SPONSORED POST: I was pulled away from my laptop by the good people at Converse. I didn’t regret it
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
I don’t get to write about events very much, partly because I don’t go out that much, or when I do it’s normally to tech-flavoured events, where nothing noteworthy really happens. Finding out that Converse were hiring a bus to take people on a night out piqued my interest. They launched recently and have put on events at places like Bestival, so I rocked up last night to find two members of legendary student publication The Tab (in on-brand tab t-shirts) sitting at the front table, drinking Pimm’s and swapping stories with competition winners who had won tickets for the night through Converse’s “The Ticket” app, which is giving away free gig tickets to over 70 live shows. The bus soon filled up with a mix of bloggers, photographers, and competition winners
There was bucketloads of free alcohol and music blasting out of the p.a. Really cheesy stuff – that one that goes “Can you feel it, can you feel it, can you FEEL it?” but somehow it was perfect. I realised I spend way too much time on my laptop and way too little time interacting with people IRL. I was also having continued doubts over whether I was being the real me of late. When I started my company, I used to wear a suit to meetings, have shoes that were polished, etc. More recently I wear trainers to everything and didn’t even wear a suit to one of my best friends’ weddings recently (I got in trouble for that one though). Having a messy night out every now and then is an awesome thing. There is nothing like the bonding that happens when young people are given a meticulously planned fun evening and lots of alcohol.
The night started with chaos and confusion – the in-coach lights and music suddenly died and the driver pulled the coach over. “We’ve broken down- we’re gonna be stuck here for 45 minutes.” An absolute disaster? We were expecting fun. Two competition winners were sent out to find somewhere for us to go. They returned “Some guy called Dave’s having a party- shall we crash it?” I thought there was no way 20 people could crash a party in a tiny bar without getting thrown out, but we went with it…and all got in. This is what we discovered when we got there:
We had been fooled. The brand-new van suddenly breaking down and the disorder was a cunning ruse, all part of the fun. I like being played with, people don’t do it enough. Coming back onto the van after this stop (which also had free beer) the volume had been trebled on the coach, everyone was looser, everyone was making new friends. R.Kelly’s “Ignition” came on and a bottle of Tequila was passed around. It was nothing short of awesome.
As the coach steamed through Shoreditch, there was a madman in a wrestling suit ranting and raving. Our host on the coach said “That’s Metallico! I haven’t seen him in about three years! Shall we let him on the coach?” He looked like a local nutter. Metallico told us they had some “spare food and beer” during their wrestling practice, and asked us if we’d like to join. We walked in and found this:
It reminded me of that George W. Bush quote “fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” We had once again been surprised by a “random occurence”. Much kudos. This was no practice, this was an all out war between multiple wrestlers, WWF style. 10/10 for entertainment. The night’s edges start to blur here as a lot of Tequila Gold is going around. There is also mexican food. There were something like 10 wrestlers in the ring at one point. The action spills out of the ring, culminating in a personal highlight when a wrestler gets their face smooshed in a basket of nachos – that’s gotta hurt.
The party cliches roll on once we’re hoarded back onto the coach, laughing our asses off when the opening bars of “Bohemian Rhapsody” come on. I sing every word like it’s the national anthem. Everyone is now at comfort level: ok to touch each other. There is the electricity of flirting and the fuel of more tequila and beer carrying us right up to our final destination: the 100 club. We took a final group photo and melted into the crowd, where Peace were playing. It was great.
When Peace finished, a few of us went next door to what can only be described as a “posh” club. I ordered a lemonade and it came to £5.06. Just as Dorothy realised she wasn’t in kansas anymore, the free booze train had left town and the real world’s predatory pricing made me wince. I ordered an Uber and started writing this. I need to get out more.
Follow me on Twitter: @vincentdignan
Download ‘The Ticket’ at converse.co.uk
Pictures courtesy of Converse and The Tab