Your dry January survival guide

After the festive period your liver probably looks like something the French would serve on toast, so abstaining from alcohol for the month is definitely a good plan. But what to do with 31 days of unfamiliar sobriety?

Work harder

New Year, new attitude, right? Shake off the cobwebs of laziness, the shackles of procrastination, the manacles of demotivation? Well, maybe until 10am on your first day back, when you’re reminded of all the things that made you such a lazy bastard last year.

Take up a hobby

Not something you enjoy, obviously. If you genuinely like something, you’ll have been doing for years, unless you’re a Trappist monk or your favourite thing in the world is setting fire to hospitals.

Instead find something that you don’t actually want to do, but you feel you should because it’ll make you look cultured on Facebook. Something like learning the harpsichord or taking up ropemaking.

Eat well…

A golden rule is that the more you dread the thought of eating something, the better it is for you.

Imagine you’re having couscous for your tea tomorrow. Sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? What about beansprout salad? Want to cry? That means you’re on the right track.

When it comes to shopping, avoid anything you enjoy. This includes cheese, bacon, sausages, Pot Noodles, pizzas, crisps, Coco Pops, beer, Findus Crispy pancakes, tacos, steaks, ice cream, Coke, pies and cakes.

…and detox

Meanwhile, don’t pay extortionate supermarket prices for your herbal teas. Simply walk into your garden to source a perfect alternative.

Why, camomile – that’s just daisies, stirred into hot water.

Green tea? Grass, stirred into hot water.

Roobois? Soil, stirred into hot water.

Get some exercise

Since you’re off booze and enjoyable food, you may as well avoid the TV. Go for a long walk after dinner and behold the world in its greasy, sodium-lit glory. Trip over branches you haven’t seen on the ground. Tangle with irate dog-walkers.

Or, if you’re feeling especially optimistic, join a gym! No half-measures either –a full year’s membership of a proper health club, which by the end of your contacted twelve months will have cost you £25 for every step you took on the treadmill.

Leave the car behind

If all else fails, the endless time waiting on freezing platforms for phantom trains, standing rocking back and forth, puffing your cheeks and sighing, burns so many more calories than sitting in your comfortable, warm car.

Crap books

How to make money

Guaranteed pointers for a lifetime of financial success! Including:

  • Be born into a rich family
  • Create a successful film franchise
  • Invent something everyone wants to buy
  • Correctly predict the financial markets

And many more!

“If It’s Too Much Trouble, It’s Not Worth Doing” – a guide to DIY for useless men

  • Rawlplugs – who needs ‘em?
  • Flood your kitchen in five easy steps
  • Plastering – anyone can do it, right?
  • Sledgehammers: your indiscriminate friend
  • Duct tape – the universal building material
  • Choose your screwdriver: flat-blade, Philips or butter knife?
  • Circuit breakers – an unnecessary expense

Divorce for beginners

Married men! Sick of Strictly on a Saturday night? Dreading the visit to your in-laws? Not seeing enough of your mates?

You need – a DIVORCE!

Regain control of your life with an insidious campaign of misery and detachment until she can’t stand it any longer! Includes advice on how to expertly:

  • Come home late smelling of drink
  • Concoct half-arsed excuses
  • Ignore phone calls
  • Forge hotel invoices and scatter them around the kitchen
  • Pick fights about nothing
  • Fall asleep within seconds of getting into bed
  • Stare into space during conversations

* comes free with a pre lipsticked shirt collar and empty contraceptive wrapper for placement in suit pocket

The alternative Ulster tour guide



Aficionados of Northern Ireland’s steam locomotives will just about be able to see the shed where they’re all kept on the Bangor – Belfast railway line. Described by Lonely Planet as “one of the most boring railways journeys in Europe” it takes in such notable landmarks as the Kinnegar army barracks, the Dee Street speed camera and the back of the Oval football stadium.

Take a blue taxi tour and listen to the driver’s opinion on a range of subjects from the performance of his favourite Premiership football team, local politicians, and the physical appearance of anyone he drives past. Translation services for anybody from England unable to understand the Belfast accent are unfortunately unavailable.

Art and culture

A treat for any live music fan, Symptom of Humanity (Josh Caldwell and his mates Simpo and Blarsey) rehearse in his parents’ garage at 24 Cricklewood Park every Tuesday at 7.30pm (later if Simpo can’t get the Micra off his mum in time). Described on their Facebook page as a “fusion of punk, blues and electronica” and as “crap” by neighbour Daniel Jackson, their music is best enjoyed by standing outside the garage door.

Experience genuine Victorian prison standards by visiting Crumlin Road Gaol, mugging your tour guide and having to spend a night in Grosvenor Road Police Station.

For a fascinating insight into Northern Ireland’s troubled past, the graffiti walk explores the socioeconomic factors that have shaped Ulster society, culminating with the famous “Deano is a gaylord” motif on the corner of Templemore Avenue, which dates all the way back to 1997 and now enjoys protected status.

Outside Belfast

In 2015, pro-equality campaigners celebrated long into the night after Northern Ireland finally joined its neighbours in the UK and Ireland with the opening of the Applegreen motorway service station. No visit is complete without a Greggs steak bake and a rifle through the magazines.

For those maritime enthusiasts disillusioned by the fact that the Titanic Quarter contains two ships, neither of which are the Titanic, enjoy observing a real-life, functioning ferry at the Larne docks!

From there, continue up the A2 to the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, an incredible phenomenon formed some two years ago from countless columns of cement and glass.

Food and drink

And finally, no visit would be complete without a visit to The Bridge House, Belfast’s historic Wetherspoons pub, first opened in 2000. Although the pub’s legendary atmosphere has been diluted somewhat since the implementation of the smoking ban, you can still hope to see one of its trademark punch-ups on most Saturday nights!