Cartoons to end all binge-drinking

07 March, 2008

Et tu Brute? As if the government and the cops and the pub trade and the thought police weren't enough, the latest attack on off-licences has come from the Society of Independent Brewers - the very people working to get local beers into shops through their Direct Delivery Scheme. SIBA has commissioned spoof reproductions of 18th-century satirist William Hogarth's famous engraving Gin Lane. "Binge Lane" shows drunken tramps, fighting youths and scantily-clad schoolgirls outside an off-licence cunningly named Beer Gin Booze - while "Pub Street" shows a collection of overweight bourgeois guzzling pints of ale in a much more sedate environment. SIBA chairman Peter Amor said: "The pub is practically the only place where you can drink draught beer, and people's behaviour there is subject to strict controls by the licensee and by the presence of mature, well-behaved regular customers who wouldn't stand for any kind of trouble." That's right folks, just keep telling yourselves that.

Suddenly I see ... me in the dock

Scottish songstrel KT Tunstall has admitted a murky past working among us - in an off-licence in St Andrews. And not just that, she "sexually harassed" her boss while she was at it. "I sexually harassed my boss at work and ended up going out with him for a year and a half. We had to taste all this wine and whisky so I was in a perpetual state of booze-fuelled arrogance," said the singer. "I seem to remember pushing him up against the side of a car and insisting he kiss me. He did struggle for a while but he gave in eventually." But she added: "I'm not promoting sexual harassment, girls. It doesn't always work." (Retailers should take note that what might be a charming lunge for a pretty young pop star could land many of the rest of us in an employment tribunal. Ed)

Queen takes a purple tipple

Is that Her Royal Majesty the Queen herself supping a Charlotte Church-style Cheeky Vimto? The purple beverage - the north west's favourite soft drink, apparently - is celebrating its 100th anniversary. And who better to celebrate with than HRH Elizabeth II? Her Maj met Nichols chairman John Nichols at the Palace Theatre to present him with a birthday telegram for Vimto, which was created by his grandfather Noel Nichols in Manchester in 1908. Oh, and OLN should note that it is in fact Vimto the Queen is drinking, not the port-and-WKD concoction that is a Cheeky Vimto.

Cover yourself up, woman!

The rather scrumptious-looking blonde on the label of Wye Valley Brewery's Dorothy Goodbody Wholesome Stout has been saved for posterity, despite complaints from the Puritan lobby that she has pulled up her skirt to show most of her thighs. Some of the more prudish elements of society grumbled that Dorothy's thighs were "sexually suggestive" and nearly managed to get the young woman covered up under the Portman Group's code of practice. Portman Group chief executive David Poley said: "Although the drink's name, Goodbody, has slight sexual connotations, it also refers to the nature of the drink. Because this is just a drawing rather than a real woman, and the sexual connotations are so mild, the drink is not in breach of our code." Dorothy Goodbody is safe for now, but the tide of disapproval is creeping up. Beware Jessica Rabbit, Penelope Pitstop and Betty Boop - saucy cartoons could well be the next target of the nanny state.

GK heads for Highland violence

Greene King IPA will go head to head with stablemate Belhaven Best when England takes on Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday. IPA has been the official beer of England Rugby since 2006 - but Belhaven Best is the official beer of Scottish Rugby. Greene King's English and Scottish brewwers are already squaring up for a ruck - watch out for the scrummage!

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