There are only three hangover cures that actually work. The first involves drinking a can of Coca-Cola in the shower, the second sees you consuming three cigarettes and five cups of coffee in front of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, and third requires sitting entirely naked on the stiffest chair you can find and trying to read Malcolm Lowry's utterly soused 1947 novel Under the Volcano, until that book's potent stench of booze-clogged pores forces you into a deep and depressed slumber, effectively forcing you to sleep the hangover off. That's it.
You do not need to eat a full breakfast, however tempting the thought of a plate of fried gristle and fat is. There is absolutely no point in combining organic apple cider vinegar with organic raw honey, water, and Himalayan pink salt, and you categorically DON'T want to find yourself sat in the same pub you stumbled out of a few hours ago, valiantly trying to chug down a Bloody Mary spilling Tabasco down your college hoodie, your stomach tightening with nausea as you try and keep up with the conversation about rising rent prices in Bed-Stuy.
No, the only things that can stave off a wasted day are caffeine, nicotine, and the sight of Ramsay screaming at some poor pastry chef from some San Diego diner for using expired canola oil. Write it on a card that you keep in your wallet, have it tattooed across your inner eyelids, scrawl it in 5ft high letters on the front of your flat—do anything you can to ensure that the next time you wake with a head that feels full of polyfilla, these are the tenets you remember.
Hangovers, of course, are as much a part of club culture as $10 burritos and pretending that underground ambient nights are a means of changing the world. Though the comedown—the hangover's evil, sour, sibling—is more closely tied to a proper big night out, i.e. one where you've swapped a month's worth of food money for a sachet of sugar, crushed skulls and a powder that sat near some cocaine once, the humble hangover has plagued man since our old THUMP friend Dionysus decided to get us all lost in the sauce.
When we're younger, hangovers are a distant land that sits in an ocean we've not yet glimpsed, let alone swum in. The hangover is an unknowably adult thing, a manifestation of aging's ruining properties, proof that youth should be savored, cherished, clung tightly to—because the alternative is hellish. To be adult is to be fat, balding, unhappy, washed-out, and hungover. That, you think as a tender teenager glugging down gut-rot with gusto, will never be me. I'll never be old. I'll never be hungover.
You will though. All of those things will happen to you as you slowly descend into the quicksand of time: waists expand, hair thins, and the previously superhuman ability you once had to drink like a liver-less Mel Gibson vanishes into the ether along with your hopes, dreams, and expectations. It'll happen when you're 23 or 24, and it'll hit you like a bullet train. There is no escape, no way of cheating the system, no means of shortening the life sentence for good behavior. We are each condemned to the painful sprawl of a life marked by hangovers.
"Beer," noted kite-flyer and founding father Benjamin Franklin is alleged to have said, "is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." No offense to Mr. Franklin, but honestly that is bullshit. Beer is proof that God, should he exist—and if we're being truthful here, a dance music website probably isn't the best host for a lengthy discussion of the plausibility of theistic beings— hates us, or at least views humanity with a disdain that borders on total sadism. A just, benevolent, caring and loving God would not have given us beer, for beer gives us hangovers and hangovers ultimately serve only to remind us that we're hurtling towards the gaping, uncaring, ever-present grave.
But he did, and now we have them, and we have to accept that fact that the logical outcome of necking six bottles of gluten-free lager on a Saturday night is a Sunday where your every fiber screams for some kind of release. A good night, sadly, means a terrible afternoon. You'll stare dead-eyed at walls, weep in the shower, feel your entire innards rearranging themselves and you slowly clomp to the corner store for a blue Gatorade and a pack of Reds.
The thing about hangovers, and adulthood at large, is that even at their worst, their most crushing, their foulest and all-consuming they are actually...fine. It's just a headache and an upset stomach and constant shaking and nausea and panic and regret and anxiety and remorse and fear and a quiet, very quiet, wish for an instant death, but apart from that, hangovers are fine!
It is all too easy to imagine that being an adult is an endless slog through home insurance assessment forms and pretending to suddenly appreciate the taste and versatility of the humble cauliflower, and to think that those things are difficult and painful and less fun than slurping down bottles of schnapps and wearing funny costumes. Bullshit.
As long as you don't ever, ever, ever couch it in terms of "adulting," being an actual adult is far preferable to existing in that mortifying post-teenage hinterland where you've never had less of an idea of who you are and what you want. A massive part of allowing adult enjoyment to suffuse into your life is accepting the importance of responsibility.
Outside of the proper, serious responsibilities you'll likely encounter on your trudge towards death, the most important that you, as a young person who enjoys nightclubs needs to embrace and own, is that of the hangover. You must deal with them head-on, welcome them, look them in the eye and shake them by the hand and let them in. Serve them toast and tortilla chips and lay together, on a stinking sofa, two grey, grizzled human beings, aware of their failures.
The tips outlined at the start of this piece will be your best friend. The Coke'll set you on edge, Ramsay'll annoy you so much that you'll have no other option but to get outside and enjoy some fresh air, and Malcolm Lowry will make you never want to drink.
Well, until about 4 PM when your housemate cracks open a Blue Moon to "take the edge off a bit."