Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Dog Daze

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Dog Daze

Article excerpt

"Never mix, never worry," says my latest love, smugly quoting Edward Albee, as he watches me pour half a Red Stripe into my empty sherry glass. Yes, it is quite a large sherry glass and all the jollier for being so. I am old enough, now, for civilised drinks parties - viz, parties where sherry is served from a bottle in preference to vodka from a watering can. But I am yet to progress to the level where my contemporaries provide a dazzling range of flutes, goblets, slim jims and suchlike by the ten dozen. It would be tricky were one trying to keep a record of alcoholic units consumed. Fortunately, I never waste valuable drinking time worrying about such trivia.

Sometimes, though, it might be prudent if not to stint, then at least to stop before my body becomes possessed by the contumacious liquor that bids me go hither and thither, do this and that. And which, by the morning, has slowly commenced its painful vacation that leaves my every cell distended and confused.

It is the morning after the ill-chosen sherry-lager cocktail. What can I do? Tea must first be made. I assemble the ingredients step by onerous step, retiring to my bed for a recovery period between each action (fill kettle, lie down; turn on kettle, lie down). The moment I feel strong enough I will close myself with Underberg, a vile German medicine that calls itself a natural herbal digestive and is the best hangover cure I've come across. It's also strongly alcoholic - so much so that the manufacturers try to market it as an enjoyable drink. It simply isn't. Never serve, as they suggest, in a tall glass at the end of a good meal. Serve from a teaspoon the next day.

I could be really brave and make myself a Prairie Oyster (one unbroken egg yolk, two teaspoons Worcester Sauce, two dashes Tabasco, pinch of salt and of pepper and one teaspoon malt vinegar, all dropped into a tumbler) but, judging by the painstaking process with the tea, the egg might have hatched by the time I get round to cracking it. …

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