Tuesday, 6 July 2010

You've bought it, now you must drink it like a man

Among the wonderful moments I passed at the Hop Farm Festival this weekend was waiting in the freezing night air for my sister at the exit to the arena while all the assorted drunks were driven out at the end of the evening.

We had got separated (never let them out of your sight) and I felt I mustn't go to bed until I had checked that she was alright. (It turned out she was asleep in her tent throughout.)

People were not allowed to take drink out of the arena with them. Rather than pour drinks away, already drunk people stood at the gates and attempted to down pints.

"You're encouraging binge drinking!" several protested. Still, they drank.

There was one wonderful individual there, a tall, thin man with a fantastic accent. Someone asked him where he was from. "I'm from Carrk," he said (my attempt to write the word "Cork" the way he said it).

He had an unaffected, laconic sense of humour and told the people who found themselves standing at the gate with him: "You've baaught it, now you must drink it like a man." For himself, he was ready to stand there in the freezing cold and take his time.

My investigations reveal that other Irish people make fun of Cork accents and people from Cork. I imagine it might get irritating if people talking in that accent were talking rubbish, but people talk rubbish in all sorts of other accents. To me this accent was pure music.

I was serving on one of the over-stretched bars during the festival. My only real regret of the weekend was one time actually applying the "Challenge 25" rule - you have to ask anyone that looks under 25 (at a music festival!) whether they have ID. Apologies to the young man affected, who was almost certainly over 18 but did not have ID, for turning him away. I'm sure that he would not be grateful to me for his lack of hangover in the morning.

But there's no time for such regrets. I must be a man: I've bought it and now I must taste the bitter consequences of my actions. Or, in the modern parlance, "suck it up".

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