My Five Worst-Ever Recurring Hangovers (And How To Cure Them)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

1. RSC Histories Hangover

I had this one yesterday, for the first time in more than a year. Oh, I've missed it. The RSC Histories was this fucking amazing piece of theatre that first happened in 2000-1 and were revived 2006-8. One ensemble of about thirty actors put on all eight of Shakespeare's continuous history plays (covering Richard II, Henry IVs, Henry V, Henry VIs, and Richard III). YOU GUYS IT KICKED ASS. The Henry VI trilogy is my favorite Shakespeare, bar none – it is energetic and vicious and have great women and swords and, man, I love them so much I can't even say.

Yeah, BOOM! ohmygod it kicks ass

When I went to see them in Stratford three years ago, I accidentally falling in with some of the actors at the pub afterward, which is why that is such a brilliant town. We kept in touch and, when the production came to London, went out for rounds a few more times. Friends and actors accumulated, and for two weekends in March 2008 I spent at least 80% of each day in Chalk Farm, either at the theatre watching the shows or at the bar drinking and talking about them.

Primary poison
Gin and tonic (Dirty Duck)
Red wine (theatre bar)

Last experienced
I thought this one was lost forever when the Histories closed last spring, but no! Nick Asbury, one of the actors, wrote a book about the production, happily titled Exit, Pursued by a Badger. He gave a talk and signing at the National last week. Four of us ended up in a terrifying pub below one of the train bridges at Waterloo, talking about York and Lancaster and (I think) Sartre and then realising we were about to miss the last train and sprinting for the station.

Getting up at 7 am to queue for £5 day tickets to the next show.

2. Pub Music Session Hangover

The hardest to predict. Bank holidays are a pretty good bet, but I can never tell when I walk into an Irish pub with my fiddle if it's going to be a pleasant, relaxed one that finishes up around 11:30, or a mack truck of tunes and endless pints of Guinness that spits us out, gasping, onto the pavement sometime vaguely after dawn.

Not pictured: seventy more pints settling behind the bar

Primary poison
Draft Guinness

Last experienced
At my Saturday night regular on Kilburn High Road. It was the landlady's 50th birthday, and there was cake. The regulars were filling up the till with drinks for the musicians. It looked like it might fade down around midnight – until a pack of fiddlers from Cricklewood and an itinerant concertina player rolled in. Then it really took off. We finally unpeeled ourselves from the corner table and staggered home around 6 or 6:30, which in early June is a stupidly bright time of day.

Irn-Bru, which may be Scottish but has all the ingredients necessary to snap a body back up: caffeine, glucose, and quinine to ward off malaria. A full fry-up with as much grease as the pan will take. The trick is to swing by the shop and buy the supplies on your way home, so you don't have to leave the flat the next day.

3. Wealthy Possibly-Evil Friend Visiting Hangover

I have this friend who works for the US in Iraq. I'll call him 'Sebastian Flyte', and hope that will be sufficient to illustrate his personality. I don't know what Sebastian does in Iraq, or who he exactly he reports to, but he makes a lot of money.

Every time he comes to London for holiday, which is about three times a year, we make a date for cocktails. It's very exciting, because I'm moderately impoverished (journalism's dying, we're in a recession, student loans, etc etc). I dress up. Sebastian wears what he usually wears, which is a sharply-creased ensemble that I'm sure is carefully styled for the season, weather and hour of day. We drift around West London drinking things made from gin, champagne or both until neither of us can stand up, and then we wobble toward cabs.

Primary poison
French 75s

Last experienced
The day after Good Friday (is that Holy Saturday?). I woke up fully clothed with no memory of what happened after leaving the bar at 2 am and setting out for the taxi rank across the street. There was a black women's jacket that didn't belong to me on the laundry pile, and one of my wardrobe doors had been ripped off its hinges. (I think what happened was that I started to fall over, clutched at the door to stay upright, and took it with me. No idea about the jacket, however. It was too big for me so I gave it to a charity shop.)

Before 2pm: Lying very still and whimpering 'Oh, mother' every twenty minutes.
After 2pm: Soda water with a splash of orange juice, and saltine crackers.

4. Shabbat Hangover

"If you call the Sabbath a will find your joy in the Eternal" (Isaiah 58:13-14)

In the Reform tradition I have found that means two things:

(1) Tasty food
(2) Lots of wine

So you're at home, or at a friend's home, and it's Friday night, it's the end of the week, and it's Shabbat, which is all about feeling nice and consciously not doing work. You're blessing the challah and wine, and relaxing into the weekend, and suddenly you're three bottles down and everyone's laughing and arguing happily and it's almost midnight but there's another bottle around here somewhere, come on.

This might just about do it, if no guests drop by unexpectedly

Primary poison
Kiddush wine

Last experienced
Three weeks ago, a couple in the conversion class I'm taking at my shul invited me to theirs for Friday night dinner. I brought wine. They had wine. They had cooked a lovely dinner. We started talking, tentatively, about the class and some of our classmates, and about five seconds later it was 2:30 am, we were critiquing the personals in the Jerusalem Post, and I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.

Leftover challah, morning service (followed by more kiddush wine).

5. Freedom Hangover

I am an American, and the clock in my heart will always be synchronized with what's going on back home. I stayed up at home to watch Senator Barack Obama accept the Democratic Party's nomination to run for President, at 3am British time. I went to an all-night pub in Shoreditch to watch him win the election at about 4am. And every year I go to the Sports Café in Haymarket to cheer on the Carolina Tarheels in the NCAA college basketball championship.

Primary poison
Jack and Coke

Last experienced
Yeah, the 'Heels were the team to beat in this year's playoffs, but it is still nervewracking to watch those last games. Especially after 2008's humiliating semifinal game against Kansas (ROY WILLIAMS WHAT WERE YOU THINKING LETTING THE CLOCK RUN LIKE THAT). Every American I know in London converges on the Sports Café in March. This year, there was a strong showing from UNC's study-abroad program. When the clock ran out, I heard my first spontaneous eruption of "I'm a Tarheel born, and I'm a Tarheel bred, and when I die I'll be Tarheel dead" in more than three years. Okay, yeah, I cried. And drunk-dialled my parents from Piccadilly Circus, and sang with them some more. Tyler Hansbrough, you'll be missed.

Krispy Kreme donuts, victory.



About This Blog

Updated Tuesday and Thursday and maybe other days too. 

  © Blogger templates Newspaper by 2008

Back to TOP