A Sobering thought…

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”

Frank Sinatra 

I am attempting to be normal human being.

Perhaps not normal, but I am endeavouring to limit my voracious drinking habit to that of Tom, Dick, and Harry’s. Spending the previous months living in a fast car driving down an empty motorway at midnight has left me feeling like Oliver Reed method acting for a remake of Withnail and I.

So it is with a heavy heart and a large side of regret that I am taking brief sojourn from drinking. I will state that I not partaking in the fad called ‘dry-Jan’, my holiday will involve temperance with a reward of a couple of restrained glasses of red with my roast on a Sunday; This is what I am told the vast majority of the nation actually do.

January is often considered a month of deep reflection. We look back at the year behind us, then we look forward to the one ahead. So, in this way, we’re all a little bit like Janus, the Roman god for which January is named. Janus is usually depicted with having two heads facing in opposite directions; one looks back to the year departed, the other looks forward to the new and uncertain time ahead. This moment of reflection is far easier when not slumped on a stool with a barman philosopher.

The finest people do grace the pub but after a while the monotony of seeing them dulls the senses. It is fair to say that one’s mind is expanded nattering away to a stranger in a bar with a drink and stories of yore – but is the brain or body enhanced? I sadly doubt it.

It’s not just boring people in the boozer that I will miss over these next few weeks. I love to drink at all occasions. A decent bottle of claret will certainly ameliorate any meal, a whisky after a hard day, a hip flask on a cold blustery afternoon, or an iced cider watching any sport.

I guess what I am trying to put forward is that an English bachelor’s lifestyle is festooned in lovely alcoholic beverages. I exclusively meet chums in the pub, where will I rendezvous now – men do not touch shoulders in coffee shops I can assure you.

Aside from the internal boons – sharpening of the brain and cleansing of the liver – I wish to lose a nip of weight and hope that the cracked blood vessels begin to retreat from my cheeks. 

As a full time drinker, playing sport becomes a secondary activity – replace doing with watching and heavy critiquing. Past playing glories become so inflated that it is a wonder Nike never sponsored us “when I was playing quite seriously”. With this period of sobriety I aim to up the stakes and take on all comers at squash and swim like Ian “Thorpedo” Thorpe in his pre flamboyant aquatic days.

The drinking classes are naturally of an artistic stock. The grandiloquent language and books we pose with serve as marvellous props to augment a well educated past. The exception to the flouncy hair and loud clothes is that due to an unquenchable thirst, less time than desired is spent at galleries, theatres, or music halls. I expect this balance to change in my month of sobriety.

I am not a chap who attacks the day with gusto, so I shall at the very least look forward to arising without the regular fuzzy head. The tonics (sadly not slathered in gin and full of ice) will hopefully outweigh the downsides and I will be a success! Perhaps I will last a week and discover the sober classes to be as dull as evening in watching Countryfile.

I will certainly return to my rakish ways if not for the love of wanderlust but to stick two finger up to the establishment; the government is tightening its drinking guidelines for men and that it is now, prosperously, suggesting that red wine is not good for you.

It shall be an excitingly dull few weeks with a restorative body at the end, however I must admit all this time without a reflective drink does fill me with terror.

I’ll drink to that….


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