I was sitting in the hairdressers waiting for my high-lights to cook, as you do, and leafing through an old magazine when I came upon an article about the "alcohol epidemic" amongst young drinkers in the UK. Frightening facts and scary statistics regarding alcohol induced illnesses, violence and deaths. Very worrying stuff.
It got me thinking about our current attitude to alcohol and social drinking in this country. Don't get me wrong, I am not anti-alcohol, I like a glass of wine or a gin as much as the next person (and occasionally more so, depending on the circumstances and who's driving), but I began to think back to my own youth when the object of going out on the town was to enjoy ourselves, maybe meet a nice chap, dance our arses off in some club and along the way have a few drinks. Just that, and in that order. We didn't go out with the express intention of "getting trashed". If we occasionally "had a little bit too much to drink" (as it was quaintly called then) it was just a by-product of having a good time, not the sole reason for going out in the first place. We suffered the hideous hang-over consequences, got a real good telling-off from our Mums, were laughed at by our work-mates, and vowed never to do it again. Or not often, anyway, and for several reasons - we couldn't afford it, for one, but also because puking over your brand new Faith platform boots (or even worse, someone else's) wasn't a requisite component of a good night out, just the occasional and embarrassing consequence of it. And, of course, lying in the gutter wth your skirt over your head wasn't considered a good look in those days.
So what has changed over the years? Obviously, a lot of younger people earn more so have a bigger disposable income with which to buy their fifteen pints of lager and ten Tequila shots (each) per night. In the interests of equality, girls have become more like lads in their capacity for drinking. But when did it become a foreseeable outcome, or even obligatory, to get so drunk and incapable that you don't know what you're doing any more, when did falling over pissed become the high spot of a night out, and when did putting yourself in such frequent and chronic danger become so acceptable, or even desirable?
And more worryingly, how have things come to this, and why? Why has drinking yourself into oblivion on a regular basis become de rigueur with the young? Walking down most main city streets on any weekend night will reveal to anyone in doubt that it's time for an attitude change on social drinking. So what is the solution and how can it be achieved?
Let me have your views on this, and reassure me that I'm not becoming a cantankerous old bag.
And please, don't even START me talking about drugs, one worry is enough for this week.