Please Binge Drink Responsibly

Binge drunk beats drunk.

She's having the time of her life!

Alcohol. It's bloody great, isn't it? Who'd have thought a simple chain of molecules could be the cause of so much fun and jollity? Everyone loves a bit of alcohol, from troublesome babies with irresponsible parents who just want a quiet night's sleep, through to big city executives who just want all the pain to go away. But, in direct contradiction to what I just typed, not everyone loves alcohol. There exists in our great society a niche group of do-gooders and killjoys who have managed to get the idea into their heads that drinking yourself into the gutter every night is not always the solution to all life's ills.

It's all well and good for these nutjobs to entertain their deluded notions in the privacy of their own homes or cells. But unfortunately, some of them have had the temerity to try and inflict this namby-pamby nonsense on the rest of us good and sensible folk. I was alerted to this alarming fact a few weeks ago whilst listening to Spotify, a music streaming program which tries to placate the music industry by farting out an annoying advert every ten seconds like an incredibly flatulent Bono. One of the said adverts had this gist:

"You know the drink adverts which always end with 'please drink responsibly'? Well what does 'please drink responsibly' actually mean? Click the link to find out blah blah blah I have no friends blah blah blah dick."

The advert, despite annoying me and disrupting the flow of whatever crap I was listening to, raised an interesting point. What does it mean to drink responsibly? So I went to the website and sought out the answer. Unsurprisingly, I did not like the answer.

It basically amounts to this. If you drink 3 to 4 'units' (as a man) or 2 to 3 (as a woman or a loser), in a single night, then you are drinking responsibly. You're probably the sort of person who brings out their 'best cutlery' at dinner parties and types full text questions into the Ask Jeeves search engine. Any more than that, and you're unfathomably reckless; an irresponsible maniac driving a car with your feet through the middle of an orphanage's playground, or juggling with anthrax canisters on a packed commuter train. A 'unit' is not very much. Two pints of Kronenbourg (or two glasses of wine) puts you over the limit. Another two and you're officially a binge drinker, a menace to society and probably a potential rapist. Congratulations.

The concept of assigning such a strict numerical value to 'responsibility' seems almost farcical. Sure, our society is one of arbitrary restrictions: speed limits to slow us down, calorie limits to stop us getting fat, bandwidth limits to stop us downloading all the porn in the world. But drinking isn't like driving, eating or masturbating: we do it for FUN, and fun isn't fun when it's limited and regulated and rammed down your throat by a bunch of smug, patronising twats. What's more, the 'responsibility quota' is so ridiculously low that if it were adhered to, the average pub trip would be shorter than Ian Huntley's Facebook friend list.

Let's face it. Most alcohol does not taste very nice. A pint of Carling might as well be a crock of fermented piss poured onto a dozen rotting egg yolks. A Bacardi Breezer, which already tastes like sugar mixed with petrol, gives your teeth a feeling more commonly associated with gnawing on tree sap. After a few yellow ones your mouth is so discoloured most people will think you have jaundice. Of course, some beers and wines are perfectly palatable, but such delicacies are generally eschewed in favour of cheaper options in the course of an average binge. The point is, when people drink alcohol, they're drinking to get drunk.

I know I'm not exactly delivering earth shattering wisdom with that last revelation. But I get the impression that these 'responsible drinking' jobsworths, with their receding hairlines and stamp collections, have spectacularly missed the point. People LIKE getting drunk. They enjoy it, silly! There's nothing better than a few pints down the pub with your mates, and then a few more drinks in the club, then maybe a few more to wash away the taste of sick in your mouth, topped-off with a dirty kebab containing more e-coli than meat, then a stumble home, a dizzying haze of half-remembered faux-pas and entanglements with the constabulary, an unconscious stupor, a groggy, joyless Sunday morning with a puddle of vomit at the end of your bed, an empty wallet strewn on the floor, and all the regret for your latest misdeeds swimming around your throbbing, aching head. What could possibly be more fun than that?

OK, maybe the last bit doesn't sound like so much fun. That's the part these responsible drinking campaigns hook in to. I guess they wouldn't be so convincing if they focused on all the positives of alcohol consumption: the disinhibition, the increased confidence, the fact that my asinine jokes sound almost amusing. Alcohol use may predicate a hangover, or sometimes an official caution, but cumulatively, the fun you'll have whilst drunk will outweigh the potential side effects or criminal record. If that baseless claim hasn't convinced you, just look at this graph which I've constructed without any evidence or scientific process whatsoever.

Binge graphing

As you can see, the graph inclines more slowly than it declines, clearly showing that you have more fun than misery on an average night out (based on time). If you're struggling to understand, don't let it worry your pretty little head, dear. Just take my word for it.

So, thanks to science and graphs, it's been irrefutably established that binge drinking is a bloody good laugh and there's no real reason not to do it. Yet I can still hear the subdued voices of the responsible drinking crowd protesting. "It's all very well if you just drink to have a good time," they whinge. "But what about the anti-social behaviour caused by alcohol?" But that's exactly the same argument as 'guns kill people'. Sure they do. So do sharks. And bendy buses. But just as the gun is held by the marauding psychopath and/or racist LAPD officer (delete as appropriate), so too is the pint of Stella held by the council estate shitbag with more Asbos than tattoos. That's where the problem is. The vast majority of people are perfectly capable of drinking 'irresponsibly' without starting a fight with a plate glass window or pissing on an elderly woman. There is such a thing as responsible binge drinking, you know.

You'll probably keep reading in the press that Britain has a binge drinking problem. That's bollocks. What we have is a binge drinking solution; a solution to the dulling monotony of existence, a solution to the suffocating restrictions of social mores, a solution to the stifling boredom that would otherwise plague our empty, meaningless lives. So raise your glasses, down your pints, and strawpedo your alcopops: three cheers for binge drinking! I'll drink to that.

Permalink || Posted 16/8/2009 by Pete


  1. Michael Criddle - 16/8/2009 - 9:00pm

    This is exactly what i've been trying to argue but with less articulate language! Amen!

  2. Ray Travers - 16/8/2009 - 10:33pm

    "But drinking isn't like driving, eating or masturbating: we do it for FUN"

    i'm sorry pete... soooo... why do you bother masturbating if you dont enjoy it?

    personally, i enjoy driving eating and masturbating. and find them just as fun as drinking. and if you combine all four... you're heading for the win right there...

  3. Ken Bigley - 16/8/2009 - 10:56pm

    I agree with Ray Travers, Peter. I used to drive, eat and masturbate for fun (when my head was attached to my body, of course).

  4. timothy matthews - 21/8/2009 - 3:44pm

    i was enjoying the article, but was forced to stop reading at the vicious and completely uncalled for snipe at ian huntley

  5. stephen - 14/9/2009 - 2:25pm

    You mean people masturbate out of duty or for survival or what?

  6. steven - 25/9/2009 - 12:41pm

    this site used to be cool

  7. leanahh - 17/12/2009 - 12:48pm

    i like what u're gettin at, but i think the 'drink responsibly' has also to do with.. u know, don't-drink-til-u're-all-retardy-cause-u-might-kill/hurt-someone.. with a car or something. 'responsibly' after all means to be able to make rational decisions while doin whatever; so altho u say drinkin is to have fun and shitfaced (as what many of us do), those adverts want us to remember.. if u're gonna drink, just remember, if u get too fucked up and are known to make stupid ass decisions when drunk.. then maybe u shudnt drink so much or at all for that matter.

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