Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Drink And The Devil - Buckfast And Loose

Sprawled out on my couch necking a bottle of Chateau Latour 1961 somehow or another I started BBC 1 Scotland about the scourge of Buckfast Tonic Wine (15%) north of the Border. There is a note of resentment in this, because it is clear that they are drinking my share as well as their own, not satisfied with drinking nearly as much vodka as the Russians, or as much Stella as the Belgians.

It is possible that the declamations against the drink owe as much to the views of John Knox about the religious orders as the scientific evidence. There was clear proof offered that if you smash a bottle, the remaining top can inflict nasty injuries. I recall much the same was found of filed down bicycle chains long ago.

The “proof” came from the University College of Polmont. OK, at present it is a young offenders penal establishment, but doubtless will be rebadged soon to help the government meet its 50% university admission target. It seems that many of the chaps given to violence had been swigging Buckfast. Again I recall that when rugger chaps went on the razzle and did stupid things long ago they had often been on the Bucks Fizz, and nobody then blamed the champagne and stout companies.

However, there are other things. I believe that Buckie is sweet and does have a high caffeine content. As well as the alcohol there is sugar. Nobody mentioned sugar. Also it is made from a secret recipe. This means flavourings of one sort or another. Nobody mentioned the other stuff that could be in the mix. There are other things. The chaps on view were not I suspect gourmet eaters or eco-freaks. Possibly they were on a very solid diet of junk food. Need I say more? Some of the artificial flavourings, flavour enhancers (including MSG) and colourings do have brain impact. Not quite as much as a Glasgow Kiss perhaps, but they can give it a whack.

Besides alcoholic beverages the boys will have been drinking other wet things as well, fizzy drinks and energy drinks. There is some decidedly funny stuff in these and although sugar free, the sweetening agents can have nasty and unpredictable chemical effects. Moreover these days for the young there is almost a seamless transition from heavily promoted fizzy drinks to well advertised alcopops to the spirits and heavy duty stuff. Buckie is almost a statement of individual protest against the drinks establishment.

A heavy dose of Buckie may not be the only cause, just the final trigger element in a constitution already dosed up for irrational action. It is also cheap, which may explain why so many of those on benefits drink it. You will appreciate that here we have moved on from a simple basic explanation to a more complicated one which points not one finger but several at many of the most powerful commercial entities that supply and feed us, as well as making contributions to the personal welfare of so many politicians.

The monks are easy targets and fall guys. So blame them and look good with the spin but don’t mention the other matters. After all this and half an hour of football I started on the Chateau d’Yquem 1996 and took in Delia, the BBC food goddess. She can do things with pork chops that you would never believe. After her the second half of the Newcastle v West Brom game seemed small beer and a bottle of the Graham Port of 1955 was needed to carry me through.

At least I know how to control my intake. Does Waitrose stock Buckie, I wonder?


  1. Latour 61, Sir. Not it's best year!

  2. No, not other sugary drinks, they are in fact popping pills including prescription ones.

    Funnily enough no one entions the mix and it is always the Buckie that is mentioned in Polis dispatches.

    There appears to be no box for the Polis to tick on the alcohol related violence and mayhem reports. There is also no evidence of empty bottles save the Buckie ones.

    If they reach A & E, they smell of alcohol alright but no one is tested for drugs as well.

    Well known local facts old bean.