Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Hands in the Middle....

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  • Russell Brown,

    Nice post. I'll go and get that Metro too.

    I interviewed a longtime drug-dealer for a magazine story once. They tend to be great talent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    When I was at University the drinking age was 20, and I was in my third year before I could legally walk into a bar. Not that it stopped me, but it does seem a bit silly in retrospect.

    And not so long before that, I was a full-blown alcoholic and the "drinking age" didn't mean a dawn chorus of unicorn farts.

    But that's a rather nice segue in what fucks me off about the latest yoof-hating moral panic. Everyone -- including the cops -- knew that student pubs, almost by definition, routinely ignored the terms of their liquor licence by serving alcohol to underage drinkers. And with all due disrespect to Sir Geoffrey, you wouldn't have to look hard to find bars and restaurants patronised by nice middle-class whitefellas like him that are... shall we say, rather elastic in their definition of "intoxicated" (which is not, by the way, 'can't remember the PIN on their credit card when it comes time to settle the tab'.)

    To be cynical, I guess properly enforcing the laws already on the books isn't an easy headline, and might just piss off people who actually vote.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • mattgeeknz,

    Let's not condescend and say 18 year olds are in a different class from 20 year olds.

    As the report points out (16.15 onwards): youth are disproportionately represented in A&E clinics and police cells on Friday & Saturday nights. People of all ages end up hospitalised or arrested of course, but under-20s make up a large proportion of those numbers.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm picking we'll get a split-age regime: 18 on licensed premises, and 20 for off-sales.

    And, one would hope, more meaningful direction on host responsibility.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    As the report points out (16.15 onwards): youth are disproportionately represented in A&E clinics and police cells on Friday & Saturday nights. People of all ages end up hospitalised or arrested of course, but under-20s make up a large proportion of those numbers.

    They're also disproportionately male -- why isn't the Law Commission recommending prohibition for APBs?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kit McLean,

    But... at the same time, nothing really bad happens either. The binge drinkers have long since binged and bust. The guy who was going to get violent ended up passing out in the corner about 2am, got woken up and went home. The alcoho-pop fuelled young woman about whom one exclaims "she must be cold" has long since had an emotional meltdown in the bathrooms, thrown up on herself and been put in a cab. 4am is where the wheat really is separated from the chaff.

    Thanks Damian, top post! Just one thing, is it the chaff or the wheat that's left behind after 4am? When I played the stay-up-past-dawn nightclub game, I'm sure I thought I was wheat, but looking back I imagine I was fairly chaff-ish...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Any politician who voted for the law change, and now expresses surprise at what happened, is a fucking idiot.

    I remember at the time Jenny Shipley said it would reflect our 'cafe culture society'.

    Clear sign of a politician who needed to visit some different places to get a wider perspective.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • mattgeeknz,

    They're also disproportionately male -- why isn't the Law Commission recommending prohibition for APBs?

    Actually, as far as hospital admissions go, the figures are about the same for males and females (3.59). Females don't get arrested as much as males - that's true - but younger women experience greater victimisation risks due to alcohol.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I interviewed a longtime drug-dealer for a magazine story once

    Doug Myers?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    But I can't say there's a really, really compelling social or moral argument why bars should stay open after 4am.

    Sure there is: that its just not the government's business when we should party. What next? A government-mandated bedtime?

    No, I don't think that alcohol isn't a problem - just that we should deal with it in a way which is properly respectful of individual liberty. Hiking the price to make people pay for the social harm they cause? Fine. Advertising restrictions? Fine. Lowering blood-alcohol limits? Fine. Telling people they can't stay up late? Not fine.

    But I guess paedophobic wowserism is easier.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    paedophobic wowserism

    Genius summary

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I interviewed a longtime drug-dealer for a magazine story once

    Doug Myers?

    Hey, I've got standards you know.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    A few years ago, I was on my way to work. It was 6.45 on a Tuesday morning. As I was waiting at a pedestrian crossing, a drunk guy came staggering up to me and reckoned we'd been previously partying at Sky City. He was on his way to the Albion to continue the partying and insisted I join him. I told him I was on my way to work, and he seemed surprised that I'd choose that over getting pissed with him.

    Sometimes I'd work on Sundays, usually starting at 10am. There were two bars I'd pass on my way to work that always seemed to still be going on a Sunday morning. People standing around, wired on you-know-what, but no one actually looked like they were having a good time or wanted to be but. Like me, it looked more like they were obliged to be where they were.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Rickai,

    I regularly run at 6.00 am Sat or Sun mornings. Park at the fishmarket and head with a couple of mates out through the viaduct and towards the eastern beaches. Every time I pass Providor it makes me cringe. Bad, bad music and really hammered people just hanging on to the last vestiges of an ordinary night. People asleep in the little concrete box gardens outside the ferry building. Blokes yelling at us, trying to shoulder us, just awful. Go home you clowns.

    Interestingly, the crowd outside Spy Bar is different. Often generally engaging. "Where are you going?" "Keep it up." "Not far now." Although Tony Veitch needs to talk to his supplier because I couldn't understand a word he was saying.

    Since Jan 2007 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    At the height of all this silliness, we sometimes wouldn't even go out until 4am. Our favourite bar didn't really get cranking until 6.

    You know what is going to happen? The club will "close" at 4am. The staff and bouncers will clear out anyone who isn't vouched for by the boss, staff or a regular. Once all the outsiders have been evicted and the front door safely secured, the party will start up again.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2212 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Interestingly, the crowd outside Spy Bar is different.

    Bless.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2212 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    but no one actually looked like they were having a good time or wanted to be but. Like me, it looked more like they were obliged to be where they were.

    Some of us did /do thoroughly enjoy it and as Damian pointed out, differing professions creates differing biological clocks. Hell, I could leave a bar only because I'd have to be at work by eight. must admit the 10 coffees by morning tea break certainly helped.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    One suspects the closing time says a lot about social expectations about times of the day it is OK to drink. After 12 noon, until say 4am. Once it's 5am, early risers are starting to get up and it's actually morning (as compared to 3am, which is still 'last night'), no more of that thanks.

    I would have presumed that most people still partying at 6am are on something different than alcohol. Drug most guaranteed to make you tired, surely?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I was a big kid - I started drinking in bars at about the age of 14. I was never refused a drink even once. I got rotten drunk several times, passed out, spewed etc. But by the time I was at Varsity, I was an old hand, and my habits had settled. When I think back, a huge proportion of the people I went to school with were nightclubbers at about that age. Not my scene, I tried it a few times, but didn't enjoy it, preferring to be able to hear people. But they mostly seemed to be drinking reasonably responsibly too, dancing and having a good time until really late. There were a few munters, but the kids themselves sorted those ones out over time using social disapproval tactics.

    I don't think this should be made legal, but I still think back that it wasn't that bad either. It was virtually impossible to make any of this known to adults without being judged and restricted oneself, so the illicit community of underage partyers and drinkers just made it all up themselves.

    Makes me think kids aren't really as stupid as it's popular to make out. They're kept stupid. The only way out of stupidity is to be stupid publicly, and be called on it. Then you learn.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    looked more like they were obliged to be where they were

    bouncers? promo grrls?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    After 12 noon, until say 4am. Once it's 5am, early risers are starting to get up and it's actually morning (as compared to 3am, which is still 'last night'), no more of that thanks.

    The previous night doesn't finish until you go home. This is a well established phenomena.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2212 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Bad, bad music and really hammered people just hanging on to the last vestiges of an ordinary night.

    Nice line. I had some great times when I was doing that every single weekend, but at a certain point in the night/next day it definitely becomes (or always was, but I only just noticed), soulless, and largely a competition as to who can stay up the longest, or avoiding the unpleasantness that will follow when one gives up - the comedowns, hangovers... work.

    When I'm out these days I can often see a fork in the road at a certain point - a moment of clarity in the midst of all the intoxicants. If I'm smart, I will take that as my cue to leave, and have NEVER regretted leaving 'early' (i.e. 3,4,5am...), if I'm not, I will end up surrounding by gurning P-heads at Supper Club. Something I almost always do regret.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • buzzy,

    "The earlier that people are introduced to alcohol – and it now seems that 14 is quite common – the worse the prospects for that person having problems later on are," Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer said. There was "very important evidence" to support an age hike and it was "a slam dunk – it's self-evident", he said. (from here)

    Given Palmer's recommending raising the drinking age, I think he means that the earlier you're introduced to alcohol, the *better* the chance for having problems later on. Bad English aside, if that were true, France would be a complete wasteland; clearly it isn't, so there's more to it than simply the age of availability.

    I wonder what the "very important evidence" is, or whether it's all just "self evident".

    Wellington • Since Apr 2009 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • mattgeeknz,

    The relationship between opening hours and the incidence of alcohol-related crimes and injuries is discussed on pages 183-192. They cite a number of studies, including a World Health Organisation report and reports from the UK, Iceland and more that longer opening hours actually increases the number of incidents over a 24 hour period: it doesn't just spread out the same number of incidents over a longer period of time. Reduce opening hours, and you would expect to see less alcohol-related hospital admissions and crimes over the full 24 hours.

    I do recommend reading the report if you have any interest in these issues. It is very approachable, and is designed to be read by the general public, not just ministers and their staff and policy wonks.

    I don't agree with everything in it - I like a drink as much as the next person - but most of their recommendations are well supported by overseas and local studies. They're not try-it-and-see recommendations: it's stuff that has been shown to work in reducing alcohol related harm and the number of alcohol related incidents both here and overseas.

    Disclaimer: my wife worked on some of the report.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2010 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Tessa Houghton,

    Actually, as far as hospital admissions go, the figures are about the same for males and females (3.59). Females don't get arrested as much as males - that's true - but younger women experience greater victimisation risks due to alcohol.

    i haven't read the report, so i won't jump to conclusions as to what you're saying, but thats sounds suspiciously like victim blaming to me. hardly negates your 'not the menz' argument.

    Wellington • Since Aug 2009 • 18 posts Report Reply

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