Is it nearly over yet? Have the hair shirts gone back into the loft now? Perhaps only a wine seller would notice, but there seems to have been an awful lot of people giving up drink since Christmas. The “Dryathlon” in January kept a lot of people off the pop, kept even more off it in February when they tried to get it right second time around, and has galvanised some into giving it up for Lent! And what, I ask you, is this “Dryathlon?” I’m sure there are many athletes out there who feel their remarkable endurance is humbled by association with the piety of a bloke who can spend a full month pottering about with a cup of tea, and I fancy they’d consider giving it up altogether in the light of the listless Lenten consummation of temperate holiness!
But what of the achievements of the devout intemperate, the sipper for all seasons, his athleticism matched only by the elegant fertility of his imagination? He who can turn a swift half into a four-hour marathon, a tasting sample of wine into ten rounds with the rest of the bottle, the Daley Thompson of occasional squiffiness? To him, or to her, we dedicate the Decadentathlon, ten events for April that would assail the abstemious, knock spots of the spartan and topple the temporarily teetotal, rich with their own challenges and rewards…
1. Shooting. (“I’ll be back in a bit, I’m just shooting down to the pub”)
2. The 100 Metres. (The distance to the aforementioned pub).
3. The 400 Metres. (The distance home, several hours later, from the same pub).
4. The High Jump. (The welcome home from the pub).
5. Cross-Country. (The move from French white to Spanish red).
6. Pole Vault. (The leap of enthusiasm prompted by the suggestion of some Wyborowa vodka shots).
7. Shot Putting. (The swift consumption thereof).
8. Swimming. (A horizontal event, assisted by your bedroom walls and furniture).
9. The 1500 Metres. (The bare minimum of fresh air required to offer even the slimmest chance of getting through the swimming event).
10. Fencing. (The realisation the following morning that you have, between some of the preceding nine events, purchased an item of dubious provenance).
Year-round Decadentathletes, torch bearers of the Vintner Olympics, we salute you! Have a wonderful April. Or should that be Cabernet-pril..?