Sunday, 12 December 2010

No Drinking.

I mean it. No drinking while reading. I've read over this and snorted whisky through my nose, and I already know what it says.

That 'beer cheaper than water' meme never seems to appear when the actual price of beer is mentioned. Isn't that peculiar? Why is that, I wonder?

For reference, two litres of own-brand supermarket bottled water is less than 20p everywhere I've looked in the UK. Assuming beer comes in 500ml cans, they must sell for less than 5p a can. Do they?

The Co-op is now offering drinkers a pack of four cans of its own-brand, mid-strength lager for 79p - a price industry experts said was probably the cheapest around.

No. They don't.

Couple of issues here. That own brand stuff is only 'mid strength' if the bottom of the scale includes sweating (ie fluid loss, a stage down from not drinking anything at all, not even water). Drinking that stuff, you will drown before you get drunk. Pub shandies are higher in alcohol content. To anyone who likes any form of beer, that stuff is pop. Not the best pop, either.

Next, are they 500ml cans, thereby coming in at 79p for two litres?

But watchdogs claim the price tag - the equivalent of 26p a pint - could encourage underage and binge drinking and also harm pubs already struggling to keep customers.

26p a pint. At a rough conversion of 2.2 pints per litre, that's 57p per litre or £1.14 for two litres. Therefore they are 300 0r 330 ml cans. They are also five times more expensive than the equivalent bottled water - and this is the cheapest beer ever reported. It has caused uproar at a price five times that of bottled water and still we hear 'oooh, they sell it cheaper than water'. They might as well. The water tastes better.

Binge drinking? The only effects you'll get from bingeing on this stuff are a night of continually getting out of bed and bladder muscles like the Hulk. It will prevent any bladder infection because nothing can cling on at that rate of flow. If you can get even tipsy on this stuff, you have lived a life utterly free of alcohol or you have a body weight less than two stone. No town-centre drooling imbecile ever reached that level of antisocial trouser-wetting punch-throwing ineptitude on Co-Op own brand lager. Or any other own-brand gnat's piss. If every binge drinker binged on this, there would never again be a drink-driving conviction in this country. There would be a lot of damp cars though.

Harm pubs? No pub would dare offer their customers this kind of beer. Well, not any more. I remember, many years ago, drinking a certain beer in Cardiff (not Brains, this stuff was fizzy and cold and weak, the evolutionary common ancestor of the supermarket own brands). We left the pub after two pints with no effects whatsoever apart from having to sit on a wall until we could belch the gas out. We never went back to that pub. Supermarket own-brand beers are no competition for pubs.

Underage drinking. This is the most idiotic part of the article, so I'll let an idiot explain:

'My little boy worked out that the beer was 21p cheaper than the bar of chocolate we usually buy at weekends,' Louise Mangan, 39, told the Sunday Express.

'It’s outrageous that youngsters are being enticed into drinking alcohol with cheap prices like this. That it’s happening at Christmas time makes the issue worse.'

Well, Lousie, were you planning to get the little lad a bottle of something better for Christmas? I have Bowmore tonight, and especially if he has ADHD, I recommend it. Or do you imagine the cheap prices will make him toss aside that Mars bar and grab a can instead?

The price may entice those children but it is not relevant. If they sold Gold Label for 1p per can it would be of no relevance. When your eight-year-old appears at the till with his pocket money in one hand and a pack of cans in the other, he'll be asked for ID. Then he'll be told to select a chocolate bar instead because HE CANNOT BUY ALCOHOL.

Not even the stoat drool that passes for beer in the world of own-brand. It doesn't matter how cheap it is. It doesn't matter if it's free. It doesn't matter if the shop offers to pay you to take it. Children still can't have it.

Just as with those anencephalics who insist that hiding cigarette packets will stop children smoking. You could put flashing lights and the theme from Count Duckula on the display and it makes no difference. You could have arrows pointing at it and recordings of Gregorian monks chanting 'Look at this, look at this' and it will make no difference because CHILDREN CANNOT BUY TOBACCO.

Put pictures of Bagpuss or the Woodentops or whatever kids watch these days (I suppose they've moved on to Friday the Thirteenth and Saw now, a bit more graphic but the plot is the same) - put those pictures on the packets and it makes no difference. They still can't buy them.

As an aside, did you know I was once the stunt double for Bagpuss? That time he yawned - that was me.

The problem is not the price. Not the display. Not the packs, although if you have a picture of Kiki the Frog dying in agony, I want a poster. Damn, she irritated me.

The problem is not the cheeeeldren getting hold of illicit things. I wanted illicit things as a child and I remember, still, at the age of five, being soundly battered for finding the sherry. It didn't hurt much until the next morning but I still look over my shoulder before drinking it now.

My parents had a simple technique when I was small and wanted to try tobacco or booze. It really was very, very simple. it required no Government intervention, no laws, no minimum demands for protection money, nothing outside their own voices.

They said 'No.'

There is no need for minimum pricing on booze because there is already a minimum age for buying it. There is no need to hide tobacco from those who aren't allowed to buy it.

What's needed is common sense and parental discipline and actual consequences for acting like a dick.

Unfortunately, all these are now illegal.


Dick Puddlecote said...

"bladder muscles like the Hulk"

You were right to advise not drinking while reading ... I'd have snorted up something valuable after reading that. And again with the damp cars. :)

Top piece, but a small correction. I used to buy fags from aged 9. A note from an adult that they were not for my consumption sufficed. I didn't start smoking until I was 16, and therefore legal to buy them. I didn't buy those though, a mate gave them to me. Still nothing to do with shops and underage or otherwise, note.

Anonymous said...

I remember, many years ago, drinking a certain beer in Cardiff (not Brains, this stuff was fizzy and cold and weak, the evolutionary common ancestor of the supermarket own brands).

was it Toby beer?

Bill Sticker said...

Kiki the frog dying in agony? Yes, I too have shared this dream, along with unravelling the entire cast of Magic Roundabout. Slowly.

Smoking Hot said...

l've had teens asking me for a ciggie but l've never had them say 'Can l have a ciggie but only if it's a Marlboro?' :)

Anonymous said...

I would venture a guess nowadays that a young child having all the booze and fags hidden well out of sight while the nicotine controll substances sit out in full display is more apt to start thinking of Nicorettes as candy, all those fancy flavors and all, and begin easily to start consuming that than taking up smoking or drinking. And where are these parents, who can't say "no". Have they no authority over or respect from their childreeen, having handed them all over to stasi-state control in the schools. At Halloween time, just to annoy the anti-smokers, I've often made promises online that when their darlings show up around my house all decked in costume, begging for treats, the treats I'd be handing out will be Nicorettes in 4 miligram cherry, candy in their eyes. Though I haven't ever, I probably should, just to be smart. I've told them online that it will addict their little ones instantly to nicotine and they'll become smokers instantly, overnight. Seems to shut them up.

Anonymous said...

Everything is now geared to deprive everyone instead of punishing the few.
Even least night I was watching a prog about trial bikers causing damage over different moorlands. There proposed answer is to ban everyone. FFS.
I love Christmas as I now buy packs and packs of reduced Guinness to last me for the year. Other than that I hate it.

Anonymous said...

There's some bloke on BBC News on Hardtalk waffling on about how many sprogs we can have, he's advocating...

It's Roger Martin, Chairman of the "Optimum Population Trust", the caption just came up...

Scary man, he bangs on about "family planning" and somesuch, but he's just a green Nazi who doesn't realise where his next generation of drones are coming from, to keep him in the lifestyle in which he is accustomed.

So fucking and having kids is gonna kill the planet, eh Roger?

Mind you the bird on the programme gave him a good grilling.

Maybe he should give out free drink and fags to the unwanted little brats to kill them off quicker.

Who's gonna empty his bins 20 years from now?

PT Barnum said...

And lo, there cometh from the south the sound of the second horseman of the apocalypse, courtesy of NHS West Kent, who declare that should someone who indulges in the filthy tobacco require surgery, they must first complete an NHS Stop Smoking course before a surgeon may don even a glove. Verily, the end of times is nigh.

(And the obese have to get skinny as well.)

andrew hammerschmiedt said...

Interbrew, who have an iron grip on the UK market, now charge around £2 per litre for identikit "brands" like Fosters, Carling etc. Forget a lager or beer comparison against water, it is a ridiculous proposition.

Will stating the facts make a blind bit of difference? The agenda to push prices up and up is too tempting for those addicted to taxation supported by "public health" fanatics.

The battle to make people look at the simple facts is akin to reason with a religious zealot.

Chris said...

At a rough conversion of 2.2 pints per litre...

You're thinking lbs & kilos Leggy ("Too much blood in the booze stream, that's the problem"). 1 litre = 1.76 Imp. pints.

Nitpicking aside, excellent argument.

View from the Solent said...

Seen this one?
bullshit broadcasting collective

from Mark Wadsworth

Budvar said...

Anon 04:23. Don't get me started on trials bikes. Oh no, we can't have kids riding motorbikes on the waste ground that used to be the municipal tip, I mean it's so much better for them to spend their time hanging around on street corners being a fucking nuisance. I had this out with plod over threats to crush my young uns bike riding around the fields (supervised by me I might add) and how if kids were allowed how it would clear up most of the bike theft crime as plod would know where to find them. I was told that "We had complaints about the noise". My response to those people who find the noise annoying of a bike in the distance is to make an appointment to see the doctor and get him to prescribe a dose of harden the fuck up!!

My rant's not directed at you personally only you brought up the subject.

Billy the Fish said...


Having just received a few bottles of 'beer' from a certain microbrewery in Norfolk, all I can say is - have you got any Co-op own brand stuff left? I'll swap you...

Phydeaux said...

Who'd have thunk it? A bunch of cheap, plentiful grains boiled up with H2O and left to sit for a few months is cheaper than chocolate. Well bugger me sideways.

Even if it were relevent, she'd still be a bloody idiot.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the EU's insistence on smoking bans will contribute to its downfall?

After all the French enjoy fags.

If you want to be sick, watch this:!

Zaphod said...

Beautiful post, Leggy. Love it when you're in the zone! Poetry.

Oh, you're right, too. But that's incidental. :-)

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