Sunday, June 10, 2007

Journalist likes drink, shock

An enjoyable piece by Alan Watkins in the Sindie today. (I don't read the thing, so I am indebted to Ross for sending it to me).

I concur with his sentiments, and will probably look just like he does in that byline in a few years time. A price worth paying, I think. (Splendidly, it now strikes me that Watkins looks rather like the great Charles James Fox).

I should offer a couple of caveats, however.

He talks about the 'three-bottle' drinkers of the golden age (ie the late 18th/ early 19th century when politicians could be drunks, profligates, whore-mongers, gamblers etc, but also had to be erudite, eloquent and opinionated [okay, the corruption of the time puts modern Italy in the shade, but you get the idea]). However, the bottles of port the 19th C boys enjoyed were somewhat smaller than today's bottles.

Then again, the proper drinkers (eg Fox, Sheridan and Pitt) got through about five a night. Pitt reputedly threw up behind the Speakers' Chair mid-debate on occasion. It was attributed to nerves, but I suspect these nerves were akin to the stomach bug which afflicted Charles Kennedy.

Watkins is also on shaky ground, I think, when he holds up the 1974-79 Labour government as an exemplar of how to do things. (Rather as Jimmy Carter was being somewhat bold in accusing President Bush of being a dangerous religious zealot with a disastrous Middle East policy. As another reliably thirsty hack has entertainingly observed.)

UPDATE: French drinking habits may not be quite so idyllic. According to this report, drunken brawls across the south of France are being disrupted by games of petanque.

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Blogger Quink said...

I'm going a bit off beam here, but David Niven was a two-bottle-of-wine a day man. Though that was a mere splash compared to what his second wife Hjördis drank.

2:13 pm  

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