Baz. Me sidekick, me mucker. Me mate that hugged me that hard he pulled me into a stone pillar and sent half of my front left tooth spinning off on a trajectory behind the railway bar. Twenty something wasters, looking for adventure, alcohol and a quick fuck. I’m sure I could have been getting on something a lot more productive than this, like studying for a degree with the Open University? Nah, don’t think so. I was part of the society that would bear down on these establishments in the German city of Osnabrueck and relish in the music scene and dance till 6 in the morning. Walk away while the sun was reluctantly peeping its head over the 400 year old buildings to see what damage Friday night had wrought on the town. We had bodies that could cope with that sort of damage, metabolisms that ran like the engine of a Massourati race car. In with the poison, circulate the poison and sweat it out the next day – only to start the process at 12 noon in the NAAFI.
The old ‘adage’ – What makes you bad makes you better was one that got used a lot. Looking back I see how bad, horrible, nasty it would look if I were in the town now at the age of 44, but back then, at that age – this was normal. I had a drink problem according to all other societies, but within the framework of the military within that social strata of 20 year old single soldiers: this was normal. We were looking at this through 20yr old lenses, from our frame of reference – as normal as your family life may be now. We saw nothing wrong.
It was four in the morning and stragglers were smoking, chatting, kissing and groping their way to the taxi rank. The taxis would queue up for us outside the club and we’d jockey for a position to get the next one when the queue expended. That golden light was what you looked for, it was like the holy grail for us. It saved a 3 mile walk back to Roberts Barracks. We hadn’t split. Me and Baz were laughing at a pathetic attempt at a fight between two drunks. We were drunk too, but these guys were really drunk. A bit strange to quantify – how drunk are we? We could stand, talk and piss down the street in a straight line. We were probably inebriated compared to your standard sober german citizenry. There were other levels you could get to, other planes of existence and experience. Places where the frame of reference becomes distorted and stretched, and sometimes, just sometimes you lose the experience. When I say lose the experience, you forget. Forget. Hmmm… not like forgetting where your keys are, but ‘How the fuck did I get back home last night? And, why did I buy a family bucket from KFC?’