Tuesday 15 March 2016


Such charming men...

Happiness comes in many forms. Sometimes it engulfs you when you meet friends, or fills you with gladness when you look into the eyes of the one you love the most. 

There’s the empathetic joy of sharing the happiness of another human being, hangovers, the unbridled delight of watching your children evolve their own personalities and - 

'ang on a mo...

... hangovers?

That’s what I said. Hangovers can make you happy, but you have to plan ahead.

These days I barely drink at all. Apart from an occasional couple of whiskies at home, to steady the nerves while I watch the Chelsea play, I only go out about three or four times a year, heading into Galway to do exactly what the medical experts say you shouldn’t.

As regular colyoomistas will know, these bingey rambles tend to take place at times when the city is at its quietest. I like a seat, or even better a barstool, in a pub that has room to breathe, where I might see a friend or a Howya.

The thought of going out in Galway on a Saturday night generally fills me with dread. Now old enough to be older than their father, I’d feel squashed, ancient and awkward in city centre bars, where acres of young flesh is flashed in ways that this middle aged married man cannot comfortably enjoy.

However when word broke a couple of weeks ago that the Guru was coming up from Cork, myself and Dalooney were irresistibly drawn to drink with him. The Guru I met when we were boys of 9, becoming firm friends in our late teens. 40 odd (very odd) years later we are as brothers, while my excellent friend Dalooney is an integral part of our shared Galway past.

We all lived together in a house in the Claddagh, along with Yoda, The Magician and Artist in Blue Towel, during a strangely wonderful and terrifying time of ghosts, madness and Taylor’s Bar.

By 7 o’clock myself and the Guru were full of falafel and perched on barstools at the back door end of the Crane bar. There was no plan, but far West, snug and safe, we knew that in all likelihood we’d stay just where we were.

Why would we leave? Over in the corner James and Joyce were playing and singing with feeling and skill and yay - there’s Dalooney, walking in with a great smile stretched over his Prom-tanned face.

With backs slapped and drinks refreshed, our excitement grew at this reunion. Bouncing a little on his barstool, the Guru’s enthusiasm got the better of him and he started to sing along to Joyce’s sean-nós song. No human could fail to see his vocals as anything but an innocent expression of exuberance, but it brought back to my mind crazed memories of Crane times past.

Back in those Grattan Road days there was a notorious night when we sat just up from the band over there. As the evening drew to a close, the Magician and The Guru rose to their feet, clutching tumblers of Gin and Tonic, and proceeded to produce a robust rendition of God Save the Queen.

The fact that one of the two was a true Irishman helped diffuse the tension somewhat, but I remember feeling upset with myself for cringing with embarrassment, rather than having the courage to join my friends in a little ironic craic.

Anyway, that was years ago and this recent Saturday night passed in a wondrous blur of friends, whiskies, chat and laughter and finally, oh how embarrassing, the heat from the curried sauce on my chips in Vinnie’s gave me the hiccups.

Honestly, it wasn’t the whiskey.
It was the curry sauce.

Then I bored a taxi driver with some incoherent rambling and collapsed on Soldier Boy’s sofa in Ballybrit.

Most of the hangovers in my life are less to do with alcohol and more about sleep deprivation, but that night I slept … well not like a baby … more like a dribbling comatose adult, but long and deep and well.

The next morning I passed a very pleasant few hours, supping cups of strong sweet tea with Whispering Blue, watching the previous night’s Match of the Day, and then set off home to look forward to my hangover.

Yes, it is possible. When I lived in Salthill I had a long and happy relationship with a man-sized sofa. In truth it was a bit manky, but on the Saturday morning after a Friday night’s drinking, it spoke to me.

“Come be mine, be supine, Charlie.” it whispered. “It’s lashing rain outside so don’t go feeling guilty about not walking the Prom. You have fuel for the fire and eggs and bacon in the kitchen, so relax, come to me, lie on me. You have a creeping hangover, you know you do, so enjoy it. Relax, give in to sloth for 12 hours of your life.”

I did just that and in the process learned to enjoy hangovers, so although I was feeling a little worse for wear by the time I got home last week, I had planned ahead.

Normally I run around my home like a Jewish mother, bringing meals, snacks and drinks, but the Snapper was forewarned that this was a day I’d very much appreciate being brought things.

A long hot shower later I was ensconced in my armchair. My dog was asleep at my feet. The fire was glowing. My wife lay on the sofa beside me, ready for the live showing of the Chelsea game. On a plate in front of me butter was melting into hot cross buns.

Although feeling utterly physically wretched, I felt absolutely happy.

“This is great, love.” I said. “Carlsberg don’t do hangovers but if they … oh yeh, they do!”

©Charlie Adley

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