Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trollied Tuesday: Method Acting

I had been wondering whether or not to write something about the latest distressing outbreak in which Labour and the Tories compete to find ways to make life disagreeable for drinkers, the drinks industry in the folorn hope that it would somehow pursuade a hardcore bolus of yobboes to change their ways. I did not feel inspired, so imagine my delight when the following story dropped into my lap. (Thanks, Dominic).

Briefly, it concerns a group of German actors who found a way of performing one of the greatest literary works of the last century in the proper fashion.

Actors at a Frankfurt theater in Germany have had their “15 minutes of fame” after they fell off the stage in the middle of a performance based on Venedikt Erofeyev's “Moscow-Petushki” postmodern Soviet masterpiece.

According to Bild, authentic vodka was used as a stage set and the four German actors got progressively drunk as the performance continued.

Read more

.. The public was unaware of what was really going on applauding the drunk actors, thinking their behavior was all part of the act.

The true reason became clear only after one of the actors fell off the stage and another found himself under the table.

(NB: news source is Russian, so the linguistic quirks idiomatic infelicities can be put down to that. Or vodka. Or both.)

Anyway, a purist might complain that vodka is put a small part of the full Venichka retinue of booze. Why no Zighuli beer? Why, indeed no Sadko the Wealthy Guest Shampoo or indeed the full Dog's Giblets? But these are small quibbles. I can only say bravo. And encore. What price a stage version of Withnail & I in which the actors match the characters' consumption? It would annoy all the right people. Or even a dramatisation of some of Michel Houellebecq's works. It could even be enlivened further with the introduction of real-life [stop right there].

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A brief note on attempts to enforce clean living. The most ludicrous scare story concerns that claim that the average Scot drinks 46 bottle of vodka a year. A 75cl bottle of vodka contains 26.5 units of alcohol. At a rate of less than one bottle a week, I calculate the average Scots man is under the safe limit and women only a little over. As ever, it's the ones drinking lots and lots that are the problem. Not the average drinker who is, unfortunately, far easier to bash when politicians or the health authorities seek a convenient scapegoat in lieu of effective action.

A little more more sensible is this report on Buckfast, perceived source of so many of central Scotland's woes. At least it accepts that the alcohol content per se is not the problem (albeit it ignores the telling fact that the Scottish "government's" minimum pricing policies do not affect Buckie); rather it's the mix of caffeine and alcohol seems to have such an unfortunate effect on the people who drink it.

That may be the case, although I am not aware of any major problems caused by the excessive consumption of rum and cokes or Irish coffees (bar nausea, perhaps); as ever it is how people drink and how they respond to it that is the problem, not the drink itself. In other words, is Buckfast bad, or is it the people who drink it that are to blame?

The other figure from the Buckfast report is that the drink is responsible for three crimes a day.
It's worth thinking about that. Drink-fuelled violence is disagreeable to be sure. I've been on the receiving end myself (always in Scotland, perhaps not coincidentally); but it is not as big a problem as some like to make out.

Is it a problem on such a scale to justify the constant attempts at petty harassment aimed at drinkers and the drinks trade? I think not.

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