Apologies in advance for a slightly silly friday evening post, but one thing that has got up my (fairly long) nose for some time now is the fairly persistent commentary about how great it would be if we adopted a “continental” drinking culture. For one thing, its part of a broader, longer-standing tendency amongst the elites to blast the masses by contrasting them with their better ordered and more beautiful foreign counterparts. Moreover it draws upon the idea that drinking to get hammered is somehow morally unacceptable. This view was expressed quite explicitly a few years back, when NuLab minister Vernon Coaker quite ridiculously said “some people think its acceptable to drink and get drunk and we want to change that.”
Since I have already written at length in opposition to the moral panic about alcohol, and since it is Friday night, I would like to offer you just this brilliant old English folk song. Martin Said To His Man dates back to at least the 16th century and celebrates the mind-blurring, sense-dulling effects of booze. The basic premise is that Martin is saying “fie man fie” (you’re talking shit) to his mate, who really does appear to be talking a lot of drunk rubbish. Verse four – “I saw the maid milk the bull…” – is particularly worthy of the listeners attention.
Fill thou the cup and I the can!
Enjoy friday night.