Julie Burchill: Tell us to drink 'moderately' and we'll just crack open another one

Notebook

Share
Related Topics

Professor Nick Heather, a professor of alcohol and drug studies (ooh – I want that job!) has suggested to the House of Commons Science and Technology committee that drinking guidelines should be updated to include a "binge drinking limit" of eight units a day for men and six units for women. Yeah, that's SO gonna work!

Because when we've decided to throw caution to the wind and get messy big time, we're so going to be checking out our binge-drinking limit on the Government website between shots. I daresay that the likes of Prof Heather have all sorts of letters after their names, but I can't help thinking that four of those should be F.O.O.L if they believe that you can put a cap on the human instinct to get trashed from time to time which exists in many of us.

The thing about the desire for intoxication is that the history of it entirely defies finger-wagging from both right- and left-wing Puritans. The mummies in Latin America and Egypt who were found to have evidence of cocaine use in their hair weren't getting wasted because there had been a breakdown in family life. They all did it because it felt good.

It's dumb enough to think you can tell moderate drinkers what to do, but to us bingers such curtain-twitching is a red rag to a bull – especially when seen from the outside of a few Vodka Red Bulls. We may not be the prettiest, smartest or most cultured in the world, but who score high in GSOH and a healthy contempt for official BS.

At a time when so many sorts of experts stand revealed as know-nothing monkey-shiners, and when the future seems so very dodgy indeed, the likelihood of people exercising caution with their sorrow-drowning in order to prepare themselves for a bright new tomorrow seems about as likely as me becoming a teetotaller. L'chaim!

Talking of alcohol, I was amused to see that Nancy Dell'Olio – the Italian vamp whose main claim to fame is still being made to look seven sorts of fool by that spooky Swede – is outraged at being accused of dancing while drunk by one of the Strictly Come Dancing judges, and has threatened him with legal action.

Kids today! When I was a young whipper-snapper of Nancy's age, we would have taken great pride in being accused of dancing as if we had "inhaled two gallons of Veuve Clicquot". Instead, after scoring the lowest mark of the show, Nance is banging on about having a bad leg and being dozy with painkillers or some such drear.

Though Dell'Olio comes on like gangbusters in interviews, this sort of situation is when you see the difference between the truly confident person and the blustery windbag who breaks just like a little girl (or boy) if someone says something nasty about them. Some of the things that have been said about me in my long, mucky life! And it would never occur to me to sue over any of them – never explain, never complain.

Not even when some half-witted fellow hack wrote a piece about how I was sexually obsessed with Osama bin Laden – me, who's so anti-Islamofascist I make Avigdor Lieberman look like the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem! But as I've never cared what my friends, parents, husbands or children think about me, it would be dishonest and bogus to pretend I care about the opinions of stark staring strangers.

Stiff upper lip, Nancy! You're in Blighty now. And take a tip from a true drunk, Dean Martin, who even on nights when he was on the wagon would put cold tea in a highball glass and sip it as if it was Scotch rather than seem a priss to his adoring Vegas audiences. Now THAT'S class.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mary Christmas: the Bethlehem story is Mary's moment, when a poor peasant girl gives birth to the Son of God in a stable  

The appeal of the Virgin Mary: A supernatural hope at a time of scepticism

Peter Stanford
 

Letters: Why Cameron is wrong about EU child benefits

Independent Voices
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there