A year and a day ago. I'd just woken up at my mate's house, knowing not how I'd got there. Scrambled eggs in a bowl for breakfast. My mother drunkenly FaceTimed me from an Australian apartment she was in with her best mates. She was ahead of me in time but I was ahead of her in the hangover stakes.
An arrival from another mate, a borrowed t-shirt, four necklaces and a fur coat later, I was drinking some inexplicably intense coffee from a mug with the words 'Perfection isn't as easy as it looks' written on the side. Fitting. Fast forward twelve hours and we'd narrowly avoided buying a bottle of brandy purely because 'it was shaped like an AK47', seen Foals live at Alexandra Palace and descended upon a party we weren't exactly overenamoured at attending. It had been a long few days. Yet, none of us were sitting there frantically asking, "What are we doing with our lives?"; we were more saying passively, "We seem to be doing this with our lives. We're not dead. Let's plough on." We left shortly afterwards.
Saturday the fifteenth of February marked a mid-point in what has been dubbed since as The Month of Anarchy; much like the Feast of Fools, lives were sent into disarray for a number of different reasons: break-ups, blackouts and general misrule started and ended with continuous debaucherous events - events such as 'Going Out To A Student Night On A Tuesday Until 2am' and 'Why Are We Four Buying A Bottle Of Prosecco Each On A Wednesday'. We had more impromptu parties than that Eddie Murphy single and I watched The Shawshank Redemption for the first time, which - I can tell you - gives you mixed emotions when watching it with your housemate on a Valentine's Day.
The following week, I was to lose my voice, have a fantastic skiing holiday, and return to the country for a wholly unexpected metaphorical punch in the face. It did indeed swing from The Best Of Times to The Worst Of Times in the drunken making of one cocktail. There were tears, there was emergency absinthe, and there had to be a subsequent period of unconsciousness.
I just didn't remember any of it.
Cue consciousness. Cue, well, the rest of the party. Cue merrily going about the aftermath as 'normal'. Then cue several tons of stark reality throwing itself down the phone and into my ear from a very close friend that evening, which, y'know, was not so great. The following week was relatively disastrous. But for all those sober thoughts, bleak staring into the abyss and a strong desire to drink the entirety of the Gun Brandy (which had, in fact, made it into my possession the night before), everything did work itself out.
It was March by then.
I don't think anyone involved in February 2014 had any idea of what was to come from the outset; I had no idea I was going to be five parts awe-inspiringly euphoric to three parts dark and down. But I guess that's what a real hangover feels like. It was one of the most intense, eye-opening and important months of my life.
Why? Well, friendship. Camaraderie.
The break up wasn't mine. No one really knows how many blackouts there were. And as for general misrule? That struck like an electrical storm. But being there, when we all needed each other the most, was the one thing that kept us together. When the break up kicked in, we acted like an emergency emotional penguin huddle. In the blackouts, taxis were caught, water was prescribed and eggs were served in a bowl. And when we'd poured our fourth Long Island Iced Teas into champagne flutes at 1am on a Wednesday morning, we simply encouraged each other appropriately.
And when it all fell apart, we had our phone calls and our debriefs, our looks and our laughs. We had our friends.
Thank God for February 2014. I wouldn't be where I am now without it.