If everything is seeming just a bit too sunny and cheerful, don’t despair (well, do). Here’s my top five ways to inject a sniff of Patrick Hamilton-esque wretchedness ito your life…
1. Drink gin and peppermint. This seems to be the drink du jour in between-the-wars London so you’d better develop a taste for it. And get used to pubs. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in pubs.
2. Fall in love with an unobtainable and mercenary barmaid/prostitute, preferably one who looks upon you only with ridicule whilst she spends your money.
3. Painstakingly accrue a modest amount of savings over a number of years by means of back-breaking hard work, self-denial and/or a small legacy from an aunt. But don’t get too complacent – this money isn’t to assure your future comfort, rather it’s to fritter away hopelessly on the undeserving object of your affections, leaving you humiliated and, ultimately, destitute (see point 2).
4. Haunt the pubs and tea rooms of the West End.* If only Lyons Tea Rooms were still a thing. And if only present-day Piccadilly wasn’t the home of M&M’s World and Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
*NB when navigating around London, refer to Euston Road as ‘the Euston Road’ and ‘Elephant & Castle’ as ‘the Elephant & Castle’ etc.
5. Remain always on the periphery of salvation, within tantalising grasp of it, but make sure you never reach out and take hold of it. Instead, submit to the grinding inevitability of human fallibility. And wear pomade.