Friday, May 12, 2006

Not even a cheeky half?

From the BBC:

Is the lunchtime pint facing extinction? Only a minority of companies now allow staff to drink during the working day.

It's a sunny Friday lunchtime, the kind of weather that brings on a thirst for a long, cold drink.

After a week spent hunched over a computer monitor, it's easy to feel like the dust-encrusted, thirst-crazed soldier who's driven across the desert in the classic film Ice Cold in Alex.

You can almost see the condensation running down the curves of a pint, the sun glinting on a wine glass...

But hold on. Re-wind the tape, because that lunchtime pint - a cultural tradition in its own right - is disappearing. A survey from law firm, Browne Jacobson, says that 57% of businesses now ban drinking during the working day.

There have always been drinking restrictions on safety-sensitive jobs, such as anyone driving or operating machinery, but now the booze ban is being extended much more widely.

In many parts of the country, particularly outside London, an even higher proportion of companies don't allow staff to drink. In the West Midlands, the survey says that 75% of businesses don't allow drinking during the working day.

I used to work with a chap who would regularly spend his lunchtime at the Royal Oak downing three pints of true, gut-rotting scrumpy - the kind of rustic yellow gunge you expect to find twigs floating in.

Didn't seem to affect him in the least, other than that his jokes got even more ribald in the afternoon.


Peter Burnet said...

I used to follow British papers more closely than I do now. I remember about ten years ago one of the UK's better known literary curmudgeons (Auberon Waugh, if memory serves) writing a spirited rebuttal to some modern woman activist/busybody writing about "the lunchtime drinking crisis". "What crisis?" he thundered as he went on to describe his lunch the previous day of an appertif, a good claret and a couple of fortifying brandies. It wasn't a crisis, it was a mark of civilization.

They don't make them like that anymore.

Duck said...

In the States we had the "three martini lunch", which I think is pretty much a part of history, not so much from any moral crusade but from a fear of liability and litigation.

monix said...

My father-in-law used to take a 'gentlemanly' 2 hour lunch break. He would call in at one of his clubs for a couple of drinks, then home for lunch, a twenty minute sleep, a bath and then back to his office. Of course that was in the days before mobile phones and emails, when business was conducted at a gentler pace.

Hey Skipper said...

I used to work with a chap who would regularly spend his lunchtime at the Royal Oak downing three pints of true, gut-rotting scrumpy ...

Reminds me of the time I was riding through Cornwall, and stopped at a pub for lunch.

Displayed prominently behind the bar was a large, stout, porcelain jug with a suitably bucolic label announcintg the contents as "Cornish Scrumpy."

Under which was their marketing slogan, which provided a near fatal blow to subtlety: "Legless but Smiling"

Brit, this is completely OT, but ... We here at Chez Guinn are huge Wallace & Gromit fans. A couple nights back the girl child and I watched "Curse of the Were Rabbit" and decided to avail ourselves of the DVD's special features.

Turns out the Aardman studio, from which issues W & G, is in Bristol ...

Brit said...

They certainly are. Aardman and especially W&G feature heavily here - eg. the children's hospital charity appeal uses them.

They've got admin headquarters, a studio and a warehouse here. Unfortunately the last of these, which had tons of original models, got accidentally burned down last year.