How to Get Half Drunk and Be a Genius

The best place to find profundity is on the toilet floor of a shit club at 3AM.

Hello, I'm Sophie Heawood, does my column need a title? If John Doran is MENK then I could be MILF. Or maybe MILF TEETH. I don't want motherhood to define me.


I am in a bar off Old Street with my friends Rachel and Grace when I am overtaken by a force of genius. It tells me to sit down on the floor of the toilets and type a masterpiece into my phone with my brilliant thumbs. If I do not heed the call, the words might never come again, and they could contain the cure for cancer or instructions on how to put the atom back together again. Obviously, a lot of amateurs may think they find genius when they're drunk, but I'm not drunk. I may have drunk a few drinks, but I am not drunk. I am, in fact, in an entirely new drink-related state of grace. I am Half Drunk.

Being Half Drunk is a finely-tuned invention that I have been cultivating for some months, ever since coming home and throwing my wallet at a polite babysitter who I'd booked via an agency, and murmuring "Take what's yours, I don't remember how the numbers work." Half Drunk involves interrupting your drinking flow, like stopping peeing halfway through to strengthen your pelvic floor, only, you stop when you're putting the liquid in. (Do you know how drama schools teach you to act drunk? They tell you not to pretend to be drunk, but pretend you're pretending to be sober, because that's what drunk people actually do. Half Drunk is the opposite of this, as it involves convincing yourself you're massively twatfaced already.) Every time the drink starts to warm your cockles and tingle your heart, and you feel the rush of an oncoming #feeling, you stop.

Every time you think, 'I better just get my phone out and check that my ex-boyfriend doesn't need anything from his old life at all – e.g. a massive row,' you stop. Every time you think, 'I've been going out in Shoreditch for so many years now, I wonder if I have actually shagged Banksy.' Every time you think, 'Oh look, my feet are bleeding from those shoes, I'll walk barefoot down Old Street getting healing reflexology from the pavement outside the kebab shops, and the broken glass shards won't hurt me, for they are urban diamonds lit by a ravaged moon.' At those moments, you put your drink down, you breathe. You wait. You ask for a glass of water. You don't booze again until the #feelings have passed, and the bar just looks like a bar again, not an exciting investment opportunity for all of your money.

So, I'm on the floor typing, and the profound thoughts are coming at me like golden-winged gnats. I'm typing so fast and I can hardly keep up with them. Deep thought after deep thought is running through my thumbs – something about my friends being Australia and me being the breakaway island of Tasmania, and all of that sea. A whole paragraph on the transcendent power of the first four bars of "Come Into My Life" by Joyce Sims. A long discussion about how, if you weave yourself into the fabric of a song you didn't write, you will get trapped inside it FOREVER.

Rachel walks past and then stops. "HERE you are. Fucking hell Lentils, what are you doing on the floor, are you stuck down there?" (I don't know why they call me Lentils.) Grace has known me a lot longer than Rach, so when she joins Rach to look at Lentils on the floor, there is no surprise in her eyes. "This is normal," she says, with a face that could freeze sunshine. But men love it. Four men in a row come and ask if I am alright. Their concern is quite sexually appealing to me, but I can't stop writing. Finally a fifth man asks if I am OK, and I say "yes" without looking up, and then he goes away, and he comes back, and he goes, "I just want you to know – I came back because – you're too pretty to be on the floor." I look up and see the arc of benevolent eyebrows. We will be married in a country church! I keep writing. The force of genius has me tight in its clutches tonight.

(And this is going so much better than my teenage attempts to be Half Tripping. When I was about 18 all the friends I took acid with would do a couple of tabs at a time, and I'd just take half a tab, to be safe. Which meant they would all end up joyfully believing WOO WOO the traffic lights contain MEANING I am a fortunate TRAIN, while I ended up going WOO WOO the traffic lights contain MEANING I am a fortunate TRAIN but why do I FEEL this way because it's really EMBARRASSING to feel like a train but I DO I DO, but who can see me, can everybody see me, is everybody seeing me.)

And then they play – wait, can it be – they are playing – MC HAMMER! – and I have to shove my phone in my bag and run to the dancefloor and dance, sweet redeeming dance, and I fall over at first because my legs buckle after all that time scrunched up, but then I'm swimming in it, and I let go of all the admin that my limbs were involved in – handbags, scarf, poise – and I am free, to dance the Hammer dance. And I can't say for sure if my friends are laughing with me or laughing at me but they've sure as hell got their cameras out, and and I'm Hammertiming like a lickety-split nanorabbit, and for a cluster of transcendent moments I am post-cerebral. I am pure form. I am hard in the heart of bullet meat, longing made manifest, and somewhere a choir of angels is singing.

The next morning I feel strangely unwell. I recharge my phone, anxiously excited for it to turn on so I can read though the 3000 words of feverish genius. There are three separate notes, which I have helpfully entitled Half Drunk, Half Drunk 2 and Half Drunk 3, and which I have also emailed to myself in case someone stole my phone. And then I read them. They are a complete load of utter horseshit. It turns out I was completely fucking pissed the whole time.

Follow Sophie on Twitter: @heawood

Previously - I've Created a Little Piece of the Future