Archive for the 'booze' Category

Adam Smith, optimist

May 20th, 2008

Were the duties upon foreign wines, and the excises upon malt, beer, and ale to be taken away all at once, it might, in the same manner, occasion in Great Britain a pretty general and temporary drunkenness among the middling and inferior ranks of people, which would probably be soon followed by a permanent and almost universal sobriety.

Wealth of Nations, IV.3.ii.


November 4th, 2007

It’s been pointed out to me recently that although the pubs in Britain smell a lot less smoky after the introduction of the smoking ban, they now smell much more of the other people in the pub, and that’s not obviously an improvement.

The Perch, ablaze

May 8th, 2007

Not good at all. Over here.

UPDATE [Wednesday, am]: More here.

Alcoholic Politics

January 6th, 2006

Quick round-up: from the archives of the Stoa, here’s a post from back when Paxo was asking CK whether he went to bed with a bottle of whisky (complete with the words to the CK-themed Skye Boat Song); here‘s William McGonagall’s reminder that “the abolition of strong drink is the only Home Rule”; and here‘s a general remark about Prime Ministers who drink too much.

To these we might add a link to Guido‘s fine (photoshopped? or not?) photo; and another entry in the survey of PMswDTM — William Pitt the Younger was known as a “three-bottle man” (port, usually, though the bottles were smaller in those days), and on one occasion shortly after the war with France began in 1793 Pitt and his lieutenant Henry Dundas were sufficiently unsteady in the chamber of the House of Commons so as to inspire this little bit of doggerel:

“I cannot see the Speaker, Hal, can you?”
“What! Cannot see the Speaker, I see two!”

[Hague, Pitt, p.220, p.308]

On the Piss

June 26th, 2005

From today’s News of the World:

She [Carole Caplin] said that Mr Blair was drinking more alcohol since she had stopped advising him. He was not “an alcoholic” or “a drinker” but needed a break from drink when subjected to stress, she added.

Now, obviously CC’s an unreliable source for anything and everything, but if Mr Blair were drinking too much, this would support my general theory of British prime ministers, which is that after a few years in the job they start boozing heavily.I haven’t researched this with any care, but I think the theory holds for Asquith (“Mr. Asquith says in a manner sweet and calm / Another little drink won’t do us any harm”), Macmillan, Wilson and Thatcher.

There are exceptions. Winston Churchill may be one, as he was drinking the whole time he was in No.10, beginning with champagne for breakfast, and consumption may not have increased as time went by. I don’t really know anything about Lloyd George, but given his pro-temperance noises, he might be an exception. And I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say that John Major hit the bottle c.1996 or so, though if anyone thinks that he did, please say so.

But according to the general theory, at any rate, it’s high time Mr Blair hit the bottle, so we should keep an eye out for further signs.

Booze News

September 27th, 2004

Oddbins in Oxford now sell Anchor Steam and Liberty Ale (also from the Anchor Brewing Co. in San Francisco), both of which are splendid.

Beer: The Cure For Depression

May 26th, 2004

Oxford’s Psychiatry Department is circulating this leaflet, left, around the university. Turns out that when you turn over the page you learn that beer isn’t really the cure for depression after all, and that it’s better to take antidepressants (and, perhaps, to follow some other therapies) than to booze heavily in response to feeling gloomy. Got that?

It seemed, however, a nice image to accompany a blogpost to report that Guy Maddin’s new film, The Saddest Music in the World is a fine, fine film — since this really is a film about how a particular kind of Canadian beer, brewed in Winnipeg, will help to lift North America out of the Depression (and a reminder of just how Depressing the United States must have been in the Prohibition era).

Oh yes, and it said in the glossy cinema programme in reasonably big letters that “While rejecting accusations that he’s a mere pasticheur, Maddin resurrects long-abandoned film forms, stirring into the mix with admirably straight-faced conviction German expressionist lighting, Soviet montage, “golden age” Hollywood melodramatics and Busby Berkeley’s more fetishistic choreography”. That’s an opinion from one Michael Brooke, writing in Sight and Sound, and a reminder that my brother is one of the world experts on the films of Guy Maddin, which must be quite a strange thing to be.

Only seen three of them myself, but very much want to see Careful if I ever get the chance.

Note to Self

April 15th, 2004

Marston’s Pedigree beer not very nice. Don’t buy again.

Proletarian Abstemiousness

November 26th, 2003

Here’s a very useful online archive of Soviet Anti-Alcohol posters.

Guinness is Good for You

November 13th, 2003

Guinness is Good for You! I knew it all along.

Which reminds me of my favourite joke on a similar subject.

Drinking in Public

November 2nd, 2003

Readers of this blog who used to live in Oxford (and I know there are quite a few) might be interested to learn that you can’t have a drink anymore while sitting at the tables outside the King’s Arms pub at the corner of Parks Road and Holywell Street (pictured right; click for the much larger, original image). This was one of life’s smaller (but by no means insignificant) pleasures, especially in sunny weather.

Now having a drink outside the KA can now land you a �500 fine, and the tables are chained up and stacked on top of each other, taking up space.

I think that the Labour Council has decided to turn much of the City Centre in a giant alcohol-free zone. This is a very bad idea indeed.

UPDATE [3.11.2003]: Here’s an image of the sign outside the pub, taken earlier this afternoon, with the bikes parked outside the New Bodleian in the background. And if you want to contact the councillor who is trumpeting these new zones (according to the news story to which I linked above), it’s Susan Brown, who, according to this page can be emailed here. (Please be polite: the goal is to get drinking outside the KA legalised again, not just to let off steam).

Booze Newze

November 1st, 2003

Oddbins in Oxford were unable to sell me a bottle of ouzo a couple of weeks ago, which was very bad. But they are in my good books again, owing to their wise decision to stock Marsala.