Terminator Night

1991 – Terminator 2 is released.

It was a Tuesday night. Myself, along with fellow students Iain, Marc & Chris took my Vauxhall Viva (a.k.a Road Warrior) to the Preston multiplex cinema to see the long awaited sequel to The Terminator. Needless to say we were impressed.

Arriving back at the student house I shared with Chris a discussion began about what the day to day life of Terminators would be like. It’s all very well seeing them in action, going back through time and trying to change the future, but what about the mundane stuff? What was their routine, how did they pass time and, most importantly, what did they do on a Friday night? There was only way to find out – a sociological experiment featuring the four of us in character as Terminators.

And thus the plan for ‘Terminator Night’ was afoot.

We assembled back at the Primrose Street house about 6pm on Friday in our designated outfits of jeans, black t-shirts and dark sunglasses. The plan was simple, maintain the character of a T-800 – Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 on a pub crawl of Lancaster town centre. See what happens.

The first pub we hit first was the Golden Lion. Our friend Lisa was working behind the bar. It was obvious she thought we looked somewhat ridiculous and at this stage in the evening our characterizations were rather sheepish. The line was delivered – “four pints of lager: I’ll be back” – but with little conviction.

By the time we’d reach the Nag’s Head the alcohol had kicked in and we were fully channelling our inner cyborgs. This was back in the day when many pubs had pool tables and we embarked upon a game of doubles. Towards the end of the game Iain approached me and asked “how would a Terminator leave da pub?” I turned to see what he was looking at, “through da window” I replied.

It seemed like a good idea at the time but as Iain and I climbed out of the window we realised that we had failed to take into account the fact that the Nag’s Head was built on a hill and the rear of the pub was a long way above ground level. We found ourselves hanging from the window ledge debating whether we should jump or climb back inside. Jumping involved certain injury and possibly broken legs, climbing back inside involved certain humiliation. As we were hanging the barmaid stuck her head out of the window and began screaming at us – “get back inside you idiots, you’re gonna kill yourselves.” We dutifully followed orders and clambered back in, much to the amusement of the entire pub.

We progressed through the next few pubs without incident until we reached our final destination – The Water Witch. By the time we arrived there we were living the Terminator dream. We treated the regulars to numerous rounds of ‘Terminator drinking songs’ in four part harmony. These included such classics as ‘Uzi 9mm’, ’12 Gauge Autoloader’ and ‘Phase Plasma Rifle in a 40 Watt Range’. Upon leaving the pub we made a fateful decision, to buy garlic breads instead of our usual Chinese takeaway.

You see the Chinese takeaway was on the way home and took us away from the town centre, whereas the pizza place was right in the middle of Lancaster. It was all going well – orders had been placed in slurred Austrian accents, boxes of garlic delight had been handed over and we were about to make our way home when in walked the ‘Skerton Boys’. For those unfamiliar with the locale, Skerton was and area of Lancaster known for being less than salubrious.

“What you lot doing? All wearing sunglasses and talking funny? You students?”

“We are Termintooors. We have been sent from the future to study your culture.”

“Fuck off!” Whack!

I can’t quite remember which one of us was punched. I think it was Marc or Chris. It definitely wasn’t Iain who was trying to calm things down by adopting a fake Lancashire accent.

“Hey up. What’s tha’ dion’. Calm down lads.”

It didn’t go down well.

Suddenly Lancaster town centre was buzzing with the spectacle of a pitched battle between four students verses about 20 lads from Skerton. At this moment reality kicked in and we realised none of us were in possession of a Hyperalloy Endoskeleton. Things were looking bad when a the police arrived in a Black Mariah, bundled us into the back and whisked us off to Lancaster Infirmary.

Marc had concussion, I had a cut ear, Chris needed stitches in his arm and Iain came out completely unscathed – which is pretty standard for Iain, whose David Niven-esque charm seems to form a protective bubble around him.

The next day we had to give a statement to the police, who seemed to find the entire episode quite amusing.

We survived Terminator Night, and came out relatively unscathed. Marc suggested that the Terminator theme was possibly a bad idea and maybe next week way should try doing James Bond instead. Remarkably, we did consider it…

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