The Stag Do

I am getting married in April.  I’m also in the middle of planning my stag.  This should be one of the easiest things to organise, bearing in mind that (at least technically) I have a free-rein to do whatever I want.  The main problem here is that when I have the freedom to do whatever I want to do, one of the last things I would choose is to spend an evening/weekend in all-male company, with various friends from different stages of my life.  This is the eternal quandary of the stag-do, namely that if they’re so amazing, why don’t we do exactly the same thing more often? There’s nothing stopping us after all.  This is of course also known as the ‘Christmas pudding dilemma’, bearing in mind how many people claim to love it and yet only eat it once a year.

The first thing about the stag is that we are no longer in our early/mid-20s.  When men gather for stag-dos, they tend to regress into the person they were when they were about 21, which for most of my gathering is about 15 years ago.  When we were 21, we were keen to drink any sort of filth that would get you drunk cheaply, we thought shots were a superb idea (yes, even Goldschlager) and we went to dance in fairly gritty London clubs (please do not mistake gritty for ‘cool’ – we were firmly in the Loop/Oxygen/Crazy Larry’s end of the market).  The reasons that none of us do this any more are simple and complimentary.  Firstly, no-one wants to see a group of fat, balding 35-year olds dressed in chinos and a ‘party shirts’ attempt to chat to women around half their age whilst dancing like Geography teachers at the end of term disco.  On the flip-side, we don’t really want to put ourselves through this shame either, and this suits us (and those that have taken over residence in Embargos) just fine.  Until the stag that is, where it becomes compulsory to make this part of the evening’s entertainment.  For every married man with 2 young kids who chooses to go mental at the opportunity to do a Jagerbomb, there’s about another 15 looking about as awkward as those at a trappist monk convention in Vegas.

The evening entertainment of course has to follow on from the day’s activity.  The word ‘activity’ is one to be wary of.  It generally tends to mean one of four things – off-roading, clay pigeon-shooting, go-karting or paint-balling.  These are all quite manly, but they’re also things that no-one ever chooses to do unless they’re on a stag.  When was the last time you saw a group of grown men go go-karting or turn up at laser-quest?  It’s worth pointing out here that this is still better than the hen-do mentality, where women mentally regress even further (to approximately about age 9) and do arts and crafts stuff such as plate-painting and decoupage.

The other thing is the dynamics of the group.  Unless you’ve kept all your friends from School (and have made none more) you’re likely to have a pretty diverse set of friends with diverse interests, few of which have even met each other.  Has anyone ever said that their best night out recently was in a single sex-crowd, where each person knew only about 20% of the gathering, but really really well?  Somehow I doubt it.

Anyway, we’re going to eat a pig and if this doesn’t sound like fun to you, you’re not invited.  


Dead Pool 2013

First post of 2013, and pride of place goes to the Dead Pool.  Here are my predictions of those well-known faces unlikely to see out the year.  I’ve taken a scientific research-based approach this time round since none of my picks for 2012 did the honourable thing and all are still alive and well as of today.  Fingers crossed that we haven’t seen the last of the cold weather this winter.  Please remember that this is all tongue-in-cheek.

1.  Hugh Hefner.  Lorded in the 90s as some kind of new-lad favourite, it’s difficult not to feel a sense of nausea as the 86-year old Hef married one of his Playmates this week, who happens to be 60 years his junior.  Going on the plot of the terrible Madonna film ‘Body of Evidence’, the plot of which involves her marrying older men (though they’d need to be well into 3 figures now for any re-make to be possible) and sexing them to death to claim the life insurance.  Maybe this is the plan of Hef’s new bride (the rather standardly named Crystal) as I can’t imagine how keen she is to rub up against something with the texture of a leather briefcase.

2.  Michael Winner.  Surely a shoo-in?  He’s already been on the phone to Dignitas since doctors told him in mid-2012 that he has approximately 18 months to live.  Stoic and unapologetic to the end, he’s burgled a career out of making several poor films in the 70s, some truly execrable movies in the 80s and re-inventing himself as an uber-snob food critic in the 90s.  Will probably be remembered as some sort of loveable British eccentric, but don’t expect a season of films at the BFI – it’s strictly channel 5 if you’re lucky.

3.  Margaret Thatcher.  She’s in hospital more often than Price Philip and looks a darn sight worse.  Deserves a proper tribute when she does pop off.  She’s done far more for women than the Spice Girls ever did and yet she’s likely to be pilloried by a load of dim folk that don’t even remember her from the power days.  

4.  Clare from Steps.  Not sure if her exponential weight gain continues apace, but this chubby-chaser’s dream went from size-Moss to size-Adele pretty quickly and far beyond.  She’s projected to weigh more than a Caribbean island by the end of 2013.

5.  Ricky Hatton.  During his career he displayed the ability to lose (before a fight) and gain (after a fight) huge amounts of weight (a bit like Clare, only with the losing bit too).  Now that he’s finally packed up from the ring, it looks like nowt but chips and diabetes for RH. 

6.  Shane McGowan.  How is this man still alive?  Does he buy a new defibrillator every Xmas when the fairytale of NY royalties come in?  He made the skeletal chap from the Stereo MCs look healthy, and that was over 20 years ago.  I’ve not done my research here, so maybe he’s calmed down, moved to the country and is now growing his own organic veg and championing the benefits of pilates, but it seems unlikely.  I can’t bear to google him to find out, lest I get a look at the teeth.

7.  Woody Allen.  Midnight in Paris was one of the most horrendous films I’ve ever watched, and his output diminishes with every flick made.  Extrapolating from MiP, he’s likely to be making films that even Winner would disown at some point soon.  Maybe this one would be for the best.

8.  Clint Eastwood.  Shame to think that Gran Turismo wasn’t all that long ago, but in those few short years Clint’s gone from being hard-man Grandfather to utterly mental rambling codger.  Of course everyone’s seen his ‘invisible Obama’ speech to the Republicans:

which at least proved that there’s one more insane Republican than Mitt Romney.  It would be a shame if Clint ended up being remembered for this.