52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Monday, August 15, 2005

We'll drink beyond the boundaries of sense

The British government want to relax the licensing laws so that it could become possible to buy an alcoholic drink 24 hours a day. The government's big plan behind this is to try to create more 'continental' drinking habits in Britain, where people apparently go out for a long leisurely drink over a number of hours. This would presumably mean a move away from the 'binge drinking' culture we currently have, where a closing time of 11pm encourages people to drink relentlessly for a few short hours in an attempt to get skulled as quickly and efficiently as possible.

This has sparked off quite a bit of controversy, and last week a report from the Council of Her Majesty's Circuit Judges outlined fears that violent crime would soar. In some ways, I find this entirely believable. To have a continental style drinking culture requires continental style drinkers, and last time I was out in Paris, I didn't see too many people drinking Bacardi Breezers in a 2 for 1 promotion whilst wobbling down the high street shouting. You would have to assume that extended opening times would just see the Great British public drink more, not the same amount over a longer time.

Mind you, if everyone is like me, then there probably isn't all that much to fear. I was in Manchester this weekend to watch the cricket with my mates. On Saturday, rain delayed the start of the game, so we went to a sports bar for a spot of breakfast and to kill some time. I had my first pint at about 10:30 and we stayed in the bar until about 15:30 when we headed over to the ground and more beer. In the end we saw about 14 overs of cricket, and I was asleep in my seat for about half of that. At the close of play, we went to the pub for another pint, then on to Curry Mile for a Jalfrezi and some more beer. Then back to the hotel for a quick Glenmorangie and to fall asleep in front of match of the day and then bed.

I suppose in terms of units of alcohol consumed it was a classic binge drinking session. It didn't exactly make me violent though.... oh no. All I wanted to do was sleep, and I was in bed by 11pm.

I didn't shout abuse at anyone in the street. I didn't letch at any passing women. I didn't start a fight. I didn't chuck my guts up. Nothing. I just drank a pint of water and went to bed.

In fact, I'm actually a little bit ashamed to call myself a binge drinker. What kind of man am I?

It's a bit pathetic really, isn't it? I think I find the idea of 24 hour opening more frightening a prospect than the Council of Her Majesty's Circuit Judges.... far too tiring.


  • At 2:10 am, Blogger Flash said…

    Sad to say I am a classic binge drinker. And I have never been violent to anyone,ever.

    I must admit, I like the possibilities of the new law, when considering my next weekender!
    I'm so crap!

  • At 3:28 am, Blogger spinsterwitch said…

    A day that ends with Glenmorangie is a day well-spent, in my estimation (even if it did just make you sleepy).

    As for all night drinking laws - hell, there are full days here in the US that you cannot buy alcohol in some states (that'd be Sunday - the "Lord's" day). Some states also require car dealerships to be closed on Sundays (apropos of nothing, but somehow appropriate...).

  • At 3:34 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wot...no kebab...
    call that a binge...
    for shame


  • At 10:21 am, Blogger adem said…

    How very strange, I've just done a drinking post on my blog....great minds eh?

    I can't really see a solution to 'our' drinking culture where when we drink, we do so in order to get drunk.

  • At 12:35 pm, Blogger SwissToni said…

    to be fair, Des, I did have a curry!

  • At 12:55 pm, Blogger Lord Bargain said…

    i think letting pubs open for longer is a great idea. We should be a bit more liberal in this country I think and just let people get on with it and go home when they want.

    It'll probably make getting a taxi easier as well, I reckon. (all the important issues, me)

  • At 4:02 pm, Blogger Ka said…

    If the average Canadian drank as much as the average Brit, they would come home one evening to find their entire family sitting in the livingroom for an intervention. Honey, we're here to help you.

    To ease up on binge drinking in Britain, what the government needs to do is either (a) pay you lot more on average, or (b) lower the prices of everything else. I couldn't believe how much time the average Brit spent in the pub until I realized how much a movie cost in comparison. Of course you have a thriving pub culture! It's all you can afford to do in your bloody country!

  • At 6:05 pm, Blogger Graham said…

    The change to 24hour drinking hours won't,in my opinion, relieve the problem of binge drinking.And why?

    Peoplestill have to get upforwork in the morning. They leave work at 5 or 6, gotothe pub, drink, and then leave.They still have to get up at the same time to go to work the next morning, and still need to be ferried back on public transport. So bearingin mind they want to sleep AND they won't neccessarily be able to get home if they leave past half eleven anyway, surely most people will go by the normal close of drinking and thats that?

    Hmmm.Im beign way too sensible today.

  • At 12:29 am, Blogger Damo said…

    I agree. I was in favour of the extended hours when they were first proposed, because I thought it would encourage better drinking habits in a continental style.

    When I formulated that opinion, it must have been a while since I had seen Bristol City Centre on a Friday/Saturday night. I don't think a large section of the British public has what it takes to drink and not be idiots.


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