Oktobeerfest 2012

As half the population can attest, bathroom breaks are not purely biological excursions; they are prime opportunity to talk rubbish with your friends, fix your hair, philosophise on life, re-do your nail polish, check you’re still wearing underwear, et cetera…  I’m sure we can all identify with that moment at a party when you go to the bathroom, lock yourself in the stall and realise for the first time, in one blinding flash of comprehension how truly hammered you are.  Oktobeerfest was however the first time I’d had this thought at 4pm. 

The event was held at Kinkell Byre; a venue I’d already seen twice before at DONT WALK and the Mermaids Christmas Ball – yet both events had started after nightfall, so I hadn’t realised previously a) how close to St Andrews Kinkell is, and  b) the stunning seafront location. The sun was shining, German drinking songs (which sound prettier than English drinking songs, probably just because I don’t know what they’re saying) were sung, and the benches outside were a photogenic array of blonde Heidi hairdos and comedy hats.

We bought beer tokens from the Tokenbar for a fiver a pop, which initially I thought was a bit steep. However, we then exchanged these for massive steins, brimming with two pints worth of 8% beer. These vessels – calling these ‘cups’ seems plain ridiculous – were so enormous that using two hands seemed necessary. The fantastic thing about being a 5”4 girl in these situations is that I really only needed a couple of these to get plastered enough to attempt Bavarian dancing and dig up my GCSE German. Choosing a real-life German and a rugby player as drinking buddies also helped in the wasted stakes. 

To get some ethnic perspective, I chose the tallest, blondest guy I could find in charivari leather shorts, who unsurprisingly was from Munich, and asked him about Bavaria and beer. Honestly I can’t recall much of this exchange, as my new friend Hans wasn’t particularly coherent in English or in German by this point; however he did teach me some useful or at least vaguely entertaining Oktoberfest words.

I was a big fan of ‘Brezn’, the soft pretzels whose alcohol-absorbing qualities probably saved countless inebriates from drowning in their own vomit, or at least their own beer tankard.  Something you want to avoid being at Oktoberfest is a ‘Noagerlzuzla’, aka one of those assholes who finishes the remainders from other people’s abandoned steins. A tipsy person is ‘ogschdocha’, whereas a drunk one is a ‘Fetznrausch’. Plenty of both, though the atmosphere was more on the ogschdocha side, thanks to all the pretzels and bockwurst.  

Careful you don’t overdo it on the schnitzel and beer or you’ll end up with a ‘Wampn’, which is, yep, a beer belly. After this eye-opener of a conversation, Bavarians at Oktoberfest don’t seem worlds apart from Brits every Saturday at the local Wetherspoons. Just replace the ‘Schuaplattler’ dancing with a fruit machine and a drunken rendition of ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’.

Each time the cry of ‘Prosssssst’ went up, you would energetically smash steins with your neighbour, often slopping half a litre over yourself and occasionally literally smashing the glass. Not as sturdy as they look, kids. It was therefore in a state of total confusion and beeriness that we hopped on the bus back at 10pm; just in time to meet the crowds only just heading out for the night. Sleep? Who needs sleep!
Images courtesy of Jessica Biggs – The Owl by Lightbox. Check out more photographs, here!