Since writing last week’s article, I have had two incredible hangovers. This is very much unlike me, as I’m not normally a big drinker. This means that when I drink, my low tolerance tends to mean I’m prone to huge bouts of post-booze regret. I did try to coin the word ‘hangunder’ to describe the feeling of dread that occurs before a night where heavy drinking will occur, but it didn’t really catch on. Apparently that’s something that only happens to me. I thought I’d devote this article to the hangover, because like most largely unpleasant events, a hangover is an opportunity in disguise. But first, I will try and convey my last two dalliances into this strange underworld.
Last Friday night I did a gig in Wetherby, an unmitigated disaster. I went with a few friends in a couple of cars, and the snow meant that a fair bit of pushing was involved. That would be a funny anecdote if the gig itself wasn’t such an awful mess. The audience of the rural pub were quiet and attentive, and they hated every minute of it. I was on last, when their boredom was just turning into outright hostility. After the awful gig and the trying snow journey, we gathered at a friend’s house to drown our sorrows. My poison of choice was cheap whisky, as it often is, but gin and absinthe made an appearance for reasons that are beyond me. I fell into bed at half past five in the bastard morning.
This hangover was the worst of the two. The whisky hangover is an exquisite form of torture that attacks every fibre of your being. This is about the time you make the vow never to drink again. You try all the usual hangover cures, only to see them again soon after, if you catch my drift. Your head would be spinning if it wasn’t held in place by red hot elephants standing on it. Your stomach rejects any attempt to make amends like so many embittered former partners, and your limbs are full of rocks made of bleach. There’s a desert in your mouth and everyone living there thinks you’re a dick. This kind of hangover presents very little opportunity for self-improvement, but to be honest, after this kind of ordeal, you’ll be glad to have survived.
Hangover # 2 was the result of a few drinks after a really good gig. By a few drinks, I mean two pints, four cocktails and a vodka and lemonade, not something I’d ever consider drinking unless it followed two pints and four cocktails. I was out with a few friends, some of whom were getting a train to Huddersfield at two in the morning, meaning I had a time frame to stay out drinking. After they left, myself and another friend and fellow comic who will only be known as Alf to protect his modesty, carried on drinking, but it soon became clear this was a foolish manoeuvre. After managing to get Alf home safe, I got into bed early at around four.
This hangover was different and altogether preferable. Whilst the whisky hangover assaulted every atom that had ever been a part of my anatomy, this one made a beeline for my very psyche. My soul was a wreck, but my body seemed to have survived the worst of it. I was left with an existential malaise, and wandered round my flat feeling a combination of ‘sorry for myself’ and ‘a bit like Lord Byron’. This is the hangover where you can take a step back and re-evaluate your life. This hangover lets you be creative and turn your misery into art, or in my case, a slightly rambling article about hangovers. As long as it’s not too often, the hangover can be a chance to move on, to better yourself, to relish in pure self-pity. Sorry if you read this hoping for hangover cures, but the only real cure is to sit through the regret and shame until you emerge like a phoenix from a pile of sticky broken glass and fag ends. But if I was pushed, I’d recommend strong black coffee and a Virgin Mary (Like a Bloody Mary without the vodka).