Tuesday, 1 October 2013


"You use alcohol as a crutch". Is an accusation that's been lobbed at me more than once in my beer-ridden life. It's not true. Though wood* is tied to my realtionship with booze.

Bad times, like birth, death and going to the toilet, are experiences we all share. But life is like The Who. All about contrast.

Why were they known as the loudest band in the world? Not because they had the biggest, baddest PA. Live at Leeds will explain. Light and shade, That's what it's all about. Full on thrash then near whisper. The noise sounds noisier because of the silence inbetween.

We all share depressing times. And, let's be honest, we've all imposed bad times on others. Sometimes accidentally, others with the sharp intent of a cobra's strike.

Unlike the pogoing concert-goer, I prefer the slow. Emotions? I'd like them to remain quiet.

"Why do you drink?" is the most annoying - and awkward - question. Stock replies abound: to be sociable, because my friends do, for the flavour, for the buzz, to relax, to loosen my inhibitions, to dare talk to that girl, to make me puke and awake swimming in a pool of my own wee. All reasonable enough reasons. They've all applied to me.

"I enjoy the effect on my head and it tastes quite nice." is the most honest answer I can conjour up. I don't have to drink beer. (I worked that out recently by having 3 or 4 beer-free days a week.) But I'd be a liar if I denied that, health and belly aside, I'd drink four or five Abts every day.

But there are special times. Sad times. When the wheels in my head won't stop spinning.

Alcohol isn't a crutch. It's a clog to hurl into the gears of runaway thought.

* Defintely not in the naughty film sense.


Anonymous said...

Never had you pegged as a drinking man, Ron :)

Gary Gillman said...

Alcohol is a dangerous drug. That is, it can be, and is often, abused with adverse consequences for the sufferer and those around him. IIRC, Frederick Martin made an interesting observation in his classic (IMO) "Drinks and Drinking". (I know this work only under a 1979 Coles imprint but I think it was written about a decade earlier). He wrote that the great majority of people who drink alcohol do so without any chance of becoming alcoholic. He further observed that for some people alcohol is a poison in that it cannot be tolerated by them, and they should avoid it. He felt alcohol should be, not a crutch but a "gay partner" (in the non-sexual sense of the term), something that adds to the enjoyment of life and doesn't deaden it, in other words. With that I fully agree. Alcohol can indeed enliven life without actually taking any in, through studying beer and brewing history, say.

Martin didn't say this but it is my view that alcohol is a chemically addictive drug, the body simply gets used to it after a time, just as it will with caffeine or nicotine, say. This is why regularly taking in too much causes or perhaps greatly exacerbates the dependence and you get a kind of cascading effect. Some are more susceptible for some reason and thus it becomes a poison to them.

At the end of the day, each must decide for himself what is right for himself. You mentioned The Who Ron, a band I have idolized for 40 years. I also think of a line Pete Townshend wrote (for a solo tune), "just a little is enough". In the same song he wrote of "Champagne Cognac", "the perfume nearly beats the taste". So you can see where he is going and as I get older it is an approach that recommends itself to me. To every thing there is a season, as the Bible says..


Alan said...

"For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter. Let him drink and forget his poverty And remember his trouble no more.…"

From a little thing we call Proverbs 31:6.

Phil said...

Sorry to hear the wheels have been spinning, Ron, and I know just what you mean about alcohol helping them disengage. KBO, as Churchill used to say; keep buggering on.