Bambus used to be my drink of choice – it’s basically red wine and coke, and not as disgusting as you might think. As someone who never liked red wine, it was the perfect option in group situations where bottles were being shared and the kind of dinner being had dictated the colour of the wine (something I’ve never really understood).

Just like smoking I picked up the Bambus habit in Bosnia (another reason why I think I managed to pull off The Bosnian Hoax so convincingly) and for several years it was common to see me ordering a coke with my glass of wine, and for my wine-loving friends to vomit when they saw what I did with it.

Bambus in Bosnia.

Bambus in Bosnia.


Bambus in Montenegro.

Bambus in Montenegro.

I’m not quite sure why I first tried it but this mug in a Sarajevan souvenir shop might have put the idea into my head.

Hmmm, subliminal...

Hmmm, subliminal…

This period of drinking was between my Tequila & Coke phase and my White Wine & Tequila Shot phase in the timeline of my drinking preferences. It was a slight dip in a period of time when my drinks had largely moved away from the gay cocktails which used to be my trademark and onto the harder stuff, which would eventually just lead to straight vodka and then me quitting alcohol entirely.

I was still fairly new in my job at PlayStation, and had a big presentation to do one day – the biggest of my Sony career so far. I’d somehow managed to be out drinking the night before. I think it was celebratory drinks to toast the fact I had completed my presentation preparations ahead of time (unusual) and was completely ready for the gig. What better way to celebrate than get inadvertently shit-faced on Bambus the night before.

It was an early meeting and my chronophobia already handicapped me in that I have a morbid fear of being on time. For anything. Ever.

I’d slightly overslept but I’d set my alarms very early, set my TV to come on very loud as a backup alarm, and put the remote in a drawer in another room, so I’d have to get out of bed to shut it off. Fiendish.

There would be some senior management at the presentation, so I had a nice shirt prepared (but not ironed obviously, that would be ridiculous) and I got ready with plenty of haste but also plenty of care – didn’t want to look like a fool in the meeting and ruin all the work that went into the content (and timely gags) of my meticulous presentation.

I was all set to go and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and check my hair. That was when I noticed I had the dreaded red wine stains all over my lips. Not just a little bit, I literally looked like I’d put burgundy lipstick on. Hmmm, I was running tight on time and people would be suspicious if I turned up at the meeting with my jacket and bag still on. I had to act quick.

So I grabbed my toothbrush, added more toothpaste, and started gently scrubbing my lips. But it was STUBBORN. After a few minutes I had barely made a difference, so I tried a bit harder. That seemed to do the trick, and after a few more minutes I’d removed about two-thirds of the red stains. Just had a bit more to get so I added a bit more toothpaste and scrubbed a little harder for another minute or so.

As I stopped I realised there was a slow trickle of toothpaste foam mixed with red dripping from my face into the sink. I grabbed a cloth and wiped my mouth, and the cloth ended up covered in red – this was not wine stains. Once I’d washed my face completely I saw that my lips were bleeding badly in about half a dozen places from the brushing.

Artist's Impression.

Artist’s Impression.

All I could do was keep dabbing it and hope it would stop, and occasionally wipe dribbles of blood off my chin. I grabbed a pack of wipes and my jacket and dashed off. I made it in on time for the meeting and the bleeding subsided a bit on the Tube but I still had to do the presentation with a tissue in my hand, and I did look like I’d had razor-blade muesli for breakfast that morning.

Nobody mentioned it though, so maybe everyone else was out on the piss the night before as well and were too hungover to notice…

Don't just sit there, say something, the silence is freaking me out!