I've had a lot of thinking time lately due to having a bit of a dicky tummy. I do all my best thinking on the toilet and I've been thinking about those two sentences on and off for about a week. "You're not allowed that" is something I hear a lot. It's a reaction to being vegan. People will tell me that something milky or lamby or murdery is delicious and then follow it up with "You're not allowed that but it is nice".
"You're not allowed that". I don't want to be allowed that. I think it's weird that anyone is allowed that. That shouldn't be allowed. But it is allowed and I don't want it. "You're allowed that" just isn't the right phrase. It sounds like I've been banned rather than made a choice. And it happens so often. "My mum cooks the best Christmas turkey with penguin and sea horse stuffing. It's SO delicious. *awkward look* But you're not allowed that".
People who kill people probably act the same way in front of their non-murderer friends. "I picked up some hitchhikers and attacked them with a hatchet and now I keep them in 6 suitcases in a Big Yellow Self Storage locker in Crewe. *awkward look* But you're not allowed that".
Thing is, I am allowed that. I just have to be prepared to go to jail forever, stomach killing people before cutting up their bodies and then talking to the fucking gormless arseholes who work at Big Yellow Self Storage in Crewe. Again, I have no interest in being allowed that.
A stupid thought, and one I wouldn't have had if I didn't have this upset stomach that kept me on the toilet so much. But "Have a treat, mate" is the one I've been thinking about most.
Comedian Andrew Bird asked me how giving up booze was going. He saw me drinking an alcohol-free beer and his face fell sad. I told him that it really didn't taste that bad. I don't like lying to people but I thought it was the right thing to do at that moment. It tastes disgusting, of course. It was so nice of the club to get an alcohol-free rider in for me and I was genuinely touched by the thought but I can't kid myself. It tastes truly awful. Like your favourite drink has committed suicide and you're drinking the tears of its grieving children. It's the taste of a lost generation.
Andrew and I both agreed that booze was great and that's when he asked "What do you have for a treat, then?"
I was stumped. I don't think I have a treat anymore.
"What do you have when you come home after a gig now?", he asked.
I don't know. Nothing. I have nothing.
I used to have a beer maybe. That's gone. Sometimes a bottle of wine. I'd come home and cuddle Jerk. I don't think I have a treat anymore.
Andrew said goodbye and, just as he walked out of the dressing room, he said "Have a treat, mate". He was right. I should. I deserve a treat. But what have I got?
And as I took another swig of Carling Remembrance 0.0%, I realised: ugh, alcohol-free beer IS my treat. This bottle of stale empty is all I have to look forward to. That is my treat. Something I hate. Something that tastes disgusting. Something that looks weird. Something that makes everyone question every single thing about me. That is my treat.
Despite my guts still being a bit... gymnastic, I decided to meet up with friends the other night for our annual Christmas drinks. I thought about what Andrew said. "What do you have when you come home? Have a treat, mate". So I prepared for coming home by going to Sainsbury's and buying a 4 pack of alcohol-free lager. That'll be nice when I get home. I mean, it won't be NICE but it'll be something. This isn't a sad or shameful thing. No. It's a treat. A lovely treat. I am treating myself to some alcohol-free lager when I get home. I beeped the joyless bottles over the self-checkout till and the only voice that had said anything to me that day said "Approval needed"
That's right. You need approval to buy alcohol-free beer. Honestly, how can anyone approve of you when you buy that?
For one of the very few times in my life, I had to show ID. It's clear just by looking at me that I'm over 18. That sentence also works if you take out the number 18. I am very not under 18. But they didn't want to see my date of birth, they just wanted to know the name of the cunt who's only treat is coming home to an alcohol-free beer. Well fuck you, Sainsbury's. I'm having a treat, mate. I'm allowed this.
The bar we went to had TWO different alcohol-free beers. What a choice! All my friends had booze. It was "Delicious. But *awkward look* you're not allowed that". Like the beer had shouted "Oi! You're barred" at me. I decided to not have booze, booze didn't decide to not have me. Have a treat, mate. Have an alcohol-free beer.
I had 10 of them. That's more alcohol-free beer than anyone has ever drunk ever in one night. Why? I'll tell you why: Have a treat, mate. I had a treat. The only treat that I'm "allowed". For the last few weeks I've had about 4 alcohol-free beers a day. I don't care how disgusting they are. 4 alcohol-free beers a day and tonight I'm going to break all records for drinking alcohol-free beer because they're a treat. They're a treat, mate. Have a treat, mate. This is the treat you're allowed, mate. Have a treat, mate. Good for you, mate. Well done, mate. Have a treat, mate. How is it, mate? Have a treat, mate. Is it nice, mate? Can I have a taste, mate? Fucking hell, mate.
That is ALL I HAVE. Being out with my friends and getting drunk was all a beautiful dream I had in the past and the past is over and now all I have is alcohol-free beer. And they can't take that away from me despite Sainsbury's best efforts. And tonight I'm going to break my own record by going all the way up to 11 because when I get home I'm going to have ANOTHER alcohol-free beer. I'm having a treat, mate.
My stomach was punchy the whole way back and I just made it home in time to get to the toilet before all brown hell broke loose. It was wretched and traumatic. But still, this will soon be over and I'll put the telly on, put my feet up and I'll have a treat, mate. My only treat. The only thing I've actually got left.
It became clear that I'd be on the toilet for a bit longer than expected and I decided I'd had enough of my stomach and its constant problems. I decided to Google tummy troubles. I sat there on the loo and I Googled so much about diarrhoea. 20 minutes Googling info on diarrhoea. I now know so much about diarrhoea. Too much.
Alcohol-free beer gives you diarrhoea.
Have a treat, mate? I'm not allowed that.