THE last time I went to see England play, I swore it would be the last.
I’d enjoyed copious refreshment with comic Keith Allen as well as the keyboard player from the Rolling Stones and Michael Barrymore beforehand — hardly tea with the vicar.
But when I took my seat at the Belgian stadium where England faced Germany in the first round group stage of Euro 2000, I swear I was the most sober person in the place.
The enormous buffoon crammed into the seat next to me was so far gone he had lost control of his bowels and his bladder. He did not smell good at all.
He passed out in a puddle of his own fluids just before kick-off but woke up when England scored and insisted on hugging me with all his might.
It was so traumatic I spent the whole of the rest of the game praying and praying that England wouldn’t score again.
Of course, as the bass player in rock and roll band Blur and, nowadays, running a festival — a massive party, basically — I may just possibly have overdone it once or twice myself.
In fact, before we embarked on our first tour of America, my band were marched into the record company to be forewarned of the perils of choking on our own vomit, drowning in the bathtub and other obstacles to glory — a kind of messed-up health and safety briefing.
As a musician I often stayed up late then had to get up early and talk to cameras.
The record company said: “Success will mess you up more than failure.”
And indeed, the more successful the band became, the later I tended to stay up. And the more cameras there were to talk to in the morning.
I was doing a live radio interview with the biggest broadcaster in Germany with one of my bandmates, who had enjoyed a particularly triumphant night. He fell asleep halfway through answering the second question, with millions of people listening.
The worst hangovers I ever had in my life, though, were all, apart from one, in Tokyo.
The air quality there isn’t great and it can get very hot and sweaty, too.
The biggest problem was the quality of the drinks served at the best nightclub in Japan, The Lexington Queen.
Entry and drinks at “The Lex” were free to rock musicians and to models which, while it always seemed like a fair idea to me, meant they probably weren’t serving booze of the absolute finest quality.
It also meant I spent more time there than anywhere else.
But I think the all-time stinker was in, or at least, near Barcelona in 1999. After a night drinking Van Gogh’s favourite tipple, absinthe, I woke up on a boat with a ballet dancer and no recollection of how I had got there or how to get back to civilisation.
I was basically trapped — and it was getting windier and windier and the seas rougher and rougher. The only answer at that point was more absinthe.
But over the years I have accumulated some good pick-me-ups for weathering the storm. Here are my favourites.
And don’t worry — you’ll soon start to feel better.
INVIGORATE yourself with hot or cold water. A shower is good, a swim or hot-tub even better.
But best of all is a stint in a sauna or a steam room.
A doctor once told me that a sauna gives your body everything it needs least of all when you have a hangover, but somehow sweating it out in the hot box never fails to kick- start a miraculous recovery.
WORKING out is undoubtedly the toughest route out of Dodge, but also the quickest.
Obviously, the gym is the last place anyone wants to go when they’re the worse for wear, but pleasing results are guaranteed.
YOUR body is screaming for fluids, so an easy fix is to get some water on board immediately.
Milk, the miraculous mammalian elixir, is also uniquely comforting. If I’m batting on a particularly sticky wicket I like to open with a flat white which is just a warm, rich coffee milkshake, really.
If the going is really tough, bananas can be a big source of comfort, too.
GET some carbs on board. Have a full English, Maccy D, or pasta.
Careful not to overdo it, though. Too much grub can cause a real slump in energy levels.
If you’re too frail to face a full meal, a bag of crisps can up your energy and salt levels.
MANY swear by the restorative powers of the Bloody Mary, which is OK. But I would suggest the one-two combination relied on by workmen, day in, day out, in northern France.
Le cafe calva is a slug of strong black coffee followed immediately by a good measure of cider brandy. It’s highly civilised, too.
THIS is probably the best option. Why suffer when, to quote Withnail from cult movie classic Withnail And I, we can “miss out Monday but come up smiling Tuesday morning”?
The only problem with this one is that, sadly, it is not usually an option.
SHUT up, Ronaldo, with your feeble Euro 2020 protest.
Coca Cola – also known as the red ambulance and the black doctor – is one of God’s greatest gifts on the morning after.
It contains a ridiculous amount of sugar – which is just what you need right now – as well as a decent hit of caffeine and a side order of useful minerals.
Anything sweet and fizzy will help, though.
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