“Well, you’re not afraid to look me in the eyes, are you?,” she says. And I’m not, and am in fact wondering what is goes through her head right now (probably the shopping list, to be honest). But that’s a little while into our story. Time to wind back a little bit…

“What do you want?” I ask [Adam]. We’re at Section 8, a nightspot in Melbourne which consists of a car park, wooden palettes, and (most importantly, for our purposes) a shipping container converted into a bar.
“Something. Anything good.” [Adam] is, barely noticeably, swaying on the spot. Something catches his eye; “What’s that shit?” he exclaims to me, pointing haphazardly at a bottle on the shelf.
The bartender looks at us, amused. “Eet iz not sheet. Eet iz vodka!” he proclaims, full of Gallic charm and arrogance.
The shot is poured, paid for and drank before [Adam] explains that he was pointing at the flavoured liqueurs the next shelf down. But that’s the way it goes here, eight or nine hours into a bar crawl / buck’s night for [Daniel].

No, wind it back a bit more…

I joined this marathon at Y&Js around midday. It starts off as a weird flashback, catching up with some guys that I hadn’t seen since university. Everyone’s grown up, but that doesn’t make anyone necessarily mature. There is a hotly debated conversation revolving around the difference between ‘smart casual’ and ‘semi-formal’. The conclusion reached is that is may well have to do with whether you tuck your shirt in or not, and we all agree that diagrams would make the whole thing easier for the fashion-challenged gents. Meanwhile, next to us, another sort of weird flashback is occurring as a group cheer on one of their members as he changes into a headband/shorts/shirt combo that would have been the height of fashion during, say, Wimbledon 1986. Stuffing a large pair of socks down the front his tight, tight shorts, we watch from the safety of the pub as he proudly jogs his pale arse up to Flinders Street Station and back. And no, I don’t quite know why. I guess Melbourne on a Saturday lunchtime is just that sort of town.

After perhaps three rounds, we move on to the European on Exhibition. Seeing the ‘Wedding Cake’ on their list of shots, we (i.e., everyone except [Daniel]) think it’d be a great idea for the Buck to have thematic drinks. This quickly leads everyone making up names for cocktails/shots/mixed drinks, which include ‘The Consolation Prize’, ‘Ridiculously Hard’, ‘000’, ‘Thanks for Coming’, ‘Bog in a Cup’ and another couple that I’d too disturbed by to write down.

From the European we stumble onto the Elephant & Wheelbarrow, only a block away, and a wonderful source of the chips and nachos necessary to fuel us for the remainder of the day and night. Conversation is somewhat free-flowing at this point, so my notes of this mid-afternoon debauch are somewhat scattered. I can tell that the conversation turned to beating up pensioners at some point in the day (‘Old people… they drop so fast!’ is one of my notes, followed by ‘I put you down faster than the Queen Mother’), and I also recall the best-not-to-think-about-it statement ‘my best work is at night. When the sun goes down I go up.’ Perhaps the freakiest part of the E&W experience is seeing [Daniel]’s brother drop three tequila shots into his brother’s beer, and watch as the resulting foul brew is moved around the table whenever someone goes up to go to the bar or bathroom. (Suffice to say that everyone’s beer has a bit of tequila in it within half an hour).

As an aside, I should point out that I’m a spirits drinker by nature. I throw back bourbon, scotch or tequila with abandon and while green spirits shake me around a bit if I have them as shots, even then they tend to have a pleasantly delayed reaction. (Vodka is one of the only spirits that I’d avoid straight up, but that’s more to do with one particular incident involving Vanilla Absolut with vanilla coke that I’d rather forget rather than about the drink itself.) Yet, by mid-afternoon, only a few hours into this drunken extravaganza, I haven’t had a single mixed drink and I’ve had more beer than since my last trip to Newcastle (i.e., a lot). So it works well for me that, post-E&W, I gently guide the group away from pubs and move to bars, where I’m more likely to find a good Scotch and the beer is expensive enough to ensure it isn’t the default option. So, to the Long Room (expensive but moody, and at this stage of late afternoon not yet filled with the yuppies and sleazy middle-aged men that normally are it’s stock and trade)! And from there, the Lounge, then Section 8.

[Daniel], I should say, is holding up very well for someone who’d started in the antemeridian hours. His brother-in-law-to-be is not doing as well, having flown down from Sydney at 4am that morning. His departure, coming a mere eleven hours into the event, chalks up another victory to Victoria in the VIC-NSW interstate battle.

An hour after Section 8, we do what may well be inevitable to any buck’s night, and… well… I can’t say anymore about this as I know the future Mrs [D] may be reading this (a lovely person by the way, and hopefully not at all vengeful), but suffice to say [Daniel] met a lovely girl. In fact, all three of them were quite lovely. I think Heidi was nicest. And while the phrase “something to remember for your honeymoon” may have been uttered, I’ll say no more about it.

Post strip club (wait, did I just say strip club? I meant, um, never mind…) it’s off to the Croft, which is always a good one to show out-of-towners (“trust me, it’s just down here…!”). [Daniel] has absinthe for the first time, I have chartreuse for the millionth time and [Adam] simply thrusts money at the bartender and says ‘make me something nice!’. Which she does, bless her. By this point of the evening, the Buck’s younger brother has grown tired of quoting Borat at us and instead decides to use his masculine charms on a number of ladies to the vast amusement of the rest of us. The best exchange I saw went something like this:
Younger Brother: “Hi…”
Woman: “Fuck off.”

The rest is a bit of a blur, to be honest.

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