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Rosé doomsday

Something about a nine litre bottle of Whispering Angel. Someone says, “calanques.” An endless coach ride. Irregular paving stones. A fountain chatters in the darkness. Waiting for the lift. Why is the carpet covered in Tyrells?

There’s a nobility in drunkenness. Particularly in France. But it’s a lot harder to get absolutely conkered than you might think. It requires serious commitment.

Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about the kind of drunk where you have two pints that turns into five and a visit to West Cornwall Pasty Co before the train home. I’m talking about total autopilot; the kind of drunk where your brain is barely able to handle motor function. One sambuca shot away from A&E.

In order to achieve this rarified state, the conditions must be exactly right. For example a warm weather wedding at a beautiful country estate outside Aix-en-Provence. Verdant lawns. Floral maxi-dresses. The hint of a breeze. Rosé gushing like a 1000 porn stars.

I can only really remember the denouement. The following morning; my girl insensible beneath the covers, yards of potato snack apparently knitted into the rug, a smothering sense of unease. When you’ve been averagely drunk you can expect blackholes in your memories of the night before. When you’ve been spectacularly drunk the whole night is one giant blackhole punctuated with the tiniest fragments of clarity. It’s a rosé doomsday. A scary place to wake up.

Based on the photographic evidence I was wearing my tie-dye RandT suit and a dark grey Comme des Garçons Homme Deux shirt. I’d also chosen to debut my cream rubbery loafers from Adieu, a late sale season buy (although I notice they’ve gone back to full price now.) They’re actually extremely comfortable and, as it turned out, a good wipe-clean choice for an extremely messy event. The day before the wedding my girl and I impulsively blasted around every optical store in Aix looking for some new grandstanding shades  — you know, on holiday, going to a wedding, fancied a treat, just because… She chose Celine, I landed on Gucci. Not quite my usual Native Sons route, but I’d been looking for an acetate aviator style for a while.

One of the few things I do remember from the wedding itself, is that I got a number of very nice comments on my look (funny the things you do remember), so assuming I wasn’t so pissed as to not register sarcasm, I’m going to take that as a win.

During the remainder of our stay I stuck to my recent playbook of summertime function and fancy. Baggy Studio Nicholson shorts, a bit of Story MFG, a Needles sweatshirt: the kind of things that all go with each other, ball up in a suitcase and come out looking good to go.

Indeed so convenient and functional was my holiday capsule that it had an efficacious impact on my swagger, and specifically my confidence in attempting to speak French. For a grown adult I’ve always had an infantile attitude to speaking even rudimentary French in public. To me, the French language sounds like God humming on the toilet. What business have I attempting to mimic that?

Nevertheless, the days passed and buoyed by the ease of my fits and hiding behind my new sunglasses I ventured a, “merci.” And I wasn’t stuck by lightening. The learnings from my Tricolore school book rematerialised and suddenly I was riding a wave of je ne sais quoi. I could pass for French.

The following morning I strode into a café with the sizzling panache of a young Alain Delon.

“Bonjour madame”, I bellowed so the whole place could hear. 

“Un café au lait s’il vous plaît?”

The woman behind the counter looked at me flatly.

“Large or small love?”

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