I was about to call this the last week of February, but it’s not, and that’s where February gets you: “Oho, 28 days, shorter than the other months.” No. February lasts longer than you expect, even when you get little gift days that are 60 degrees. What happens after that? Snow. It’s like a big meteorological hangover. Fittingly, today in Funbruary, the redoubtable Maud Newton recommends Kingsley Amis’ Everyday Drinking.
The funniest new (to me) book I’ve read in the past year is Kingsley Amis’ Everyday Drinking, a collection of essays and general guidance on one of my favorite pursuits from a great comic writer of the last century. Apart from the recipes, the entertaining historical asides, and the sexist but hilarious dinner party tips – remember, this is the man whose wife wrote on his bare back at the beach, “fat Englishman – I fuck anything” – the most useful part of the book is the famous section on hangover recovery.
Far more pernicious and unsettling in the long term than the physical effects of a night of drinking, as any self-respecting drunkard knows, are the metaphysical consequences. Amis argues that the metaphysical hangover (M.H.) — “that ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future” — must be handled with care. An essential part of the recovery is to take either his M.H. Literature Course or M.H. Music Course, or, if necessary, both in succession. “The structure of both Courses … rests on the principle that you must feel worse emotionally before you start to feel better. A good cry is the initial aim.” Read an excerpt if you must, but you’d be better off getting your hands on the whole thing.