(I’ll have to burn my Minor Threat shirt and Rise Against CDs at this rate)
I make quite a big deal – not really by choice, but by the fact that I’m quite obviously the only person at the party not drinking – of the fact that I don’t drink alcohol, and the last drop of the stuff I tried was three years ago, when I was fifteen at a family Christmas party.
Last night, I consumed alcohol for the first time since that fateful day: I ate half a party ring that had been dropped in my mate’s cider.
Now, t-shirt burning, straight edge tattoo plans-abandoning reactionary nonsense aside, this isn’t really a big thing – I didn’t even drink the stuff, it only came with the much more enjoyable party ring. But I consumed alcohol, even in a minute amount, and didn’t immediately pass out, nor do I feel a sense of shame for living a life slightly less based on endless restraint – I’ve still not eaten meat, or consumed caffeine this year.
And it was this – along with the remainder of last night’s party that involved going to a club playing so-called ‘indie music’, which all basically sounds like shit versions of Bad Religion and Units – that has made me rethink the stuff I said in this post about clubbing, that things like pop music have their place, even if I don’t particularly enjoy them all the time. Now, I’ve refocused this argument on myself in an appropriately narcissistic way, and have come to the conclusion that it’s tiring, almost impossible, to constantly reject and go against what other people are doing, or enjoying.
Again, this doesn’t mean I suddenly prefer indie to punk, or Bulmers to water, but I think it’s possible to enjoy oneself by indulging in [stuff one usually wouldn’t like, because in all honesty, it does bug me a little bit when I go to a club and am the only person who doesn’t know the words to the songs. Today I went to the North London Derby, for instance, the big Tottenham-Arsenal rivalry game, and participated in the shouting of obscenities, accusations of pedophilia and willingness to offer death threats as the rest of the crowd, things I’d never usually do, but things I’m happy to do in the moment (incidentally, a couple of drunk Spurs fans mistook me for an Arsenal fan on the way home for some reason – I resisted the urge to respond to their vulgarity and idiocy by headbutting them off the train).
I like doing what’s not expected of me; sure there are obvious and important ethical and health reasons for things like not drinking or not eating meat, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t entirely motivated by that desire to be an individual that we all have, to set ourselves apart from the people we associate with as part of some paradoxical social construct, where we’re all simultaneously looking for acceptance from and conformity with a group, but also to be seen as unique and interesting within it; if I’m totally dull and annoying otherwise, at least I’ll have the not drinking thing going for me. But there are times – increasingly frequent times now that I’m going to clubs and other such fanciful things – where conformity is more important, and even more enjoyable, where you can put away your belief that New Order aren’t great for a bit, because everyone’s dancing to them and you don’t want to be left out in the cold (another ‘incidentally’ here – this isn’t ever the fault of the people around you, it’s more of a personal feeling of not belonging because of what you perceive to be your own ignorance or inadequacy, which is usually totally unfounded but we’re all basically pessimists when it comes to looking at ourselves).
My current solution is a good one: don’t drink, but behave in a more open manner around drunk people, and don’t listen to indie, but try to enjoy it in the heat of the moment. But there is a part of me that reckons that actually conforming to a group identity completely – hopefully by finding a group of people who fit me, because the other way around is totally never happening – might be fun once in a while.
So if you know any straight edge clubs in London that play Rise Against, let me know and I’ll buy us tickets.