Monday, 30 June 2008

Three wheels to the wind

There has been talk of the magic swally bus that somehow transports the inebriated safely home after a night or day's session. Usually it's really a lift home by a mate, a ride home in a taxi, or maybe even a staggered meander in a homeward direction - all of which are wiped from the memory banks by the time you wake up the next morning. (Assuming you do wake up and haven't been run down or expired of exposure trying to get home).

A driver in America thought he'd spare the magic swally bus the trouble and drive himself home. He'd either had a bucketful and wasn't aware, or was and didn't care, that the car he was steering, only had 3 wheels. It wasn't that his motor was a Reliant, he was driving on 3 rubber types and one metal rim.

Story here.

A Reliant Robin - a car that is meant to have 3 wheels

Photo: Flickr / Matt Seppings

Friday, 20 June 2008

Crazy little thing called swally

It's a difficult job keeping up with the madness of King Swally. People all over the world are falling over themselves to get in this blog it appears. Well not really but they are falling over themselves while being intoxicated.

Two great examples that could have required the legal defence of "That's the Swally!".

From Russia
A drunk driver in the Khabarovsk region drove for about a mile with a traffic policeman on his roof after knocking him down. He only stopped when the policeman, who might have used a Lethal Weapon or Bevely Hills Cop movie as a training guide, shot his gun through the roof at the driver.

From Scotland
A drunk driver led police on a 20 mile car chase, drove through a school's pedestrian crossing, hit cars, and then delivered a punchline to her endeavours. The convicted driver told police when she was stopped "I'm not bothered".

Perhaps she could have also used the Fast Show's "I was veh veh drunk".

What is it with curtains and swally?

This could go in a planespotting blog.

A passenger refused alcohol on a flight to Vienna tried to set fire to the curtains on the Boeing jet he was on. At first it was thought he might be a terrorist, but no, just pissed.

There must be something about alighting curtains when you're steaming though. Lord Mike Watson of Swaldonia was sent to prison for setting fire to curtains in the Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh - also after being refused swally.

Note to any licensed premises, whether airborne or ground-based: ditch the curtains, or at least get them asbestos lined.

Are these safe from a swally-induced fire?

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Cask and over a barrel

With our streets teeming with drunks, binged out of their heads, our schools chock-full of drunken primary pupils and every body else waiting to become alcoholics it's time for a government consultation exercise.

This consists of some ideas aired to the public, under the guise of "proposals", some of which are then laughed at, ridiculed, then torn apart, leaving some which get crow-barred into an Act of Parliament, so making the country shiny and new and beautiful again.

The Scottish Government are tackling Swalba head on. This is what they're saying, with my comments in red:

  • The total cost of alcohol misuse in Scotland is estimated at £2.25 billion per year - £500 for every adult living in Scotland

  • The GDP of Scotland is £86billion, so we must be able to function somehow. (And I never quite understand all these missing days being so bad. Surely your work is still there for you to do when you come back? Like holidays? And if you've been on the swally the night before you probably contributed quite a lot to the economy)

  • Alcohol-related visits to Scottish hospitals have increased by almost 50 per cent over the last decade and alcohol-related death rates have more than doubled.
  • While this looks a bad thing, it could also show that more people are able to get into a hospital to be seen due to increased efficiency of the NHS. In the past they might have been just keeling over in their houses, while the waiting lists kept them at bay.

  • Scotland has one of the fastest growing liver cirrhosis death rates in the world at a time when cirrhosis rates in most of Western Europe are falling
  • Indeed it has and it's worrying. But is alcohol the only cause? Er, no. Obesity also has its place (though not the main one) and with the amount of fatties in the country it'd an interesting study to look at that effect.
  • Almost half (45 per cent) of Scottish prisoners in 2007 said they were drunk at the time of the offence
  • Which would mean that 55% of prisoners weren't drunk.
  • 95 per cent of respondents to the Scottish Crime and Victimisation Survey (SCVS) 2006 saw alcohol abuse in Scotland as a problem
  • There goes one of those surveys again, was it the main problem? A problem? One of many? The propensity to commit crime is a bigger factor amongst perpetuators.
  • Alcohol is a contributory factor in one in three divorces.
  • And alcohol is probably a factor in 100% of weddings. What do we do? It's used as a social lubricant and many asking people out need a bit of inhibition inhibiting, which comes usually after a few swallies, so should we rely on online dating? Tea dances?
  • 65,000 children are living with a parent or carer who has an alcohol problem.
  • Another stat. Still a terrible one, but it's lined up to suit the chosen argument. Over 110,000 children in Scotland live in over-crowded housing (According to Shelter). What is worse for their development?

The Scottish Government recently launched Homecoming Scotland 2009, one of the themes of which is whisky.

In response to the Chancellor's rise in taxation on alcohol in 2008, the Scotsman reported:

"Mr Swinney (the SNP Finance Minister) said whisky was already at a disadvantage compared with other forms of alcohol and called for taxes to be levied according to the alcohol content of drinks. "

That's the Swally!

Monday, 16 June 2008


A report by the BBC says that affluent drinkers, 75% of whom admit to one binge-drinking episode a week, are in denial about their drinking.

No I'm not.

Enemy at the pub door

In the 50s the Commies were the enemy, in the 60s it was short skirts, in the 1970s it was the swearing punks, in the 80s it was the miners. Through the 90s there was only one baddie and that was Saddam Hussein. In the noughties smoking started off as being the Number One Social Evil Threat to Our Lives, now it is swally.

In Scotland the Scottish Government are attempting to:

- get teenagers voting at 16 rather that 18

- stop them buying drink until they're 21.

So you can get involved in the political process but have no way of drowning your sorrows at the sheer depressingly obvious nature of most of it. They're also keen to ban teenagers from tanning studios so you can't even cheer yourself up by livening up your peely wally skin tone with a boost.

Another wheeze the Government have thought up is to impose a system of minimum pricing for alcohol. If you own an off-licence, supermarket or pub with off sales this must be great news.

The intention is to stop people drinking too much. But in all the years I've been going out I can hardly remember a single occasion where someone has said "I don't want another drink, it's too expensive." (There have been tight barstools who won't put their hand in their pockets, but that's a different thing. They'll never say it's too dear, they'll just let everyone else buy them swally and then eff off home before it's their round.)

When faced with dearer swally people will still pay up. Who ever asks "How much is that pint of lager?" when at a bar before deciding if they want one?

One of the other factors in people ending up swallied out of their heids is the pace they drink at. You can drink cheap low-strength pishy lager but if you drink it fast enough it will have an effect all right.

Will the Scottish Government issue devices like pedometers, designed to be worn on your arm to monitor how quickly your elbow gets bent lifting the glass for each drink? It can only be a matter of time.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

I'll have a snakebite, barman

I was worried that tales of swally gone wrong might be difficult to find. No fear.

In California a man, who was alleged to have been drinking, picked up a snake and was not that supringly bitten. He managed to call out the emergency servies who took him to the hospital. On the way there a description was given of his condition:
"...he became visibly ill and nauseated and could be seen shaking, gagging, shedding tears and kissing a cross hanging from his neck."

Symptoms millions waking up on post-swally Sundays can identify with.

The bitten man was still alive when this report was filed, unlike the snake who fell victim to a policeman's knife.

Story from

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Off the wagon, on the wagon?

A man who left a party, seemingly steaming, and who expressed an interest in seeing some trains was killed by a train.

Story by The Arizona Republic

A night on the hospital tiles

It's common for mothers about to deliver a baby into the world to have epidurals, or gas and air, or maybe even a paddle in a birthing pool. It's not too common for them to tank down some swally however.

In Poland, a 38 year old mum gave birth to her baby while being six times over the legally allowed amount of alcohol in her blood.

Doctors are said to be concerned for the child's future development but reckon after a roll on sausage and a can of Irn Bru they'll be right as rain.

Story here

Take life on, take a drink - but not everyday

You have to admire the sheer determination of public health officials. Faced with the swally nation that is Scotland*, they have come up with a new campaign.

It doesn't say don't drink. It doesn't say why don't you give it up for a bit to let your amazing liver recover itself. It says: why not drink for 2 days a week?

I can imagine meetings where it was discussed what they could get away with.

"How about: drink one day a week why don't you?"

"No chance. They'll never put up with that."

"Okay, how about: drink at the weekend, and call it quits"

"Nah. This is Scotland. At best they'll not drink for 2 days."

"Two days! Is that all?"

"Yup. "Gonnae no take a drink, on say Monday cos you're still suffering a 72 hour hangover from the weekend and Tuesday, cos there's no fitba on"

"Okay, I'll get the creatives to come up with an ad."

The scope of the campaign shows a certain resignation to what can be achieved. The Scottish Government Minister who was dragged out to give it plaintive, said:

"It doesn't mean making big sacrifices or cutting out pleasures altogether. Small changes like walking to work, aiming for at least two alcohol-free days per week or cutting down on crisps and biscuits by making switches to fruit or vegetables, all add up."

Take Life On - Bring It On.

*If you don't think it is, then turn up in the pub on a Friday and say you'd like a mineral water please. You have three Acceptable Excuses, but only three. They are:

# Pregnant
# On antibiotics
# Driving

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Eire rage

There's a long history of airline passengers succumbing to what is known at "air rage", exacerbated by swally. Alcohol has a stronger effect in a plane due to the quantity of oxygen in the air that's pumped around the cabin. Add that to the passenger's anxiety and possibly fear and you've got potential trouble on every flight.

This week's air rage story involves a flight to Glasgow that saw a passenger who reacted to not being given more swally by swearing at the cabin crew, passengers and singing pro-IRA songs, and then being fined £600 at the subsequent trial.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Crazy little thing called swally

Different cultures have different perceptions of when a child reaches maturity, when it becomes an adult. For some areas of life there are strict age limits. You have to be 16 or over to be married in Scotland, to buy cigarettes you have to be 18. To buy drink in some places, you have to be over 21.

To be in a car owned by your drunk mum, you can be as young as one.

Police in Ohio stopped a car to find the driver, who was over the limit, with her son driving the car.

"Let's be honest, a one-year-old child doesn't have the skill to drive a car. We all know that," the police spokeswoman said.

That's the swally!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Swally - good thing / bad thing #234

Researchers have announced that drinking alcohol can reduce the risk of getting rheumatoid arthritis.

Even better, if you drink more, the effects are better.


Don't fancy yours much

The Drug and Alcohol Service for London are running a campaign encouraging women not to end up like men. The "Drink like a man, look like a man" poster has a graphic image of a woman slowly turning into a not too attractive man.

The final image might cause some men some cause for concern as the resulting photo of a tousled hair woman with garish makeup and burst nasal capilliaries may look exactly like someone they know. I can't get the thought out my head that he-she looks like a cross between a clown and Eddie Izzard.

If you're brave enough you can insert your own photo, how much you drink, and see the results.

Try it at the DASL Bebo page.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

News just in: Man drunk in charge of a horse

Man drunk in charge of a horse.

Fox 6 have more on this.

Resveratrol and be thankful

Yet another piece of scientific research that may or may not suggest that swally may or may not be beneficial to humans has appeared.

Researchers at a university attempted to find the answer to the "French paradox" - which is: why aren't the French keeling over with heart attacks considering the saturated fat food they manger?

They reckon that a chemical called resveratrol can help prevent the heart from ageing at its normal rate.

The release from the scientists and industry members who compiled the study said:

"In short, a glass of wine or food or supplements that contain even small doses of resveratrol are likely to represent "a robust intervention in the retardation of cardiac aging," the authors note.

They are not suggesting that taking more than this will have more of an effect. Drinking a couple of bottles of wine a night will not mean you'll live forever. But do they know that for sure?

A woman who, if she was French, could be close to 80 years of age, thanks to resveratrol

Picture: Flickr / Fergal Carr

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Drunk 'n' snog

A teenage driver in New York state, USA, tried to get off a drink driving charge by saying that the alcohol on her breath came from kissing. The 17 year old driver was over the limit by a factor of two and had been seen swerving across lanes.

She was stopped in Manhasset, on Long Island. Next to Manhasset is an area called Great Neck - reflecting that shown by the defendant. When she was pulled over she said to the police: "I didn't drink! I was kissing a boy who was drunk."

She may also have offered the watertight legal defence: That's the swally!

Story link

A total moosehead

A Canadian drunk driver made what is in swally terms, one of the biggest boo-boos possible.

The driver mistook the garage of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the famous Mounties) for his own. He smashed into a pillar on the way in and a car on the way out before being arrested.

Story from Calgary Herald.

A Mountie

Photo: Flickr/kris krüg

Do you want another round?

You know things are getting desperate when guns are being brought in to control those on the swally. In California a policeman opened fire on a suspected drunk driver when he failed to stop.

The motorcycle cop chased the car but when it turned and came at him he opened up. And despite firing two shots, didn't hit the motor vehicle.

You have to wonder, who was drinking the most?

Story in the Mercury News