How much more drink can we consume?
When no booze is good news
24 hour licenses are the lager lout’s dream come true. Words: John b McGonagle ith the progression of the licensing hill through parliament. last orders could soon be a thing of llte past in lingland and Wales - and no dotibt in liberal Scotland too. licensing laws haven't changed
since l‘)l5. when they were enforced to stop factory workers harming the war
effort. If the public couldn't he trusted to limit its alcohol consumption in a time of national peril. why shotild it be trusted llow'.’
Alcohol is the most lethal psychoactive drug in this country. l-‘orget tabloid hysteria concerning heroin or ecstasy; statistically. the incidence of alcohol— related death in the [K is far higher. So why is the government trying to make alcohol available on a 24-hour basis'.’ The justification for this lunacy is that change in the licensing laws will lead people to develop a more responsible attitude towards alcohol consumption and eliminate hinge drinking and violent behaviour. Nonsense. People _ don't drink to excess because they blnge are afraid the bar is going to close. b ' 5 They hinge because it's an integral. _ ecause It s an well-documented part of British Intregal, well- culture. and has been ever since the
time of the Vikings. Less well . . documented is the Vikings swinging BrltISh their horned helmets in an attempt to
catch llelga the barmaid's eye during
The [K holds a completely different. warped attitude towards drinking from most of our liuropean counterparts. llere. drunkenness is seen as something to be proud of and is tied tip with bravado. masculinity and hilarity. l have vivid memories of two Real Madrid fans. visiting (ilasgow for the (‘hampions League liinal last year. being teased by the locals because they were sharing a bottle of beer.
Anybody who argues that having pubs open all day will suddenly encourage people to moderate their drinking has obviously just been out on a
big one themselves. People go out to get drunk. The 34-hour availability of
alcohol will only offer more scope to people looking for drunken misadventure. Introducing the licensing hill to parliament last November. Tony Blair said: "The very fixed nature of the hours sometimes means you get problems outside pubs in city centres at particular hours of the eyening.' Isn‘t it a relief to know that problems will now be spread out throughout the day '.’ If the change in the law goes ahead. I'd like to organise a holiday for the politicians who supported it. 1‘]! take them otit of the suburbs where they entertained dreams of European cafe society. and move them into the city centre blighted with noise and disorder. I‘ll take them onto the streets. where increased anti-social behaviour will manifest itself. Then on to a garish bar. where 1‘” make them drink as much as all the other unfettered people there. until daylight. And if they can remember their promises the next day. I'll kick them out of bed and back to parliament to have licensing laws reinstated.
10 THE LIST 3—17 Jo
T in the Park
Music The tenth T brings on the likes of the mighty White Stripes, The Polyphonic Spree. REM. ROyksopp and The Streets. See Feature. page 18. Balado.
DVD Thirty years after his mysterious death. a chance to sample the antics of the most famous tracksuit-topped kung fu maestro ever. See Buy it this Fortnight. page 101. Hong Kong Legends.
Art A somewhat neglected peer of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock has his debut British retrospective. See Art. page 85. City Art Centre, Edinburgh.
Books Easy Rawlins gets another outing as the USA's prime crime scribe gives us Six Easy Pieces. See Books. page 102. Serpent's Tail.
Clubs Jazzie B and his Soul II Soul sound system meet some local favourites for true beats enlightenment. See Clubs, page 74. King '3 Court, Glasgow.
Film Steve Buscemi's second directorial outing is a supreme adaptation of Edward Bunker's violent prison drama. See Film, page 28. UGC, Glasgow.
Darien: Disaster in Paradise TV Another disaster for Scotland as we relive the fated 1700 Panama expedition to create a new town in the jungle. See TV. page 109. BBC2.
Film A one-off opportunity to witness Carl Dreyer's 1955 hypnotic masterpiece about grief, faith and pigtails. See Film, page 28. Filmhouse, Edinburgh.
House on the Borderland Comics A dandy graphic adaptation of William Hope Hodgson's classic gothic tale. See Comics, page 104. DC Comics.
Records A spectacular live album of Arabic- Spanish infused with smoky flamenco-rumba and sensual instrumentation. No joke. See Records, page 105. World Circuit.