Tag Archives: drinking

Called to the Bar

Dear Judge O’Donnell,

I’d like to apply for an exemption order allowing the pub beside our office to open on Good Friday.

This is because a “Special Event” is taking place in the area. I have to work that day.

In case my boss is reading this (and the fact that this is a possibility is a whole new story I have to tell you all), I would like to point out that I’m not saying that me working is a “Unique Event”. I’m just saying that it’s a “Special Event”, in accordance with the meaning of that phrase applied by you yourself, Judge. 

You ruled that the pubs in the Limerick area can open on Friday because Munster are playing Leinster in the least important rugby competition of all, and in which they play each other twice a season anyway. In other words, a “Special Event” is one which takes place regularly, and which no-one gives a damn about.

Well, I work about 48 Fridays a year, and no-one gives a flying fart about the fact that I’ve to work on this one. The two cases are so similar it’s uncanny.

One of the reasons you gave for the exemption was the health and safety issue. Well, there will be about 50 people working in my office on Friday. Can you imagine what it will be like when they all spill out onto the street at 5.30 with nowhere to go except, well, home? The footpath outside will be dangerously crowded for at least two minutes.

But imagine instead if we were all allowed into the pub next door. Just think of the boost to our local (in every sense) economy. Why, if we all had three drinks each the pub would make almost a grand, which in these hard times is not to be sneezed at (especially since the pub doesn’t sell snuff).

Obviously I don’t expect you to allow all the pubs in the country to open. They don’t all have a “Special Event” going on nearby (though you can bet that they will have next year), so that would be silly. No, your excellent ruling means that, while most of the country can’t do something that’s perfectly legal on 363 other days of the year, the people in the area around our office will be able to go to the pub whether they’ve taken any part in the “Special Event” or not.   

In fact, bearing in mind that our office is quite near the Four Courts, you could stroll down yourself after work.

I’ll buy you a pint.

Early House

Ok, I’m here.

I arrived last night, went rambling, found the hotel where the awards are on tonight, but couldn’t find the entrance. Eventually, just when I decided that you must have to make a Harry Potter-style run at a blank wall to get in, I found the entrance up a narrow lane.

I’m staying in this hotel

The Meyrick, right in the centre of Galway, and if ever someone deserves an award it’s the person who took that picture. See the lovely grounds at the front? That’s actually Eyre Square. And the hotel is grey, not white, and isn’t as big in real life.

It is nice, though, but it does have one big drawback for a blogger. It doesn’t have Wi-Fi (God, listen to me. I actually sound as if I know what I’m talking about). In the welcome booklet in my room, there’s an A-Z of services the hotel provides, but there’s nothing under “I” for Internet (and for that matter there’s nothing under “C” for Compyoothur).

And that is THE ONLY REASON why I’m in the Porterhouse Bar at 11 am, drinking Galway Hooker Beer (couldn’t just use their internet without buying anything).

If you meet me tonight, not only will I be the one smelling of strawberry, I’ll be the one asleep in the corner.

Boy With the Black Stuff

In Flann O’Brien’s book The Third Policeman he suggests the theory that, after a lifetime spent in the saddle of a bike, the molecules of policeman and bike would start to mingle, and eventually the policeman would become part bike, leaning against walls while idle, etc.

If his theory is correct, it is possible that I am now 70% Guinness, and therefore should make brief reference to this special day. Today is Arthur’s Day, celebrating the fact that the Guinness brewery was founded 250 years ago in 1759, and at 17:59 today a concert is taking place in the Guinness Storehouse which will be broadcast, in pubs only, all around the world.

Pint of GuinnessIt may surprise those of my readers not from here that not everybody in Ireland drinks Guinness. It is possible to retain’s one’s Irishness while not liking it, in the same way that it is not obligatory for us to like Riverdance, boiled bacon & cabbage, or those songs that begin with a long nasal “Neeeeahhhh”, which can only be sung with one’s eyes closed and one hand cupped over one ear.

It is true, though, that Guinness has come to be seen as a symbol of the Irish, and rightly so. It is popular, inclined to be bitter, and too much can give you a real headache.

I’ve only recently reverted to Guinness, having actually stopped drinking it for a few years. Like a 50-year-old flirting with a selection of blonde ladies, I underwent my own mid-life crisis by flirting with a succession of bland lagers. As an excuse for this infidelity I can only offer the standard male excuse, which is that Guinness drove me to it. As a wife will change for the worse after a marriage (I only get away with stuff like this coz Mrs Tin doesn’t read this blog) Guinness altered for the worse after it had originally ensnared me.

Back in the 1970s Guinness introduced a new stout called Guinness Light (with the unfortunately prescient tag-line “they said it couldn’t be done”). It was less heavy and bitter, and aimed at younger drinkers, so I drank it one night. I should point out that I was not a mad teenager on a weekend spree, I was a guy in his 20s out with his brother and sister-in-law for a couple of quiet Tueday night drinks. So the fact that I spent the following days vomiting solidly (if such a thing is possible),till I was eventually throwing up green stuff that I reckoned was the lining of my stomach, was entirely down to the product, and not at all due to my youthful excesses.

And apparently I wasn’t alone, as Guinness Light died a quick and unmourned death. Instead of leaving well enough alone, however, Guinness were still determined to attract the younger drinker, so about a decade ago they messed with the formula of the Guinness pint itself.

Prior to this Guinness was a heavy drink with the consistency of soup. When they messed with it they produced instead a load of watery shite that gives you, well, watery shite, and although they quickly realised their error, they have never been able to get the original standard back  (If you think this is just nostalgia talking, notice how many of their ads relate to quality control, and to how many people they have on the road checking the standard of the pint. They know themselves that they have a problem).

No article about Guinness would be complete without a brief mention of its effects on your insides. For an accurate and hilarious description of a visit to the toilet after a night drinking Guinness I recommend Twenty Major’s first novel, and all I say in addition is that you will notice that Dr Gillian McKeith has never had a Guinness drinker on her programme, because if she had it would cure of her of her curious obsession with poo forever.

Anyway, today is Guinness’s birthday, and for all that I have given out about it here, I am doing so in the same way that one gives out about a favoured uncle – full of deprecation, but with an underlying affection.

Here’s to the next 250 years.

Why? Because it’s There

ClosestWorkBuddy emailed me a copy of a report from the BBC News yesterday. It essentially said that there are nine categories of drinker, as listed below:

The Nine Types of Drinker
Name Characteristics Key motivations
Depressed drinker Life in a state of crisis eg recently bereaved, divorced or in financial crisis Alcohol is a comforter and a form of self-medication used to help them cope
De-stress drinker Pressurised job or stressful home life leads to feelings of being out of control and burdened with responsibility Alcohol is used to relax, unwind and calm down and to gain a sense of control when switching between work and personal life. Partners often support or reinforce behaviour by preparing drinks for them
Re-bonding drinker Relevant to those with a very busy social calendar Alcohol is the ‘shared connector’ that unifies and gets them on the same level. They often forget the time and the amount they are consuming
Conformist drinker Traditional guys who believe that going to the pub every night is ‘what men do’ Justify it as ‘me time’. The pub is their second home and they feel a strong sense of belonging and acceptance within this environment
Community drinker Drink in fairly large social friendship groups The sense of community forged through the pub-group. Drinking provides a sense of safety and security and gives their lives meaning. It also acts a social network
Boredom drinker Typically single mums or recent divorcees with restricted social life Drinking is company, making up for an absence of people. Drinking marks the end of the day, perhaps following the completion of chores
Macho drinker Often feeling under-valued, disempowered and frustrated in important areas of their life Have actively cultivated a strong ‘alpha male’ that revolves around their drinking ‘prowess’. Drinking is driven by a constant need to assert their masculinity and status to themselves and others
Hedonistic drinker Single, divorced and/or with grown up children Drinking excessively is a way of visibly expressing their independence, freedom and ‘youthfulness’ to themselves. Alcohol used to release inhibitions
Border dependents Men who effectively live in the pub which, for them, is very much a home from home A combination of motives, including boredom, the need to conform, and a general sense of malaise in their lives

When I asked why she sent it to me, she just laughed. I suppose I do mention the pub a lot.

The scary thing is that I reckon I fit into five of the nine groups. Even ‘Border Dependents’, which I had taken to be someone who drinks to celebrate the Peace process is going well, turns out to be one. the only ones I don’t have are four, six, seven and eight, and even seven, the macho drinker, is one I had when younger.

It’s very worrying. It’s enough to drive you to drink.

Mein Host, with the Most

Last night I went to the pub. As we had no tea-bags I was ordered asked by Mrs Tin to bring home a box from the little shop next door. I did buy them, but left them on the counter of the pub when I was leaving.

This morning I got up early to go and get some before I went to work, but when I got outside the box of teabags was sitting on the bonnet of my car, as the bar owner had found them after I left, and had driven up to my house (half-a-mile in the opposite direction to where he lives) to leave them there.

That’s why people have locals.