Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Saturday 30 August 2008


"A woman drove me to drink, and I hadn't even the courtesy to thank her." W.C.Fields

"He was a wise man who invented beer." Plato

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes." Oscar Wilde

There, three witty observations concerning drink. Plato's presence in my little list shows that, as of course we all know, there is nothing new in enthusiasm for drink. This is why for centuries governments everwhere have been able to tax the stuff - the same may be said for tobacco.

These days, those busybodies who feel they have a damned God-given right to poke their noses into our affairs - and who are usually part of those self-same governments who tax the stuff - are now trying to get us to stop , or as the French so neatly put it: "Consommez en modèration" (drink moderately) - this suggestion may be found in all advertisments for drink in France - including the finest vintage Champagnes, where for most of us "modèration" is axiomatic.

I suppose the end of deference and the decline of religion may be the reasons that the governments have now assumed this annoying rôle. Certainly in England and elsewhere in the 19th century, there were strong temperance movements. The following two cartoons come from a series intended to demonstrate the "slippery slope" that follows the first bottle:

Source: here

These were drawn by one George Cruikshank and are typical of the anti-drink campaigns of the time. I suppose the apotheosis of anti-drink campaigning was Prohibition in the USA. It seems to me to be scarcely credible that within living memory, a government would actually attempt to ban alcohol - of course by using the word "government" I do not include the islamo-fascist theocratic ones.

All of these meanderings were prompted by a thoughtful piece that appeared in the very long-established British magazine, The Spectator. The article "From Gin Lane to Faliraki" was written by Alex Massie in the blog The Debatable Land. The article contains some memorable quotations: "I've never seen anyone get stabbed the whole time I've been here" says one 21-year-old of some resort in Cyprus, where it seems that the British abroad (or at least those who visit such places) have managed to plumb even lower depths than ever.

I shudder with embarrassment at reports of British behaviour abroad and have always endeavoured to bely the image so freqeuently broadcast on the television.

Nevertheless the article attempts to demonstrate that drinking has been a problem for Britain for at least 250 years and given Hogarth's famous illustrations (e.g. "Gin Lane") this would indeed seem to be the case.

Many continue to wonder why other countries have not/do not have Britain's problem, but this may not be for ever. Even in rural France I have seen youths walking the street in the morning carrying the tin of ten percent lager so beloved of the layabouts in England. If this represents a trend, it is indeed a depressing one.

Until the next time

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