“Oh my God, Coy’s dead!” So I was told the cry went from young Groover on hearing the sickening dull crash, moments after the screams from room 204 of “get off the fucking scaffolding…!” It seems that a split in the true style of this group with an ability to organise itself disturbingly inverse to its collection of Honours qualifications had led to that man and Prubasticus Drinkasaurus wandering the streets and finally retiring in the then vain hope of the rest of us reappearing at the Kaizersgracht, and so the cacophony of shouting, screaming and various zoo, farmyard and figgert noises had to be deciphered by the poor, addled Groovester through a piss-stained pubic hair-pile carpet and an inch of asbestos – hence the understandable panic.
The night at the casino had gone well, we thought. The Hof lost all his money, the Bennett made just enough for a belt of shotgun cartridges for his honeymoon to Tanzania, and the general lunacy was kept in check by the small glasses of beer and the atmosphere of calm respectability driven by fear of the hiding strong-arm casino goons. Nevertheless, small glasses of beer quickly make their mark on top of a day’s flying, power drinking and intensive leanery and by not-too-far past eleven the evening got a midlife crisis on as the silent solemnity of the poker room threatened.
So, after the group had pulled itself together a little less efficiently than grains of sand trying to form the Great Pyramid inside a Dyson and had proceeded to argue about taxis so much that comfortably less were booked than were required, I found myself on Dam square with a greatly reduced number of friends around me, paying seven Euros for a beer, and waiting for the other cabful, apparently dropped where the driver felt appropriate for a group of ‘hilarious’ English stag-do boys, i.e. where they really didn’t want to go but were too pissed to realise. The intention on receipt of another ragbag quota of staggers was to charge, like stags (albeit with the coordination of bluebottles post insectocutor) into the beckoning special sweaty seediness just around the corner.
Needless to say (and to cut a long story short-er), after a brief while in this special brand of filth things had got very messy indeeed, and with the chucking of Crimpy’s whites (a frequent and always inappropriately-timed event over the weekend it seemed) in an accidental strip bar more seedy than a jacknifed pomegranate lorry, the evening was forced to make a return to the dark doors of the ‘Hotel’ Keizersgracht. A little on the pit we stayed in: on initial viewing, the place engendered (a) disgusted incredulity at its rottten decor and mysterious ‘stains’ – funny, (b) relentless need for extraction of piss from the bookers of such a cheesy wankpot – hilarious – and (c) real fear that the whole fucking building was condemned and held up by the flimsy mixture of scaffolding and netting completely covering its facade – pant wetting. It was so sorrily short of self-respect that it had to be brought down from the very top. And so the infantry form Planet of the Apes, fresh out of battle and suitably gibbering, bowled in from the night in a mood to throw poo.
Good intentios, I am ashamed to say, initially penetrated the fog in my noggin – a sad indictment of the culture of proto-middle-class-ambition and sedentary drinking in salubrious environments that I had unwittingly allowed to pervert me since I returned from Bolo’s Asian office – and I had actually attempted to go to bed, hoping that the Groovemeister had safely made his way back (hadn’t thought about it ’til then) and had had a similar attack of pernicious sanity. Despite his presence within the door never opened, so down I trundled, confused, fearful and swearing fitfully, to 204.
A brief memory gap follows, but I was first out of the window, both in attempt and success, and any man who dares stake their claim to this feat is welcome to it if the insurance people ever catch up – otherwise I will fight them. Which trooper on a para grabbed my arm at the last moment as I was disappearing onto the ‘balcony’ I cannot remember, but the jolt removed my secure footing, dislodged a board, and sent me headfirst back into the room accompanied by (in order) a crack, an ominous pause, and a sickening thump of what was probably a pretty fundamental bolt or flange (snigger) cratering the pavement three storeys below, and followed by various primal whoops, You Dicks, Oh My Gods and unheard by us……the wail of Groover above.
Anyway, as a pissed mission never ends until it ends (normally badly) I was not to be deterred, I endeavoured to sneak out unopposed, and had fun convincing people of my miraculous disappearance (it was messy, remember) whilst miraculously appearing as some sort of hallucination walking past the window. It soon caught on, however, and it was only a matter of time before someone got silly. “Look, I can climb up here” came from Bennett’s brother-in-law Dave, whose insanity I had hitherto little knowledge, and he dispensed with human form as he scaled the framework like a hideous but efficient gibbon/octopus splice, trained by a Frenchman. “Look, there are ladders – to the roof” cried someone else (me?!!!) and thus the gateway to a new altitude of mischief crept ajar. Moments later, said gateway was full of the bustle of lunatics in a race to the most dangerous part of the building. There we were, a lanky gaggle of bloodshot fuckfaces: four, five, six…more? – a hundred feet up on what was little more than three rotten boards, at the top of a creaking scaffold, holding up a crumbling building, greased up for good measure by the pissing rain.
The rest is a little unclear, even in comaprison to what came before. The following memories do exist, though the chronological order will always remain a mystery: The iPod and speakers, the Stone Roses, the dancing, the jumping up and down, the raucous singing and my attempted dousing of a passing cyclist in urine, much of which the now howling wind had blown back onto my new shirt; the attempt by Grechian to get us down so as not to die which was dismissed as a para as if we’d been climbing on a park bench and – not to be outdone on his night – the climbing on the chimney by Stag Boy himself. What might have been makes us all shudder from time to time. But are we sorry? The question will surely remain unanswered until the fiancee reads this and forgives – or doesn’t, or doesn’t read this so it remains unknown; until the slum lords discover their building in a heap after the next severe gust or merely stumble across the decoy smashed hairdryer and accept our eyelid-fluttering denial of it all; until the legend is established or disperses to leave the Horror of potential; or until God proves his existence with a snap Judgement Day and we are all taken down and fucked up the grotgutter for this and every other transgression we have committed since the first tentative sniff of alcohol/drugs/fanny. Which won’t happen of course, because if given much more chance the AmsterDamage, or British Airways, will finish us off long before anything can intervene.