#59 Be wary of the effects of C2H60

Now Lottie, like the drugs talk, the alcohol talk is a parental responsibility, not an Auntie thing.  My grandparents also knew that this was a parental responsibility, but offered me their own brilliant insights in to the world of alcohol consumption.  When I was about eight, it would have been a Sunday morning and I was sandwiched between my Grandparents in their bed (we used to do this), they’d have been drinking tea, I’d have been drinking apple juice.  My Nan would be complaining that I was like ‘a little ice-cube’ because I had cold feet and we’d generally be having a good old chat about life.  On this particular Sunday morning, my Nan decided to give me an education in alcohol. It went a bit like this:

“Oh, little Amie, don’t you ever drink, will you?  Hangovers are horrible.  The ceiling comes down really low over your face and begins to spin and you can’t do anything about it.”  I thought it sounded a bit like Thorpe Park, and I’d never been allowed to go there… anyway, my Nan then proceeded to give me a run down of her worst hangovers through the years.  Some sounded horrific.  My favourite was when my Grandad added the story of two my Great Aunts falling head first in to a bush whist intoxicated.  “Don’t you ever drink little Amie, or it’ll happen to you too!”

Now of course I got older.  And of course, I drank (I am my Grandparent’s granddaughter after all.)  And of course, I got hungover.  It is horrible.  So Lottie, I’m employing the traditional Taylor tactics to open your eyes a little to the perils of hangovers, so here you are Lottie, just for you, a rundown of mine and my friend’s most horrific hangovers we’ve endured:

My worst hangover:

I never have experienced the ceiling coming in really low over my face as my Nan swore blind it would.  My worst hangover was when I was about 18 and after a week of fairly heavy drinking with your ma (lots of fizzy blue stuff at the skate ramp)  I had returned to my parents house to have a nap on the sofa.  A couple of hours later I woke up and couldn’t remember where I was.  I had a conversation with myself that went like this: “Where am I? / Don’t know. / That’s okay, don’t panic, as long I can remember my name… Um… argh, what’s my name?”   A panicked 30 seconds as I try to remember my name. “Ah yes, Amie Taylor.  My name is Amie Taylor…”  And I just sat there saying my name over and over, hoping that this would make up for forgetting it in the first place.

Hangovers from friends:

Probably the worst was when I was still hammered (or at least felt it) for a good three days after a marathon bank holiday session. I must have had mild alcohol poisoning. I was convinced I had actually died, that I was in some sort of spirit world (everything seemed to be happening in slow motion) and everything I was experiencing was in my subconscious. I had to ask a friend if it was “real”

I once finished work ridiculously hungover. Headed home at the end of the shift. Got to my front door and realised I had moved two months ago…

I had this conversation with myself: Need coffee? / Yes / Is that mould? / Looks like it / Can coffee granules go mouldy? / It’s definitely mould / It’s OK to drink mouldy coffee because the boiling water will surely kill the germs, no? / If it doesn’t, you’ll vomit / That might be even better / Need coffee? / Yes.

I was doing a show, Lifegame, in San Diego. I had cancer, first time round, it was the last night of the show, everyone else had their partners there and was going off next day to play being in California. I was flying home the day after next so I could have my last chemo (having had the second to last one in San Diego, while doing the show). But it was the last night. And for 4 weeks I had been driving back to the flat post-show, not partying, not drinking. And it was the last night, my partner was there, we were going to Disneyland (because that’s what people with cancer do, right?) on the one day off before flying home – for more chemo. So, on that last night, I drank the margaritas. I drank many of them. And the moral of the story, Lottie, is that actually yes, Space Mountain can cure a margarita/chemo hangover. But the drive to Disneyland, and your wife’s anger that you’ve drunk enough to throw up WHILE YOU HAVE CANCER both last for ages. (The other moral of the story is that people with cancer still want to play and be silly sometimes. And it’s good to let them.)

My great aunt’s party, full of total strangers (shy, so terrifying) – me at 17, fortunately sleeping in a tiny room upstairs next to a small loo (big house, full up). Her son made g&ts = 2 inches gin:1 inch tonic. Me +17 + terrified + lethal g&ts = lying on the loo floor all night. They told the other guests I’d gone to see friends to cover up for me not being able to make it downstairs for 2 days.

Being told by a friend that me and her brother played naked football and me not having a single recollection of it. 

I went to a screening of a short film there was a free bar. Any way next morning I awake with the worst headache and I am temping in some trendy advertisement place. A couple of hours later I casually excuse myself from reception with a ‘just popping to the loo’ once there I proceed to spectacularly throwing up. To the return to temping in reception feeling utterly terrible.

Perhaps my first awful hangover was on a school night: literally, I was in sixth form. We had discussed the temporary joys of 50p vodkas and the local club on a Monday.  The morning after, I was sick all over my parents’ house – and then cleaned it up before my friend dropped me at the bottom of the school drive to wobble my way up to school. On arrival I remembered that it was my turn to lead the assembly for year sevens (my school was full of ’empowering’ responsibilities such as these).  I blundered up to the lecturn – and I’m pretty shur i sluuuured mmii wai thruuu itttal.  Sure enough- as soon as the year sevens filed out – the deputy head put her hand on my shoulder and said very firmly: ‘meet me in my office- I need to talk to you’. If there’s one thing a hangover can do – it’s worry. So I spent the whole of first lesson panicking about being exposed as a drunk and packed off to rehab.  I cursed as I remembered how small her office was – surely she’s smell the 50ps immediately?! As I sat down, she said- ‘please don’t get dropped off at the bottom of the driveway- the bus drivers don’t like it. Oh – and lovely assembly.’

Travelling on a very crowded train from Totnes to Wiltshire on a hot day praying not to be sick , carrying loads of luggage 
Hell. Sitting in the corridor. Head between my legs.

One of my worst hangovers was after a night out at the bar Players in London. I woke up ridiculously early, determined to still catch my train home to Warwick, despite feeling dreadful and still being quite drunk. I disappeared from the flat without thinking to tell anyone, stumbled all the way to the tube station (got a little lost on the way), managed to get to Marylebone before throwing up ‘discreetly’ on the platform before boarding my train. I nearly made it all the way home but sadly, I got as far as Leamington and had to let it all out again. I nonchalantly left my seat and waited at the door for my station, pretending it had never happened. Ashamed.  Also ashamed of the night I spent asleep on the kitchen floor, but that one’s probably best kept to myself… 

Twice in my life have I vomited into champagne buckets. It sounds luxurious but both times were working breakfast shifts in restaurants and needing to use the nearest receptacle. Painful memories.

My worst hangovers all involve me being sick on tube platforms. London Bridge, Finchley Road and Ravenscourt Park morning commuters have all had to witness me violently throwing up on the platform in front of them. There was no chance of it being mistaken for food poisoning as the smell of alcohol coming off the sick was enough to make someone drunk just by smelling it. Oh the shame.

My worst hangover involves waking up in a hospital with a drip as I got too drunk… And hit by head on a sink. It was really embarrassing and involves me having broken my phone earlier in the night before the drinking started!

I once threw up on a bus, in my hands, down my jumper…After I’d been trying hold it in for the journey. Thankfully it was a fairly empty bus and I managed to take said jumper off and stuff in a carrier bag I had with me before going to a buy a new jumper with my friend when I finally did get off. Not my finest moment.

I also had one where I physically could not move until 6pm that evening. Not even a muscle.

Here’s my most memorable and shameful hangover story: first year of Drama degree. We had had a BIG drama night out, and got very drunk….fast forward to the next morning, most of the other students would have been able to skip their lectures and just sleep it off, but not us Drama students! We had a 9am start, and yoga… I think some people were probably still drunk, but I had definitely reached the hungover stage, and mid yoga – as we stretched back up from a downward-dog – my arms weren’t the only thing coming up, and I had to make a frantic dash through the rest of the class and out to the toilets. NOT my finest moment, especially having to rejoin the class again afterwards for the rest of the day’s training!

 I once directed The Seagull. Had an unexpected night out before a rehearsal the next day. Spent whole rehearsal having to pause rehearsal after each scene to go and throw up in the toilets. Thought I’d throw up while watching the scenes. Don’t know how I got through. Actors must have all known. Horrific.

From drinking a whole bottle of Limoncello (50% proof).  Someone dressed me in their bondage gear, I passed out and then woke up and was very very sick. When there was nothing else to bring up and I was just dry heaving my friends pushed a banana through my teeth so I at least had something soft and alkaline to bring up (top tip!)

My worst hangover was when I stayed up for 36 hours straight after a night out in Newcastle! Stayed up through the night to catch my 7am train! Got back to London at 3.30 and went to work…then went shopping. My girlfriend asked my to go to aisle 3 and get milk. I came back with crisps from aisle 6. I didn’t even know my name! 36 hours with no sleep will do that to you!

My worst hangover was the night after my 21st birthday. I was part of a show in Edinburgh (stage management – moving black screens around). I spent the entire show slumped behind my screen with my friend passing me water under the curtain at the back. During every blackout I ran off stage to be sick out a window, which the audience could hear. I thought I’d probably throw up on stage but somehow made it through. The day was also my mother’s 50th birthday and the family were up to see me. Disaster. I still feel bad about it years later!

So hangovers come with guilt, headaches, sometimes a bit of sick (sometimes a lot), memory loss (followed by that awful moment when you do remember), angry family members and days lost to being stuck in bed.  As I said, the drinking talk is your parent’s job, BUT just be careful.  Remember: one body, look after it.  If you are drinking, be safe, because we love you.

And mummy would like you to know that if you take after her in any way whatsoever then there is probably no point in even drinking. Her hangovers are so horrific now that she has to write off the next day with her head down the toilet. Daddy usually just laughs at her and tells me to man up. Daddy’s hangovers make him really really grumpy. THEY GET WORSE AS YOU GET OLDER!! xxx

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