby” party on Thursday was marketed as simulating the experience of a 20s speakeasy, but even before eleven, typical yuppie bar shite was playing instead of Duke Ellington, and the free-flow alcohol that had been promised was so impossible to lay hands on that the Prohibition experience seemed all too realistic. I had been expecting that we might perhaps have to queue or wait quite long to get drinks, but I guess I shouldn’t have assumed any sort of system existed at all – we ended up squeezed next to the bar for two hours with throngs of other people just trying to order, and only a small fraction of us ever got any drinks.
The whole exercise stank of a cynical attempt to harvest email addresses and mobile phone numbers when people signed up for the free flow, and then to drive up the profits of the other bars on Emerald Hill (almost all of which are owned by the same management) when the same people gave up on the free flow and bought drinks at these other bars instead, so as not to render their evening an utter waste of time.
So as much of a marketing/publicity exercise as I assume this was for Alley Bar, it spectacularly backfired on me. Deciding that we didn’t feel like enriching anyone responsible for such a shitty party, Ja and Ravi brought us to Bar Stop on Killiney Road instead, which I rather liked and will use for all my Orchard-area yuppie bar needs in future. Way to go, Alley Bar – your incompetence drove me into the arms of a rival.
In contrast, Home’s housewarming party on Friday was infinitely better managed, with roving beer servers walking around to replenish empty glasses. As a fairly regular patron, I didn’t feel too guilty about drinking deeply, but I hope some of the people who were just there for the free flow liked it enough to go back in future. It’s a good club and I’d like to see new faces at its various nights instead of the same bunch of us time after time.
I’d been looking forward the whole of last week to my firm’s Pupils Bash on Friday, because lawyers are such great party people!
The real reason was that free flow of drinks at Cocco Latte = FREE FLOW OF HOEGAARDEN ON TAP, YAAAAAAAY! to me. Sadly, upon arriving and bounding merrily to the bar, I was informed that the club’s arrangement with my firm didn’t include Hoegaarden as part of the free flow. Crushed, I therefore drowned my sorrows with 10 assorted shots of tequila and vodka, 2 beers, 1 vodka and lemonade, 1 JD & Coke, and finally a session in the obligatory firm Dentist’s Chair during which tequila was poured down my gullet. By the way, the only other two pupils I saw who weren’t afraid to drink and weren’t embarrassingly drunk by the end of the night were both guys, and all three of us studied in England. Go figure.
By the time Alec joined me at 11.30, many people had left, been brought home, or were stumbling around drunkenly outside, and no one seemed interested in staying to dance. Since I wasn’t in my comfy dancing shoes and was feeling a bit peckish, we left too and went to Newton for a sotong, stingray and Tsingtao supper with Jacob, Ian and Chiho.
A random mention of pool during supper got our hearts set on a pool game at 4 AM, and an Indian stall uncle (or it might have been the bengs at the next table, I forget) said to try Selegie Road, so off we went, to a roadside bar which looked as if it had been expecting 100 rally-car enthusiasts to show up but which was starkly empty. “In the absence of booze, I’ve ordered us 3 cheesecakes,” Jacob said, and they were good. I think we played 3 games, during which Alec beat Jacob, Jacob beat Alec, and I fell asleep halfway during my game so I don’t know who won but I certainly lost.
We cooked dinner on Wednesday night for various old friends at the hall. Alec made chicken rice, and I made Thai beef salad. A simple, fairly healthy, fairly nutritious meal combining the smooth mild flavour of chicken rice with the piquancy of the Thai beef salad.
If only such meal-planning and flavour-mixing decisions could be equally applied to after-dinner drinking with similarly enjoyable, innocuous consequences.
The available tipples, mostly what Alec and I had managed to accumulate and needed help in consuming, included wine, vodka, mead, Sheridan’s, whiskey, schnapps and absinthe. After consuming almost everything there the hall bar’s stocks of Bacardi Breezers, Smirnoff Ices and a bottle of Jack Daniels were also raided. In the course of the evening I consumed almost all of the above, as did most others present.
Suzy provided an extremely appropriate cocktail for this evening involving former residents of a Catholic hall. The Weeping Jesus involves absinthe, schnapps and grenadine. The green of the absinthe is the Garden of Gethsemane, and the red grenadine gets dribbled down the sides to represent Jesus’s tears of blood. The instructions on the absinthe bottle say you must always dilute it before drinking, given that it’s 68% alcohol by volume. I don’t think they really meant diluting it with schnapps though.
As I write this (it was written on Thursday) it’s 2.32 pm. As of an hour ago, Chris was still in bed. Alec has taken some Resolve, and is now just about capable of vacantly watching old episodes of Jeeves and Wooster. And I am listlessly trying to tear myself away from this random typing and back to civil liberties and the responses to terrorism.
Forget one party rule, the fragility of civil liberties and the ridiculous distortions of the law of defamation to silence political opposition, the greatest travesty I can point to in Singapore today is that I just paid S$6.84 (something like £2.50!) for a HALF pint of Guinness (at Dubliners, which was nice, but certainly not like any of the pubs I went into in Ireland, in that it was spankingly new and comfortably empty and no one was drunk). How is Singapore going to succeed in its drive to recruit foreign talent if it is unwilling to fulfil the most basic needs of the decadent West?
Note to self: When very stressed at night grappling with the uncertainties of criminal law and the need to pack up room junk by Thursday morning or face the wrath of housekeeper nun, do not search for answers in vodka jelly.