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Pavlov's Frog writes: I once spent 20 minutes with my eyes closed to see what it was like being blind. I smashed my knee on the kitchen cupboard, and decided I'd be better off deaf as you can still watch television.

(, Thu 24 Jul 2008, 12:00)
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The Great Guiness Experiment
Thankfully, I was not the experimenter in this case, merely the documentor of evidence, but it's a story that deserves to be told.

A few years ago now I was one of a number of first year university students living in halls, doing no work, essentially on summer camp for a year. Next door lived a guy named Jezz, known for his hare-brained schemes. One day he comes round all excited.

"Hey, you know the other night, we were rinking Guiness, and you told me you heard somewhere it's possible to survive on a desert island with no other food?"

It was true. I had told him this. In my defence, I was drunk, fairly confident of the facts, and in actuality only slightly wrong (later investigation revealed that a pint of guiness and a vitamin c tablet per day contains your RDA of everything vital). It was unlucky for Jezz that students have that peculiar combination of limitless trivia, poor research skills, and limitless free time that can mean that such a misunderstanding could be pursued so much further.

He outlined to me his idea. One week, no food, only guiness and water. And we were to catch it all on camera. My housemate still has all the tapes of that week somewhere, one day soon I'm going to have to compile them. Unusually for one of Jezz's plans, we were all quite supportive, another friend, Tom, even offering to try the all-guiness diet as well. After some consultation, it was decreed that marmite would be allowed as well, being a by-product of guiness.

On day one, the fridge was stocked and the first cans were cracked open. Having had no breakfast, the boys needed a couple of pints to feel properly full, but one of the bonuses of the guiness diet is the heaviness of the stout, a factor which at least makes it feel as if you've eaten a tolerable amount. By mid afternoon, we were all a bit pissed, and the day passed in a pleasant enough haze, the only low point being the guys' inability to get stoned for fear of forfeiting the diet in a moment of munchie-related weakness.

It was on the morning of day two that the trouble started. Firstly, I'm sure the factor that has been playing on your mind since reading the first paragraph has been the infamous 'guiness shits'. Well, on the morning of day 2, they hit, and when they hit, they hit hard.

From this point onwards, both men must have spent at least a third of their time engaged in ejecting a viscous black gruel from their bowels into the toilets both next door and in my house. The stench was unbearable, so much so, that on more than one occasion I would head round the corner to the student union to do my business rather than contend with it.

However, the fine Irish stout kept pouring down, and by the end of the afternoon, a Friday, we were suitably tanked up to entertain the notion of heading out clubbing. "But I'm too depressed", protested Tom. Nonsense, we argued, going out would distract him from the monotony of his diet, cheer him up. In fact, in an environment where there was nothing to do but drink, they might stop seeing it as a chore, and return to seeing it as a pleasure.

Unfortunately, we did not plan on Brighton's stringent ID policy, which left us unable to get into any club apart from the horrific West Street slagheaps that we always avoided like the plague. Unable to face the prospect of having an even worse time in a club that we all hated, we elected to go to a late-night cinema screening instead.

The only movie showing that late was the godawful Paris Hilton vehicle House of Wax, which we paid up and saw anyway, drunk as we were, we thought we might enjoy it. By this point, Jezz and Tom couldn't even last through the trailers without having to rush out of the room to evacuate bowels once more.

The film was terrible, and did nothing to lighten the mood. At one point I forgot myself, and offered my popcorn round, garnering cold looks and an invitation to go fuck myself from Tom.

When we got home there was nothing for it but to drink until the sweet embrace of sleep came to save them from their nightmare. Unfortunately, the worst was yet to come.

When I came round the next morning, Jezz answered the door, a peculiar shade of grey. He looked drawn and pale, a combination of hangover, rampant diarreah, and the promise of nothing but more of the black stuff for a further 5 days. We spent the morning trying everything to vary the diet. First, the boys ate marmite with their fingers. Then came the real low; a hot, frothy brown mess that was optimistically named 'Guiness soup'. I tried a mouthful and could do nothing more encoraging than proclaim it 'not completely evil'.

In the afternoon we went to the pub, and over a few pints (orange juice for me, a couple more liquid tars for them), we watched England play the USA at football, one of the most dire games of football it's ever been my misfortune to see. After the first half, Tom, being Welsh, could stand the horror no more and left. Me and Jezz stuck it out and were rewarded with a ground-out victory, but he was hardly in celebratory spirits. We trudged back up the hill to our houses.

When we got there Tom was sitting in the kitchen, looking quietly ill. When we asked him what he had been up to, he cracked.

"I'm sorry...I couldn't take it any more..."
"What did you do?"
"I...I...had a lion bar."
"You bastard!"

What followed was one of the worst attempts at fighting I have ever seen. Both contestants weakened from poor nutrition, managed to get each other in half hearted headlocks before Jezz got out his mobile phone from his pocket.

"What are you doing?"
"Fuck this, I'm calling for a Chinese."

And so the Great Guiness Experiment ended acrimoniously after only 60 hours, proving that
a) man cannot live by guiness alone, and,
b) to attempt to do so is among the most depressing activities man may ever endure.
(, Sun 27 Jul 2008, 1:54, closed)
I have been told...
that it takes 48 pints of Guiness a day to ingest the required nutrients to live. (it was a pub quiz question and everything.) Unfortunately alcohol poisoning would probably come first.
(, Sun 27 Jul 2008, 12:25, closed)
i t'ink you'll find
the irish long established that Guiness AND potatoes are all that is required for successful living
(, Sun 27 Jul 2008, 14:03, closed)
Facts askew or not
this is well told. Clicked!
(, Mon 28 Jul 2008, 9:03, closed)
Worth a click for the phrase
"marmite would be allowed as well, being a by-product of guiness"

(, Mon 28 Jul 2008, 9:38, closed)
More interesting beer facts:

I worked out that one would have to drink something like 30 litres of Kaliber (low-alcohol beer) to be over the drink-drive limit. This calculation was for my GCSE maths coursework. I loved that maths teacher. He rocked.
(, Mon 28 Jul 2008, 10:56, closed)
I always used to wonder... much Bass Shandy it would take to get drunk. This was when I was about twelve and at 0.1%, it was the only alcohol widely available for me at corner shops. Working on the basis of 2 pints to get mildly tipsy (I was 12, remember), I guessed about 80-100 cans would do the trick. Could never finish them in one sitting, though.
(, Mon 28 Jul 2008, 16:27, closed)

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