The Joys of Modern Life: 62. BRITAIN'S LICENSING LAWS

"IT HAD been a relatively uneventful flight, with the usual mediocre food, movies New Yorkers like myself had already seen twice, and the required bunch of rowdy US teenagers who were, like, so excited they could buy alcohol. So when the flight touched down at Heathrow, they were drunk, a baby was screaming, and I was eyeing the emergency exit.

By the time I made it to the confines of my London flat, I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was nip across the street to a local bar for a quick drink before bed. But by now, it was well past the 11pm drinking curfew. Distraught and restless, I gave up, and downed two sleeping pills instead.

At the time, I was annoyed by Britain's drinking laws - which to New Yorkers might seem antiquated and out of tune with contemporary urban living. But in retrospect, I now believe it is one of the true joys of London life.

London is thriving, more cosmopolitan than almost anywhere else in the world, yet even in the late 20th century it is still healthier than Los Angeles could ever hope to be.

The 11pm curfew on pubs and 1am curfew on most bars and restaurants helps not only to make sure that people don't drink too much but also that they get to bed early, sober, and alone. It is the ultimate form of safe sex. London demands you receive a good night's sleep.

Wth Kate Moss's recent highly publicised retreat to the capital after suffering "exhaustion," London is poised to become the next big rehab, get-away-from-it-all spot. The licensing laws ensure tourists rise early to enjoy an entire day of your great British weather. So next time you question those laws, just remember, your country is looking out for both you and your liver.

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