Friday, 27 February 2009

Going to the church on Sunday

I should have guessed we were into a real treat when I saw (well, couldn’t miss) the well proportioned middle-aged woman who was in bad need of a decent haircut, some style sense and a better bra. “Sand dunes”, my friend said.

I mean really, you shouldn’t expect anything but when you go to “The Church”.

And I’m not talking about the good Christian church. No. This church is the devil incarnate.

Set up 30 years ago for the alcohol-loving British, The Church has now amassed an antipodean following as the Sunday binge drinking place of choice.

Originally located in an old church, where it got its name, the venue has now moved to an old theatre in Kentish Town and the rules are simple:

Entry – 12 noon.

Preferred dress – the clothes worn the night before or some form of costume; Oompa-Loompas are popular.

The goal – to consume as much alcohol as possible in three and a-half hours.

It’s rather dinky how they do it actually. You buy a drink ticket from a bouncer with possible steroid-induced muscles, which entitles the bearer to three cans or bottles of alcohol. For convenience reasons, the alcohol is put in a plastic bag, which you then tie to one of your belt loops. It’s all class.

With plastic bags swinging, the dance floor soon becomes a sea of heaving bodies and alcohol-tinged sweat. Inhibitions are put to one side – this is no longer the place to “be”, this is the place to be “seen” – if you get my drift.

And then the surgically enhanced, old-enough-to-be-my-mother stripper arrives. It proceeded somewhat like this – “wow, didn’t know you could do that”, “Wow, didn’t know they could do that”, and “WOW, didn’t know that was even possible”. This was an upgrade from university course human anatomy 101 – I believe my knowledge of the female body may now be complete.

In comparison, I was slightly disappointed with the male version – not quite as much wow-factor other than an in-depth discussion with my friends afterwards as to whether it was “real” or not. Furthermore, could he have at least taken off the workman’s boots and socks before prancing about the stage in his hot little Calvin Klein jocks!

We could all look down our noses at what might seem a seedy underground scene in London, but really it’s no different from any other pub or club, other than it’s on a Sunday, there is probably less material worn and the stripper is guaranteed. This is British drinking culture without the shame attached and the denial there is a problem. What you see is what you get.

Alternatively, as the American tourists behind us said – stuff seeing Big Ben on a Sunday when you’ve been recommended to come to The Church. Yeah, I see their point. Big Ben just isn’t the same.

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