Man on bench

The Micro-Binge

There are times, sadly, when your day is so filled with arse-ache, you don’t want to get out of bed. My advice is: Don’t.

There are other days, however, when there is so little wiggle room, you have to make every gyration count. Like when you have to appear sober at both ends of the day. I know. Nightmare.

This is precisely why I invented the micro-binge.

It all started with having to drop the nipper off first thing and pick him up at the end of the day. It looked like a day without colour: Work, lunch, more work, childcare. What the fuck is that about? How about: A little work, pint, doobie, pint, pint, power nap and recovery?

So I had a few hours in which to desert, regroup and return, smelling of roses, not beer, drugs, or my own sputum.

The problem with any binge is that it tends towards a loss of control. One drink inevitably leads to another and you could end up spending the night in the first skip you pass that has a mattress. Lovely, but not the level of self-awareness the ideal candidate for the micro-binge will possess.

The key is to work backwards. If you have to deal with sober, serious types at 5pm, you need to start your hangover around 2.30. That’s just science.

Empty Bench
The new office

Like all great inventors, I wasn’t aware I was embarking on a pioneering journey. I just got restless after working for an hour or so. I needed fresh air and a walk to clear my mind and become productive again. So I strolled to a nice spot on Blackheath with a pond. Sitting on a bench with my paper and pen it wasn’t long until I realised I needed a table. So that’s why they invented offices, I thought, as I wrestled with writing on my knees.

After five minutes of lengthy struggle, it was midday. Where can I find a table, I asked myself? Where can I find a table at opening time? Hang on…

Luckily, such is the randomness of the universe, I was writing on my knees not 30 seconds from one of my favourite pubs, the Hare & Billet.

‘I’ve only come in for a table,’ I told the barkeep.

He seemed to understand.

‘Do you have anything that goes well with a table?’ I enquired.

He recommended Hop Stuff‘s Arsenal Pale Ale. Perfect. At 3.8% you can chug down a couple and still be able to fly a plane. A few more and you’ll be ready to nick one. It’s not named after the football club, it is brewed at the Woolwich Arsenal from which they took their name, before defecting north. One delicious mouthful and I started to feel magnificent again. I had been hop-bombed. Everything made sense.

Hop Stuff APA
The right stuff

I even did some work on the table, though some would call it merely crossing stuff out. I had immovable appointments, but I still needed one more push into the creative hotspot. I skinned up a little feller knowing it would be my first and last smoke of the day, if I employed the sort of iron will that made this country great.

Suddenly I couldn’t stop writing. Sadly, it didn’t do much for my handwriting and later I would need GCHQ to decipher it for me.

Happy that I had achieved both some decent work and had a facking lovely time, I celebrated with another pint, some nosebag, and another pint. Next, the hard work would begin. I repaired home to begin the process of restoration. The fuzzy parts of my mind needed reinstating, despite the inevitable calling to my very soul for more of everything.

First, the power nap. 20 minutes of glory and a harsh wake-up. Is this what being in the Marines is like, I pondered when I woke, cross, confused and ready to invade Scotland? Strong Monmouth coffee, bitter dark chocolate and a 10-minute lie down in a warm tub-full of pink Alpine crystal salts I found in the cupboard saw me wave goodbye to the shores of intemperance. Estimated time of sobriety, 16.58. I had arrived at my destination.

It was only when I spoke to proper grown-ups that I got that sense of ‘they know what I’ve been up to’, despite my functioning perfectly well and smelling like a Swiss stripper. All paranoia disappeared though at the sight of my little un running towards me, arms outstretched.

‘Did you have a nice day?’ I asked him on the walk back.

‘Yes,’ he said.

‘What did you do?’


‘Attaboy,’ I said.



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