Go Sober – Day 27

October 27, 2013

I am on the verge of opening a Zero Tolerance Cobra, or some such nonsense. Zoe has just asked me if I fancied a cucumber and radish smoothie. And outside the wind howls.

Under normal circumstances the threat of an oncoming storm would be a good excuse to just go ahead, shut the windows, and drink and drink and drink. But these aren’t normal circumstances. This is my 27th day of being sober and I think, at long last, I am starting to suffer from delirium tremens.

This is all being done to raise money for Macmillan cancer Support. And so far, me and Zoe not drinking has led to a lot of very generous people (some we know, some we don’t) giving £700 to the charity. That’s fantastic. And what’s more, it’s all been done with such trust. Unlike a Marathon where you can see us sweat and run, most of our non-drinking is taking place at home where you just have to take our word for it. And here’s the truth; I’ve not touched a drop of alcohol for 27 days. I’ve become familiar with the horrendous alcohol-free beers out there. I’ve tried to fool myself. And it’s not worked. I am looking forward to Friday.

It’s the last few days of the campaign. It is, as Batman people and many others have said, always darkest before the dawn.

Please help me reach the other side. I have constantly asked people to sponsor the equivalent of a pint… anything between £3 and £5. Very few do. I can guess why. You take a look at the sponsors and folk give £10, £20 or more (which is, of course, lovely) and then you too feel you have to give the same. But how many people can afford to do that? Not many. Go on, be the first. Start a trend in these last few days. go and sponsor me, Zoe, or both of us £2.50. You can sponsor me, or Zoe, or both of us here, here, or here.

Today’s choice for my Comic Relief  Team Tracey Thorn Challenge has been picked by Paul Tyrer who very kindly donated £10. He’s chosen Draining The Bar, the B-side of the 12″ single of Come On Home and available on disc two of the special edition of Baby, The Stars Shine Bright.

But, before we get on to that, here’s a little something to get us in the mood.

Draining The Bar is a Country & Western song; heck, Tracey even references the ‘jailhouse’ and throws in a ‘darn’ for good measure. It’s a perfect tribute to the songs of the Honky Tonk Angels; Loretta, Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton… but not Cliff Richard’s version (he apparently withdrew his version of Honky Tonk Angel when he found out that a Honky Tonk Angel was a prostitute).

Oh, my goodness. I’ve just realised… I’m not in any way suggesting any of the above women are prostitutes, ok? Nor Tracey Thorn.

This is just getting worse. Here’s something lighten the mood.

Now, where were we? Yes, Draining The Bar.

It’s a Country & Western song. And it’s a drinking song.

And, like most Country & Western songs, and drinking songs, and Country & Western drinking songs it’s… I’m going to use a word I don’t want to use now… it’s a word that will make everything sound a bit cliched… but then Country & Western has never feared saying it like it is, even if saying it like it is is a little like saying it like a cliche… here goes… the song is…

…bittersweet.

I love Country & Western. I love drinking. I love this song.

In the song Tracey sings of having to collect her drunken man when he has fallen from the bar stool. Again. It happens over and over but this time he’s ended up in the jaihouse and she’s had enough.

So far, so bitter.

But she does go and collect him, leading to this line:

So you go on home and get out your guitar/ Write some more songs about draining the bar

We will get to hear it. In time. I’d like to go on a diversion. Think of it as a song crawl.

The line above made me think of the King of the Drinking Song, Paul Heaton. Why not get a drink and enjoy the music? It’s nearly 4 o’clock, that’s reason enough.

One of my favourite Paul Heaton drinking songs is The Ring From Your Hand from The Cross Eyed Rambler. I’d love to play it to you but the only youtube version I could find didn’t do it justice. It’s not just a drinking song; the drinking happens in passing. I love these lines:

First time we caught each other’s eye/ Was at the bottle bank/ Dropping off three times the amount/ Our partner’s knew we drank

Bitter. Sweet.

And how about this for a line, from Old Red Eyes Is Back:

Old Red he died/ and every single landlord in the district cried

Sweet. Bitter. Let’s raise our glasses.

Ok, back to Draining The Bar.

I used the dreaded word, bittersweet, but where’s the sweet? It’s in the last two lines of the song:

And if I’m so wise why don’t I show you the door/ Cause you make me laugh and maybe that’s what god made men for

It’s always been my defense.

I couldn’t find the song on youtube and so I’ve made my own video for it. That’s most likely illegal. Heck, darn it, send me to the jailhouse if I’ve gone and done wrong.

Here it is. And if you like it, have a drink, and, if you can, give some money to Comic Relief. My sponsor page is here.