Work before booze before work

This season never stops. This morning I hauled myself out and headed to Putney for yet another Christmas meal. Lunch. Red meat. And loads of salmon and salads and lumpfish caviar and blinis and FOOD FOOD FOOD…


Inevitably everyone was hammering excellent champagne and beautiful wines. I had a cup of tea and some water. I have a lifelong rule never to drink before I work.

It’s occasionally frustrating, that rule. But I know myself and I know I’m a man of extremes. If I make it hard and fast that I just never ever do it then it prevents any potential disasters. My work is terrifically important to me, and a lot of the work I’m called on to do requires me to be quick witted and present. If I relaxed the rules I’d potentially get swept into a situation where I couldn’t adequately do my job. Safer to avoid that by being an extremist. All my friends know I prefer to go big. Even my biggest wreckhead friends understand and appreciate that they won’t be able to talk me into drinking before I work. Frankly if you try I’ll just lose respect for you.

Nonetheless I was in a room full of people who were bouncily getting Christmassed on lovely fizzy things that I wanted. I ate lots to make up for it.

Then I went to do a show and realised I’d screwed my routine. I husband my energy quite carefully before I work. And part of that is having a small meal with lots of carb about two hours before showtime. Today I went with a big meal with lots of protein about 5 hours before. What I really wanted at the half hour call was a snooze. Thank God I hadn’t had champagne or the story would’ve been very different. It would’ve been about a man who occasionally mumbles humbug and then falls over.

I love that generation of pissed actors. You could never do it now with the numbers stacked against you. There’s something wonderful about the stories you hear about Ollie Reed. I never met him, although I drank a bottle of gin with O’Toole once and it was an elucidating and fun evening, with alcohol poisoning as a consequence. I’d just left drama school at the time – it was the wrap party of my first job. I got a lift the next morning to Stratford to see multiple drama school friends on The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. I puked out of Scott’s car window about 4 times during the drive. It would’ve been around this time of year. When I got to the theatre I spoke to the ushers and explained that I was sporadically vomiting. They gave me a seat right at the back by the door so I could discreetly run out of I needed to. I did, once, just after Lucy first arrived in Narnia. Post show, I slept for about 3 hours in my friend Kesty’s digs. And then I hit their last night party and danced with a load of people who are still my friends now.

Onwards!! Three more shows for Carol! There are apparently a few tickets left for these last ones. I might be able to get you cheapies (still 25 quid). Just in case you fancy more turkey and some humbug.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

One thought on “Work before booze before work”

  1. … will like the next bit, it’s when I come on. Favourite O’Toole story. I did drink with Ollie, he had a pub he was often on the floor.


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