on september 11, 2001 I was asleep on a friend’s couch in san francisco (belle and sebastian was playing there that week don’tcha know) when my dad called from the east coast and woke us up. he wanted to make sure I wasn’t already at the airport or on a plane, but I’m not the early-flight type (unless it can’t be avoided). so my friend kevin and I turned on the tv and sleepily, surreally saw the twin towers turn to dust. kevin went to his job at the needle exchange, and I tried to go back to sleep. I had a dream where I was in some foreign town, and there were scary armed terrorists chasing us around, and while I have no idea what city it was supposed to be, the building looked familiar. a few years later when my friend roger forced me to go to a film at the cineworld shaftesbury avenue, I realized what the building in my dream was: the silly, sterile, loud, offensive, packed-with-tourists trocadero! a prime terror target indeed. when some car bombs were discovered here in london yesterday (and today), I kind of thought to myself, don’t terrorists realize how pointless it is to try to kill the locals here when (almost) everyone is drunk, depressed, pickled, self-destructive and killing themselves? okay, yes, I exaggerate. not everyone is like that. but to someone who just landed here, this society might seem like one big binge-drinking, public-vomiting nightmare. some of you may be saying, geez, gail, lighten up, london has always been chock full of alcohol enthusiasts. and that is true. maybe it just gets more media coverage these days. too many digital camera phones = too many photos of teenage girls slumped over and falling off their wedges in the street. too many inevitably drunken, testosterone-fueled brawls on essex road. at the risk of sounding like a concerned parent, may I provide some evidence:
• uk number one in binge drinking!
• police and national health service want to fight it
• doctors want to fight it
• people die from it in northern ireland too.
• scotland is worried about it too.
• some people die from it.
• or they may die when mixing it with other stuff.
• it may help you die.
• apparently it increases cancer risk.
• well, duh: there is a link between depression and drinking.
• drunk people more likely commit assault.
• even the ladies get scrappy while drunk.
• teenagers eff shit up while drinking.
• some teenagers made a film to discourage it.
over in these parts, we are probably a lot more likely to die of cirrhosis of the liver than of a terror attack (even if this latest car bomb meant to target debauched clubbers, or simply clueless tourists). I’m not sure it’s possible to endure life without alcohol these days — there are certainly many, many reasons to numb down. I’m not suggesting you should stop, maybe just spare an occasional thought for the future liver shortage and consider how much sauce you are knocking back. bottoms up!