Alfie: There was nothing in my life bigger than beer!

18 Jan

So sang The Who in their minor 1968 hit “Dogs”(although they pronounced the last word, “be-er”) and the reason that it occurred to me was that I had been listening to something else by that great band just before hearing a news item on the radio concerning minimum prices for alcoholic drinks in the UK.

 Now just a couple of years after that song came out I started two new things – fulltime employment and drinking at the pub!

 Without boring you with the detailed figures I can say that after paying my mum for my keep, buying cigarettes and the instalments, petrol etc. for my little motorbike I had about £3 per week available to spend on beer with my mates at the aforementioned pub. It was The Elm Tavern in Spring Road, Ipswich if anyone is interested – and it isn’t there any more!

 If I stuck to the somewhat weak, watery standard offerings (i.e. avoiding anything with “Best” in its title) I could buy a grand total of 30 pints with that sum. Not that I did that, of course, not every week anyway!

 Fast forward 40 years.

The minimum price the Government is now suggesting for the weakest lager (the equivalent of the beer I used to drink in strength and quality) is 38p for a 440ml can.

 Relax! I’ve done the conversions for you and I make that equivalent to just under 60p per pint! Let’s keep it simple and call it 60p a pint and then look back at my 30 pint “allowance” which would not now cost me £3 but a figure of £18 – six times as much.

Of course, over that 40 year period I have had a couple of pay rises to the extent that my salary now is about SEVENTY times what it was then!

 So, given that even the lowest pay and State Benefits have gone up by more than six times over the years it’s really hardly surprising that our town and city centres are so often overrun by what I term “outdoor lager enthusiasts” since the expression “drunken layabouts “ is probably considered politically incorrect!

And, looking at what I COULD do with my money I’m rather glad that I hardly ever bother to drink alcohol at all now!

 Alfie (

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