I used to be really into Beltane before the hippie overload got me all jaded. I mean, it was pretty exciting when I first moved to this city, to find thousands of people up a hill dancing around with fire, some of them wearing very little. You didn’t get this sort of thing in Belfast, or if you did, I guess I never got the memo.
By 2005 I knew the drill. Drink cider, go up the hill, mingle, and most likely fail to see anything much because there were thousands of people in the way. I was fine with this plan, because it was about the experience more than the view. Leonard and I started out having a very civilised dinner at Black Bo’s, moved to Frenchie’s, and then set off for Calton Hill with the help of four litres of cider and a game of I Never. I embarked on smoking any and all joints that came my way, and once the festivities were over there was a blurry episode which involved me staggering around with random Spaniards and singing Weakerthans songs.
And then we moved on to the Mission, in Studio 24. I ordered a pint and promptly emptied it all over the bar. The bartender kindly sold me another one for £1 and I thought maybe that meant he liked me, because I was too wasted to consider that I might just be the anti-suave. Leonard and I danced really camply to death metal, which didn’t win us any friends, and then at closing time I made out with some boy in the sidewalk sale. We headed to #73‘s party down in Leith, and #155 accompanied us for a while until I decided I wasn’t really all that interested in getting off with him any more. He asked if I was leading him on. I explained that, by telling him that nothing further was going to happen, leading him on was possibly the last thing I was doing. He then decided not to come with us because Leith was “enemy territory”. Okay, whatever.
The night did not end here, although Leonard would probably have preferred if it had.