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…
Billy Bear Ham.
Or Billy Bear Slicing Sausage as it’s officially known. You’ve all had it, and if not, go out and buy some, it’s really cheap! But as you’re tucking in to your reformed turkey and pork fat, think about these ethical quandaries; is it morally right to tell bare-faced (couldn’t resist) lies to children in order to get them eating a product made primarily of off cuts of different animals, and also, the more burning issue of; why the fuck am I eating a bear’s face?
You may be thinking, “What? How does serving Billy Bear, my most beloved of childhood sandwich fillers, constitute as telling lies to children?” Well I’ll tell you. By reforming that hydrogenated conglomerate of all the worst parts of animals into a smiling cartoon bear’s face; you are deceiving children into happily chowing down on the contents of an abattoir bin which in its natural form would haunt their dreams and turn any trips to farms into a harrowing affair for years to come.
What’s also strange is that children are ready and willing to eat this smiling hybrid of nastiness. I know it obviously relates psychologically to enjoyment, most likely TV programmes like Winnie the Pooh, and Yogi Bear which the youngsters recognise and like. But do they really like them that much that they want to consume slices of their faces? I mean, I’m a big fan of Planet Earth and nature programmes but fashioning a joint of beef into a replica of David Attenborough’s adventure-ravaged face might be a step too far for me.
My last quandary surrounding this under-nourishing sandwich filler is; why a bear? It’s made primarily of pork so surely a cartoon pig would be the logical choice of template for the manufacturers. Maybe it was deemed too close to home for children to deal with, conjuring up disturbing images of a pig being forced head first into a ham slicer. Or maybe they’d already decided they wanted to call it Billy and the lack of alliteration in Billy Pig just didn’t have the same fortitude as its mammalian counterpart.
All I hope is that when the time comes for me to have children, this waterlogged mish-mash of animal pick ‘n’ mix is still readily available from all major supermarkets. I can’t wait to see the sheer delight on their faces as they tuck in to the fraudulent, smiling ham substitute and then, as the years progress, their puzzlement as they begin again the questioning that brought us all here in the first place; why the fuck am I eating a bear’s face?
Top 5 Programmes That Put You off Food
We’ve all been there, it gets to dinnertime and you’ve got to root through the cupboards to find a few ingredients that will hopefully go well together. What you really should be thinking of however, is the more important partnership of food and television. What’s the point of putting the effort in and making something nice to eat if you’re not going to be able to keep it where it belongs? You can’t run the risk of flicking through the channels when you’ve already sat down to eat, so here is a short guide to the most off-putting programmes (in handy Top 5 format) to save you unsuspecting souls who don’t have the common decency to eat at the dinner table!
5. Man Vs. Food: This one has managed to sneak on to the list purely because of the amount I like to watch it combined with the variety of times it is shown throughout the day. I’m not certain but I reckon you could stand to get put off by this show at every meal of the day, and that includes brunch and afternoon tea. There are a lot worse programmes to eat to, as you will soon see, but something about seeing an already obese American force feed himself horrifically spicy wings or gargantuan portions of deep-fried awfulness doesn’t really do much for my appetite. I just can’t help but feel sorry for the guy’s digestive system and that ain’t the kind of mental imagery you want to have while trying to finish you’re comparatively pathetic meal. On the flip side though, I do find that I sometimes experience an unfamiliar feeling of pride over my body and diet when watching Adam sweat and gag his way through his own body weight in burrito, but still, there’s only so far I’ll go to feel good, and watching this whilst eating is a step beyond.
4. Anything Charity Based: By this I mean programmes like Comic Relief or Sport Relief or anything along those lines. They might seem like a good idea when perusing the listings; an opportunity to see all your favourite stars doing embarrassing things for a good cause, maybe a chance to see a football team…do something embarrassing for a good cause, and of course, you’re guaranteed to find James Corden pretending to piss off a room full of famous faces. It’s often quite embarrassing, but don’t worry, it is for a good cause. But wait, don’t start hurling all over the place just yet. The worst thing you can find yourself chowing down to is obviously the appeal. Nothing hits home harder than moving on to your last (and completely unnecessary) slice of overly-indulgent Domino’s and having footage of starving children and famine stricken countries come up on-screen. You can’t quite shake off that guilt once you’ve seen the pictures and you sit and wait for minutes (you’re way past the point of changing the channel by now, seriously, you have to do it before the first image comes up and the voiceover starts, fact) for John Bishop to come back on and tell you it’s alright to eat again now. They’ll soon lighten the mood anyway; they’ll probably get Phil Tufnell to do something he’s not very good at.
3. Supersize Vs. Superskinny/ The Biggest Loser/ Anything about Massive People: I maybe stating the obvious here but just so everyone knows, programmes featuring morbidly obese people don’t make the best mealtime accompaniment. There are so many variations of these programmes now that the experts are running out of matter that has been expelled by the subject to rummage through and use as a barometer to their fatness. These programmes rely on shock value for their popularity and it has been decided that the best way to do this is to confront the embarrassed food addict with their weekly intake, all blended together like a terrible, ambiguous milkshake. Suddenly the realisation of their monstrous intake hits them, and they overcome by the ungodly (and completely irrelevant) sight of their diet in a mixed-matter state while the host tells them how fat they are. If The Mega Blender wasn’t enough, the body-fat free presenter then accentuates his point by sifting through a variety of bodily fluids and excretions to find evidence that…well I’m sure there is some reason for it. Anyway, incredibly overweight people, disgusting junk food cocktails, and in-depth examinations of faeces, don’t make for a palatable mealtime accompaniment.
2. 24 Hours in A and E: An utterly horrendous programme to casually flick onto, although really, you should’ve had your dinner by now, shouldn’t you? This is one of those programmes where I don’t understand why anyone would watch it at any time, regardless of whether they’re eating. It’s basically an hour of the worst kinds of pain and emotion that I can imagine, complete with the harrowing realisation that everybody dies and some people do so in huge amounts of pain. Surely there’s some reality that TV doesn’t need to go near, and death and pain has to be one of them.
1. Embarrassing Bodies: Awful. Just awful. Again, I don’t understand why anyone would choose to watch a programme which is more of a gross-out than a Dirty Sanchez special starring Tom Green with the humour drained out of it. Last time I came across it flicking through channels, a woman was complaining through a web cam about having massive poos. To make sure we took her seriously though, she’s wrapped one up in cling film to show the sceptical audience. I mean, what the fuck? I don’t need that shit, literally. The whole programme is nauseating tightrope walk between repulsion and pity as the depressed victims of misfortune (and carefree sex) are somehow convinced to show their ailments to an audience of millions, despite being previously too scared to show to anybody. Whatever you might be unlucky enough to be caught eating to this programme, I guarantee that somewhere within the show you will find something on someone’s body that resembles it. That is why this programme is number one, and why I will always have my dinner at the table.
So there you have it, a helpful guide to the stomach-churning minefield that is the TV listings. Enjoy!