A sorry, drunken saga that looks set to run and run

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The Independent Online

Yesterday I brought you part of a very unusual trial going on in London at the moment in which writer Mr Horace Hubble, facing drunk and disorderly charges, claims in defence that he was doing research on an article on hangover cures, and that he couldn't investigate the cures if he did not first get drunk.

Yesterday I brought you part of a very unusual trial going on in London at the moment in which writer Mr Horace Hubble, facing drunk and disorderly charges, claims in defence that he was doing research on an article on hangover cures, and that he couldn't investigate the cures if he did not first get drunk.

Here is some more of his fascinating testimony.

Counsel: I can see the logic behind your claim that you had to get drunk to produce a hangover. But why did you have to do it in Oxford Street? Would it not have served your purpose to get drunk in the privacy of your own home?

Hubble: Most of the time, this would be true. But on this particular occasion I wanted to test the theory that exercise diminishes drunkenness.

Counsel: This is a new theory to me.

Hubble: It is my own theory. I have noticed that when I have been dancing constantly at parties, drink seems to have much less effect on me. It is almost as if the activity of the body drives the alcohol fumes out. I wanted to see, under controlled conditions, if this were true. So I decided to drink a lot and then go for a long walk.

Counsel: Along Oxford Street?

Hubble: I had not intended to go along Oxford Street. I had intended to walk through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. However, I set off in the wrong direction from Marble Arch and went along Oxford Street by mistake.

Counsel: It cannot be very hard to tell the difference between Oxford Street and Hyde Park.

Hubble: It is when you're drunk. Or at least, when you're drunk, you don't care very much about the difference between one and the other. This was the difficulty I kept encountering. Every time I embarked on a serious test of a hangover cure I had to get drunk first, and by the time I was drunk, I often couldn't care less about the hangover cure. Horace Hubble when drunk had little respect for Horace Hubble sober. And vice versa.

Counsel: Would you describe it as a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation?

Hubble: Certainly not. There are some things that even I, as a hack writer, could not lower myself to. I would never say that anyone was to the right of Genghis Khan; I would never compare anything to sliced bread; I would never say that black was the new white and I would never invoke a Jekyll-and-Hyde situation. A Jekyll-and-Lutyens situation, perhaps. Not otherwise.

Counsel: Jekyll and Lutyens?

Hubble: Lutyens was the great Edwardian architect. Gertrude Jekyll was the great landscape gardener he often worked with. Hence...

Counsel: Yes, I get it now. Jekyll and Lutyens. Ha ha.

Judge: If I may intervene here, Mr Godfrey...

Counsel: With pleasure, m'Lud.

Judge: Setting aside all this drunken running for a moment, Mr Hubble, did you ever write this piece about hangover cures and get it published?

Hubble: Yes, I did, sir.

Judge: And did you work out what was the best cure for hangovers? I only ask this question because I intend to get fearsomely drunk at the weekend, and would appreciate your advice in advance.

Hubble: Alas, sir, I came to the conclusion that all hangover cures are worthless, except perhaps making yourself throw up as you go along.

Judge: And that is more trouble than it is worth.

Hubble: My feelings exactly, sir. However, I also came to the unconventional conclusion that a hangover can be useful in its own right.

Judge: Meaning?

Hubble: Well, sir, meaning that when you feel as poxy as you do during a hangover, it is a great time to tackle those little jobs that you can only tackle when you feel really dreadful.

Judge: Such as?

Hubble: Such as clearing the drains, washing the dog's rug, doing the VAT, taking leaves out of the gutter, cutting your toenails, polishing shoes and silver, removing verrucas, phoning foreign relations you cordially dislike, testing smoke alarms, having vasectomies, making a malicious will... Yes, hangovers should not be cured! They should be utilised!

Judge: I like the cut of your jib, Mr Hubble. What say we have a drink together in the bar after this case?

Hubble: I would be most flattered, m'Lud.

The case continues, though not in this column

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