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The Curse of Buckie

Perhaps conclusive proof that our Caledonian neighbours really are a different nation. They are having one of their intermittent panics about underage drinking, but whereas the drink of choice for spotty teens to shoplift from the local off licence in these parts is what is known in the trade as 'park bench' cider or lager, our Celtic friends have a thing for Buckfast tonic wine, a monastic concoction with a strength of 15%. Apparently "It is sweet, cheap, strongly alcoholic and contains a high quantity of caffeine - a combination which appeals to many young men and women (many of them underage) in Scotland". It sounds truly unpleasant, but perhaps it is just the thing to wash down a deep fried Mars Bar. The reckoning is that some 7% of the stuff is consumed in Lanarkshire, so I wonder whether the secret is passed down from brother to brother as some kind of Illuminati secret. That John Reid is the MP for a big chunk of the Buckfast Triangle is quite telling.

Further investigation discloses some truly stomach churning 'cocktails':

Punk Champagne: two parts white cider to one part Buckfast.
Tramps Breakfast: Buckfast and MD 20/20.
Bamgria: equal measures Buckfast and Irn Bru.
And the ne plus ultra, Sh*t: Equal measures of Vodka, Bacardi and Buckfast

And all on the basis of "Three small glasses a day, for good health and lively blood".
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Blogger Rigger Mortice said... 1:04 pm

lived in glasgow for a few years and I would say it's more a west coast tipple than east.

never the less it's fucking hideous.
I've done a litre of sherry in a night,no problem.that stuff is awful  

Anonymous verity said... 1:09 pm

I think I might be rather frightened of having 'lively blood'.

In the Languedoc, the kids drink cans of half beer and half tequila. Ultra fast for that legless, "why is everything spinning?" sensation.  

Anonymous AJH said... 2:25 pm

Buckfast is also very popular in Northern Ireland.

My former housemate lived on the stuff while on a teacher training course. Good for that slightly relaxed but still very wide awake feeling on all night marking or work setting sessions apparently.

Our local cornerahop here in Leeds were the only people we knew in the city who stocked it and he was the only person who drank it...  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:43 pm

Blimey, teachers on Buckfast... I imagine it must have a very high 'pay and scarper' factor even for the serious drinker.

Way back lost in the mists of time, I engaged in a little surreptitious social research by keeping an eye out for what the London derelicts were swilling, and concluded that Special Brew, British 'sherry' and Tennants Super ('The Ol' Purple Tin') must offer the most bangs for your buck. I'm an ale, red wine and scotch man meself.  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 3:04 pm

C i think you will find the current drink of choice for London's tramp population is ACE white cider.
I will confess to a liking for special brew, its a family thing, my parents both drink the stuff and so does my mothers sister. we drink other things but all have a fondness for SB.
Did you know that it was originally brewed to commemorate a visit to Denmark by Winston Churchill?
apparently the old boy got hooked on the stuff, when chartwell was having a clear out the cellar was found to be full of empty carlsberg crates.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:12 pm

Peter, not too many of them in my part of Croydon. Presumably we are all too mean / cynical to give them any money.

I really don't like the taste of SB - bit too chemical for me, whereas the equally potent Belgian beers do not seem to taste quite so strong. I'd heard there was a Churchill connnection, but thanks for the details.  

Blogger cassilis said... 8:04 pm

Hailing from that part of the world I'm ashamed to say it's very much a West Coast problem. Having said that the efforts of the Scottish Executive to address it have done little but elevate the drink even closer to cult status in the eyes of it's youthful fans.

And at the risk of appearing a little too touchy - can we have less of the out & out stereotypes please - I live & work in Scotland and I've yet to encounter the mythical 'deep fried mars bar'...  

Blogger Croydonian said... 12:16 am

C - the only place I've ever seen deep fried Mars bars touted is Brighton. One of these days...

For what it is worth, I'm an unabashed Caledonophile, then again I have an uncle called Johnnie Walker (Yes, really), so apologies for any offence caused. I think the DFMB is more of a NE thing.  

Anonymous AJH said... 4:18 pm

On the subject of super strong tramps brew etc, here in Leeds for dossers (tramps and students alike) it's Red Stripe (Jamacian, sponser the cricket over there, so watch out for the cricket World Cup in the Carib next year, should be interesting,) and San Migel, another corner shop staple. At least those shops who serve anyone, tramps, trainee teachers, even me.  

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