Everyone is drunk, but drunk joylessly, gloomily and heavily, and everyone is strangely silent. Only curses and bloody brawls occasionally break that suspicious and oppressively sad silence…Everyone is in a hurry to drink himself into insensibility…wives in no way lag behind their husbands and all get drunk together, while children crawl and run about among them.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, the writer (Winter Stories on Summer Impressions, 1894)
Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode, The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road…
GK Chesterton, the writer (The Rolling English Road, 1913)
In all cultures where alcohol is consumed, drinking is hedged about with unwritten rules and social norms regarding who may drink how much of what, when, where, with whom and in what manner. The rules are different in different countries and different social circles, but there are always rules. Of course, you are officially free to drink whatever you like in British pubs, and when a native asks “What’s yours?”, you can simply name your favourite beverage. But if you are keen to understand and participate in native customs, you should remember that “What’s yours?” is a socially loaded question.
The You Are What You Drink features:
- The role of alcohol in human interactions
- Governmental regulations and social restrictions on drinking
- The importance of toasting
- The Rules of Consumption
- Who may drink how much of what, when, where, with whom and in what mannner?
We intend neither to praise alcohol nor to ‘bury’ it, but to provide a calm and balanced overview of the available findings on the role of alcohol in human cultures. Within these comparative studies learners will be able to investigate what makes the English follow the rule of “becoming loud, aggressive and obnoxious”: achemistry of alcohol or the social and cultural aspects.
We will learn the universal rules regulating consumption of alcohol, as well as English-pub drinking etiquette and some rituals, e.g. “last orders”. It will now be crystal-clear to learners that the choice of drink may well indicate their social status: class, gender, age etc., and, hence, determine the bar-staff’s approach to serving you.
Finally, we will study the story behind the names of the beer-tap plaques. Ales, stouts and milds are particularly new drinks for us. Matching our tastes to new offers is crucial to exciting explorations and brave experiments. Finally, complementing drinks with food is an essential skill to relish your pub-stay.
This is a fabulous chance to reflect on who you are considering your drinking choices.