Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Life's Too Short to Be Scared off a Few Drinks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Life's Too Short to Be Scared off a Few Drinks

Article excerpt

Byline: Nina Caplan

"I CAN'T do a long boozy lunch," I told the friend awaiting me in a Soho restaurant. "I've got an article to write on women and alcohol." The work stopped me drinking yesterday lunchtime but the story behind it -- the death of PR executive Emma Pycroft of undetected liver disease at 33 -- wouldn't have.

I'll still get invited to launches and lunches by Emma's colleagues. Like hundreds of her peers and mine, I moved smoothly from cheap booze at university to free booze in London's media world -- at private views, evening screenings or dinners. I've had sherry for breakfast and 100-year-old beer before dinner and called both work. When I go to an event, I expect there to be half-decent wine lasting at least a couple of hours, regardless of the news value of what is being launched. I have a horrid sense of entitlement, and it's PRs' job to feed it.

PR isn't just a largely female profession -- it is, in the old-fashioned sense, a feminised one. Any PR, male or female, is expected to bustle around like a retrograde helpmeet, ensuring client and journalist are both as happy as the husband and his boss at a careerenhancing Fifties dinner party. And when the event is over, they probably kick off their heels and drain every bottle in swigging distance.

But the answer isn't yet more huffing and puffing about binge-drinking women. First, we should ban all talk of alcohol units, with a wry acknowledgement that drink is a drug -- a confidence booster, a dream enhancer, a life destroyer -- and therefore not terribly susceptible to packaging of this kind. It's like pouring smoke into an ice tray, and about as helpful.

If you're an alcoholic, you're beyond caring about units. If you're a social drinker, you don't count your units, because that's what alcoholics need to do. …

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