Greg: Drinking in the Afternoon is Sublime

By Greg Last edited 141 months ago
Greg: Drinking in the Afternoon is Sublime
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Everyone drinks on a Saturday — it's practically required. Drinking on, say, a Tuesday afternoon probably means that you're an alcoholic. But drinking on a Sunday afternoon? It manages to be both decadent and civilised, just louche enough without being irresponsible. You can pretend, for a day, that you are privileged enough to get drunk when those around you are not, while resting secure in the knowledge that, twenty-four hours later you will be a productive member of society again. This is highly therapeutic.

But before getting drunk on a Sunday afternoon, one has to get up. And since this is my perfect Sunday, it will have followed a very good Saturday night, which probably means that I will not be waking up in my own bed. There's no greater way of exploring greater London than opening one's eyes, just a little hung over, in some flat in a neighborhood you never would have otherwise seen — Westbourne Park perhaps, or Dalston, or, in a darker moment, Harrow. (That last one led to a now-notorious phone call to my best mate one Sunday morning: "Ryan, darling, do you know where Harrow is? I think I might be in Harrow right now...")

Before figuring out how to get home, I always make a point to spend some time in the charity shop of the high street of where ever I find myself. (Yes, many of them are closed on a Sunday, but it's always worth a try.) The actual chance that you might find something you want to purchase is, for me, not on the top of the list of reasons to go in them. There's something beautiful about the experience itself, simply going through the all the stuff on the racks and shelves. It is a shopping experience with a kind of aesthetic purity. Looking at each object and article in its turn becomes a sort of meditation, as the pleasure of shopping abstracts itself from wanting or needing actual commodities.

In addition, a charity shop gives you a unique glimpse into the sociology of its locality: the square bin filled to the brim with plush animals in the huge, ghetto-fabulous Dalston Road Oxfam says as much as the surprisingly large collection of chipped crystal salt cellars in the tiny, overstuffed Cancer Research UK in Highgate.

But soon enough it's time for breakfast — let's say at 1 or 2 pm. A regular old fry up, always. Beans, no chips. If I'm in Wood Green, I'll always chose the Duck Inn Cafe on Salisbury Road, where they will add fried haloumi to your plate if you ask. But generally, finding a caff on a random high street is the opposite experience of finding a charity shop — while the charity shop fascinates because of its uniqueness, the caff fascinates for its eternal similarity.

Then it's time for a drink. For a perfect Sunday afternoon, I recommend caipirinhas, particularly if the weather is warm, but also just when you'd like to pretend the weather is warm. Now of course, there are lots of reason why you'd want to stay as far away from Camden as possible on a Sunday. But Made in Brazil on Inverness Street makes a fine caipirinha, they have a large selection of flavours (although I always tend to only order the plain), and they don't seem to mind if you don't order food (although I'm sure the food is fine). Curling up alone at a table with a pile of Sunday papers, making sure the glass in front of you stays full, is my most powerful recipe for transcendent bliss — around about the third glass of citrusy, sugary, alcoholy deliciousness, everything in your life begins to make sense.

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Then it's the afternoon. I have a little buzz, and would like to turn the energy up a notch. There is only one place to go: Horse Meat Disco at South Central in Vauxhall. The party does just what it says on the tin: a delightfully diverse crowd of club kids and bears and regular guys dances to genuinely fun disco music, in a friendly, laid-back, but distinctly queer atmosphere. There is a big outdoor terrace to enjoy when it is warm enough. And if you show up early enough, there is a buffet. Sometimes a barbeque. Once I was there, and my companion was drunk enough to go over and chat with Erasure's Andy Bell, who was very gracious. The only downside of the club is that it is so pleasant you may be tempted to stay until it closes at 1 am, which will make your Monday morning even more difficult than it would have been anyway.

Last Updated 27 November 2005