Chesney Hawkes and I awoke in the lobby of the of the Southampton Premier Inn with eight bottles of wine, four road signs and two and a half members of S Club 3. A look at my phone told me that it had been exactly two weeks since the Graduation Ball. I rolled Chesney over and staggered to my feet, ignoring the screaming receptionist and heading straight for the main doors, where I was swiftly tasered. As the electricity coursed through me I attempted to recall the events a fortnight before, a welcome distraction from the fact that I was soiling myself.
I turned around to look at the beautiful girl who had addressed me, one of the 17 surrounding me at that moment. My peak for the night was 31. “Thanks”, I answered. “It’s a hipster tuxedo. It’s made from an animal you’ve probably never heard of. And after this it’s now extinct, so you never will”.
My un-RSPCA admission did little to dissuade the crowd of adoring women, so I threw Sam Ling’s baby at them to create a diversion and made my escape. I worked my way through the crowds of leavers, all struggling with the complex mix of emotions that came from being simultaneously happy to be with their friends, sad to be leaving, and off their tits on cheap booze. SUSU had really pulled out all the stops this year: a bar stocked with free Bollinger champagne with a tab picked up by the Sabbs, comedians who didn’t steal their material from Penguin bar wrappers, and a fully-functioning outdoor fairground, complete with dodgems that exploded on impact to add a little extra excitement.
I moved up to the VIP area: I was access-all-areas for the night courtesy of Sasha Watson. It’s amazing what covering up a bit of embezzlement can do for you.
I made my way around the room, chatting with the best and brightest that SUSU has to offer (or, you know, competition winners and random student leaders). As my socialising sojourn came to an end, I noticed someone who stood out. It could’ve been the fact he was a good 20 years older than everyone else in the room. It could’ve been the faint air of desperation that hung around him like a bad smell. Or it could’ve been the fact that he was stuffing the pockets of his jacket with cocktail sausages and mini spring rolls from the buffet when he thought nobody was looking. I decided to give the guy a chance and strolled over.
“You probably know who I am”, he blurted out before I even had the chance to introduce myself. God, I hated him already. The blank look on my face told him otherwise, so he followed up by saying “you’ve probably heard my One and Only hit”, and sniggered a laugh so pitiful that it made me want to set his trousers on fire. I swallowed my growing nausea and asked him what he was doing here. “I’m performing”, he answered. “They don’t actually pay me, but they give me a couple of 2-for-1 drinks tokens and some light encouragement. I have very fragile self-esteem”. This lonely nerd obviously needed my help, and I relished the challenge of giving him the night of his life. I asked him his name as he continued to steal hors d’oeuvres with more sweaty haste than a fourteen year old in sight of his first boob.
“I’m Chesney”, he said. “But you can call me The Hawk”.
“I’m not going to call you that. I doubt anyone ever has”
“What’s the plan then? This is some swell party!”
“Yep. But you need to get drunk. And then we’re gonna find you a girl. That one who’s performing next looks pretty hot”
“Oh, I don’t know…”
“Shut up, Chesney. We’ll turn it into a competition. We’ll both attempt to win her over and the winner gets to go home with her”
“Uhhh, ok. I don’t know what I’m going to say, I get nervous around women. You think she might want to hold my hand?”
“Yeah, why not. We’ll get a couple of drinks to loosen you up and head over. I wonder which one of us she’ll…PIXIE”
“Huhhuh, yeah. She doesn’t have a LOTT of options”
“Shut up, Chesney. Leave the puns to me”
Nine shots later, and I sauntered backstage to try my luck with Ms Lott. Chesney attempted a swagger of his own but struggled with basic limb coordination and followed me in an embarrassing loping shuffle, moving both sides of his body at the same time and taking out passers-by with his windmilling arms.
He was so excited, bless him. We breezed past security and entered her dressing room.
“…Well, that went worse than expected”, I admitted as I picked the last of my teeth up off the floor. Chesney looked concerned. “You were out for about six minutes there man, are you ok?”
“I’m fine. Something tells me we went about that the wrong way. Maybe I should’ve saved some of the more creative euphemisms for later”
“I think the bouncer’s fist actually disappeared down your throat for a minute. I would’ve been impressed if I wasn’t so horrified”
The Ball was starting to wind down, and I felt it was time to move on. The students had already had their fun, but Chesney and I were made of stronger stuff. Chesney began to cry as I was thinking this, somewhat disappointingly.
“I should’ve told her I was in a movie. I was in a movie once”
“Sure you were”
“Was too! It had Roger Daltrey in it, and I was the star, and I…”
“Fuck, shut UP Chesney! I’ve had it up to here with your shit, I don’t know why I hang out with you”
“…I’ve only known you for fifteen minutes”
We made our way outside Oceana, and Chesney sat on the curb whilst I planned our next move. Casino? Strip club? Bait hobos with money down by the docks? I saw what appeared to be possible hobo-targets over by some bins outside the club, but on closer inspection they were revealed to be S Club 3.
“We kinda live here now”, sighed the fat one. “We hang around and badger the manager to let us perform here again. And please stop calling me the fat one, you’re saying that out loud”.
Since surrounding myself with these freaks was doing wonders for my ego, I decided to drag them along too.
I only have flashes of what happened after. An impromptu concert we gave in Milton Keynes, Chesney filling a KFC Family Bucket with vomit, a drug deal gone horribly wrong in Manchester (which at least explains why we only have the girl from S Club 3’s torso…I think).
It’s gonna take a lot to top this next year.
DISCLAIMER: None of the events described actually happened. I didn’t go to the Graduation Ball, nor am I even graduating. But how my night COULD have gone was pretty awesome. Please don’t sue me, Chesney Hawkes.