Binge drinking

It’s great. You can’t argue with that. A few too many beers with your pals, a bit of a dance or some karaoke, then a cornish pasty on the last train home: what could be better? But binge drinkers are getting a lot of bad press at the moment. If you’re famous and creative, it’s ok to be a drunk: Oliver Reed, Jeffrey Barnard and Shane MacGowan are (were) all loveable drunks, the beer fuelling their creativity. But young, working class drunks are only doing what the English have famously been doing for centuries: getting hammered, vomiting in a shop doorway, then having a punch up. In fact, it’s said that the night before the battle of Hastings, while the Normans prayed, the English Troops got legless on light ale. So remember, next time you’re in the pub – you’re drinking for England.

Please drink responsibly.

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Alpha male

By Neil Smith

When I was a boy my Dad said to me ‘Son, a firm handshake is a sign of strong character’. I don’t really do the big powerful handshake thing – I just kind of adjust the pressure ’til it more or less matches that of the ‘shakee’. I think it’s only polite. These days when I shake my Dad’s hand (at funerals or New Year’s Day) I do tend to turn up the pressure to ‘strong character’ to keep the old man happy. I find the big handshake moment in business meetings a bit tiresome (it’s always the little fellas that are the worse) with the eye contact thing and the palm-down death grip. They think they’re letting me know who’s boss – but I think it’s probably just a trick they learned in the ‘assertiveness’ module of their ‘marketing for short people’ course. They don’t scare me – unlike the Dutch graphic design student whose vice-like grip brought tears to my eyes and resulted in an operation to pin my 5th metacarpal. It turned out that I’d broken my hand a few weeks earlier in an inter design group football match brawl, but hadn’t noticed. Brawling in a friendly football match – now that’s the sign of a strong character.