Enticements to drink are at every corner. If I ordered two salads at the pub outside the Tate, I could have a bottle of Pinot Grigio Blush for only £4.95. Of course, I would have to ask the barman to pour the wine down the sink if I was to truly enjoy my salads, but still.
"Lads," says a small boy, trying to lure us into a bar on Concert Square. "Bud's £1.50 a pint, yeah?" I'm getting old: even the booze jockeys seem pre-pubescent.
The Raz's barmaid offers a bottle of Special Brew for only £1.80. If I had only plumped for that I, too, might be playing air guitar to Bryan Adams' Summer of 69 like the circle of friends to my right. I catch the eye of one of them as his hand slides up the imaginary fretboard. Oh dear. I opt for a soft drink instead.
There should be a drinking game that goes with this article: everytime Jeffries comes across as an insufferable snob, take a swig, you'd probably pass ot before the end.
He sort of lets the cat out of the bag early on. He's there on one of Liverpool's busiest drinking days; the local Derby, Everton vs Liverpool, is on and a couple of other events are swelling the coffers of landlords all over the city. A taxi driver tells him that last week the place was dead. He's gone to Liverpool with one thing in mind and stacked the deck to make sure he gets a full-house. He goes to busy pubs looking for drunkards and, lo and behold, easily spots the guy who's had ten pints. Investigative journalism at its finest.
He also, though, let this little gem out:
[L]ast weekend's papers reported that the 20-year-old Department of Health limits had no firm scientific basis, but were rather, according to Richard Smith, a member of the Royal College of Physicians working party who produced the guidelines, "really plucked out of the air".
That's right. All those warnings about binge drinking and middle-class wine consumption aren't based anything remotely scientific, they're guesses. And, as I've repeatedly stated, guesses that make it easy to ignore the advice being offered. And, despite my disdain for the way the message is presented, it is fair advice; drinking less is the healthier option, drinking to excess regularly is doing nobody but the breweries any good, drunks can be dangerous and unpredictable.
Anyway, I'll give the last word to one of the patronised:
I interview a swaying but beautiful woman in a nightclub queue who is dressed in a low-cut, short-skirted parody of a nurse's costume. We're getting on until I suggest that alcohol-fuelled narcissistic display is one of Liverpool's chronic diseases. She takes it personally. "Don't fucking judge me," she snaps. "This is the best party city in Britain, probably the world. I love it here and I wouldn't live anywhere else. So if you don't like the way I dress or the way I drink, you can fuck right off to wherever it is you come from."