Jem Beedoo

Jem Beedoo is an Auckland writer

Jem Beedoo: Let's pray for peace and good swill to all men

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Violence is a huge pastime in New Zealand. Photo / APN
Violence is a huge pastime in New Zealand. Photo / APN

The booze-related violence and booze-related problems on the streets, in the home, in the bar and the club are very real, very frightening and highly ingrained problems. And the solution lies in more booze. We just need better management strategies in place.

Violence is a huge pastime in New Zealand. From our warrior culture through to our knock-down, drag-out rugby fetish, to our love of fishing and hunting, we are a hard people who anticipate violence. Not quite enough booze, especially when mixed with marijuana, exacerbates this very thirst for fists. So we fight all night.

But if publicans and barmaids had more generosity of spirit and poured our spirits more generously then people would be too drunk to fight. And we could have our city safely closed down by 2am, as it is in San Francisco, as no one would be able to stand up by then. The only hospitality hospitalisations on long, dark nights would stem from alcohol poisoning, not from king-hits. And the nurses would give you such a bollocking for overdosing that you'll never do it again.

We could save big taxpayer dollars if people stopped beating one another up thanks to total, psychic, drug-free inebriation.

In New Zealand, when they pour you a "drink", they pour you a pot of soda water with a teardrop of vodka. In San Francisco they pour you a pot of vodka with a teardrop of soda water. That's the problem: we're too stingy, we get stitched up. And the sobriety leads to anxiety, which leads to staying out until 4am and chasing an ever-elusive drunkenness, which leads to a smack on the head. If everyone had more spirits in their glass then all would be mellow. And the police could tackle more important matters than aggressive half-drunks.

Another measure they could put in place is to drug-test people on the door of clubs. It would prove a sensible move, because drugs never bode well with booze. The combination gives rise to paranoia, irritability, chronic insomnia, misappropriated sex and destitution. Thus violence. Refuse admission to these people. In fact, pack them off to Melbourne on a one-way ticket. That'll clean the streets.

And, as I've said before, make it legally compulsory for ladies to drink champagne only. "Champagne is only the wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it", as Madame de Pompadour eminently pronounced. Then bar them from the bars if they drink anything else. They cause half the violence on lesser wines. In Japan they have a "Men's Bar" on every corner and they don't have the street problems we have here.

Make the drinking age 21 again. An 18- to 20-year-old man is the one who thinks he's Jack the Lad - he is the cause of the other half of violence. Why so? He is so confounded by his newfound adult biological structure that he can only find peace in fights. We must let him hit 21 before he boozes.

Out with the swanky bars and in with the dives. That way people can casually let their guards down and celebrate their problems properly, rather than under stifling sartorial pressure of leather, perfume and collared shirt, which are consistent with constricting circulation. The crummy bars will keep the implacable ladies and, consequently, the fights at bay.

And introduce a lucrative tipping system. It will attract greater numbers of happy bar-staff and minimise the time lining up to buy booze suffered by customers. Because it is the most niggly thing of all. And it causes coercion, smart-arse remarks and, finally, fights.

- NZ Herald

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