Monday, 15 August 2011

Stand Up for Sit Down Drinking

Scotland is a country with amongst the highest rates of obesity, heroin use - I maintain that we must be the only country in the world with obese heroin addicts - and alcoholism in Europe.  Only Finland are able to compete, although they don't seem to be too concerned; in fact Finland came third in a recent poll investigating standards of living, which means they must do a pretty good job presenting the positive side to over eating, drinking, and shooting up.

We however are not so optimistic in Scotland.  The Scottish government have set out plans to fight our excessive drinking culture - which makes sense I suppose considering excessive drinking tends to result in fighting anyway - but they are missing the point, without a drinking culture in Scotland there would be no culture, drinking is our culture.

Consider our ancient traditions, heroes, and pastimes and you can't help but think our ancestors were pished when they conceived them.  'Tossing the Caber' for example is just the 15th century equivalent of stealing traffic cones.

The 'tossing of the caber' actually has it origins in bridge building.  The caber would be thrown across a burn - Scottish word for stream - or river with the objective to have it land as straight and flat as possible in order to create a simple bridge.  Which proves my point, only a drunk Scottish person would consider this a more appropriate method than just 'building a bridge'.

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art which combines deadly strikes, kicks and punches with aesthetic dance and music.  Capoeira originated in Brazil in the 17th century and claims to be the first to blend dance and martial arts; look at Highland dancing however and you'd have to say that we were at it centuries before them.  My mum used to send me to highland dancing lessons - retribution for being born male - and the more I did Highland Dancing the more I realised it's just a series of hops and kicks designed to keep people away from you.  It doesn't take a genius to work out that kneeing and kicking at waist height could have been potentially disabling to our kilt wearing ancestors.  Perhaps it was a way for young Scottish woman to keep undesirables away from them.

Apparently the world's first recorded circumcision occurred just after Highland Dancers started dancing the 'Sword Dance'.

Consider for a second what life would be like without the ingenious inventions and revelations of drunk Scottish people.  If Alexander Fleming wasn't a lazy bastard who couldn't be arshed washing up a mouldy petri dish we'd have no penicillin, millions would die, and Alexander Graham Bell only invented the phone so he could call his ex-girlfriend at silly o'clock at night.

Drunk phone calls always end in self-loathing in the foetal position - just me..??  Thankfully for Alexander Graham Bell texting came sometime later.

Golf is another favourite Scottish pastime.   Devised in the links of Lothian and Fife as early as the 16th century, golf is a game so obviously invented by a Scotsman due to fact it is essentially a sport that revolves around a pub.

All great decisions by Scottish people have been made made when they were drunk.  Do you really think Robert the Bruce would have taken on a 22,000 strong army at Bannockburn if he was sober..??  There's a story from the first day of battle which sums up the whole encounter.  An English Knight spotted Bruce unarmoured, carrying only an axe, the Knight drew his lance and charged towards the Scottish King.  Bruce hit the Knight so hard he broke his axe and the heavily armoured Knight's head in the process.  Bruce expressed only regret at breaking his axe.  This episode sums up the Scottish psyche, a Scotsman thinks he can take on anyone when he's drunk.

That, and we're quite handy with an axe.

Scottish people only make poor decisions when they're sober.  Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite army for example, conquered Edinburgh, defeated the heavily armed and outnumbered government army at Prestonpans, sacked Carlisle, and made for London making it as far as Derby.  Their unprecedented success was only usurped when they began to sober up and started on a disastrous retreat back to Scotland.

Telling Scottish people not to get drunk is like telling water not to be wet.  Whisky - aside from Susan Boyle - is after all our most famous export - and Susan Boyle is a clear and obvious illustration of how important alcohol is to the male population of West Lothian, how else are they supposed to make love to their woman..??

I've done a little travelling in my time and everywhere I have gone I've always encountered drunk people, our problem is that we're just a little more vocal than others.  When you are abroad and people find out you are Scottish they expect you to be drunk.  A few years ago a pal and I were staying in a hostel in Miami, we would sit out on the terrace most days at around four o'clock and have a few beers, the American boys thought this was pretty mental.

Our mates would probably have made fun of us for drinking Corona Light at four o'clock in the evening, horses for courses I suppose.

In my opinion there is a simple and obvious solution to the negative effects of our - and perhaps Finland's - drinking culture.  When you are on holiday there is an air of sophistication, an enjoyable ambiance centred around the option of getting drunk while sitting down.  The folk around you are drunk, you just don't notice them because they're sitting down.  Perhaps if there was more seating on, or around the streets of our fair nation our country's binging habits could be more easily reversed.

We've all been there, you have ended up lying in the gutter purely because there was nowhere suitable to sit - just me..??

So, I say raise a toast to our drinking culture, salute our excessive ancestors, and shoot down the drinking culture vultures.  Nicola Sturgeon take note, chill out, sit down and crack open a beer. 

Slange ava..!!

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