For fans who like to recreate movie moments, The World’s End offers a destructively inebriated challenge. One night, twelve pints, twelve pubs. If you’re trying to be authentic, alien robots and a deep sense of foreshadowing are must-haves.
In the movie, Gary King (Simon Pegg) forces his friends to take a second stab at the Golden Mile pub crawl with no regard for age, teetotaling or blue goo-filled beings trying to remove their personalities. When they were kids, they missed the finish line by three pubs, and even though their middle-aged attempt is marred by the fate of the entire planet, King valiantly soldiers on.
That got me thinking: what would it take to survive a real-life Golden Mile?
The Answer: $190.47, a return to alcoholism, sexual embarrassment, at least one broken bone, the loss of humanity and the most inconvenient hangover of all time
There are two ways to look at this. The less interesting way is to consider a simple trip to 12 pubs with five friends. With a pint of beer costing approximately £2.75 in the fictional town of Newton Haven (comparable to the real-life town of Letchworth, where the film was shot), it would cost you £165, or $281.22. Split five ways, that would be a reasonable $56.24 a piece, not including any local taxes or tips. Not bad for a night of fun.
However, that’s not really what happens during The World’s End. Over the course of the night, the group orders beer in the first nine pubs, and Andy abstains from drinking anything but tap water for the first three pubs. He only starts drinking when he realizes he is up against alien robots and not just his alcoholic best pal.
The gang ends up saving a little bit of money by only purchasing 37 pints over the course of the night (because in a couple of the pubs, Gary helps himself either to leftover beers or at the tap itself). There are also five shots from The Cross Hands, which would be about £2 each. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll ignore the chips Andy eats there.
That seems like a fun challenge for a kid in his twenties, but…
Could You Handle It at 40?
Actually, it would be hard to handle at any age. Twelve pints over the course of a few hours is an outrageous amount of beer to put in your system. Considering that most beers have an alcohol content of around 5 percent (not to mention the five shots Andy sucks down at The Cross Hands), most people would be well beyond legally drunk. For example, even with a high alcohol tolerance like Gary King, a simple online blood alcohol content calculator tells us that a 200-pound man drinking twelve pints of beer over the course of just four hours would put his blood alcohol content well above 0.25%.
Even someone who just drank eight pints through part of the night would still have a blood alcohol content above 0.15%, which would result in gross impaired motor skills, bad judgement, staggering, and slurred speech.
Also, forget about popping into the disabled toilet for a quickie with your mate’s sister, as Gary did with Sam (Rosamund Pike) at the Trusty Servant back in 1990. Even after only six pints of beer a couple shots, you would be creeping around 0.15% blood alcohol content, which is higher than what is needed to cause temporary erectile dysfunction. An 18-year-old Gary King might be able to overcome this, but fast forward a couple decades, and you’d likely be left limply crying in your beer.
Finally, while it would be possible to visit twelve pubs by foot in a theoretical “Golden Mile,” it would be impossible to recreate the film version of this. While many of the pubs used as locations were real drinking houses within walking distance, there are several outlying factors. At The Good Companions (which is really The Wendy’s Shop in Letchworth), the locations jump more than 15 miles away. They jump again by 25 miles at The King’s Head (which was shot at The Arena Tavern), than again to The Hole in the Wall (shot at Letchworth Railway Station) by 25 miles, and finally by 92 miles to Gardener’s Pub which serves as The World’s End.
That’s a whopping 161 miles for the entire trip. Not possible when you’re sober, let alone drunk. Or pushing 40 years old.
More over, three of these locations weren’t even proper pubs. The Mermaid was shot at a movie theater, The Beehive was shot at a Thai restaurant, and The Hole in the Wall was shot at a railway station.
What Else Could Go Wrong?
On top of a serious risk of alcohol poisoning, there are multiple dangers lurking in a theoretical or real-life Golden Mile. At one point Gary jumps off of a roof and onto a parked car, a clear indication that his already poor decision-making process was disastrously impaired. This fall could have easily broken one or both of his legs. Due to the slight anaesthetic effect of alcohol, he may not have felt completely with such a high blood alcohol content. However, alcohol is not morphine. He wouldn’t be able to walk after that.
Even if he could walk, the effects of such a high amount of alcohol would likely impair his ability to engage in hand-to-hand combat with the alien robot blanks in the film. The same goes for his companions, who would likely have a blood alcohol content of at least 0.15%. In fact, the only person in the mix who might be able to hold her own would have been Sam, who was not part of the drinking conquest of the Golden Mile.
Finally, everyone would wake up with a roaring hangover during the apocalypse, which is the worst time to have a hangover. Primarily caused by dehydration, the companions would be in search of fresh water, which will become an expensive commodity as they move into the new dark ages. However, according to Andy’s speech at the end of the film, they walked back to London without even a proper chance to sleep it off.
No wonder everyone was craving a sweet Cornetto treat in the end.