Monday, 7 September 2009
Shouting, Lager, Lager, Lager.........
It's probably a fair comment to say that us English can't really handle our alcohol. We like to think that we can, but truth be told we handle it as well as a five year old suddenly handed a live scorpion. Which is not very well at all.
Every Friday and Saturday night, the highstreets of the UK follow an almost depressingly predicable tableau. Come 7pm, the UK's revellers hit the streets, all dressed in their finery, all looking for a good time. A few hours later and that sense of fun evaporates into something far more nasty.
In the area where I live, we have something called The Strip. It's a high street along which a collection of nightclubs and bars all sit, adorned with neon that seems to attract morons due to all the shiny, flashing lights, and the "Buy one, get many more until you can't feel your feet." promotions normally running.
Now I personally like to spend the evening in London's West End due to the fact that it's filled with tourists and non of my fellow countrymen (and women), but when I return home and have to walk through "The Strip", it normally resembles the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. Bodies litter the street, not covered in blood, but vomit. Police make brave dashes through pockets of enemy territory as if under fire from German snipers. And instead of cries of "Sterben Sie Schwein-Schaum!", all you can hear is "Leave him Barry, he ain't worth it!"
If Sir David Attenborough was considering where to send his camera crews next for his next wildlife documentary, he could do worse than send them into The Strip. Contained within he would find fighting and mating rituals that out does anything in the animal kingdom. It's just that the lowland gorillas of Africa probably wouldn't throw a pint glass at his head.
You normally find at around half eleven, two drunk men feeling the need to prove their manliness to each other in a totally non homo-erotic way. So like two strutting peacocks, they circle each other, spitting out insults. The whole exchange normally goes like this:
*The two men face each other*
"Come on then!"
"No, you come on then!" (Said whilst backing away)
*They walk round in slow circles*
"Do you want some? (Tea? Cake? Ballontine of beef with pomme puree, baby vegetables, and a rich red wine jus perhaps? This is never explained.)
"Who you calling a slag? Slag!"
"Do you want some?"
*At this stage, every sentence is proceeded by a certain hand gesture. Hands held up, palms to the sky. Fingers waggled towards the body*
"Come on then!" (At no point is a destination of where they are actually going mentioned)
"Do you want some?"
This normally goes on for about 15 minutes, though in truth, it can feel like 15 years. Finally after about the millionth "Do you want some?", one of the morons decides, "Actually yes, I do quite want some. Thank you for asking." and rushes the other, just as the police turn up in the nick of time to break it up. So with about nine officers holding him down, the person doing the attempted assault can look extra manly by screaming out under a pile of policemen "Don't hold me back. I'm gonna kill the slaaaaaaag!" Safe in the knowledge that the police would indeed hold him back and there would be no killing of the aforementioned slag. This little scenario is played out throughout the length and breadth of the land. Depressing, isn't it?
Now I am certainly not advocating that this only happens in the UK. I am sure that other countries in the world can sometimes have these problems. But not as spectacularly as us Brits. We are just so crap at drinking alcohol. We truly are. Take any football tournament in the world. Whose are the fans that are generally feared the most? Yep, ours. Every summer, who invades the beautiful setting of Ibiza in a cloud of cheap aftershave, replica England shirts, and the alcohol induced notion to "Bang anything that moves." Yep, us again. And I once had the misfortune to go on one of these holidays when I was 18. I now know where Dante got the inspiration for the second level of Hell. He had obviously been on a Club 18-30 summer holiday to Ibiza.
This is not a missive that everyone should abstain from drinking and having a good time. It's more a plea to do it properly. By all means go out, have a grin, and just enjoy yourselves. But surely you can do that without turning into the biggest alcohol intoxicated bellend going? People have often argued the case between smoking weed and drinking alcohol. Both are undeniably bad for your health. But when have you ever heard of a pot smoker smashing up a pub, then going outside to do the same to his best friend, and then collapsing spectacularly in a pool of their own vomit? A pot smoker breaks out in a cold sweat if they have to leave their own living rooms to get another packet of Hob Nobs.
Bottom line is, many of us don't know when to stop and say "Enough is enough" and until we do, the UK's inability to handle their drink will be played out in the streets until the last siren fades out into the distance.