Sunday, March 08, 2009

Where the women smell of mutton and look like Jimmy Krankie

THERE ARE few compensations for those unfortunate to live north of the border, where the weather is foul, the food deep-fried and where all the women smell of mutton and look like Jimmy Krankie. Trust me, it bears little resemblance to the idyllic scenes you see on the front of shortbread tins.

One of those very few compensations has always been the Jocks’ tolerance of public drunkenness, to the point that the only way to safely walk down a city centre street after nine o’clock at night is to be bladdered yourself, your own drunken weavings then mysteriously co-ordinating with the wobbles of oncoming imbibers like some kind of intricate plankton dance.

I remember with head-banging horror the first New Year I spent in the Far North – on a small island in Shetland, so probably more Scandinavian than Caledonian. There were 12 houses on this island (I say houses, but hovels is probably more accurate). In each house was, on average, eight people. It began early on December 30th. A group from one house would set off to the next house, dodging puzzled sheep being blown past them at head height in the constant blizzard, where each visitor would then give each resident a dram from his or her bottle. The recipients would then reciprocate with a dram of their own. And then on to the next house, and the next. When you got back to your own quarters you simply started again.

This went on for several days – how many I can’t tell you, because I can’t stand whisky and was therefore in bits by early afternoon on Day One. Suffice to say, I’ve never touched a drop since and never will. But I think we’ve established the fact that strong drink is an integral part of Scotch culture.

And cheap strong drink even more so. I was hugely impressed to see an item on the telly a few weeks back claiming that you could buy seven, one-litre bottles of cider (I think it was a brand called ‘Lunatic Soup’) for just a tenner in some Glasgow corner shops. Let’s see John Lewis match that.

But, it seems, no more. Ministers are set to introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol in what is called a radical plan to reduce binge drinking. It is alleged that alcohol misuse costs the NHS and the justice system £25billion a year (although the Ministry of Guesswork may have had a hand in that calculation) with a disproportionate share of the bill coming from Scotland. Another statistic claims that the average Scot gets through 125 bottles of wine a year, which seems rather modest to me, even if you factor in the teetotal percentage of the Presbyterian population who worship at the Wee Free.

The idea is that your average alcoholic scrote will be priced out of the market, unable to afford to buy the drug of his choice. (Although that doesn’t seem to have bothered the heroin and crack addicts, who’ll simply burgle your house to fund their habit. Have they really thought this through?)

So tell me then, Lord McPorridge. Where will you pitch your price to stamp out this avalanche of alcoholism? The answer, it seems, is 40 pence per unit. That heinous charge will make the average 13 per cent alcohol bottle of wine a whopping … £3.90.

Three pounds ninety? Are they joking? That’s really going to stem the tide, even in a place where you can get seven litres of cider for a tenner. You’d be hard put to find a drinkable bottle of plonk at that price in most supermarkets.

So it all seems a bit daft. Perhaps we can rely on those rebellious Scots to boot this daft idea into touch before the idiots down here catch on to it. But then, they did cave into the smoking ban a full year ahead of the rest of us …

LAST WEEK I was complaining that while we were being subjugated by a camera-saturated state jackboot, it was now an arrestable offence for a Japanese tourist to take a photograph of a policeman. Well you’ll be glad to know that they’re just as heavy-handed when it comes to their own. (The cops that is, not the Japanese tourists.)

The kitchen in a police station in Brighton has had problems recently with rubbish littering the floor, spilt food and dirty crockery left in the sink. Instead of doing what you or I would do and leaving a stroppy Post-It note above the sink, senior plod instead decided to install a CCTV camera above the sink in a bid to catch the guilty parties. So that’s the police, spying on themselves, in their own police station.

Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett (he’s new, so that might explain a lot) said: “A small minority of people have been misusing the facilities. I have therefore had to reluctantly take the decision to use an overt camera to dissuade people from spoiling the facility for others”. (Can’t you just hear that pinched, nasal drone?)

So there we have it. Too busy to catch alcohol-crazed Scotch burglars, but more than ready to nab whoever left that festering Pot Noodle in the sink. It really is enough to make a cat laugh.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheap booze abounds in rural Dorset and the surrounding area. I buy a 4 litre flagon of cider (7.4% ABV) for £5.50. It's not bad either! The only "problem" is that you have to drink it within two weeks because it goes off. It's hard work but I manage it.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason it would take 2 weeks to manage 4 litres of Dorset cider is that 13 days of that you would be sitting on the bog pissing through your bum.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous bristolblackthorn said...

in bristol you can get 8 litres of cider for a tenner so best keep this to yourself or the porridge wogs will be movin south west

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Duncan Disordelay said...

Bristol is full of red faced taffies for that reason.

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Ungentlemanly Conduct said...

That revolting picture of Jimmy and Mr Krankie only serves to remind me that the pair of them have frequent sex. With each other. A boy and his dad. And it isn't even illegal. It bloody well should be in my opinion. It isn't illegal for Jimmy Krankie to drink cheap cider either.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Mystic Trousers said...

Waddyamean, he's not really a boy? "He" is only a 4 foot nothing female dwarf who is married to his dad? Only its not his dad, but his husband? They want horse-whipping, if you ask me, bloody perverts.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Grimy Miner said...

This 'Jimmy Krankie' disguise must have started as an erotic sex act interrupted by 'Wee Jimmy's ' mum - hence the 'Oh, it's part of our act, honest, Mum' and now being irrevocably tied to walking about ( or aboot, if you are of Caledonian persuasion ) in schoolboy gear ( or trews )

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Hamish MacMarsbar said...

In 2003, "Wee Jimmy Krankie" was voted "The Most Scotch Person In The World" by the readers of The Glasgae Herald.

All ye sassenachs calling ham only Jimmy Krankie have taken the Wee.

1:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that all "new" senior police officers feel the need to "make their mark"??

4:18 AM  
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