This post is dedicated to the dreaded hangover, the burden that follows nights of excess, the harsh reality after all the drunken merriment and fun has faded away, the vast plague that sweeps the nation on Saturday and Sunday mornings and delivers the population into the new working week feeling suitably sheepish and down. Well life can’t be all fun and games you know.
If you can relate to this article, I feel for you. If you are one of these freaks of nature whose only experience of a hangover is one that can be solved with a glass of water and brisk jog around the park then you should know that I, and all my fellow sufferers, despise you and cannot wait for the day you visit our apocalyptic, post-binge world. And to those who are young enough to shrug off a hangover like it ain’t no thang; be afraid, this will be your reality soon.
The Calm Before the Storm
You’ve just woken up; you have no idea of time or any recollection of anything. The only thing in your head is a sense of puzzlement, a nagging feeling that something is not right. The bubble has not yet burst; everything is ok in your little den of happiness and security. Life is good. Something will make you move though, something will strive to ruin this innocence, and more often than not, it is thirst. But it’s this inevitable trip to the bathroom tap and subsequent movement that brings reality crashing down around you. The memory of the night’s events come rushing back as you stand up and the desolation of body and mind becomes apparent. If only you had taken some water to bed and you could have prolonged the charade of safety for another five blissful minutes but you didn’t, and now you’ve set in motion the awful hangover machine.
The Day of the Dead
So the innocence has worn off and you are left with the truth; you are rougher than a badger’s bottom that’s next on the cull list. You have consigned yourself to a day of drifting in and out of consciousness while desperately searching for your one “comfy position” on the sofa. Everything hurts and everything makes you feel worse. No doubt there will be some overly loud sport on the telly with some rambunctious presenters consistently rousing you from your dozing. The sheer amount of exclamation marks on people’s excitable Facebook statuses offends your brain with its visual noisiness and causes spiralling annoyance and increased illness. You can only pray for a proper hangover film to come on to usher you through the worst of the day. You know the ones I mean; they either have to be a classic three-hour epic, or a kid’s film with slightly more going on than just colour and noise. Basically give me Mutiny on the Bounty or The Goonies and it’ll go some way to alleviating my suffering.
The Hunger Games
So you’ve battled your way through the sofa-bound, could-quite-conceivably-die phase of your hangover, owing a huge part of your success to that Harry Potter film being on TV, and now you are faced with a huge dilemma. The feeling of sickness has started to be replaced by hunger pangs but your fear and chequered hungover history makes the next step a huge one. Do you stick or twist? Ignore the hunger and be content in the knowledge that no (more) chundering will occur? Or gamble and raid the cupboards for the least healthy foodstuff to fulfil your craving for salt, sugar and hydrogenated fat, knowing full well what might go down if you over indulge? The choice is yours.
The Great Depression
By now you’ve probably decided to eat, been sick again for definitely the last time, and are now wishing somebody would bring you a KFC to draw a line under the whole thing and start afresh. The problem is, no one is going to bring one for you, and that makes you sad. Very sad in fact. And the depression keeps coming. In a whirl of memories and self-loathing, all the negatives from the night before rush back to you. That extra load of money you took out late at night and somehow blew through. The embarrassing run in with your ex when you were in your “a lot more drunk than I thought” stage. The tweets you wrote while half cut and for the whole world to see and remind you of at a later date. That, coupled with the knowledge of the damage you have done to your body and mind, and the fact that you have just wasted another full day of your life (just like you did last weekend) makes for one pretty sorry charity case.
The Happy Ending
I’m using the term happy ending loosely, and definitely not in the same way as a massage parlour might. The only positive to come out of your epic hangover comes in the final throes of your illness. So angered and upset by the horrible feelings of sickness and of time wasted that you vow to do something productive with your life. You WILL search for that new job you’ve been wanting for years, you WILL get in to shape and commit your life to fitness, you WILL go walk up a mountain, go to the beach, just be outside in some scenario instead of slumped in front of the TV. You’ll take photos of nature and everything will be really interesting to you (and more importantly Instagram). See how much desire and drive you have now? You’re like a new person, and all because you got totally hammered a couple of nights ago. In reality, you’re more likely to find that there are no jobs out there, go the gym once, and walk to the shop, but hey, it’s a start right?
So there you have it, another hangover, again sworn to be the last, done and dusted with enough time to recover before next weekend to start the cycle all over again. I feel pretty proud of myself for finishing this one, maybe it’s time for a celebratory beer…
Let me start with a little poem…
A winter’s day, the early morning shower my only saviour from a frosty start,
Hot enough to fog the windows, hot enough to scald the skin, hot enough to last for those fervent few minutes of drying and dressing.
But wait, what is this? The icy touch of Jack Frost’s fingers breaking prematurely through my cotton cocoon?
Like a poison arrow through the gap in the armour, the towel’s label finds my unsuspecting skin.
A frozen barb, a precursor to the frost-gripped, outside world, a harbinger of the misery that winter brings with an early start; the label strikes, impossibly cold and wet, and leaves in its place a lasting mark of anger and misery.
What was at first a bubble of warm escapism, is now burst by the chill of washing instructions.
As my irregular, terrible, and rather over dramatic poem suggests, today’s issue is with the label attached to towels and the horrific ordeal of it coming into contact with your skin. And yes, I am fully aware that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t THAT big a deal, especially not big enough to warrant its own irregular, rather dramatic poem.
The problem here is why the label is even there in the first place. I know how to wash a towel; it’s a towel. I know I can iron a towel, but I’m not going to; it’s a towel. I don’t need to know where my towel comes from because, you guessed it; it’s a towel. All I need from my towel is the capability to soak up water off my body on a daily basis. The unnecessary label however counteracts this process by instantly soaking up water (even with its untowel-like properties) and rapidly cooling it, much like the work of liquid nitrogen, or Mr. Freeze of Batman fame. It then proceeds to reapply the ice-cold water back to the body thus lengthening the time of drying and making it thoroughly unpleasant in the process.
My point is, remove the little 3 inch square of surplus information from the towel and you have a much more efficient and friendly towel. Keep it on, and you have thousands of already disgruntled early risers, in a slightly worse mood than before. Shocking.
I hope you’re happy with yourself, towel.
**I would like to apologise for the excessive use of hyperbole and also the word towel in this post, it will not happen again. Well the towel repetition anyway, unless I find another towel related annoyance to bang on about.
…Why France is obsessed with speedos.
Go to any pool across France and you’ll see this sign; a flat out ban on shorts. This isn’t an invitation for the general public to go for a dip in their birthday suits, to break free from the shackles of an over-conservative life and get back to nature for a brief period of their conformist, non-naked lives, no, this is a sign saying that swimming shorts and boardies are non bien dans ma piscine!
The nationwide rule basically states that the only acceptable form of swimwear in France are those which would be met with merciless ridicule and quips about smuggling various objects in this country, a request which doesn’t exactly sit well (accidental punnage) with us modesty-loving Brits.
The problem, you see, is that banana hammocks in their entirety are a terrible idea. Firstly, they look appalling. You don’t see clothing companies trying their hardest to make y-fronts look cool do you? No, because it is an impossible task. The same rule applies to Speedos, mainly because they are exactly the same thing, albeit sagging slightly less when wet than there on land counterparts. Secondly, they leave little, if anything to the imagination. Now, I’m not just referring to the thinly veiled crotch region, but also the way they seem to highlight every other flaw of the unfortunate victim’s body. The flabby bottom has no hiding place like it would in shorts, and the beer belly has no thick waistband to tuck into, they are both right there, right in the public eye, ready for judgement. Not even The Rock could make budgie-smugglers look cool, and he was the most electrifying man in entertainment.
Lastly, we have been brought up almost religiously to mock those who wear pants instead of boxers and have accidently revealed this shameful secret in P.E or some highly embarrassing playground mishap. Then all of a sudden we go on holiday and are told that we must don a highly elasticated dong holster (hilarious) or we can’t go in the water, well you, mon frère, have just lost yourself a customer. To those who bite the bullet and slip on their humiliating set of Zoggs fresh from the campsite shop, the look of shame in their eyes is that of someone who has broken their promise with God. No swim can be worth that.
Apparently the rule is enforced for hygiene reasons. The feeling is that longer shorts can often be worn for other, non-swimming activities and therefore will bring unwanted materials and dirt in to the water, whereas with Speedos, no one in their right mind would be caught dead in these anywhere other than a strict French pool so chances of contamination are definitely on the slim side. My personal theory though is that the rule is set by the uber-ripped and bronzed Gallic lifeguards to create moments of extreme awkwardness and panic in us normal folk for their entertainment. What could be better when needing a break from leching at sunbathing women and slouching on their authoritative chairs than to waggle a dismissive finger at an approaching man’s shorts and point him in the direction of the nearest ouch-pouch merchant.
So next time you’re on the continent remember this; if you want to go for a nice swim, you better make damn sure that everybody can see every last part of your body. Never mind, I heard the sea is much nicer anyway.
I have been made aware that, since leaving all forms of higher education, it has become solely my responsibility to feed my brain and quench the thirst for knowledge in a continual search for more and more valuable information. Instead, I shirked my obligation, and turned to daytime television.
Waking up late allows me to miss any news shows or culturally relevant programmes and head straight for the good stuff, and what better way to kick-start the day’s mind numbing entertainment than to head over to PickTV and into the dirty Hawaiian underbelly patrolled by Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman and his wife, Ric Flair. This of course is the long-running series ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ where the audience can witness a leather clad, chain-smoking lionesque bounty hunter, accompanied by his extensive bounty family, hunt down and arrest the constant supply of reoffending criminals. Not only can viewers be entertained with the thrill of the chase and little scuffles that break out between the bear mace toting Good, and the crystal meth toking Bad, but as an additional treat get to be parley to the life lessons and teachings doled out by the Dog as he escorts the captured bail jumper to jail. He does deliver the dog gospel in a nice and meaningful way though; he always takes his sunglasses off and screws one last cigarette into the offender’s trembling mouth before leading them to the big house. You couldn’t hope to be caught by a nicer guy, once he’s finished pushing you to the ground, cuffing you and celebrating your capture in your grazed face with his ponytailed family that is.
Once the hour of the Dog has passed, we journey in to the realm of the unexplained and the disturbing. Yes it’s Scouse medium Derek Acorah and his band of believers in Most Haunted. Here we follow a troop of susceptible and terrified explorers as they wander around old houses and repeatedly soil themselves as floorboards creak, wind blows and generally things happen. Basically think a group visit to a National Trust house with the lights off and sinister string music playing. The highlight of the show is invariably when Derek’s body is used as a host for the distempered, and surprisingly all Liverpudlian ‘spirits’ which inhabit the ‘haunted’ houses which feature in the ‘programme’. Embodiments range from friendly old ladies lamenting their ability to protect children or something, to the more menacing, aggressive male characters which particularly love to get in our hostess’, Yvette Fielding, face or look directly in to the camera. It’s amazing to think that these centuries old spectres, who had only candles for light and fires for warmth, are fully au fait with the concept of electricity, I mean, who would have thought it? What’s best is that after an hour of misinterpretation, coincidence and abject terror for the participants, the show invites on a parapsychologist to examine the ‘evidence’ filmed on the night. Unsurprisingly, the footage of Yvette shitting herself rarely satisfies the expert and yet another episode is archived under the heading: lies and deceit.
A relative newcomer to the world of daytime TV, but instantly worthy of recognition is Lizard Lick Towing. This is one of those reality hybrid shows which manage to, by their very nature, entertain and appal simultaneously. For those who are not aware of this miracle of television allow me to summarise it for you in a selection of keywords; redneck, towing company, guns, fighting, more rednecks. Now if that doesn’t get you googling instantly then I don’t know what will. Despite the obvious dramatization, it is impossible to not be amazed by the lengths that these people will go to prevent their beloved cars being towed. Best of all, after the Lizard Lick boys, Ronnie and Bobby (what else would they be called?) cunningly trick the dim-witted car owners into somehow allowing them to remove the vehicle, it is practically guaranteed that the angry party will follow them back to the lot, backed up by a South Parkesque rabble. In fact, so regular are the ruckuses in the Lizard Lick office, that Amy (Ronnie’s powerlifting wife) took to gluing the furnishings down after repeated attempts to use them as weapons. One thing that this show has taught me while siphoning the remnants of IQ out of my wilting brain is that, when a redneck says he’s going to tow your car, you can be damned sure that’s what is going to happen, especially if that’s what it says in the script.
So there you have it, instead of using my spare time to further myself, to learn and expand my mind and my world, I sit glassy-eyed and half comatose while PickTV and Dave spoon feed me no-thought-required, easy watching programmes while my mind crumbles and erodes through the sheer lack of stimulation. I best be going now, I’m sure there’s a programme starting somewhere involving some kind of law enforcement and/or law-breaker to hold my dwindling interest at least until the next advert break.