Ollie's Modern Life #41

Ollie Peart goes booze-free at two big events and finds smug enjoyment in his sobriety


I’ve just been to a wedding where I couldn’t drink booze, and it was quite the experience. Weddings, as we all know, are events which unless you’re the bride, the groom or their immediate family, you feel an overwhelming desire not to turn up.

They’re expensive, boring and especially when people who you’ve spent the last decade trying to avoid are in attendance, uncomfortable too.

Everybody knows this which is why at the earliest opportunity you ply yourself with booze, a much-needed lubricant to get you through this hideously expensive sickening display of affection, which is often interspersed with conversations with people who think 9/11 was an inside job and vaccinating children is just a big ploy by pharmaceuticals and government.

The addition of booze helps you glaze over bullshit spouting, smile gormlessly into nothingness and if the night does seem to be turning into a catastrophic disaster, you can be safe in the knowledge another drink is just around the corner.

So, what’s it like without booze? Well, first and foremost if you are planning on NOT drinking at a wedding, make sure you have a bloody good excuse as to why or hide it very, very well. Within three seconds of supping at a bottle of generic non-alcoholic beer I was set upon by a tribe of boozed up louts yelling ‘why aren’t you drinking?’ and ‘Why are you drinking that stuff, hey check this, Ollie isn’t drinking - huhuhuhuhu!’.

One person who I do not know very well at all thought it appropriate to question very loudly, ‘What are you, an alcoholic?’ laughing like a dribbling git in search of approval for his smart observation. Imagine if I was though? I’m not, but Christ if I was he would have looked even more of a twat.

The questioning was incessant, neverending. It was as if people thought I was better than them for not drinking, which I didn’t, but after hours of this boozed up nonsense, in this situation, I definitely was. I saw people I have respected and looked up to all my life turn into blithering idiots, falling flat on their face and one of them almost set themselves on fire. People quickly turned into arrogant, moronic goons, smirking like a contestant on the Apprentice and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there.

The younger generation seems to have caught on to this, turning their backs on booze altogether. One study involving nearly 10,000 younger people in the showed that the amount of 16-24-year-olds who say they never quaff the stuff jumped from 18% in 2005 to 29% in 2015. Binge drinking too is on the decline. This coincides with a growing trend in low and non-alcoholic beers, the latter getting me through my dry spot and proving unexpectedly delicious.

As the night drew on I started to wonder if I’d ever drink again. I realised that on the dozens of occasions I’d drunk with these people I must have been the same, because I never remembered them being this irritating. I didn’t like what I saw and as it happens I really enjoyed being level headed and in control. I was especially smug the next day. It was like I had some kind of superpower waking up with no sign of a hangover.

The wedding was one event though, maybe it was just a one-off. Not so. Soon after I attended an awards ceremony. It was smattered with the great and the good of the podcasting community with the added ingredient of a free bar. Things didn’t get as out of hand as the wedding, this was a professional engagement after all, but the articulate and well-educated media luvvies did also quickly switch to incomprehensible buffoons. I just watched on for most of it. It felt great.

But what to do with this new found knowledge? Well, I’m not giving up on booze just yet, no, I’m just going to change my drinking habits instead. I love a drink, but I’ve decided I love the drink more than the feeling of being a bit pissed and as a subscriber to this box here, you probably do too. So, from now on I’m all about quality over quantity. Drinking dross at a wedding is not for me and just because there’s a free bar, it doesn’t mean you need to drink it all.

No, instead the finer booze is all that’ll pass these lips from now on. Sure, there may be the odd day here and there where some pissy lager manages to find its way in, but all I want is to never be the bumbling twat booze can turn any one of us into. 

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