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Drink - Victoria Moore still has a hangover from the office Christmas party

Thank heavens for January and the fine opportunity to put the pseudo- festivities of the Christmas season behind us. No more limp streamers leaking their colour into perfectly good food. No more office "parties" celebrating an impending holiday, the dreadful impersonations of jovial spirit making refugees out of all the other diners. No more butting one's way on to Tube carriages stuffed with whey-faced account executives swaying under their paper hats. No more amateur drinkers cluttering the route to the bar.

And a whole 11 months to go before the joyless carnival begins again. A recent American survey claimed that "entertainment of staff" was now the second-biggest expense (behind salaries) for large corporations. Someone ought to take a good look at office parties and organise legislation designed to curb celebrations. At the very least, they ought to be held only behind specially cordoned-off areas patrolled by Rottweilers, in case any "revellers" attempt to break free.

Those horrible, concrete off-motorway shopping centres would be ideal locations for crowds of white-collar employees to put away endless supplies of Bacardi Breezers before wandering off to be sick in the spacious car park.

Probably, too, they ought to be non-alcoholic. The trouble is that office parties are so ghastly - and the drink usually so insulting - that most people rightly believe the only supportable course of action is to down an entire bottle of wine, or jugful of some ridiculously named cocktail, within as short a space of time as possible and to allow a merciful state of unconsciousness to take care of the rest of the night.

But the result of so many amateur drinkers attempting to behave like professionals is, needless to say, utter mayhem. Watch the revellers at the office party sitting miserably around their huge table with nothing to say to one another and barely an atom of humour to share between them. See what happens when the drink takes effect and they all begin to stagger around, trying to mate with one another or exchange ill-considered homely truths. How much better if only orange juice and Coca-Cola were consumed and all these people could file neatly out and resume their lives after just a couple of hours of supervised boredom.

Or perhaps someone ought to organise masterclasses in drinking for those poor souls who cannot manage to do it in style. In 11 months, one can easily train the palate to appreciate only fine wines and the better brands of spirits, and to eschew the revolting cocktails that come with parasols. Then, come December, those with any panache at all will always ignore the free bar, which usually provides only swill. It is much better to pay one's own way and gracefully sip champagne in the corner. The expense ensures that one does not drink too much.

On the other hand, how much better to put the whole dismal subject in mothballs again - until the end of next year.