Friday, 30 May 2008

Drinkers, are doing it for themselves

Great story in the Australian Daily Liberal newspaper about how the swallied will not be stopped.

The government have brought in tax rises on alcopops to combat the global epidemic of binge drinking. It's not had quite the effect intended as all it's done is make the drinkers change tactics.

They're now drinking at home, making their DIY drinks, based on pure spirits such as vodka.

As one of those interviewed, a Ms Crowley, said:

"Why would we spend more money on pre-mixed drinks, when we can buy better and more alcohol for the same price?"

Hard to argue with that swalogic.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

I'll have a double, your honour

A Wisconsin man turned up in court on a drunk driving charge, while being drunk in charge of himself.

The 54 year old Verlyn R Deitrich was noticed to be swallied by the judge and his defence attorney admitted he was steamboats, when he appeared on his fifth time for DUIS (Driving Under the Influence of Swally).

To add to the sad tale, the trial was also his birthday.

Story from Chicago Tribune.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Jail or booze?

A swally merchant has been told that if he goes to buy drink he'll be jailed.

He was arrested for shoplifting some cider and if he tries to even buy booze he's going dahhhn.

The Mirror newspaper reported that his lawyer wanted the ban to only apply to cider.

Mr Davies said: "He does not misbehave when he has a couple of cans of Foster's but when he drinks white cider this happens."

Photo from Flickr / warriorgrrl

Monday, 26 May 2008

Three sheets to wind, part II

Continuing the nautical theme, a speedboat driver in the United States was arrested after her craft left a lake, went onto an island and jammed itself into some trees.

Police charged the driver (captain? pilot?) with being drunk while in charge of a boat. The incident happened on Happy Family Island, whose name will be put to the test as the woman and her husband were both treated for injuries at a local hospital.

Story from Newsday

Three sheets to the wind

A couple on the swally had to be rescued from a mile out into the Forth near Edinburgh at the Bank Holiday weekend.

Cramond island, so named as it sits just off the picturesque village of Cramond, is a favourite destination for the casual walker, as it can be strolled to quite easily.

You have to time it right, however, as access is dependant on the tides. If you wander across, and sit about while the water flows across the causeway, you'll be there for a bit. And this is exactly what faced a pair of Edinburgh residents this Sunday past. Following an afternoon on the drink, they didn't realised that the tide had come in and they were stranded. (There aren't any amenities on the island, no Costa, Pret or even a Greggs. What made it worse this weekend was despite it being sunny, temperatures were severely lowered by a force five wind. )

Facing the prospect of re-enacting some of the scenes from Oliver Reed and Amanda Donohue's Castaway, they elected to get into the water and swim for it.

They were picked up by a lifeboat shortly after and were said to be "heavily under the influence of alcohol".

The watch manager at the Forth Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre said: "The sea and alcohol do not mix."

UPDATE: The Scotsman on Tuesday 27 May ran a story entitled "I fell in: Cramond rescue man denies drunk swim attempt".

He said he was attempting to walk back when he slipped and fell into the water. So that's all right then!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Baby shambles

Many drinkers have experienced the sensation of waking up and wondering what they did the previous night. Having gaps in the memory is nothing unusual. Blackouts form part of the experience for the swallied.

If you have gaps in your memory while you're still out on the lash, then it suggests you've drunk a fair bit.

An extreme example happened in Canada , where a woman called in the police - at 2am - saying that her car had been stolen, with her baby daughter in the back. The police carried out an immediate search of the car park but nothing was found.

The car was found, not where she'd thought it was though, but outside a bar with the tot inside the locked motor.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Drunk driver caught quarter of an hour after drink driving ban ends

A driver convicted of drink driving was convicted of drink driving 15 minutes after his previous ban ended. Fifteen minutes!

Peter Savage had been given a three year driving ban and fine in May 2005.

He was celebrating the end of his ban by visiting a bowling alley, having three or four pints, driving home, getting pulled over. And getting banned again. He was banned for another three years so maybe we'll see him here again.

That's the swally!

From G&T to A&E

Alcohol-related admissions to hospitals have doubled in 10 years.

The NHS have said that over 200,000 patients were admitted in 2006, compared to under 94,000 in 1995-6.

Now the politically cynical could say, that's pretty much the time span since New Labour became the government ho ho, but there's plenty other reasons probably lying under it:

  • cheap drink
  • longer opening hours
  • the state of the economy
  • the state of the nation's sporting teams
  • the state of the environment
  • the state of law and order
  • David Cameron's face
  • and perhaps more relevantly: the state of our drinking culture.
These depressing statistics would drive you to drink.

There are proper real reasons that any social scientist worth their salt (not around the tequila glass) will be able to ascertain. Whether they can do anything about it remains to be seen. Britain, like most other countries in the world, has a long history of participation in swally.

Maybe it's time to look not at the reasons behind the drinking but maybe devote some resources to coping with the results.

A new Manhattan Project? Apollo program?
In other words, it might be time for the government and scientists to work on a project that will come up with some drugs or potions or something that will counteract the swally effect on our bodies. With proper resources mankind could make it safe to continue the swally.

There was a drug going round for a while called R U 21 which promised the taking away of hangovers. You could still drink away, take a pill with each drink and you'd wake up fine. That's the kind of thinking that should be looked at and expanded upon to include alcohol's effect on our livers, hearts, stomachs, bladders, etc.

Basically: If you can't beat them, join them - in a round?

Never mind the 12 step programme, should we be looking to take that "small step for swallykind"?

Friday, 23 May 2008

Don't you know who I am?

A police officer found himself in a part of the court room not normally inhabited by those who wear the dark blue.

Kenneth Burnett, 44, was found guility of conducting himself in a disorderly manner, shouting, swearing and committing a breach of the peace at an Aberdeen Falkirk football match.

He only lasted 15 minutes inside the ground as he was seen to be staggering, after drinking about 8 pints of beer. He then tried to force himself onto the supporters' coach and this was where the aggro all kicked off.

He denied all the charges but the sheriff said: ""It is concerning that you have acted in this way and let yourself and the police force down. This conduct would not have occurred if you had not consumed so much alcohol."

The shamed copper will be gutted that the "That's the swally!" defence is not yet permissible in court cases.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

You can't make it up #2

Alcohol addiction expert Paul "Rowdy" Yates was fined and banned from driving for... being over the alcohol limit while driving.

The research fellow at the Scottish Addiction Studies Group was facing trial for one alleged drink-driving charge when police pulled him over in his 4x4 and breathalysed him. This charge he admitted, while denying the previous one, when his weaving vehicle led the police to speak to him at his home.

He claimed he had drunk a small amount in the pub, driven home, and then had a few whiskies in his shed - and so when the police breathalysed him he was over the limit.

His lawyer said in court that his client: "does find it ironic that he finds himself before the court for these offences."

The Original Rowdy Yates Who Hasn't Been Done For Drink Driving

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

What's your poison?

The lure of the swally can be a powerful one.

In Southern India a batch of bad homemade alcohol has so far killed 160 people. The problem became apparent at the weekend and the death rate started to rise quickly. What's made it worse is that people are still drinking the contaminated swally.

India is seen as an emerging, developing nation in terms of economic prosperity, productivity, education, etc. Good to see that it's also following the western nations in a fondness for the swally.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

You can't make it up #1 "I'll have a triple, please"

A councillor, who was the convenor of a licensing committee, has been banned for driving after being convicted of three driving offences - one of which was a failure to give a breath test.

Seemingly, returning from a golf club dinner, Councillor Robert Higgins lost control and according to the BBC:

"After demolishing a row of roadside marker posts, he veered across the road to the opposite carriageway and ploughed along the opposite verge before hitting a wire fence and stalling the car."

As if it wasn't enough of a clue all was not right, it's the stalling the car that gave him away!


Technorati Profile

Monday, 19 May 2008

Swallyban be gone

Pakistan's Daily Times reported on Saturday (17 May) that Indian-held Kashmir is turning to the drink in a big way. No problem with that you'd think, everyone likes a drink. Except that it's the only part of the country with a Muslim majority in the population.

Following the social upheaval and trauma of an armed insurrection that started in 1989, peace has now broken out between India and Pakistan and more and more are breaking out the bottle openers and corkscrews. Excise officials claim over 1.2 million bottles of alcohol have been sold in the past year in the Kashmir Valley.

There's something almost reassuring to know that whether it's after a hard day at the office, or after two decades of warfare that people see a drink as the perfect way of relaxing and "taking the edge off".

The kids are all drunk

Teenagers are not always renowned for being the brightest kids in the class and a report from Fife doesn't help. A bowling green was vandalised: a bench was thrown onto it and messages were left gouged in the grass.

"I love Stewart"
"I love Chazy xxx"

were those reported. (I think the last one is txtalk for "To Kate").

With community officers and special constables being drafted in to patrol the scene, things are on high alert. There have been reports of teendrinking and 14 litres of alcohol has been seized, which is quite a lot to be poured down the sink, (or hived off for a polis party).

While Stewart, Chazy and Kate might sound like the presenters of a garish children's TV show, I think they might well be the first ports of call for the Fife police.

C u l8r.

Take a drink. But not two. Or fifty.

News just in.

A government campaign will try to tackle Britain's Booze infatuation by pointing out the damage that can be caused by over-drinking. Sounds eminently sensible. (Though most people know it and just don't care, but if that was realised we'd have to shut down a lot of anti-swally charities and government-financed bodies).

Part of this campaign is to target the over-35s (hello!) who drink 2 to 3 glasses of wine a night. They risk long term damage to bits of the body such as liver, heart, bladders, spleens - pretty much everything.

And they also point to the risk of doing yourself an injury due to being steaming by falling over, getting run over and the like. This has direct relevance as I once stumbled and dropped my fish supper on Edinburgh's Leith Walk. Like the scene in Battleship Potemkin, it all went in slow motion, as the just-unwrapped supper left my opened grasp and fell onwards and forwards to the concrete slabs. I stood like Richard Dreyfus in front of the spaceship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind - stunned and amazed. How could this happen to me? Well, yes, I wasn't hurt but, like the Proclaimers would say, my heart was broken.

Anyway, a few year's ago it was discovered that drinking red wine each day would do your heart some good. (Cabernet Sauvignon in particular, seemingly).

Now, the government recommend that the daily limit per person is:

2/3 units for women
3/4 for men.

So what's the problem? If a glass of wine is one unit, and you drink 3 of them, then you're inside what the government tell you to drink.

Ah, no. You see what's happened is that people don't realise the strength of what they're drinking and so go over the limit.

Absolute rubbish.

People know exactly what strength the swally is. That's how we buy it, by inspecting the label for the small (usually gold) lettering saying 12, 12.5, 13, or if going that extra mile: 14%. We compare it off against the price and make an informed decision.

You've got to admire the pluck, determination and character of the government and associated bodies: fighting the good fight against an ever-increasing wave of booze coming over us all.

The minister charged with stopping the swallnami, Dawn Primarolo (which I think should be a cheeky pinot grigio available for £3.79) said: "It's primarily aimed at over-35s because it's clear from research that that age range is less well-informed, at time clueless".

So, we're old, drunk and stupid.

It's enough to drive you to the place where they sell drink.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Oh mother!

There's a sad tale in the Bolton News today. A mother received a phone call from the police telling her that her daughter had been found, drunk, in a park.

When the mother turned up the police held out a bottle of vodka and some cans of beer to her. "No thanks, officer, I'm fine" she said. No she didn't really. They were explaining to her why she was face down, covered in mud and puke.

The woman reacted in the most caring and sharing way possible: she wrote a letter to the newspaper and described which park it was and while not giving her name and address, described her other children and what they were doing at university, so making it not that difficult for anyone who knows her, to identify her, and her 16 year old dipso daughter.

"Thanks, mum"

She then went on to warn other parents that it's not just the "feral" kids who carry on in this dreadful way, but that even "nice" kids can succumb to the demon drink. And not only that, but that teenage children can make things up and lie about what they're up to and who they see.

Will there be letters next week explaining the workings of bears' digestive systems while out amongst trees?

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Oh Manchester, so much to answer for

May the 14th saw thousands of Rangers fans travelling to Manchester for their team's appearance in the Uefa Cup final. Was it 100,000, 150,000, 175,000, 200,000 who travelled south down the congested M6? Who knows how many turned up.

What is certain is that a lot of them got tore into the swally as soon as they arrived - or had arrived already buzzin, man.

There was trouble:
  • at the ground where a Russian fan was stabbed
  • in the city centre where a large TV screen went bust near the start of the game
  • and after the game where running battles with police appeared on CCTV and various news sites.
There were plenty reasons for this all kicking off:
  • Swally. It was available from the likes of Tesco at 7am. A local councillor was so aggrieved by this he marched into a store and demanded they stop sales.
  • The heat. It was a hot, sunny day and little mineral water would be drunk.
  • Opportunity. The police allowed on the street drinking, whereas normally it's prohibited. Fans were there all day waiting on the evening kick-off with little else to do. There are no signs of the art galleries seeing increased attendance.
  • Rangers got beat. A lot of hype and pre-match coverage encouraged the fans to think they could win this, while the polished Russian team just got on with it and had the technique and guile to achieve their victory.

There are arguments and counter-arguments about whether the council put on enough screens, or police or were prepared for such an invasion of over a hundred million fans arriving en masse but one thing that is certain is that the swally was the rocket fuel poured on anything resembling an ignition source.


42 arrests

15 police officers arrested

52 assaults reported by ambulance crews

100 tonnes of rubbish cleared away

1 football club's reputation damaged

1 city's image as being inhabited by violent drunks underlined

1 nation's image as being inhabited by violent drunks also confirmed

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Minister in cooking swally jibe scandal

Scottish minister for justice Kenny McAskill was forced to apologise after describing a well-known beer as "cooking lager".

McAskill, who has embarked on a public programme of attempting to lessen Scotland's taste for the alcohol and its effects, described Tennent's lager in a derogatory way in an email to the head of external relations of the brewers of the golden lager.

He wrote: "I was in the pub the other Friday night with my son. I had three pints of Tennent's cooking lager and a glass of wine when I got home." Sounds a nice little night there, enough to make the hardest of binge drinkers merry.

When the brewers took umbrage at this slight on their magnificent product that slakes any thirst and goes wonderful either sitting outside on a hot summer evening or a cold winter's night, the MSP - who was lifted by London police on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly in 1999 before a England v Scotland football match - immediately offered his apologies.

There are no plans to bring back the Tennent's Lager lovelies with Nicola Sturgeon, Linda Fabiani or other SNP cabinet ministers.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Hundreds of pounds needing to be spent

Hundreds of pounds will need to be spent to remedy the actions of pupils at an Aberdeenshire school in a prank that saw the whole year's worth of pupils sent home early.

The sixth-year pupils - on their last day of school - ever - covered the floor of their common room with turf, and by doing so incurred the wrath of the staff at the school who 'punished' the guilty and also the innocent by sending them all home.

It was reported that some of the pupils had been drinking. Turfing while under the influence is not a specific offence under British law, but you never know, it soon could be.

BBC link - Pupils sent home after turf prank

I don't give a XXXX (about the kid)

An Australian motorist was fined A$750 (about £400 in British money) for allowing a child to go unseatbelted in his car. The offence would have been bad enough in itself, but was compounded by him using the seat belt for strapping in his beer.

Police pulled the car over to find two adults in the back, separated by a 30 tinny pack of beer, with the child sitting on the floor.

When he was given the on-the-spot fine, police reported the driver claimed he "didn't know anything about it".

Next time he might offer the sound legal defence of "That's the swally!".

BBC link