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

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for skepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears