Drink driving

After years of falling deaths as a result of drink driving, the figure stalled at around 240 between 2010 and 2014, leading to fears that educating motorists was no longer enough to stop them from driving while drunk.

In 2015, the most recent figures available, there was a drop to 200, but a spokesman for charity the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety said the overall numbers were too low for this to be seen as a definitive reduction.

Hmm. However:

Breath tests for alcohol have fallen by a quarter over five years, figures show, as campaigners warn that drunk drivers are getting away with it.

The fall in breath tests also hasn’t caused a rise, has it? Meaning that we were possibly overdoing the number before?

So, what state would be able to do something about this?

Simon died in his small house, waiting to go back into hospital to dry out. He grew up in a town with men who’d had to dig out children from the Aberfan mining disaster; he died the year Grenfell Tower burned down. When such obvious tragedies strike, the politicians and the press vow to tackle the social injustices that caused them. But Simon was just one man dying in plain sight of his neighbours, his family and state officials. Far easier to chalk up his death to a fatty liver and booze, rather than inequality and austerity and the false promises peddled by politicians from Thatcher to May. A dead man, a dying town: he spent his last days being told he’s fit for work in an economy that has next to no work.

What’s left is a younger brother beating himself up about what he should have done and angry at others for letting them both down.

Before we part, Dave asks: “Why wasn’t there someone who could step in and help? Is that naive of me? To think that a modern, 21st-century society could do that for people who need it?”

How much power would a state need in order to stop a middle aged man drinking himself to death?

Simon had always been a pub man. But now he’d get up in the morning and start on a glass of watered-down scotch and a sci-fi DVD. By the end of a day, he’d have finished the DVDs, his fags and an entire bottle of Scotch.

Having been one of Blair’s strivers, Simon was now one of George Osborne’s skivers. He was moved on to disability benefits, before the Department for Work and Pensions assessors declared him fit for work. His money would periodically stop until his GP contested the verdict. This spring, he was moved on to universal credit, which meant six weeks with barely a penny. Again and again, it was Dave who had to bail him out. It was Dave who suggested jobs Simon could apply for, small businesses he might start. The younger brother was filling in for the state, while Si lived in ripped clothes and ate junk. “The government was abusing a vulnerable man.”

What, exactly, should those powers be? And ho would want to live in a state which had such powers?

So, an interesting little thought

Probably someone’s going to get here before us. However.

Advent calendars have all become rather more posh these days. Some of them have very much more in the value of the products (usually, to be sure, the “brand” composing much of that value) than the price of them.

And then, well, how many advent calendars get sold after the beginning of advent? And how many after Christmas?

So, there will be overstocks, somewhere, and what happens to them? At what price? And how do we find out? How do we buy them?

There are bourbon tasters, beer ones, wine, fizz etc. Some of which seem to be about £50 for perhaps £80 of booze. But overstocks? Would they get down to £10? For 500 pieces say? 10 people each in for £500, that’s doable isn’t it?

But would they get down to that price and if they did, where would they be for sale?

Hmm.

And, you see, I think it would be the booze ones which would fall furthest in prices. Because who is allowed to resell them is limited by law (no e-Bay, Poundland etc).

It might just be possible to take this recycling too far

At the close of the Rootstock sustainable wine festival in Sydney last year, Tasmanian distiller Peter Bignell looked around the tasting room at the carefully-spaced spittoons and thought: what a waste.

Together the spit buckets contained about 500 litres of discarded wine, which had been swilled then dumped during the two-day event.

Some wine had been dutifully spat out by responsible tasters keen to get to the end of their extensive list with tasting notes intact, but the majority was the largely untouched leavings of an overly generous pour.

For Bignell, whose Belgrove distillery in Kempton, Tasmania, is the only one in Australia that runs entirely on biodiesel, all this wasted wine was hardly in keeping with a sustainable event.

The obvious solution was to drink it again.

After 12 months at Poor Tom’s gin distillery in Marrickville, the spit bucket wine has been transformed into an 80-proof clear spirit that tastes something like an unaged brandy.

It is, reportedly, quite nice.

Distillation will obviously have thoroughly cleaned it. But still. It’s not as if the world is short of crap wine to turn into cooking brandy now, is it?

Yes, obviously

Scottish “booze cruises” have been predicted as experts say new minimum pricing are likely to lead to people taking trips into England for cheaper alcohol.

We have a price difference between England and France, booze cruises exist. And?

Not entirely, no

On this day 500 years ago, an obscure Saxon monk launched a protest movement against the Catholic Church that would transform Europe. Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation changed not just the way Europeans lived, fought, worshipped, worked and created art but also how they ate and drank. For among the things it impacted was a drink beloved throughout the world and especially in Luther’s native Germany: beer.

The change in beer production was wrought by the pale green conical flower of a wildly prolific plant — hops.

In one – and rather archaic – meaning, beer is with hops, ale is without hops. Thus the addition of hops doesn’t change beer it creates it.

Tee hee

An Uber driver terror suspect arrested outside Buckingham Palace had originally headed for Windsor Castle but his SatNav sent him to a pub of the same name instead.

There’s the beginning of an Ealing comedy there.

Err, yes?

The New Zealand Medical Association has called for a ban on selling alcohol in supermarkets, saying that having it next to groceries and food normalises a dangerous drug.

Wine and beer have been widely available in most supermarkets around the country since 1990, although spirits can be bought only in bars and off-licences.

The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) said having alcohol in supermarkets normalised the drug, and made buying it cheap and easy – meaning people put a bottle of sauvignon blanc in their trolley alongside their bread, milk and toilet paper without a second thought.

Did New Zealand receive a particularly nasty boatload of Puritans at some point?

Gosh, how terrible

English postwar estate bars are often seen as a joke: “Never drink in a flat-roofed pub,” the saying goes. But these pubs – whether they’re 1930s-style redbrick structures with pitched roofs and large beer gardens, or forbidding cubes of wood and brick that squat in the shadow of tower blocks – are now at risk. They’re being closed and converted into shops or apartments, boarded up and left to rot, or completely wiped from the map, leaving a cleared site and an empty car park.

“There’s a huge level of threat: these pubs are dropping like flies,” says Emily Cole of Historic England.

I only scanned it and didn’t see it. Anyone else manage to find where they refer to the smoking ban?

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny

Booze created language:

He believes the need for grain to make alcohol fuelled human development and domestication.
‘We don’t know for sure and have limited archaeological evidence, but if you had your choice, which would it be?’ said Dr McGovern.
‘Once you have fermented beverages, it causes a change of behaviour, creates a mind-altering experience.
‘I think that could be important in developing language, music, the arts in general and then religion, too’, he said.

The proof of this is in what happens when you get drunk with people who nominally do not speak the same language. Matters quickly spiral (up or down, up to you) to where a primal language is understood by all.

*Barf*

“That might be Australian I suppose, but know what you mean, yep.”

No, not totally quite

Utepils
Norwegian for the act of having a beer (pils) outside (ute). An outside beer. Seriously.

There’s a stronger association than that. It’s that first beer of the year that is had outside. Literally of course the translation is correct, but there’s that usage which allies with spring is sprung, de grass is riz, I wonder where de boidies is.

Perhaps in English, signifying the move from the snug to the beer garden time of year.

The considered view from the Czech public bar – Yes

Now a Cuban proposal to use its trademark rum as a substitute currency could send the Caribbean nation’s Cold-War era creditors singing yo-ho-ho all the way to the bank.

The Czech Finance Ministry says Cuban authorities have proposed to pay back £222 million lent to the island by Communist Czechoslovakia in instalments of the spirit.

Not just on the grounds that more rum is better, nor even that Cuban rum is pretty good. One more factor, what some call rum around here is actually a potato vodka coloured with caramel. Many things would be an improvement upon this.

Transatlantic flight attendant arrested for being eight times alcohol limit

Jeez, can you actually survive that level?

An flight attendant was arrested for being eight times the alcohol limit while on board a trans-Atlantic jet.

Officers smelled alcohol on the breath of American Airlines worker Stacy Rosehill, 57, while she was carrying out an in-flight safety demonstration ahead of a flight from Manchester to Chicago.

She was escorted off the Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane in October and taken into custody as around 300 passengers were waited for takeoff. Tests showed she had 71 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit under aviation rules is 9mg.

Ah, different limit. She was actually legal to drive….that’s if I’ve read the microg bits right.

Tee hee

Tory MP ‘is quizzed by detectives over claims he sexually assaulted gay man after Eurovision party’
Ben Howlett, 30, accused of putting hands inside another man’s trousers
He allegedly then touched the man’s partner’s crotch in a Bath nightclub
Howlett, who is openly gay, was questioned under caution by detectives

No, not that. What appears to be something between a drunken fumble and a sexual assault. Rather, this:

A source said that Howelett, 30, the member for Bath, Somerset, was ‘very drunk’ at the time the offence was alleged to have happened.
The party is said to have been attended by around 30 people in one of the town’s most exclusive areas and they are said to have moved onto the Sub 13 cocktail bar.
But the attack happened in a local pub called The Common Room, where the revellers moved onto at around midnight, a source told The Sun.

So that place hasn’t changed much in 35 years then. The decor has but not the style. It’s where you go after getting pissed up somewhere else and are looking for a drunken fumble. Culture is persistent, isn’t it?

Beer contains calories? Who knew?

People in the UK and many other countries get more of their calories from alcohol than from sugary drinks like cola and lemonade, according to new data which suggests that tackling Britain’s drink problem may be more important for health than cracking down on sugar consumption.

Of 24 countries tracked by the data analysts Euromonitor International, all but one have higher daily calorie consumption from alcoholic drinks than sugary beverages. In the UK, adults are consuming more than 106 calories per head every day from alcoholic drinks, compared with 98 from sugar-sweetened drinks.

And therefore there must be labeling and a strategy to reduce consumption and so on.

The thing is that we already restrict alcohol consumption to adults. you know, those we judge competent to make up their own minds?

At which point the prodnoses can fuck off, can’t they?

And for added points we can note that if this is true of most countries then this is normal, isn’t it?

Booze cheap or cinema expensive?

Alcohol now so cheap 13 pints can be bought for price of cinema ticket

Looks like it’s cinema which is expensive:

Teenagers are able to buy more than 13 pints of cider for the price of a cinema ticket, according to a new report which says children are being put at risk by “pocket money prices.”

The study from the Alcohol Health Alliance says supermarkets are selling alcohol at prices that are attracting children and harmful drinkers, because of the absence of minimum prices.

The research found the cheapest alcohol being sold at 16 pence per unit – far below a 50 pence limit which was debated, before being shelved by the Coalition Government.

Consumers could buy two and a half bottles of the cheapest white cider – Frosty Jacks – containing more than 13 pints for the standard £8.24 paid for an off-peak cinema tickets, the study found.

And what’s this about teenagers? Got to be 18 to buy cider don’t you?

Freed from the yoke of Europe!

Mr Berry said he had “fantasised about the return of the pint” of champagne for decades. He added that “now we are no longer beholden to Brussels” and could “drink our champagne from God’s own bottle size”.

A pint of champagne was “such a perfect sized bottle,” he said. “You get four proper sized glasses from it – as opposed to six from a bottle, or three from a half-bottle.

“Champagne is designed to be shared, preferably with one other person. Six glasses between two is – if you’re carrying on to another bottle with dinner – too much.

“However three glasses are certainly too little to share between two people – one for me, one for you, and a dribble for us both to finish with?

And why the fuck not, eh?

Action this day.