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Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Binge drinking

For some time the press and moralisers in the UK have been panicking about 'binge drinking'. It's the cause of violence on the streets, unwanted pregnancies, loose morals and falling property values.

Here's my take on it; sometimes life in Britain felt so awful and crowded that getting absolutely off your face was the only sensible option. Had a bad day at work? Row with your best beloved? Boss on your case? Feel hemmed in? In debt? Your team lost? Weather awful? Depressed by all the moralisers and holier-than-thou timewaters, the Malvolio's of our society? - Have a couple of drinks to take the edge off your misery.

Sometimes you need more than a couple or simply forget to stop. It's sometimes the only way you can relax or escape from the ravages of life. Alcohol is a mood altering chemical after all.

Thinking about it, wanting to escape from Britain's dreary reality does seem like a good idea. Until the morning after of course. I remember my eldest's first real hangover when she turned 18, plenty of water, vitamin C and a little sugar helped after the painkillers took hold. Then we let her sleep the rest of the day.

Over here in BC no one seems to mind so long as you don't make a nuisance of yourself. They seem admirably free of that 'But what would the neighbours say' paranoia that plagues England. Even if the liquor stores over here are heavily regulated and controlled. Maybe that is it; the attitude of the people. Bar fights are not unknown here, but you rarely seem to get the mass aggro I've seen after the pubs close in the UK. The peer group structures are different, as is the attitude towards authority figures like the Police. Generally speaking, people are more relaxed, and don't feel the need to get off their faces.

Just my observation; but the reason the British have a history of over intoxication may be for one reason only; they feel they, individually speaking, haven't the ability to make a real difference in their lives. When you feel the restrictions are removed and you no longer feel threatened, the desire to drink alcohol is greatly reduced.

For me, I used to have a glass or two of wine or beer after a heavy shift on the streets just to take the edge off the day before hitting the keyboard, which might account for some of my more rabid blog entries. Since I moved over here to BC I have had the odd Whiskey, glass of wine or bottle of beer with friends, but for the most part, I've simply not felt the desire to imbibe as I once did.

Wouldn't it be ironic if the root causes of modern drunken debauch lay with the purveyors of moral panic and heads-up-their-arse puritan brigade themselves?



Anonymous Vimes said...

You might be onto something here Bill. I started working for myself about 2.5 years ago writing software. Aside from the first couple of years being total 18 hour days I've largely cut out the booze habit almost completely. Partly because I work from home, but partly because I'm nowhere near as stressed as I was when I was working for somebody else.

Anyway, just a quick wave from Blighty to let you know we're still visiting and reading. Cooee!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 10:43:00 pm  

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Location: British Columbia, Canada

Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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