Alcohol, alcohol everywhere…

Guest contributor Dom Conlon, from advertising and design agency Head First, shares his thoughts on the public image of alcohol.

We are drowning in a sea of booze and it’s not all flooding from teenagers and happy hours.

I switch on the news and I hear about Boozed Up Britain. Young people are getting drunk every night. They fall out of taxis and into pubs. They are falling out of pubs and onto the streets. They are falling out of society.

We blame happy hours and irresponsible landlords. We blame supermarkets and cheap alcohol.

Then I switch channels and see polite people sat on sofas. They are having a nod and wink about liking a tipple. It’s all very sedate.

I switch again and watch a cookery programme recommending wine to go with the meal they have just made. There is a nod and a wink about one glass for the pot and one for the cook. It’s all very sedate. All very respectable.

I see alcoholics portrayed as eccentrics simply, from what I can gather, by virtue of them not being teenagers. They drink wine, not alcopops or lager.

It’s all much more respectable, much more acceptable.

Our fixation with alcohol doesn’t stop at drunken fools, mopping up their lives with binges. It doesn’t stop at the easy excesses of the working classes that make for car crash TV shows. Our fixation doesn’t stop. It runs through every part of our lives. Examples are set by everyone, including those who “know their limits”.

It’s not about being prudish about alcohol or puritanical in any way. It’s about recognising the many faces of alcohol abuse and understanding where examples are set.

Now, can anyone recommend a good Chardonnay to go with fish and chips?

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