Last week I asked for evidence of the infamous ‘dentist’s chair’ promotion – where one person lies back in a chair while others pour spirits down their necks.
It was quoted in every newspaper and radio news report on the government’s introduction of a mandatory code for pubs as being typical of the kind of binge drinking promotion that needs to be stamped out. I’ve never seen one, and asked if anyone else had spotted one in a UK licensed premises over the last ten years.
We’ve managed to identify that this activity definitely does happen in Sam Jacks in Newcastle (it just had to be Newcastle, didn’t it?). Thanks to Beer Nut and Stringers Beer.
But so far, we’ve failed to find evidence of it happening in more than one of Britain’s 105,000 on-licensed pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants.
And then, yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone who works for one of the UK’s largest circulation national newspapers. For obvious reasons I can’t reveal that person’s identity. But what they have to say speaks volumes about the media and neo-prohibitionism:
“I was asked to find images showing the aforementioned chair for our paper last week. One of the picture researchers spent a couple of hours on the case without finding one single picture of this occurring anywhere in the world, never mind Britain. That search included 13 or 14 commercial picture agencies handling millions of stock images which, I think, shows that this particular form of drinking – disregarding one event involving England footballers almost 15 years ago – is non-existent.”
It’s good to know that even among the people who are compelled to spread the myth of ‘soaring’ binge drinking, there are those who realise what a crock of horseshit this whole media-generated moral panic really is.