photo blog_head_zpsonl8fonu.jpg
Meesa gonna kill you!

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Gin Craze

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Gin Craze

"[On late 18th century Britain] 'Everybody drank, I mean there were some abstemious puritans... men and women, adults and children... Young kids would have a glass of beer for breakfast. Small beer, so it's weaker than what we might drink now, but everybody drank. They drank throughout the day. Water was very bad and there were lots and lots of brewed beverages. Spirits weren't drunk so much... lots of things which we don't really drink very much anymore. Various kinds of punches and cordals and mixed drinks...

'Was there an impression in... Europe that this island was a rocking boat of drunkenness?'

'Well yes but also the British referred to the Dutch as drunks. I mean everybody called everybody else a drunk. There's certainly a hard drinking culture so it wasn't just that everybody drank at low levels throughout the day but that Gentlemen and people associated with the two main political group the Whigs and the Tories or the successors of the Puritans would drink to toast their particular heroes and there're stories of returning cavaliers dragging people off their horses and forcing them to drink a toast to the King and if they didn't they would be ducked and beaten up'...

[On William of Orange] He brings into the country a vast number of Dutch sailors and recruits masses of sailors. And of course what sailors do is they drink. And so he's imported a lot of people who are accustomed to drinking gin and other kinds of brandies or spirituous liquors and then also there's this liquor being produced. And sailors like to drink this stuff because it's hard drinking, because it's the masculine thing to do. But also because it's much easier to drink on board ship. It's seen as something that is quick to drink, it's good for your courage, it's good for your health because it's warming and so on...
Gin was part of Britain's identity... Gin's a woman, like Britannia...

'When the Act to effectively end gin drinking in 1736 came round there were actually funerals held'
'Was she called Mother Geneva?'
'She was Mother Jennifer, she was Queen Jennifer.'
'Did they toast her?'
'Yeah, they toasted her. And the funerals were apparently quite wonderful. There were prints of them'...

'It must be good for you because it counters the evil effects of too much tea drinking. So if you drink too much tea and you're made ill by your tea addiction, you can turn to gin to make you better. So it's sold as a medicine. One of the ways... gin sellers got around the implications of the Act was to sell it as a medicine'...

It was supposed to sort of revive the basic experience, sexual experience in marriage... by firing up tired husbands and rendering aged, fedup wives into young teenage desirous and desirable beings... there was an argument that gin stopped you from eating healthily. So it reduced the consumption of beef... it reduced the consumption of that patriotic British beef that supposedly produced healthy workers and was associated with beer and that kind of more rural image of Britain as a land of plenty...

There were some really ghastly stories about what happened to either pregnant mothers who drank gin. People claimed that their babies would be born deformed or blackened or wizened...

'You could actually drink alcohol in coffee shops'...

'You have this image of a group of people talking about how awful it is or how good it is that gin should be banned while drinking coffee in coffee house... and you put it in your coffee'"
blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes