Well, sort of. I played a gig a few years back down on the south coast of England. Or was it Wales? I don’t remember the name of the place, but it was when I was living up in Huddersfield and I remember the journey taking six or seven hours. It was in that fuzzy phase at the height of Petrol Bastard‘s hardcore gigging and drinking career – which meant that most weekends found us in a different city, and every weekend found me drunk off my bonce – gig or no gig.
This particular show was some sort of joint birthday party. They’d paid us to play, and told us that Simon Pegg was going to be in attendance. I made a point of emailing the organiser to ask “Really!? Thee Simon Pegg!?” and he said yep – thee Simon Pegg.
We spent the whole six or seven hour journey getting drunk in the back of the van (of course) and we were a proper state when we arrived. This is fine, this was pretty normal. Tempers started to flare, however, when we were told they only had one microphone. This made things hard enough, but then we also had our set cut short. None of us were happy.
Instead of disappearing back up north we decided to hang around. Simon Pegg was due on stage right after us. He was meant to be judging some sort of talent show or something. Again, my memory of that night is flaky. As soon as he took to the stage we realised it was not Simon Pegg at all – just a very shoddy lookalike. In fact – I think I’ve probably got a bit of Simon Pegg in me (oo-er) and could have probably made a more convincing job of it.
I was drunk and pissed off. I was tired and cranky from the journey, and to top it all off I didn’t get to meet Pegg.
The party was being held in some sort of old theater, on top of a cliff right by the sea. There had evidently been a recent staging of Cinderella, as her carriage was sat next to me in the back stage area. It was the closest thing to me when truth of the Simon Pegg situation fully dawned on me – and so I took my anger out by punching my fist through one of it’s windows. I’m not a violent person in any way, so this was completely out of character.
I proper gashed my knuckle on the broken window, and bled all over the van on the long journey back.
When I look back I struggle to understand the person I became when I was drunk. I’ll never regret the times I had. It was fun, and I’d probably be a less-worldly person today if it wasn’t for the scrapes it got me into, but I’m glad that it’s over – and that I made it out relatively unscathed.
It’s actually been quite a week for reflecting, and for comparing the me now (1.5 years sober) to the me then (drunk, basically). Three things in particular have caused me to reminisce:
- I ran my first official half marathon at the weekend. It was at Silverstone, and it felt good to be a part of such a big thing – over 9000 people running for all sorts of different reasons. It was also a great chance to catch up with an old schoolmate that was running too. He’s had similar troubles with addiction, and he also found therapy in running. The old me didn’t care about running – especially not on a Sunday morning. My time was about 2hrs 15mins. I’ve got another one in 6 weeks so it gives me something to beat.
- I got an award this week at work for ‘Making Things Happen’. Any regular readers of my blog will know that workplace paranoia was one of the things I struggled with most when I was a drinker. The paranoia was probably well justified in a lot of cases too – it’s hard to reach maximum productivity when you’re perpetually hungover at your desk. This award was a great way to mark the fact that I’m finally over that period of my working life. It’s weird to think that I started this job over a year ago – yet have never once had to come into work hungover. I became sober before I even met any of my colleagues for the first time, so they’ve never had to meet Crazy Drunk Jon. Lucky guys…
- I said in this post that I was going to start writing my book, and I’m a man of my word. I now get up at 6am every day and write for 1 hour before I start work. It’s going to be a long process – I estimate the first draft will take me six to eight months to complete – but I’ve now finished the first chapter and I’ve got every intention of remaining disciplined until the whole book is drafted, edited, reviewed, re-edited, and finished.
None of the above stuff was ever possible when I was drinking. It would be wonderful to be able pour a drink, sit back, and marvel at my own progress over these last 18 months. One drink though – and this all goes away. All of it.
Isn’t it fucking bonkers that an expensive, nasty tasting liquid was holding so much back for me?
Isn’t it even more fucking crazy that I still, sometimes, find myself craving a pack of ice cold beers?
I sometimes wonder if it was the Simon Pegg incident that took me from party-drinker to proper-alco. I hope you’re satisfied with yourself, Pegg.