I’m writing this while offline, because it being England, and not some Western, developed country, we’ve had yet another power cut. At 2:20am. There’s nothing quite like being plunged into instantaneous darkness, only to be saved moments later by my laptop screen illuminating my hands and face.

So, where was I…

Ah yes, I was waking up, the morning after the night before; the night of banana-oriented depravity. Bananas had been consumed in vast quantities (well, why not?) and we’d even seen girls try to eat them the other way around. I don’t mean they inverted the banana.


It was time to kick back, relax and see more of what Amsterdam had to offer. Like raw herrings. Covered in onion. Their scaled bodies oily and eager to slip out of your grasp.

‘It’s a national delicacy, Seb.’

Suuuuuure. Let’s lure this guild leader to distant shores, and then trick him into doing something truly despicable. Let’s abuse him so that we always have something to resort to, if we ever need something to blackmail him with. So we jumped back into the boat and headed out to see some more of Amsterdam. The sun was out, and it was a beautiful day! With each of us armed with a bottle of Rosé we traversed what remained of the city, turning corners and passing under bridges; occasionally we would be swamped with the sickly sweet smell of marijuana — just part of the local microclimate, I guess.

Around lunch time, someone spotted a booth by the canalside; a raw herring booth. I gulped, my throat suddenly dry; it was time. Here I was thinking that the night before, with the banana, was bad enough. But no: it was time to deep throat the raw herring. ‘It’s the best way to eat them,’ I was told. ‘Just slide it as far in as you can, and then bite it off.’

‘And you’re sure this is a national delicacy?’ I asked, still uncertain if this was a trick, or actually a tasty morsel. ‘Sure, don’t you trust us?’

So there I was, wielding a raw, 12 inch fish, covered in onions. Just hold the tail and tilt your head back, they said. Then, I was erring, one of them raised the stakes: they had whipped out a video camera. There was now only one thing I could possibly do; the only thing that a manly, hairy, butch, misogynistic man can do in such a situation – I deep throated it; I went as far as I could go. I even gagged a little when one of the chunks of onion that was pushed into its skin was dislodged; but I carried on, like a martyr — nay, a hero. As I was gulping down centimetre after centimetre of the slimy fish, I knew that even if I never lived to tell the tale, that this was a story my guild mates would regale people with for years: how I died while trying to ‘experience’ their national delicacy.


(That’s not me, as I’m the one holding the camera… It’s some crazy guy that actually LIKED them!)

I’m proud to say (are you listening, boys?) I got over half the fish into my mouth – about 7 inches – before I finally bit down and starting chewing. That’s when my real gag reflex kicked in. It was also around this point that those bastard Dutchies started laughing that kind of tears-streaming-down-their-faces laughter. There was no going back however, not for a beefy butch bloke like myself. I chewed, and chewed. Its limp, oniony body slowly being ground to a pulp in my mouth. I was going to make the most of this, I was going to savour the moment. Especially with the video camera still rolling.

I finally swallowed it down with a sip of Rosé and smacked my lips appreciatively. Knowing it would make me sound even more macho and cool I quickly asked ‘is there another?’ knowing that only a masochist would’ve bought more than one.

Sadly… I was dealing with a sick bastard, a sick bastard that had bought 10 damn raw herrings. ‘I have enough for everyone!’ I think I threw up a little when he said that.

To this day, I wish those canals weren’t so shallow, or there might’ve been one less evil Dutchman in the world today.

Apologies for blaspheming this snowy Sunday...
Who plays in a hardcore guild?


I am a tall, hairy, British writer who blogs about technology, photography, travel, and whatever else catches my eye.