Being a freelance writer for both The Sunday Times and FHM we were already eager to get into the mind of leading writer Mike Gayle, and that was even before his recent book The Stag and Hen Weekend came out. With 11 published books and counting he’s showing no signs of slowing down- and we have to say we’re glad! We interviewed the literary genius on stag weekends, turning thirty and wanting to visit Prague…
1. You’ve written varying books exploring parties, friendship and more recently hen and stag weekends, what makes you a good source for this advice?
Ha! I’ve been on more than my fair share of Stag Dos in my time. Thankfully they’ve been a lot less eventful than the one that takes place in the Stag and Hen Weekend! As a writer I’ve been wanting to write about them for years now as they’re so interesting. The idea of collecting together a group of men to have a laugh in order to celebrate the upcoming wedding of one of them is just chock full of potential dramatic tension. I couldn’t resist.
2. The advert for your new book The Hen and Stag Weekend suggests ‘What goes on tour stays on tour… until now’. Do you think real-life hen and stag parties really are as incriminating as people think?
I think that most stag dos are just a bunch of mates having a good time. That said I’ve heard some terrible stories about things that (mainly) guys (and in particular, the groom) have got up to. I think the opportunities for excess can leave some people to take leave of their senses sometimes. So the key to any good stag do is always have someone there to act as the group’s conscience!
3. When you got married did you have a stag weekend? If so, what did you do?
Ha! Wouldn’t you like to know! Actually, my stag night (we were all too broke to afford a weekend) was very tame indeed! I think we went for a drink and then followed up with a meal out. It was a good night though, I got to see a bunch of old mates and talk nonsense all night which to me is what it’s all about.
4. What do you reckon are the three golden rules of stag etiquette?
i) If you’re leading the stag night/weekend don’t let the power go to your head. People are there to have a good time with the groom and you pulling a face because the group is running five minutes late to the go karting event isn’t going to help anyone.
ii) Ditch the idea that stag nights/weekends are all about excess. Just because you’re with a bunch of blokes doesn’t mean you have to PROVE yourself.
iii) Don’t make anyone feel bad if they don’t want to join in. You’re not in the playground any more. If they don’t want to join in they don’t have to.
5. Have you ever been a best man, and if so how was it?
I’ve only ever been best man once. It was for one of my oldest school friends. I was chuffed to bits that he’d asked me but I don’t think I was all that great. I think I was just too nervous. Great wedding though and I didn’t insult anyone so I think I’d call that a result!
6. If you had the choice of somewhere to stag this year would it be Amsterdam like the stags in your book, or somewhere else?
I’m actually a huge fan of Amsterdam. It’s a city that never stops offering you things to discover. That said there are so many European cities that I’ve yet to visit, Prague being at the top of the list for places I’d like to explore next.
7. You wrote the book Turning Thirty – any pearls of wisdom for men soon to turn the big three zero?
i) Never go to the pub unless there’s somewhere to sit down.
ii) Look after your mates and they’ll look after you.
iii) Nothing’s ever as bad as it looks. (Unless it is in which case there’s nothing you can do about it!)
8. Your book The To Do List sees you attempting to complete 1277 items on your to-do list, what were the worst things you had to cross off?
I don’t think there were any worsts because these were all things that needed doing. The funny thing is that a lot of the things I thought would be easy turned out to be a lot harder than I’d assumed and others that I thought would be a slam dunk were an absolute nightmare. Getting stuff done isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
9. Do you think it’s possible to organise a stag weekend without breaking the bank?
Absolutely, the whole idea of a stag do is about getting time to spend in a pack so it doesn’t matter whether you’re just in the pub or up a mountainside as long as you’re all together and having a laugh. You’re supposed to be giving the groom a good send off, breaking the bank isn’t part of that!
10. Lastly, if you could pick five people for stag weekend dream team who would you choose?
Steve Carrell, Jason Statham, Jay-Z, Chris Rock and Christina Hendricks. It would be. Legendary.