The more I think about so-called binge drinking, the more I think it is a result of the Northern European attitude to work — the weekend feels like the only time people can really relax, after slogging through five or six days of boredom, stress and aggravation, and they want it to be something special, memorable and overwhelming.
It’s not a new thing. In the 1958 social realist novel Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Alan Sillitoe described a Saturday night in Britain like this:
For it was Saturday night, the best and bingiest glad-time of the week, one of the fifty-two holidays in the slow-turning Big Wheel of the year, a violent preamble to a prostrate Sabbath. Piled up passions were exploded on Saturday night, and the effect of a week’s monotonous graft in the factory was swilled out of your system in a burst of goodwill. You followed the motto of ‘be drunk and be happy’, kept your crafty arms around female waists, and felt the beer going beneficially down into the elastic capacity of your guts.
People always talk about the sensible Spanish and French attitude to drinking, but could it have anything to do with the traditional long lunch breaks and 35 hour working weeks in those countries?
Binge drinking is not the problem — it’s a symptom.
7 replies on “Don't let the bastards grind you down”
Very well put. I agree entirely. That’s why I gave up the nine to five.
Very interesting. Though, saddeningly, probably unchangeable.
Well, apart from taking a nap in the afternoon that is.
You really cannot beat a nap in the afternoon. When you’ve had a nap, ideally on the sofa, everything makes sense.
“Binge drinking is not the problem — it’s a symptom.”
and just to reinforce the point that this debate has been going on in Britain for hundreds of years you could look to Dickens explanation of the binge
“Drunkenness as a national horror, is the effect of many causes. Foul smells, disgusting habitations, bad workshops and workshop customs, want of light, air, and water, the absence of all easy means and decency and health, are commonest among its common everyday physical causes, mental weariness languor so induced, the want of wholesome relaxation, the craving for some stimulus and excitement, which is as much a part of such lives as the sun is, and last and inclusive of all the rest, ignorance, and the need there is among English people of reasonable, rational training, in lieu of mere parrot-education, or none at all, are its most obvious moral causes. “
[…] Saturday, one of the fifty-two holidays in the slow-turning Big Wheel of the year, when piled up passions are exploded, and the effect of a week’s monotonous graft is swilled out […]