Don’t Party like the Queen
We awoke to a day full of promise. Three young South African uni students on our very first Euro Rave, 19 and naive, wanting nothing more than to skull whatever drinks we could get our grubby hands on and roam the streets playing silly buggers and pissing off the locals. Before we’d left for London, a friend had told us about The Church in Clapham – a hot, sweaty home away from home for lost Aussies and Saffas with a penchant for binge drinking. It sounded like heaven – we decided we must go at once.
The parties were themed, and the flavour of the week was “The Military”. We had seen some masks of various heads-of-state on sale at the train station, which seemed close enough. And thus, that fateful Sunday, a motley crew – consisting of The Queen, Prince Charles and Obama, yet with strangely youthful physiques – took to the streets of Oxshott.
I felt like a million bucks. Sure, I couldn’t see shit out of the tiny eye-holes in my mask, but I was The Queen and bloody felt like it. In the true British spirit, we’d decided to soak a vat of Pimms and fruit the night before to drink on the train to London. Pure class was the order of the day.
We arrived at Clapham Junction and took a moment to compose ourselves (i.e. sit on the pavement and eat the gin-cured fruit from the bottom of our cups). Then, we ventured forth through the extravagant doors of the Grand. A large, dark theatre lay before us, Aussie anthems blaring several decibels higher than one could shout, the combined body heat producing temperatures akin to a Swedish sweat lodge. It was time to give it horns.
Our outfits turned out to be rather popular. We immediately befriended a group of Australian lesbians dressed in koala suits, and received many a curtsey or salute as we pushed our way through the crowd to get a better view of the gyrating strippers on the massive stage – they looked like they were soccer moms every other day of the week. Aside from them, the onstage acts alternated between beer-downing competitions, half-baked comedians and other unascertainable performers in various states of undress. With drink in hand, it was easy to pass several hours in this lair of debauchery and hedonism.
By 5pm, inevitably, the party began drawing to a close. After being treated like royalty all day, and blasting through a dozen Magners, the sovereignty had gone to my head. They had closed the bar, but when a barman’s back had turned my power-crazed alter ego waltzed past to fill up a nearby sandcastle bucket with draught beer. Shortly after, the bouncers slowly began herding the throngs out of the club.
We were being siphoned out into the street through waist-high metal barricades; the daylight was alarmingly bright. This fencing was obviously intended for crowd control, but in reality created a massive bottleneck, everyone shuffling along at snail’s pace. What was this nonsense? The Queen doesn’t wait in line! Wriggling away from my friends, I got a leg up over the fence, intending to deftly skip the queue and take the express train to Walkabout in Shepherd’s Bush. My depth perception isn’t great to begin with; add a few ciders and a Queen mask with tiny eye holes and you have a disaster in the making. My foot got caught in the railings, a spectacular front flip ensued — and then it all went black.
Just like in the movies, I woke up on the pavement to concerned faces above me. It was my lesbian-koala friends.
“Shit, mate. What’chu do that for?”
“Oi, she’s fine. Girl, just go get stitched up then meet us at Shepherd’s Bush.”
I couldn’t feel my two front teeth, and immediately attested to this. Two official-looking first-aid helpers had arrived from somewhere and insisted they were still intact. I rudely accused them of lying.
And so, off to the hospital me and my two world-weary friends went. Turns out that I had managed to execute a flawless faceplant, cushioning the entirety of the blow with pie-hole rather than hands. I had split my tongue in half lengthwise, like those people that want to turn themselves into snake-men. The old bottom lip had to be stitched back onto the gum, and one hell of a roastie ran the length of my chin, like a red, scabby beard of shame.
And so, it is here that I leave you with a warning. Much similar to the effects of alcohol, partying dressed as the Queen can lead to flawed judgement, impaired vision and delusions of grandeur – especially when you’re already a 19-year-old asshole. Be safe out there, hobos.