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From the age of 4 onwards, I have always associated birthdays with painful rituals. At primary school, the birthday boy or girl would go to the front of the assembly and have their hair pulled as many times as their age in years plus "one for good luck". At secondary school, it was birthday beats, with as many jabs to the arm as the person's age, plus again, "one for good luck".

However, at the age of 18, legal drinking age (in the UK), the pain of birthdays manifests itself as the dirty pint. These foul concoctions typically consist of all the most disgusting, sickening and wretched shots the bar has to offer, mixed with half a pint of bitter. The lucky birthday boy then has to down this stinking mess, with regular pauses for vomitting, to start, and end, his night.

You may ask what has brought on this random and uncalled for node? Well, I have in front of me a receipt for a dirty pint a friend just drank. It comes to £20.75 for:

  • 5 shots of Bell's whisky
  • 3 shots of Gordon's gin
  • 2 shots of sambuca
  • 2 shots of tequila
  • 2 shots of apple sour
  • half a pint of Guiness
  • This pint is truly dirty. At the half way stage, "B", my friend, decorated the wall of the pub with his vomit, then proceeded to down the rest of the pint in the toilet, ready for lift off.

    The reason we feel the need to punish people for living another year is the topic for another node, maybe it's jealousy at all the presents they get, maybe it's sadism. Either way, if you want a surefire way to get the party started, head to the bar, let your mind run wild, and concoct a dirty pint.

    In the fighter control branch of the Royal Air Force we have a similar drink used for an initiation (with the individual's permission, of course!). It is known as the chocolate spider.

    Officers drink this revolting potion upon receiving their certificate of qualification as a Fighter Controller. It consists of a dirty pint containing as many as 10 different shots of spirit, with a mars bar added into the pint for extra joy. The officer(s) (it is usually run as a competition) stand on a stool, with a bucket close at hand, and have to down the pint and eat the mars bar without taking the glass away from their mouth. NOT easy.

    My chocolate spider contained Bells, Jack Daniels, sambuca, tequila, vodka, red aftershock, blue aftershock and John Smiths bitter. As someone who rarely eats chocolate I felt ill because of the mars bar more than anything else. My speech was fairly lucid and short. The guy to my left, however, was badly affected and his speech rambled on for 5 minutes before he projectile vomited into his bucket.

    NOT for the faint-hearted!

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