Charity shop finds


This is a great little book from 1986, that I found recently in a charity (goodwill) shop. The advice comes from an old school British journalist, and there’s some lovely social history in it, particularly in relation to gender:

“Once only groups of men were found drinking in pubs. Women only went in with a husband or boyfriend. Some bars were for men only. Now young women are becoming pub regulars” (p. 19)

Oh Keith, didn’t we just?

I was 15 in 1986, and had just started drinking in earnest. My mum went to the pub every day (as often as her own mum went to church) and she started taking me with her from about 14 or so. We’d get me a pint of lemonade and a pint of lager both, so I could pretend to drink the lemonade when the landlord came through. We were always in the snug, with the darts. By 15 I’d had my first blackout (Pernod, say no more). By 17 I was blacking out most weekends. I started trying to stop 20 years later and in these terms, I got (t)here just now.

Well, despite the time warp, this is still a clever little book full of great advice.

Chapters are:

How not to give up
Look in the Mirror
The Pub
Drinking at Home
The Party
The Restaurant
No Hangovers
Talk about it
Getting help from others
The Future
The Ten Commandments of Not Drinking
The Test

It ends with a section on mocktails.

The more things change, the more they stay the same –  I think a large amount of material in here is very similar to what we talk about all the time in the blogs. It’s a lovely book from a very sensible and committed ‘high bottom’.


I love little documentary windows into the past like these. It’s fascinating to track similarities and changes in society as it exists through time.

The author’s blurb at the back of this book says he ‘had encountered at first hand the problems of being teetotal in a world constantly pressurizing people to drink’ which certainly is my experience in the UK today.

Hopefully we can keep changing things so that it is different for the non-drinkers of the future.

(Post script: there are quite a few ex librio copies on Amazon


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