By Mark Easton
Mark Easton's Britain and so on. seems on the united kingdom via its courting to 26 topics - one for every letter of the alphabet. From Alcohol, Beat Bobbies, Cheese and canines via Immigration, Justice, Knives and homicide to the Queen, Umbrellas, greens and the Zzzz of a well-merited leisure, the book's meticulously researched yet obtainable essays map the back-story of latest Britain. With each one lettered bankruptcy, the reader is invited to examine the uk in a brand new means: status again to determine our small islands in an international or historic context, after which diving all the way down to scrutinise very important info which may be ignored. Taken jointly, the essays display a Britain that can't be visible during the prism of day-by-day information or present affairs. A park, a marriage, a beggar and a carrot all tackle new value upon getting learn Britain and so forth. because the united kingdom welcomes thousands of tourists to its beaches for the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, this can be a ebook that gives perception into the psyche of england; a nation's obsessions, prejudices, values and idiosyncrasies. what kind of position is it, what are the natives like, and the way did we get to the place we're?
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The researchers hung about in Cuban bars and recorded how customers rarely slurred their speech or fell off their chairs despite being very drunk. Research demonstrated that it was a similar story at Danish dinner parties, Georgian ritual feasts, the drinking contests of Laos and (until the Europeans arrived) the cactus-wine ceremonies of the Papago of Mexico. In all these situations, people drank until they were completely plastered, but in none was there the kind of violence and antisocial behaviour familiar to the residents of a British market town on a Friday night.
Alcohol, it was suggested, gives drinkers a time out from normal sober behaviour, permission to behave in ways that would otherwise be unacceptable. There are still social limits on how and how far a drunk may stray, but these limits vary between cultures. In some societies, notably in northern Europe and North America, alcohol is imbued with a malevolent power to lead people into sin. Its effects are often likened to possession by evil spirits, echoing the ‘demon drink’ warnings of the nineteenth-century temperance preachers.
It was a huge success. In the House of Commons, politicians hailed it as a potential boost to Britain’s balance of payments; the Agriculture Minister Peter Walker revealed that even his dog enjoyed the new cheese. Domestic demand was so great that there were soon shortages in the shops, but it was its popularity that would prove to be Lymeswold’s downfall. To foodies, the cheese reeked of slick marketing, its mask of authenticity as thin as its white rind; when under-matured stocks were released to increase supply, critics were happy to encourage a reputation for poor quality.