Be a Better Britophile
A blogumn by Fiona Craig
A Scotswoman weighs in on all things British
How to Get Pissed… Properly
The Brits love drinking. I don’t just mean a couple of glasses of Chablis with our evening meal like our oh-so-suave French neighbours. I mean we really love drinking as in, a couple of bottles of whatever’s on 3-for-2 at Tesco’s before we’ve even thought about unpacking the groceries, let alone started cooking. Let us not mince our words here, we Brits drink to get wasted, pissed, trollied, blootered, leathered, mashed, paralytic, stocious, (well ok, you get the point).
Most of our traditions include some element of toasting something’s or someone’s arrival or departure. For example, it’s our patron saint’s day* Absolutely! Let us demonstrate our patriotism by going to the nearest pub, our shoulders swathed in the national flag, arms held aloft, hands brandishing proudly the umpteenth jar of ale as if it were the FA Cup on finals day. And let us sing, nae, shout our national anthem (or the first couple of lines that we remember from primary school). But most importantly, let us fill our glasses, once more, and drink to our great nation’s patron, “To Saint ……. [who is it again??] ahhh, anyway, who’s round is it?”
Millions of all teenagers over the land are literally coming of age on park benches and in bus shelters under the influence of Diamond White** or Buckfast***. It has become a near right-of-passage to have your stomach pumped in the local A&E**** by the time your sixteen!
As with their parents, the real benefits of ‘a good night out’ are reaped the day after as you win the admiration of friends and colleagues with tales of the moronic buffoonery that you do remember and the dubious antics that you cannot.
It was reported recently that the British spend £1272 per person per year on booze – almost twice as much as the Germans. More than 500 people a day were admitted to hospitals in England last year after drinking too much. Things are pretty much out of control.
Binge drinking amongst us girls has been the most recent area of concern. The cities centres of Friday and Saturday nights are now littered with scantily clad, foul mouth young women picking fights with night club bouncers and laying slumped in the vomit-strewn holes where once only their male counter-parts had found shelter. Nice.
You may also recall the story of the two British female holidaymakers who drunkenly tried to open the door of their plane – whilst still in flight – after having been refused more booze by their flight attendant. Not a great look ladies.
However it seems that the fastest increasing demographic of binge drinkers are in fact young, well educated, high earning, professional women: More your Chardonnay-quaffing, Jimmy Choo-wearing lady liberal (think Bridget Jones) than your down-at-heel, penniless teenage mum.
Two years ago the British Labour Government, in all its wisdom, introduced 24-hour licensing laws believing that it would miraculously cultivate the same sophisticated, self-disciplined attitude towards drinking that can be found on the European continent. Pah! This just means that we can now meet for a pint with our bacon and eggs before work, as-well-as drink without the pressure of the last orders bell afterwards. “Cheers Tony – our patron saint of boozing!”
Check out www.britishbooze.org.uk for a real taste of our proud drinking culture.