Adelaidean superstar BKK & her sword-wielding boyfriend moved over to sunny London fairly recently (I say “recently” – I think they’ve been over about 6 months now, but then I’m still working on blog posts from that long ago too, so it’s all relative, innit?), and it’s been marvellous fun to have more people from home to play with occasionally.
As it was BK’s birthday the other week, I thought I’d treat her to a nice drink and try to find an unusual & memorable Londonny experience for her – as it turned out I was able to kill 2 birds with one stone, thanks to the unlikely appearance of Alcoholic Architecture – London’s first ever walk-in breathable cocktail. (More astute & paranoid readers may deduce that I bought this ticket in an effort to get off cheaply because Tom doesn’t drink, and therefore I’d only need to shell out for 2 tickets, but I assure you that’s not how I roll. Fo’ shizzle.)
Upon entering the building we were issued by a bowtied & bespectacled man (as it turns out, one of the creators) with a one-size-fits-all paper cleansuit. It would have had more chance of one-size-fitting-all if one had removed one’s trousers, however this wasn’t an option, and donning the suit was therefore a bit of a mission. To make it even sexier (everyone loves a skintight cleansuit) the cheap & flimsy zip came off in my hand, so there’s everyone else in white alien-like bunnysuits, and me wandering about with my dark-blue-shirted stomach protruding from the useless halves of the front zip. BK entered the mist first – wearing sunglasses and looking like some kind of albino ant queen.
Meanwhile yours truly trailed inelegantly, discovering that the second problem with having no zip on the front of the suit was that it makes it impossible to turn your head to either side without your head rotating inside the hood: obscuring all view. The solution to this was to go sans-hood. This technique shortly revealed the reason for the hood – it stops the vaporous booze from getting all through your hair.
The actual experience itself was a little bit on the strange side – more or less a cold steam room, much the same as the Blind Light piece at the recent-ish Antony Gormley exhibition at The Hayward Gallery. This is, of course, utterly unsurprising as it was the same mist-creating technology in both places. The difference here was that breathing the mist left a bit of a tingly sensation in your breathing parts. I overheard one know-it-all say that it tasted of quinine, however I’d have to dispute that what he meant was that it tasted tonic-water-y, as nobody in their right mind knows what quinine on its own tastes like: as wikipedia’s just told me (and thusly imbued me with a sense of smug superiority), the whole reason G&T was invented was as a mean to make quinine palatable during British Colonial days in order to stave off malaria.
Matter of fact, there’s not much you could actually say about being in there – it was just a small misty room crammed with other people who looked like they’d just been hatched out of alien podules, and with a reasonably steady procession of new arrivals entering the room and remarking about how weird it all was. I considered whether you’d get drunk faster from breathing deeply, or purely from absorbing the stuff in through your eyeballs. Breathing it definitely created a sort of back-of-throat drippy condensation thing, like you get when you’ve got a cold, only pleasanter-tasting. And thankfully the international hysteria of swine flu (aka hamthrax / parmageddon / the aporkalypse) hadn’t gripped the media, so a little coughing didn’t prompt accusatory glares – and even if it had, the widened eyeballs would shortly get an enlarged dose of atomised Bombay Sapphire.
The breathing issue was a bit of a moot point really, because we’d just come from a bit of a “media lunch” near Edgware Road with Bushwando & Rach. I can verify with absolute certainty that you’ll be a little wibbly if you neck a pint of Hoegaarden, then breathe in gaseous G&T for 40 minutes, then go out for 2 more pints. Assuming that’s what you did. Utterly up to you.
One thing’s for certain: if novel ways of ingesting booze is what gets you going, London’s not a bad place to base yourself.