Saturday, July 31, 2010


Today I went bowling in an apartment complex in Sai Wan Ho, while watching The Big Lebowski. The last time I went bowling must have been about three years ago, in Lewisham with my great chum Jenny. That was the first time I'd been bowling that I could remember since my thirteenth birthday, and it was also the first time I discovered that four pints of Guinness, while not enhancing your bowling prowess, do enhance the experience.

I also remember thinking that the Lewisham MegaBowl served the best pint of Guinness I'd had in London in years, although the last time I'd had Guinness had coincidentally been when Jenny and I went to a pirate-themed party in Herne Hill, I drank too many bottles of Nigerian extra-strength Guinness, and woke up on her sofa, wearing somebody else's coat and thinking I'd gone blind in one eye. Luckily, before I left to wander the streets of Deptford, I realised it was only an eye-patch. Think of the embarrassment if I'd gone to the opthalmologist with this complaint. The parrot on my shoulder would never had spoken to me again.

Actually, come to think of it, every time Jenny and I went out anywhere in London, we seemed to get utterly off our faces. This did lead to lots of interesting things I wouldn't have done otherwise, like standing around in a gay bar full of bears, reading reviews of gay porn movies that read like straight porn with the women removed, or cycling to work so drunk that I got lost on the way, turning up to the office an hour late, and then having to delete all the morning's work at noon after realising sobriety had belatedly arrived. One high point must have been toasting my thirtieth birthday two days before it happened. Well, the day before my birthday I was flying out to New York, and I was so toasted that Heathrow was actually enjoyable (whether it was finding footwear removal procedures funny, or laughing at the ugly six-year-olds with ear-rings). Although I suppose part of that day was laughing at a builder stuck on a roof of a house that I walked past on the way to the station; I'm a bad person, I know, but who doesn't laugh at a man clinging to a chimney pot and bellowing obscenities at passers-by?

While I was away, I assume Jenny remained committed to our lifestyle choice, because she was too hungover to get to the twenty-minute appointment I'd put in my schedule while I was charging around England in February. Next time, next time.

But to return to the subject, bowling in the UK always seemed the preserve of prepubescent children, whereas for Americans it seems to be more like the place for middle-aged men to go drinking. I am basing this solely on my own experience (of Lewisham Megabowl and repeated viewings of The Big Lebowski), but it means that when we Brits do add booze to the mix, the result is for us hyper-Americanism, a potent blend of alcohol, lost childhood innocence and ... a chance for endless puns about ball handling skills. What could be finer?

There was no beer to be had while we were bowling today, and I blame that for my ability not living up to my memory. I'm sure I remember playing a lot better when I was pie-eyed. And there's no way that could be to do with anything other than chemically enhanced abilities.

Ten pints of lager for lunch, and then bowling all afternoon next week, then.


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