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Of all the things going on in my life, going out for a good brunch is definitely top five. Sitting there, generally hungover, eating till you feel at least partly sick and talking nothing but smack with your friends. Unbeatable. Even something as heavenly as brunch however can go horribly wrong, mainly due to the combination of extraordinarily rich food, hungover people and public spaces.
Normally my mates and I arrange a brunch locale at about 4am in the morning when our cognitive thought doesn’t connect that in 6 hours we’re likely to be feeling topnotch rough. “Right so I’ll see you at Epic at eleven”, are words that are muttered out of my mouth most Saturday mornings when leaving Cuba Kebab. I’ve just stuffed face with falafel, so clearly I’ll be needing a big breakfast in all of about 5 hours.
Often, as my alarm that was set drunk goes off flashing ‘Brunch!’ ‘Brunch!’ – I feel actually quite chipper – I sit up, and my bed is not swimming, no need for a bucket, no ferocious booze poos needs urgent execution, I’m on top of the world.
So I jump out of bed, pop on my trackies and cap, still stenching slightly of Jose Cuervo and Tabouleh, and set out to one of my homes away from my grotty flat home, Epic, where everyone knows your name. Normally about 12 or so people from the night before are in on the deal, but when I get there at 11.15, it’s just me and this other guy who’s always compulsively early.
As I sit there with my banana smoothie and NW mag (preferably a stars without makeup edition) most people stream in within the next hour or so. However, in this period I start to feel a tad nauseous – and not just because I’ve been looking at Teri Hatcher sans foundation, but because it appears that I woke up chipper because I was still boozed, and only now is the hangover kicking in.
This can be fatal, like the time my friend Yvonne bounded in to a similar brunch, ordered a big phat fry up, and in the half hour or so that the brunch took to be cooked, developed a heinous hangover. We were sitting there, munching on kranski, making some obscene and rather pathetic calls on the phallic nature of a friend’s bratwurst sausage when Yvonne turned to me and said, “Marty, I just vomited in my mouth a little” – to which I replied, “Don’t worry buddy, the joke wasn’t that rude”. But this thought was swiped about ten seconds later when Yvonne’s vomit exited mouth and ended up all over my lap and hash. Another brunch issue that can get tricky at some of the more popular spots around town is table vultures. A couple of weeks ago me and my mates were out for brunch at a very popular seaside spot, all fairly tired and hungry after a painfully long arrangement period where we drove around, three cars in convoy, trying to figure out where to go – whilst one of my more annoying friends was rejecting every suggestion,
“Right, shall we go here then?” Marty.
“Oh, no I don’t like the hash browns here.” Annoying Friend.
“Don’t order hash browns then, get pancakes or Benedict or something.” Marty.
“No, I feel like some potato.” Annoying Friend.
Then we get to the second establishment: “Sweet lets go here, as I’m as hungry as a mofo, and will kick the ass of anyone who dares to try and step in-between me and food.” Marty
“This place is really noisy, and they never have good cabinet food.” AF.
“I thought you wanted fucking hash.” Marty.
“Well, you know, I like to have the option.” AF.
Anyway, after I’d pushed Annoying Friend out of a fast moving car (just a gentle shove to send her on her way), we settled on the fourth establishment. Which was, just my luck, very busy. We ordered coffees and sat at the bar whilst my stomach began to eat its surrounding organs and I shot the evil eye at anyone who looked to be lingering at a table too long. Finally we seemed to be next in line for a table, and the German tourists who sat on their soy lattes for way too long were donning their polar fleece jackets and bum bags. I stood up, veered toward the table, only to be beaten by a fraction of a second by some boring looking woman in her late thirties who was wearing an assymetrical skirt and had cankles.
I was set to bring on the smackdown, and she knew it. She knew we’d been waiting longer, and she knew the look of hanger in my eyes. But then rather smugly, she pulled a baby out from behind her. Fuck. I was defeated. You can’t start a petty argument with someone with a newborn. But if you’re reading this bitch, you know who you are, and next time I see you, and your baby’s in the annoying snotty phase and too old to draw a sympathy card from anyone, it’s on. That’s right, the clash of generations will be battled out over the poached eggs and roasting coffee. It’ll be the seedy, hungover, single 20-something against the smug, wholesome’, married 30-something. A battle that has been bubbling and brewing for an age, and must be fought out. We all know who the favourite contender is.
Just remember; even the most pleasant of tasks can become hell when not executed properly. The one thing I can suggest to young brunchers, ‘plan, plan, plan’ – know exactly where you’re going to go, don’t let any annoying friends make you drive around for hours, and if you wake up feeling fantastic and ready for an urbane brunch, but you consumed not far off a forty ounce last night, go back to bed, you’re still drunk and will probably vomit all over your friend’s lap if you venture out.