Another speech to parting graduates....
Ladies and Gentleman of the glass of 99:
If I could offer you only one tipple for the future, alcohol would be it.
The long-term benefits of alcohol have been consistently misunderstood by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own drunken experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your alcohol tolerance. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your alcohol tolerance until it's faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself puking in a gutter and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much alcohol you drank and how fabulous it really was. You are not as sick as you imagine.
Don't worry about where the next beer is coming from. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to pull a Page 3 model after 15 pints of Stella. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your drink-addled mind, like the unexpected lack of ale in the fridge on some idle Tuesday.
Drink one thing every day that scares you.
Be reckless when buying other people drinks. Don't put up with people who are reckless when buying yours.
Don't waste your time on shandy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only to the bar.
Make up compliments you received. Return the insults. If you don't succeed in doing this drink more beer now.
Keep your old ring pulls. Throw away your old cans.
Don't feel guilty if you don't know when you might dry-out in your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 when they would sober up. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still haven't.
Get plenty of kebabs. Don't be too kind to your liver. You'll hardly miss it when it's gone.
Maybe you'll pull, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll get some bird up the duff, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll enter rehab at 40, maybe you'll dance the nude conga at your 75th University Reunion. Whatever you do, congratulate yourself far too much and berate others. Your choices are half alcohol influenced. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy someone else's body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what the lads might think of it. It's probably the only time you'll ever pull.
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but on the street with a can of Special Brew.
Ignore the directions, don't ever follow them.
Do not read beauty magazines, just cut out the pictures and put them on your wall.
Get to know your parents. You never know when you'll have to tap them for some cash. Be nice to your barman. They're your best link to the bar and the person most likely to stop you getting your head kicked by a bouncer when paralytic in the future.
Understand that favourite drinks come and go, but with a precious flammable few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in strength and consistency, because the older you get, the harder it will be to neck ales like when you were young.
Live in London once, but leave before it makes you a ponce. Live in Liverpool once, but leave before everything you own gets stolen. Dribble.
Accept certain inalienable truths: Beer prices will rise. Bouncers will throw you out. You, too, will get a hangover. And when you do, you'll fantasise that when you were young, prices were reasonable, bouncers couldn't catch you, and hangovers were NEVER as bad as this.
Don't expect anyone else to buy you a beer. Maybe you'll have a huge overdraft. Maybe you'll have a wealthy bird. But you never know when either one might stop getting you pissed.
Be careful whose cheap booze you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Cheap booze is a form of rip-off. Dispensing it is a way of fishing old stock from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the sell-by date and re-selling it for more than it's worth.
But trust me on the alcohol.
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