CNPS numbers spotted 3 (839).
I think it is safe to say that I like a drink. Perhaps over the last year or so (and certainly the last couple of months) I've been drinking a bit more than is healthy for me. Sometimes, as you'll have noticed this concerns me. Sometimes it makes me feel like an heroic anti-establishment hero, drinking myself to death and laughing in the face of the government guide-lines.
Yet much as I crave the kudos that comes with such wreckless behaviour, I know in my heart that I am no Dylan Thomas, no Oliver Reed, no Charles Bukowski, neither Withnail or I. I am not I. Beat that.
At the end of the day I am too sensible. I have never woken up and immediately tucked into a bottle of brandy, it is very rare indeed for me even to have a tipple over lunch and even seeing someon drinking before 6pm makes me look at my watch and pull of a bit of a shocked face and consider telling a teacher.
I am the worst thing of all a moderate drinker. No-one will ever look up to that. You can admire a tea-totaller's self-control and a raging alcoholic's brazen self-destruction. But no-one can express anything but disdain the moderate drinker: too weak-willed to stop drinking altogether, too weak to turn his back on society altogether. Oh occasionally the moderate drinker will go on a binge and get a bit of a hangover and say "Wow, look at me, I don't care if I live or die!" But we all know that next week or month he will be back at work, nose to the grind-stone, declining the offer of a third pint, saying "Better not! Not on school night." And thinking that makes him funny and clever.
My own lacking as a herculean drinker was brought home to me this evening as I travelled into town on the tube. It was 7pm and the night was still young, yet the three people sitting next to me were so keen to get their evening started that they were already each drinking from their own litre bottle of neat vodka. I confess I assumed that the man next to me was drinking water to begin with, so greedily and eagerly was he gulping at it (perhaps taking advice from the bizarre new tube posters advising you to make sure you have liquid with you in the hot weather), but then the bottle was turned round and I saw the label.
These weren't people down on their luck, or down and out in London; they were well dressed and outwardly clean and regular looking people in their (I guess) mid thirties. Two men and one woman. The woman had a low cut top on and was rather attractive.
And yet when you looked at their faces you could see that this wasn't a one off. They were regular heavy drinkers. Their eyes and their skin betrayed the fact.
And you had to admire them. They couldn't even wait to get into town before they got started on the booze and were all making quick work of an amount of alcohol that would fell most moderate to light drinkers if consumed over the course of an evening. It was slightly frightening.
And yet they seemed well behaved and polite and weren't shouting abuse at anyone or rolling their eyes or slumping over in pools of their own vomit. Maybe later on they would be. But not now. They were just having a rather merry conversation.
God knows what state they were in by the time I got home at 11.30 (I had had one glass of wine and was about to have another one like some kind of moderate drinking fool), but my guess is that it wasn't too pretty.
Is this the new booze culture we are hearing so much about? Are these your typical Great Britons?
If so then on the same scale I am an average Briton.
Or am I just taking part in the old alcoholic self delusion of finding someone worse off than you in order to confirm that you're doing all right yourself.
I worked out how much my 50 dates cost me, in case you're interested. A grand total of £4678.44. A generous £93.57 per date. I guess it's going to be another Edinburgh without a profit then.