rebeccawatson

Vulgarian RUFC

Feb 2nd, 2015
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  1. Vulgarian Nights
  2. By Mark Abernathy
  3.  
  4.  
  5. Reprinted without permission from Australian Penthouse
  6. ===========================================
  7.  
  8. There are only two rules for membership of The Southern Cross
  9. Vulgarians RFC - "No Trainers" and "No Sippers". You have to
  10. keep this philosophy in mind if you want to play rugby in this team.
  11. You'll have to keep a lot more in mind if you want to party with
  12. them.
  13.  
  14. So says our guide for the evening, Abbo - 22-year-old law student
  15. and "Press Secretary" of what he describes as the "ugliest and most
  16. highly qualified rugby team in the Southern Hemisphere". The Vulgarians
  17. don't want players who train and they shower disdain on sippers - a
  18. Kiwi-ism for people who drink for all the wrong reasons. But for all
  19. their hostility toward anyone not Of The Faith, there's an arms-length
  20. waiting list of young footy players around Wellington just dying to join
  21. this team that boasts the best looking female supporters and the lower
  22. North Island's most generous sponsor and booze-provider - the
  23. notorious Southern Cross Tavern.
  24.  
  25. The deal includes four crates of beer for every game played, jugs on the
  26. house every Saturday arvo and give-away crates for the team's infamous
  27. Vulgarian's Picnics - outdoor events for the off-season that are that
  28. are
  29. so vividly disgusting that the police are frequently called in by
  30. outraged
  31. decent citizens.
  32.  
  33. The sponsorship deal with the Southern Cross is much envied among
  34. other social footy teams around the country. It's a deal that also
  35. raises
  36. eyebrows with some mothers who think young Kiwi males abuse alcohol
  37. enough without a sponsor for the habit. A recent Vulgarian sign-up
  38. evening at the pub saw manager Gary Clarke put 1200 (yes, twelve
  39. hundred ) free jugs [1.125 L for you northern hemisphere heathen, ie.
  40. over a cubic metre of beer] of beer on the bar for new Vulgarians.
  41.  
  42. But it's a deal that suits both parties concerned. The Vulgarians have a
  43. clubhouse and a good supply of booze, and the Tavern gets publicity
  44. and the flow-on crowds that follow the team. And a full arsenal of booze
  45. is a fundamental requirement for the Vulgarians. Because they might be
  46. a half-good bunch of footballers, but their infamy lies in the way they
  47. socialise. A pastime that is best summed up by yet another of their
  48. throw-away slogans: "What goes down, must come up".
  49.  
  50. ---
  51.  
  52. So we're sitting here in the Southern Cross. It's a Saturday afternoon
  53. and Abbo is priming me on the arrival of the team.
  54.  
  55. "Don't call Fritter a sipper... he's going quiet because of the stomach
  56. ulcer, but the last time he got called that, someone got hurt. Don't let
  57. it be you this time.
  58.  
  59. "Red's got a complex about his hair - I should know because I made
  60. him as ashamed as I could about it. But don't say anything about the
  61. hair... in fact, don't even look at it. If you do, I won't be
  62. accountable.
  63. And don't call Shorty 'Shorty'."
  64.  
  65. "So what do I call him ?"
  66.  
  67. "Don't call him anything, for fuck's sake - don't even *talk* to him,
  68. especially when he's drunk. I'll take care of the questions"
  69.  
  70. There are other warnings. Like, don't ever ask a Vulgarian to perform
  71. vomiting tricks for you. A person that wants to encourage, but not
  72. partake is worse than vermin - worse even, than a sipper. I'm warned
  73. that one of the lads is likely to puke on me if this kind of question is
  74. raised.
  75.  
  76. Because we're here to the New Zealand institution of pelican drinking
  77. (vomiting into anothers mouth), we are given a quick run down on the
  78. practice. Pelican drinking probably began in the Fifties among rugby
  79. players and rowing crews. It died out around the early Eighties, but is
  80. now seeing a revival.
  81.  
  82. "And just one thing," says my guide as the barn-like bar steadily fills
  83. and the juke box is cranked. "Is the camera insured ?"
  84.  
  85. I tell him it's borrowed from a mate and he goes into a delirious
  86. monologue that borrows as much from legal Latin as it does
  87. from Shakespeare and Leviticus.
  88.  
  89. "The Vulgarian RFC can in no way guarantee... or give indemnity,
  90. or anything that involves physically giving you anything remotely
  91. associated with losses caused by us or anybody connected or not,
  92. to you or your person ex abundate cautela... but YEA ! Indeed we
  93. LOVE, but bow down we do not... do we make ourselves clear ?"
  94.  
  95. And he's off another John Knoxian head journey into areas
  96. uncharted, and some of the girl Vulgarian groupies with eyes only
  97. for The Lads and seem to be accustomed to this rambling Rumpole-
  98. esque rant... and a girl with a gorgeous mouth gives Abbo a bit of
  99. lip and they all go into hooting laughter when he half-turns to the
  100. girl and seriously asks her: "Do I know you ?"
  101.  
  102. Because this is business, and somewhere between muttering "get thee
  103. to a nunnery", "tread carefully where the lions sleep" and describing
  104. one of the other girls as "most beastly foul and full of vile disdain",
  105. The Lads have staggered, jogged, screamed and swaggered into the
  106. bar. More than 20 of the buggers. And a bloke has to be surprised.
  107. They are the most normal, clean cut bunch of bloke you could hope
  108. to meet. Okay, so they've had a few, and there's a certain ratbag
  109. energy about them, but the handshakes are firm and the inquiries polite.
  110. And for a moment it's easy to forget why we're here - to watch these
  111. pleasant, university student, footy-playing blokes perform the
  112. unthinkable
  113. - to vomit into each others mouths.
  114.  
  115. ---
  116.  
  117. Around midnight the cry goes up: "RIIIIIIGHT!" It's a sign that the
  118. party
  119. is moving elsewhere. There's a restless aura around the Vulgarians - the
  120. charisma of blokes who drink for free and need to move on to something
  121. more. There are more than enough cute girls now attached to the team
  122. for each of The Lads to have a little something for himself.
  123.  
  124. "You should have seen the chicks at our last picnic," one of the team
  125. tells me. "Everyone was in the bushes rooting - one girl got pissed and
  126. puked on, but it didn't seem to worry her."
  127.  
  128. There are many stories like this told, but always with good humour.
  129. Girls seek the Vulgarians out to be in their scene, so the guys see no
  130. reason to change the way they act - girls can take it or leave it.
  131.  
  132. A fast roll call is made by the Vulgarian Shrine near the exit to the
  133. vast boozer. The Shrine is a glass cabinet on the wall containing
  134. photographs of past parties, games and tours. A banner runs across
  135. the top of the Shrine that says: "Kill the body - Feed the horse".
  136. There's also a collection of press releases from the Press Secretary -
  137. a slick litany of phrases referring to players as "horse crutch",
  138. "donkey
  139. dong" and "Mister Ed". Sippers, party-poopers and other wowsers
  140. are referred to as "Linda" (Lovelace) as in "choke on this, Linda".
  141.  
  142. There is a quorum and someone is sent to pick up a few dozen flagons
  143. of DB Draught - the cheapest beer in town.
  144.  
  145. One of the guys has to go somewhere with his new girlfriend, and seeks
  146. the approval of the team.
  147.  
  148. "Fuck off, Linda," one of the others sneers at him. The bloke decides
  149. to stay. The girlfriend rolls her eyes but wears it.
  150.  
  151. There's beer, girls and a place to party. Cars and taxis roar into the
  152. cold and crystal-clear Wellington darkness. Tonight the Vulgarians
  153. ride.
  154.  
  155. ---
  156.  
  157. This is Tim's place. Well, all right, it's his parent's place, but
  158. they're
  159. cool - they understand a bloke's need to disencumber himself of
  160. pressures with a few selected friends. Tim seems unperturbed by the
  161. drunken revelling on the back patio. He's more interested in how his
  162. face got smashed up. "Christ, I was so drunk I can't remember if I
  163. fell or got a hiding from those fucking Bogans last night."
  164.  
  165. "You got a hiding, and then you fell over, you mad cunt", one of the
  166. team members, Fritter, says as he walks past.
  167.  
  168. Fritter is a big, sandy-haired guy who gives the impression of being
  169. capable of just about anything - as long as there's ego or money
  170. riding on it. He has recently returned from a prestigious year-long
  171. scholarship at an American university and is going slow on the booze
  172. for medical reasons. But he still has 'mana' - respect. Two years ago
  173. at a bar, a friend accused him of being a sipper. Fritter promptly
  174. ordered a jug, sculled it, vomited the contents back into the jug and
  175. then drank the vomit. As the whole bar looked on aghast, Fritter
  176. grabbed his mate by the collar and projectile vomited all over the
  177. bloke's face and down his neck. That, as they say, is class.
  178.  
  179. Out on the wooden-plank patio, things are getting strange. While
  180. most of the Vulgarians sit around a table drinking and flirting, there's
  181. a group of about seven blokes on their own at the other end of the
  182. deck. They have most of the booze. One guy, Red, is drinking vast
  183. quantities of the cheap beer and then forcing himself to be sick all
  184. over the patio. Some of the girls offer encouragement: "Jesus, Red,
  185. your a fucking beast."
  186.  
  187. Red is what some footy teams call "the enforcer" or the "ninety-nine
  188. man" - a bloke who can deal out the head-butts in the mauls without
  189. the ref noticing and put in a quick bit of slipper in the rucks. He's a
  190. heavy-set redhead with a bony and indestructible looking head. - and
  191. he's starting to look dangerous.
  192.  
  193. He's joined by the rest of the inner in the vomiting act. I'm told by
  194. Abbo
  195. that this is done to purge the stomach of unwanted food - eating is
  196. cheating, and the dog gets an unscheduled feed.
  197.  
  198. Half an hour later, Abbo approaches again and tells me to prepare for
  199. something that no self-respecting journalist should ever have to
  200. witness.
  201. "Just don't come too close - they're cool about photographs, but don't
  202. become a victim of convenience."
  203.  
  204. Then Red fills up a jug and drops it down his gob so fast it looks like
  205. a trick. He works his stomach muscles in and out and points to Abbo.
  206. "Recieveth," he commands and the crowd at the table starts cheering,
  207. but keeps its distance. Abbo goes down on one knee and seems to
  208. be praying. He holds his hands together in front of his chest and tilts
  209. his head back, mouth open. Red is in a trance, his stomach heaving
  210. in and out at speed. Then he takes a step forward so that he's just
  211. over a metre from the praying press secretary and there's this awful
  212. noise like the toilets on the Achille Lauro, and this tawny stream of
  213. vomit flies from Red's mouth and gracefully arcs a few feet through
  214. the air and lands in his team-mates mouth.
  215.  
  216. This is pelican drinking. And this is Saturday night, Kiwi-style.
  217.  
  218. The crowd at the table are baying for more. Abbo has taken the puke
  219. in his mouth and after thanking Red for the present, heads for another
  220. beer and looks around for his own victim. Red's getting slaps on the
  221. back and the game has just begun.
  222.  
  223. Tim's pouring himself a big drink, but Red's got more to give and pukes
  224. all over the back of his host's head. Morris has been trying to get the
  225. gas fizzing in his gut but hasn't been able to make it happen. So Abbo
  226. orders him to "receiveth" and Morris goes on to one knee and the
  227. Press Secretary walks over to him but can't get it together. So Morris
  228. stands up to walk away, but Red sees what's happening and yells:
  229. "Take it Morris, you sipper - just take it."
  230.  
  231. So he goes down on one knee again, as the main table talks university
  232. gossip, and this time Abbo does The Business, but not in a graceful arc.
  233. He releases a broad spray of beer and carrot chunks that seems to go
  234. everywhere around the face except the mouth.
  235.  
  236. Red's fired up again, this time with two jugs force fed into his gut,
  237. just
  238. swilling around waiting to come out at unnatural speeds. "Receiveth'"
  239. he says and points at Tim, and the host goes down on one knee and
  240. gets a fast gallon down the throat, but before he can recover, his
  241. brother
  242. Matty is lurching above him and adding to it. It careens past the
  243. receiver's
  244. ear and down his back. Matty gets seconds in the side of the face from
  245. Red, who seems to have done this before.
  246.  
  247. Morris has three jugs looking for a home and unloads into Red's mouth
  248. with wounded animal noises. The girls at the table cheer because someone
  249. was stupid enough to give Red the pelican he deserved.
  250.  
  251. Abbo's got the gut working better and gives Matty a few litres to think
  252. about, and Tim and Will are swinging warning punches at each other
  253. near the booze so Red staggers over and threatens to give 'em both a
  254. clip if they don't calm down. So Tim loads up and Matty tells Will to
  255. "receiveth" and the host lets fly with enough chunder to drown a cat,
  256. and Will takes it all.
  257.  
  258. Will is taking a pelican from Abbo and Matty gets one from his brother
  259. (the are known as the Twisted Sisters). Morris stalks around waiting
  260. to puke into an open mouth when one becomes available, but can't
  261. wait and lets one go into Will's gob as Abbo's chunder stops. Red
  262. slips and slides through the sea of sick and says to me: "shit have some
  263. fun man - give it a try ?"
  264.  
  265. And so it goes on. After a couple of hours, the inner circle has
  266. exchanged
  267. beer vomit with one another at least five or six times - The Lads are
  268. getting tired and the beer has run low. The garden hose is running and
  269. the team take turns at hosing down themselves and the deck.
  270.  
  271. All that remains is some kind of explanation as to why. As Press
  272. Secretary, Abbo is used to the question, but makes no attempt to
  273. answer. "Reasons are for sippers," he tells us, as if the most foolish
  274. thing a journo could ask is for a reason for vomiting into somebody's
  275. mouth.
  276.  
  277. "It's all about confusing the journey with the destination"
  278.  
  279. "So is this the journey or the destination ?"
  280.  
  281. "This is the confusion," he says, "or couldn't you tell ?"
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