My First Christmas Party

Everyone had their own story about outrageous behaviour, destruction and chaos at a Christmas party. This is mine.

The reason I’m able to remember it so clearly is because I was about nine at the time. Even by the rather dissipated standards of my parents’ social life, it was far from a normal evening.

For the first hour or so I wandered around, occasionally talking to people (probably in that awful precocious way that some nine-year-olds, including this one, have when allowed to mix with adults) and eating huge amounts of cake. This seemed to be the only food my mother had organised. Always quite a haphazard hostess, she’d also invited just about everyone she knew and, she later admitted, quite a few people she didn’t. There was plenty of drink but, apart from cake, nothing to eat. No real drink-driving laws at that time – particularly not in France, where this took place – and within an hour or so everyone was roaring drunk.

My father later tried to justify the whole fiasco by saying that the temperature change between the cold outdoors and the hot house had been responsible for everyone’s disorganised behaviour. Even at the time I thought that this was a pretty feeble excuse. 

One early conversation I remember was with three people who were talking about mescaline, of which I’d never heard. I repeated it back as ‘masculine’, which seemed to make almost as much sense. They laughed at me: one patted me on the head. I stored the word away in my mind, vowing to look it up and, the next time, to use it correctly. When I  did, a few months later, my parents were shocked. I delighted in telling them where I’d first heard it. What an appalling little boy I must have been.


• The rest of this story is now available in a paperback book (as are 25 others) – Unaccustomed as I Am (RRP £9.95).

It is stocked by the Hungerford Bookshop and you can place your order here.

Copies are also available at the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough, the Mad Hatter Bookshop in Wantage and through an increasing number of other retailers.

You can order it from any bookshop: they will need to know that the ISBN is 978-1-8382580-0-9 and that it can be ordered from Gardners or Central Books.


Brian Quinn

• For further articles, please click here
• For songs, please click here


3 Responses

    1. Tears? Happy tears, I hope, not of sorrow for the house guest. I imagine she forgot it the next day. I know I never will. Still I can see it, in a terrible slow motion…
      Do spread the link to anyone else who might be interested. Lots more (songs and music) where that came from

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