London's mixed drinks can be eye-wateringly expensive. But you've got to see the bigger picture, suggests an existential Alice White.
In one of my favourite moments from 'I'm Alan Partridge', he's reading out messages from listeners: 'Frederick emails to say he has four children. He is the proud father of a new baby boy, and his daughter, Susan, five, has just started school. And he thinks that after death, there is nothing.'
It's funny because it's believable, and it's believable because it's true (that's how comedy works). I also believe we are all bobbing around aimlessly in life, regardless of what we're given or how we attempt to fill our time. The blankness of death is mirrored by the emptiness while we're alive: the Kardashians; social media; the lack of structure to all the endless, unnecessary suffering. Even if there ever was a point to life, it's probably irrelevant now that I have an app to blur out my snatch in the photos I post online to get attention. Is the point to help others? No: that's just aiding someone else's dawdle. Is it personal success? No: that's just so you can fill your own pointless life with better-quality stuff. And so, with all this in mind, I'm here to answer the most important question of all: are cocktails really worth the money?
It's not unusual to pay £12 for a cocktail in London, because: well, just look at the price of everything else. London being expensive isn't the scoop of the century, but I resent it because I'm poor, and rich people always have better things than me. I still have to play the game and tag myself in bars on Instagram to help reinforce this personal brand we're all supposed to have - satisfying the need for everyone to know you're sticking something in your mouth: cocktails; coffee; acai berries. We live half in reality, half online, and while it's always been cool to be seen in cool places, just being there used to be enough - you didn't have to provide photographic evidence. I've never been to Sketch but I know exactly what its toilets look like because people cannot resist snapping themselves in that curved mirror after they've taken a piss.
It's the way that cocktails imitate something elite that makes them what they are. They're a little luxury; a tiny, affordable fur coat; they're a meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant when you don't really have money to eat. They're something to centre your dates around, your celebrations and eventually your broken hearts. It's still booze, but it's not like you're drowning your sorrows with a half-pint of vodka by the glow of your kitchen's striplight. And what else do we have? Most of us are saving for a mortgage we might never get... then what? A wedding just for something to do? A baby you'll boringly love unconditionally anyway? What are you saving for?
If I really think about it, it doesn't bother me where you take photos of yourself - it's no skin off my nose. And you look great, by the way! So why not enjoy the surroundings, spend time with your friends, buy drinks, have drinks bought for you, get a little drunk, make that garnish really pop with the right filter. You might as well. Because, after death, there is nothing.
Want more ranting and raving? Read Chris Waywell's column on why a new gallery is just what London needs.
Illustration: Nate Kitch.