Becky says things about … an American road trip – PART 6: New Orleans

Our Airbnb in New Orleans was a two-bedroom apartment in a Victorian doll’s house, in a quiet leafy street ten minutes from the madness of the French Quarter.

It had an enormous balcony. It is important that you understand some crucial facts about this balcony, the significance of which will become clear later on:

  • The balcony overhung the pavement, which ran underneath it, 10 feet below
  • The only access to the balcony was either through the French doors in Sarah’s bedroom, or the French doors in my bedroom
  • If you wanted to access the balcony from the pavement, you would either have to climb the nearby tree, or scale the side of the building. Neither option was possible to someone who wasn’t Spiderman.

We managed to resist the urge to buy eight cases of wine and spend the rest of our lives drinking them on the balcony, and delved into the tangled criss-cross of streets in the French Quarter.

It was like any picture you’ve ever seen of New Orleans: the wooden Victorian houses were slapped in every colour of the rainbow; hanging baskets dripped from balconies that were held up by spindly, cast iron supports; strains of jazz wafted on the hot, humid air.

But it was when we came across a jazz band in the middle of a street who were playing a jazzed-up version of The Flintstones, watched serenely by a dude in a red tailcoat and a top hat relaxing on a kerb, that I really felt we had arrived in New Orleans.

We then came to the joyful realisation that, as we were no longer in Tennessee, we didn’t have to eat BBQ ribs anymore. Prior to this trip I didn’t think it was possible to not want to eat BBQ ribs every day, but it turns out it is eminently possible, and even vital to your physical and psychological health. Happily, New Orleans offered something else on which we could endlessly binge: shrimp.

So we went to Johnny’s Po Boys and shared one of these bad boys.

Shortly after this we found ourselves at the mad end of Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street is the street that comes up in Google Images if you search for ‘New Orleans’. It runs right across the middle of the French Quarter. At one end – the end nearest our apartment – it is quiet, lined mainly with residential doll’s houses; there’s a cluster of gay bars as you get to the centre, then jazz bars, and gradually the jazz bars outweigh the apartments, then as you get nearer to the skyscrapers of the city centre, the jazz bars become full-on clubs with names like ‘Jubbly’s’ and ‘Smokin Tits House of Fun’ and ‘Sloppy Cocks’, and then suddenly you’ve unwittingly joined a bachelorette party and you have downed 37 shots of unidentified alcohol for $10 and you’re lying face-down on the putrid floor of a pulsing club and a bare-chested man is simultaneously dry humping you and trying to get you to come to the club next door where they have live bear-baiting and everyone is naked.

So I exaggerate. But it’s not far off that. The mad end of Bourbon Street was a cross between Blackpool, Brighton and Croydon on a Saturday night, with lashings of Las Vegas spewed over it for good measure.

It was hideous.

We decided we would avoid it at all costs and stick to the jazz and wine bars. This decision doesn’t make us old, just civilised.

Due to road trip fatigue, we decided to make fajitas in the apartment and get an early night. So by 11pm we were both in bed, looking forward to a long, refreshing sleep.

This long, refreshing sleep was, however, not to be.

I was awoken at 2am by what I first thought was thunder.

Upon fully regaining consciousness a few seconds later, I realised it wasn’t thunder. Thunder doesn’t go BANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANG.

I realised with horror that it was the sound of someone trying to get into the front door of our apartment.

Not half a second later, I realised, with considerably more horror, that it was actually the sound of someone trying to get into our apartment through the French doors of Sarah’s bedroom – which, if you recall, led directly onto the balcony.

No sooner had I realised this appalling fact, the BANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANG suddenly stopped.

I briefly wondered if I was dreaming and had made up the whole mad banging thing.

This brief wonder was unfortunately very quickly smashed to pieces as the BANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANGBANG started again, and this time 100 times louder on my French doors, three feet in front of me.

Here are my French doors, at a more peaceful, less terrifying point in our stay:

The only way I can describe to you the urgency and violence with which my French doors were being shaken is that it sounded like Godzilla desperately trying to escape a nuclear apocalypse. The measly door knob immediately flew off and the door was being held only by the tiny single bolt at the top, and the rest of the door flapped and shook like a sail in a hurricane.

The illogical part of my brain was going:

The logical part of my brain decided that if this was a burglar or an axe murderer, it was the worst burglar or axe murder in the history of time. The logical part of my brain also realised that if I didn’t do something pretty quickly, the door would fly off its hinges and whoever or whatever was trying to get in would burst through into my bedroom, the prospect of which was undesirable.

So I leapt towards the door, yanked aside the shutter, and came face to face with a guy in his mid-twenties.

In a tone and pitch I had never heard come out of my mouth – which I now know to be the ‘terror’ setting – I yelled ‘What the FUCK are you doing??? I DON’T KNOW YOU!!’

To which the guy replied ‘Holy shit – am I at the wrong place?’

And disappeared.

Silence.

With my heart having some sort of awful 90’s rave, I crept into Sarah’s room where I found her in bed clutching her sheets to her face.

After both agreeing we were shaken up like marbles in a cup but essentially okay, we heard voices from outside. I listened at Sarah’s French doors (she forbade me to go out onto the balcony) and heard the unmistakable sound of drunken arseholes from the pavement below. These drunken arseholes remained laughing and talking loudly for the next hour.

Using our combined training from years of watching True Crime documentaries, we came to the conclusion that our intruder was part of the group of guys staying in the apartment downstairs, who had clearly got absolutely wasted and locked himself out, and had mistakenly thought in his drunken stupor that our balcony was part of his apartment. Whilst this was fucking irritating, it was a relief to decide our intruder had not been a mad drooling axe murderer running amok on our street.

After a few fitful hours’ sleep, we awoke in the morning to the unmistakable sounds of drunken arseholes yelling and laughing in the hallway downstairs as they left for the day, presumably to go and get utterly bollocksed and drink each other’s piss out of pint glasses.

We called our Airbnb host, who turned up an hour later with two handymen. As we surveyed the scene on the balcony, I proudly showed them the exterior handle of Sarah’s French door that the drunken arsehole had yanked off the night before, and which I had spotted in next door’s gutter.

As we speculated how the hell the drunken arsehole had scaled our balcony, and one of the handymen exclaimed in awe that ‘Motherfucker’s got some upper body strength’, they repaired my broken French doors and assured us that, as they also owned the apartment downstairs, they would contact the drunken arseholes to give them a serious warning and to let them know that they had nearly caused the two women upstairs to give birth to their entire digestive systems.

We discovered from our host that the drunken arseholes were in the US Army, and were from out of town. This was ironic, considering that everyone we’d met on our road trip had warned us to ‘be careful’ in New Orleans as it could be ‘dodgy’ – where in fact we experienced nothing but friendliness and kindness from everyone in New Orleans, including the people on the street you might consider ‘dodgy’ – and here we were, having drunken out-of-town arseholes from the US Army getting smashed off their faces and trying to break into our apartment.

Our host left us with an assurance that we were perfectly safe, and that we would get some money back on our stay to make up for nearly dying of shock and terror.

We then did what any normal human being would do when recovering from a heinous shock: we had shrimp in a hollowed-out baguette, and got horrendously drunk.

We hit the gay bars in Bourbon Street with a mathematically impossible 1,000% enthusiasm.

A brief summary of our night, in useful bullet points:

  • Drank beer, not like it was going out of fashion, but like it was coming back into fashion after a lengthy period of absence
  • Watched jazz and drank beer in a Wizard of Oz-themed bar
  • Sat on the balcony of a gay bar and drank beer and listened to a man inexplicably playing bagpipes in the street below
  • Got an emergency hot dog from a street stall
  • Drank double Southern Comforts and lemonade on the balcony of another gay bar, and got chatting to a young girl who was in town for a work convention; when she went to the toilet and said ‘You’ll be here when I get back, right?’ we nodded, after which Sarah immediately went man-down and said ‘God I am so drunk we need to leave’. So we left.
  • I was so overcome with guilt about abandoning the lovely girl, that I propped Sarah up outside and went back up to the bar to say goodbye, and found the girl wandering around looking bemused and holding three huge shots. I did a shot out of politeness, apologised, wished her a long and happy life, and left.

When we returned home at 2am it was all silence from downstairs, but we had not only forgotten about the drunken arseholes, it was entirely possible that we made so much noise clattering about and drunkenly laughing and dropping things that we woke them up. Whilst this would have been a satisfying payback, waking up and thinking ‘I wish those idiots upstairs wouldn’t tread so heavily’ is not quite on the same level as waking up and thinking ‘OH MOTHER OF GOD SOMEONE IS TRYING TO BREAK IN AND GUT ME LIKE A FISH.’


The next morning, Sarah was woken, not by someone trying to break into her bedroom, but by the sound of me retching into the toilet.

I did not feel well, my friends. Not well at all.

And so our road trip ended with us dragging our feet round the streets of the French Quarter, stopping briefly in a rainstorm to chat to a homeless guy (‘I don’t like Hilary Clinton, but you know, bitch was right all along about global warming’), and collapsing in front of the TV on our last night with some pasta and, bizarrely, the Downton Abbey Christmas special.

Conclusion: New Orleans is beautiful, generous, and super friendly. New Orleans is completely bonkers. If you go, go at the end of your trip, not the beginning. You will need all your strength to do it justice. And to kick the shit out of the drunken out-of-town arsehole that tries to break into your bedroom at 2am.

 

 

Becky says things about … giving up booze for a month

Listener, you have before you a virtuous Becky. A wholesome Becky, a saintly Becky. A Becky so pure, so unsullied by evil, that I wouldn’t be surprised if you feel a trifle overwhelmed. I feel a little overwhelmed at myself.

Yes, most admiring Listener, I have given up booze for an entire month. I have been on the sobriety wagon for the whole of November. Not a drop of alcohol has touched my lips, tickled my nasal hairs, or been dribbled down my chin. I am, to quote my good friend Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.

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Why did you give up alcohol for a whole month, Becky?? I hear you cry. Fear not, inquisitive Listener. I shall tell you.

Aside from the rather alarming realisation that since alcohol became a regular feature in my social life at the age of 18/19, my body probably hasn’t gone more than about a week without saying hello and howdy to a drop of the sauce, I wanted what I was promised by other people who had given up booze for a month; namely, boundless energy, less tiredness, stunning youthful looks, dewy fresh skin, a reinvigorated zest for life, and a newly developed penchant for soft drinks.

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Considering the above, I shall present you with a series of statements that should be pertinent to my month-long sobriety. I shall also present you with a truthful account of whether these statements are in fact truthful.

Observe.

Becky gained more energy, and wasn’t tired. Once.

I shall ask Stickman to demonstrate how I expected to feel during my month abstinence from energy-zapping alcohol.

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And now I shall further ask Stickman to demonstrate how I actually felt during my four weeks without one single milligram of energy-zapping, fatigue-inducing, body-poisoning alcohol in my bloodstream.

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Listener, this experience led to my discovery of one of the greatest lies of our time: Giving up alcohol gives you more energy and makes you feel less tired. This, Listener, to put it bluntly, is a giant, hairy, stinking, heinous lie. I have never been more tired in all my life. Waking up in the morning was like dredging a pond of scummy water. For most of the four weeks I have sat slumped over my desk in a lethargic funk, wailing pathetically to my keyboard that I SHOULD FEEL AMAZING!! WHY DO I NOT FEEL AMAZING???

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I had a vague energy surge in the first week – no, surge is the wrong word – more a slight energy incline, like a small wheelchair ramp – the second week was appalling, I felt like my head had been stuffed with soggy teatowels and I was actually reduced to tears one Sunday whilst staring at my novel that I wasn’t writing and realising that I couldn’t even see it, never mind write the frikkin thing; the third week was becoming boringly energyless, and this fourth week – well. On Monday I stood at the bottom of a flight of stairs on a station platform during rush hour and contemplated asking a fellow commuter if they’d give me a piggy back.

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Verdict: A revolting lie. A lie the likes of which has rarely been seen by humanity.

Becky looks years younger and her complexion is dewy and amazing.

Within about four days of my body not receiving alcohol, I noticed that I had alarmingly pronounced wrinkles under my eyes which, infuriatingly and devastatingly, were not there before. Excuse me, I said to the God of Sobriety, I thought giving up alcohol was supposed to reduce wrinkles and make me look healthy and youthful, not worn and decrepit. 

Well, replied the God of Sobriety, alcohol can cause puffiness of the face due to increased water retention. Perhaps – just perhaps, Becky – your face has been consistently slightly puffy during your years of regular alcohol consumption, and now that sobriety has lessened your water retention your face is less puffy and has resulted in uncovering the fact that you are actually quite old and haggard and have wrinkles which were previously stretched out due to your terrible puffiness. 

So, God of Sobriety, it’s a bit like sweeping a dusty floor and discovering a really shitty worn carpet underneath. 

Yes. That’s exactly what it’s like. 

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I will admitListener, that I have noticed an improvement in my skin tone. It is less red, less blotchy, and less dehydrated-looking. And do you know what? I should f*cking well hope so. A month of nothing but water, soda water, drinks made with water, and water, should f*cking well improve my f*cking skin tone.

Verdict: Mostly a lie with a thinly veiled compensation.

Becky had a reinvigorated zest for life and enjoyed observing things she hadn’t previously noticed, like the gentle gleam of a drop of dew on a fallen leaf.

In the first couple of weeks, O inquisitive Listener, I did, despite the fug of fatigue, feel a strange lightness of being. That is to say, I was less irritable. I was able to maintain conversations that I would otherwise have found bothersome, and I was able to tolerate people to whom I would otherwise have taken umbrage.

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I also achieved more. Due to the fact that I wasn’t monstrously wasting away my life spending evenings sipping cool, relaxing, soporific wine and indulging in vibrant and witty conversation with my closest friends whilst sitting in the cosy, amiable atmosphere of a warm local pub………….sigh……….. I actually spent a lot more time writing. I worked on my novel. I wrote blogs. This is my fourth blog post this month. YOU, most fortunate Listener, have benefited from my month-long abstinence. It’s okay. You can thank me later. (An incredibly large bottle of gin will suffice.)

And guess what – I enjoyed sitting at home and being industrious. I felt creative, I felt productive. True, some evenings I was too RUDDY TIRED to do anything particularly creative, and on those evenings I angrily watched documentaries on YouTube (Most Extreme Airports and The Truth About Killer Dinosaurs were particular highlights), but most of the time I was being productive. And that made me feel quite good.

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Verdict: Almost true. A welcome motivational boost, occasionally punctuated by useless facts about stegosauruses.

Becky developed a keen penchant for soft drinks and realised that alcoholic beverages are really not that great.

I want to make this clear, Listener: my evenings at home drinking cups of tea and hot milk were fine. I didn’t miss alcohol. At all. I didn’t even think about it. But sobriety did not turn me into a hermit. I did venture out into public houses. (Come on, there’s only so much creativity a girl can take in a month.)

To learn of my experiences of abstinence whilst in a public house setting, observe the following accounts of a typical evening:

6.07pm: Approach bar. Stare yearningly at alcohol. Order pint of lime and soda.

6.09pm: Guzzle lime and soda. Relish, for about 49 seconds, in its pleasingly refreshing qualities.

6.19pm: Refuse offer of glass of wine from friend. Order second pint of lime and soda.

6.33pm: Go for a wee.

6.35pm: Return. Guzzle lime and soda. Get caught staring at friend’s bottle of lager with ‘manic look’ in my eyes.

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6.40pm: Go for a wee.

6.44pm: Return. Eye spilt droplet of beer on the bar, and quickly tell myself that licking public surfaces would do me no favours whatsoever.

6.46pm: Go for a wee.

6.50pm: Finish second lime and soda. Get asked if I want a drink. Stare hopelessly at range of soft beverages in front of me, all of which will pump me full of sugar or caffeine and rob me of precious sleep. Fear third pint of lime and soda will cause irreparable bladder malfunction. Order tomato juice. Cry a bit inside.

6.56pm: Go for wee.

7.00pm: Return. Fail to laugh at a joke that I would’ve laughed at had I had a glass of wine.

7.10pm: Descend into a sober-induced paralysis in which I watch people around me getting merrily crapulous, sip wincingly at my tomato juice, every quaff of which is like a mouthful of chilled snake venom, and contemplate asking if anyone has heroin.

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7.20pm: Go for wee. Tomato juice has quashed bladderly urges slightly, thus reducing frequency of toilet trips.

7.31pm: Have someone say ‘Becky, do you want a large wine? OH NO SORRY YOU’RE OFF IT HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.’ Plot violent and monstrous revenge whilst becoming fixated on the dregs of white wine in a nearby glass.

7.45pm: Push empty tomato-smeared glass away. Mutter a weary farewell to the merry folks around me, go home and cry into a mug of warm milk.

Verdict: If I ever see a tomato juice or a lime and soda again I will personally remove the foreskin of every man within walking distance. Alcohol is great.

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VERDICT

The best thing about giving up alcohol for a month?

THE MONEY.

Buying alcohol is expensive. I bought no alcohol. For the mathematicians amongst you, the relevant formula is something along the lines of:

sobriety x the square root of my purse / 30 days in November +  a couple of  boxes of teabags = BECKY SAVED A LOT OF MONEY.

This, my friends, was the best thing about giving up alcohol. I enjoyed not spending my hard-earned cash to fund the slow decline of my liver, and I enjoyed spending it on other things, like a new pair of shoes, a new dress, and a haircut (no I wasn’t previously some bearded hair-covered wino, I just had a few split-ends, okay?).

Second best thing, the increased productivity. The extra pages I’ve added to my novel. The extra time I’ve spent with you beautiful people.

The rest? Lies.

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But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. See if you feel invigorated, full of energy, rid of fatigue, dewy complexioned, and fly through life being positive and fresh and clean and ALIVE.

Alternatively, do take my word for it, and pour yourself another massive glass of wine.

Becky says things about … hangovers

I would first like to say, dear suspicious listener, that just because I am writing about hangovers doesn’t mean I have recently suffered from one.*

*It completely does. I have recently been killed by a hangover, and miraculously came back to life, a bit like Jesus.

Hangovers are God’s way of telling you you’re an idiot. Hangovers are a punishment for having fun. Hangovers are your body deciding that it’s going to take away a day of your life by preventing you from doing anything remotely productive and instead forcing you to spend the day in bed eating bowl after bowl of cereal and watching episode after episode of The Golden Girls on YouTube.

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Most certainly, Stickman, but it is far more enjoyable when one chooses to spend a day in such pleasant diversion, not when it is literally the only thing that one can do apart from lie on the floor in a pit of self-disgust and softly wail. And if you’ve eaten all my cereal I am going to be livid.

Like life itself or the quality of supermarket own-brand products, hangovers are unpredictable. You can never tell whether they are going to be a mere mild irritation, like a slightly sunburnt elbow, or a fatally catastrophic life-altering event that forces you to reassess your very existence.

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Sometimes, the sheer meekness and mildness of a hangover can be a stupendous victory that makes you feel like a superhero with a liver and stomach made of titanium (I think they call that particular superhero ‘Low-Density Corrosion-Resistant Transition Metal Major Organs Man’). Those nights when you start on the beer, then have a few cheeky wines, then some bright spark suggests Jagarmeister, then before you know it you’ve got your face in a bucket of Sambuca and someone is preparing a syringe with which they mean to inject absinthe into your eyeballs, and you wake up the next morning to nothing but a slight headache and an ambiguous stain on your lapel.

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These hangovers are worth celebrating. You are clearly bionic and incredible, and that deserves a pat on the back and a massive full English breakfast, a stroll in the park feeling fresh and breezy, and quite possibly a few cheeky beverages later on in the day to thank your body for being so utterly super and brilliant.

And when those nights of absinthe-injecting and tequila-inserting and Sambuca-snorting do catch up with you, and you wake up to cataclysmic devastation and horrible awfulness and a cat is on fire and people have died, you don’t mind so much, because you know you ruddy well deserve it.

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But sometimes your body doesn’t want to play. Sometimes your body thinks ‘Hey. You. Person that I keep alive. You’re going down, you hear me? You gowin daaaaooowwwwnn.’ (Yes, my body sometimes does a Samuel L. Jackson impersonation. It’s confusing, but fun.)

After a hard day at work you think to yourself ‘I’m going to imbibe a couple of well-earned alcohol beverages because I have been productive, efficient and generally smashing today, and what harm can a mere two glasses of wine do to my most excellent body?’ And you pop down the pub. You consume said two drinks, perhaps three, if you have one forced upon you or there’s a sudden and unpredicted thunderstorm outside and to leave the premises would be dangerous. Then you go home and you go to bed. It is a perfectly pleasant evening.

And then you wake up and you feel like this:

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Your second emotion is confusion. Your first emotion is an intense wish to die, but you quickly pass over that on the grounds of it being dramatic. You are confused. Why has this happened? Why do you hurt so? Who hates you? Did you really only have two drinks, or did you have thirty, get chucked out of the pub, mug an old lady, steal her pension, use it to buy Special Brew and White Lightening, find a bush in a park, drink £80’s worth of almost illegally-strong alcohol in said bush, gatecrash a student party and achieve a record for sucking the contents of a bottle of vodka up your bottom through a straw, steal ninety-five cans of cheap lager, drink them all whilst standing on your head and get a cheer for vomiting into a pint glass and then mixing it with Lambrini and drinking it, then fly to Dublin, wipe out an entire village of its Guinness, fly back, and get hit by a transit bus carrying holidaymakers to their plane to Malaga?

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These hangovers are confusing. They’re unfair. They are disproportionate to the amount of alcohol you consumed. The ratio of fun to pain is deeply unbalanced. They are nefarious. They are like a malicious Pain Lord wreaking havoc in your innocent body with his pointed stick and his penchant for inflicting misery. They are not to be trusted. They make you doubt yourself. They make you think you are destined to a life of tea, coffee and fizzy pop, ultimately leading to stained teeth and offensive wind. You begin to yearn for liver disease.

Hangovers make you slow. If your hungover motor ability was a tortoise, it would be jeered at by the other speedier tortoises.

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Hangovers confuse your stomach. One minute you are gorging on fried sausages and two loaves of bread, and the next you experience that phenomenon of Sudden and Categorical Certainty that You Will Vomit if You So Much as Move a Millimetre of Your Body.

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So, dear listener, let that be a warning to you. Next time you fancy a quick drink down the pub, think again. That quick drink may be your undoing. That quick drink may change your life. That quick drink may force you to watch forty-seven videos of squirrels falling off walls and babies laughing at paper on YouTube.

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Becky says things about … drunken eating

Remember that clip of a completely obliterated David Hasselhoff eating a burger on the floor of a Las Vegas hotel room? Of course you do. It was the most painful video filmed by the daughter of an international star and then posted on the Internet, like, ever. If you found the image of your Baywatch hero slurring into some reconstituted meat too painful and you’ve blocked it out, it looked something like this:

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Pretty epic.

But, in the same way that we would be lying if we said we didn’t rummage through friends’ bathroom cabinets whilst using their toilet, we would be lying if we said we haven’t all done a David Hasselhoff.

Come on. Tell Aunty Beck. You know you have. When you get home from a night out with a hunger that could extinguish entire species? When the only course of action is to lie with your face in the fridge, or to climb into the condiment cupboard and just open your mouth until you’ve absorbed everything, like one of those speeded-up sciencey videos of insects devouring a piece of fruit? You know what I’m talking about. 

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Yes, there is undoubtedly a gratuitous indignity of shoving your silly drunken face into a cling-filmed block of stilton, but let’s look at it another way. How about the glorious, unadulterated, uninhibited freedom of it! At what other point in your day-to-day life can you really throw all moral, social, personal, and hygienic caution to the wind and just pig the hell out? There are no ‘If I eat half that Sara Lee chocolate gateau it’ll definitely go straight to my hips and I’ll be left with an acute feeling of self-disgust’ worries here. Quite the contrary: your brain is saying ‘I must eat half that Sara Lee chocolate gateau. I need it. If I don’t eat half that Sara Lee chocolate gateau something awful will happen. It is my duty to eat half that Sara Lee chocolate gateau.’

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And what of culinary conventions? Those suffocating dictations that tell you it is not appropriate to make a sandwich of hot buttered toast filled with Coco Pops, or that it is unseemly – depraved, even – to eat a can of cold rice pudding using a Kit Kat as a spoon? In a fit of drunken eating you can shun such stifling conventions! Stand up for what is good and true! Open that tin of sardines and that jar of peanut butter, consume the two with the same spoon, and to hell with the consequences!

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Drunken eating makes food fun. Small conquests are made. It becomes paramount that you must seek out all of the sultanas in your box of Sultana Bran. You can spend whole minutes staring into a flaky brown utopia, exclaiming ‘Aha!’ when you spy one of the sneaky little buggers, fish it out with your sweaty drunken fingers, consume it, and the search continues. Do you want a packet of sultanas? No, you do not want a packet of sultanas! You want the thrill of the chase, the glory of the conquest! You want to fundamentally transform the very essence of this product: you have the power to turn it from ‘Sultana Bran’ to simply ‘Bran’! You are God!

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So do not be ashamed next time you find yourself with your head inside a chicken carcass at half past one in the morning. You are only doing what is right. You, and David Hasselhoff, are merely obeying nature’s natural order. Run with it. Enjoy it. Create. Experiment. Who says sliced ham doesn’t go with chocolate spread? You are your own man.

I would like to conclude by stating that I have never indulged in such drunken eating behaviour, and I certainly didn’t do it when I got home at half past two this morning.