Cheers, 2019, it’s been a blast


Here’s your yearly reminder that my gin stock is running low, and my liquor cabinet is starting to look very sad. Although it’s the season of giving, I’ve noticed that the ‘giving’ part of that sobriquet has gone a little dry - too dry for my liking. In the slightly edited words of Captain Jack Sparrow, ‘why is the gin gone?’.

Without wanting to sound entitled, I’m used to gin being a bit more abundant around my house. When wedding season is in full swing, I’m graciously accepting more bottles of gin than Adele accepted Grammys in 2017. People wonder why I’m clinking when I try to discreetly schlep them from my car to my front door without my wife seeing - you see, she drinks gin too, and sometimes I can’t help but save some of the best bottles for myself.

I guess you guys have cottoned onto the fact that I like gin by reading these blog posts or looking at my Facebook page. I couldn’t make it more obvious if I got ‘GIN’ tattooed onto my forehead. But please don’t challenge me on that - if this posts gets a million shares (is that what it takes these days?) then I won’t be getting a tattoo; I’ll probably just quietly celebrate inside my house, with a bottle of gin.

Talking about celebrations, it’s almost time to toast the New Year. And what’s the best way to do so? In my opinion, drowning out Jools Holland’s Hoote-whatsit with a slurred rendition of Auld Lang Syne, getting so arse-over-tit drunk that you miss the fireworks, and throwing up a kebab and chips on the way home. But for the sake of maintaining some semblance of professionalism, I’ve decided to instead reflect on my favourite moments of 2019.

I’ll start with a Money Dance, which took place at a Greek wedding earlier this year. Let me tell you - these guys really know how to receive wedding gifts! I watched through my viewfinder with delight as the newly married couple danced around the room while their guests pinned money to their clothes. Things got a little tense as the couple’s outfits filled with cash and all that was left was the groom’s trousers, but thankfully the song ended, and the groom didn’t need to rush to the hospital to remove a misplaced pin.

However, that was nowhere near as tense as the time when one groom almost drank himself comatose with Jack Daniels just before his first dance. The bride was flapping around, trying to get the barmen to make him an espresso - but all he needed was to throw up. Unfortunately, it was into one of the bridesmaid’s purses. I’ll never look at whisky the same after that. Or purses.

I nearly suffered the same fate (not being vomited into, but being far more inebriated than necessary) at a wedding this summer. I don’t normally drink on the job; it’s kind of unprofessional, and I’m sure most couples wouldn’t be satisfied when they received blurry photos in their inbox (I’m sure I could probably pass it off as ‘artistic’, but I’ll save that for my Turner Prize entry). At this particular wedding, however, the wedding party were all but forcing sloe gin shots down my esophagus. It was a very tasty form of torture. Luckily, it was the end of the night and I had just enough cash in my pocket for a taxi. At least, I think it was a taxi… I may have accidentally paid someone’s mum to take me home.

Following a crazy summer of back-to-back weddings, I visited Iceland for a job. After getting stopped by airport security, who thought that my camera belt was a sex harness, I was able to explore this incredible island and act like a proper tourist for a little bit. I drove the Golden Circle, slapped some clay on my face and chilled out in the Blue Lagoon and, of course, ate 70% of the entire country’s food supplies. The only thing that displeased me was the cost; far more than a week’s worth of food from Iceland back home. I guess I’ll re-balance my bank account with their Kerry Katona special: £1 family-size ‘hoof and eyeball’ pies. The kids will love it.

Lastly, this year has been full of rewarding work. And when I say ‘rewarding’, I mean gin-based rewards. Aside from the sloe gin incident, you all know that I can’t get enough of the stuff, and it’s been a real pleasure to receive bottles of gin from clients - even before handing over the photographs, on some occasions. I’m not going to get emotional (I cry gin tears, anyway), but I really have the best clients.

If, by now, you haven’t poured yourself a glass of gin to toast Christmas and the New Year with me, why are you reading this blog? Come back when you give a damn. For those of you that do, cheers. Here’s to 2020, Greek weddings, sex harnesses, mechanically reclaimed meat pies, and the gins that we are yet to drink.