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JoeDavola

UK drinking culture - boredom?

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A friend of a friend emigrated to Canada years ago because he basically had no qualifications beyond a few bad A Levels and there was no work for him here in the UK. I see the occasional post on Facebook of the things he's doing in Canada; he looks to be living a far better life than even my friends here that got the 'good jobs' in the UK and managed to get a house ect...he's dating a wonderfully young woman and it looks like that have lots of different things to do together in Canada, their latest post was skiing in a place called Grouse Mountain which I had to google, but which looks rather impressive.

I looked at it and thought about the folk that I know where I live; people either sit and watch TV, go out to a bar and get smashed, or to a restaurant to get something to eat - they don't really 'do' anything else. I also thought about the 'things' I could take a date to beyond getting drunk or eating, and I came up short. Perhaps an indication to get more hobbies.

It made me think of a few things from my travels over the years:

- Two things that I saw in Budapest; the roman baths and a large outdoor Ice Skating area. In both cases I saw locals, young and old (the memory of what must have been a 75 year old woman skating beautifully with the flexibility of gymnast will never leave me!) enjoying these facilities, somewhere nice to go and be around other people. It seems like we're short of such places in the UK.

- Strolling along a beach in San Diego early evening and seeing a mixture of couples having a walk across the beach after work, and people who had just got home from work taking their surfboards onto the beach to catch the last couple of hours of daylight.

It also brought to mind a colleague who emigrated to Australia about 10 years ago, I remember when I asked him why he said he wanted to live somewhere where "there was something to do after work every day other than get drunk".

Am I being somewhat unfair here?  Is this just a case of someone who has lived the city life too long and needs to explore his own countryside more? Or is there a better quality of life in other places if getting drunk isn't your main pastime?

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I was amazed at the drunkenness of my colleagues on Thursday!

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Some bits of the UK are incredibly boring, and since precious little value is put on anything other than "cheap" and "efficient" expect it to only get worse. That's not universal though, and it would need comparing by area (at a fairly narrow level in places - big difference between city centre and suburbs perhaps?). And we've got a culture where being interested in anything beyond perhaps cars and football is seen as sad.

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A relative of mine came over from Australia for a visit. He said to me that he now understood why there were so many good bands from the UK. Because we have to find something to do inside to pass the time due to our terrible weather :)

 

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This sounds like a case of the grass is always greener.  Yes, the beach in San Diego is nice, but try to go for a walk in the countryside there.  Well, for starters, there is no countryside there, just strip malls, housing developments and fenced off private property where you'd get shot if you tried to go for a walk.  Outside of the beach and a few public parks, there is very little public space in the US, which is why most Americans spend their time watching TV and eating and drinking just like people in the UK (though they'll likely be eating fast food and drinking Pepsi rather than beer).

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I thought you were going to take up sailing ?

Everything you describe your friends doing involves the outdoors. We have the outdoors here and arguably, it's more varied and convenient for all people to reach than in the countries you cite such as Canada and Australia. The high cost of access to the UKs outdoors is the major problem for many people, whether that is getting there or staying there.

So, cost aside, for many in the UK I think it comes down to lack of imagination or awareness of the what the 'outdoors' has to offer (Institutionalised in many families now), and idleness. If all you know is what you don't want, you'll just get more of it.

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Pretty much spot on there is a lot more things to do in other countries that do not involve drinking. In Sweden for example you can do ice skating skiing downhill skiing or things like that don't involve drinking during winter. Or go to any of the thousands of lakes in the summer. or to your summerhouse which don't cost a fortune.

 

 

Uk is more limited.

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I wouldn't worry Joe. That's just the nature of facespace. It's a narcissist's wet dream. "Look at me look at me". People cherry pick the best and willy wave to the nth degree. 

One of many reasons I'm no longer in the Facebook troupe. I'm clean and sober almost 6 years now. 

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I found the Swedes to be excellent excessive drinkers. My time in Pakistan didn't involve much alcohol.

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15 minutes ago, LiveinHope said:

I thought you were going to take up sailing ?

Everything you describe your friends doing involves the outdoors. We have the outdoors here and arguably, it's more varied and convenient for all people to reach than in the countries you cite such as Canada and Australia. The high cost of access to the UKs outdoors is the major problem for many people, whether that is getting there or staying there.

So, cost aside, for many in the UK I think it comes down to lack of imagination or awareness of the what the 'outdoors' has to offer (Institutionalised in many families now), and idleness. If all you know is what you don't want, you'll just get more of it.

That's why it needs to be on most peoples' doorsteps - that's the type of country we should aim to be creating. And, to bang my usual drum, it's one with a lot fewer people in it.

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I'm not sure whether it's a lack of things to do, more a lack of people who are actually into them. 

The 2 major cities in South Wales - Cardiff and Swansea - are both within easy reach of beaches and the sea. In fact Swansea is on a beach. There's mountains to walk in, rivers to kayak, all less than 45 mins away. In Swansea you could finish work and be surfing within 20 mins,so long as you avoid the traffic. There's masses of cycling, both on and off road.  

It's about what you make of it. Most people aren't interested.

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7 minutes ago, Riedquat said:

That's why it needs to be on most peoples' doorsteps - that's the type of country we should aim to be creating. And, to bang my usual drum, it's one with a lot fewer people in it.

Compared to Canada and Australia, the outdoors is on peoples' doorsteps in the UK. Hassle is the problem. Congestion between the where you live and the outdoors and then finding some solitude when you get there, and the cost of staying there. But compared to many countries, we are fortunate in the variety we have in close proximity to where we live.

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49 minutes ago, Snafu said:

Pretty much spot on there is a lot more things to do in other countries that do not involve drinking. In Sweden for example you can do ice skating skiing downhill skiing or things like that don't involve drinking during winter. Or go to any of the thousands of lakes in the summer. or to your summerhouse which don't cost a fortune.

 

 

Uk is more limited.

nah there are many thongs to do here that do not involve getting drunk.

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27 minutes ago, LiveinHope said:

Compared to Canada and Australia, the outdoors is on peoples' doorsteps in the UK. Hassle is the problem. Congestion between the where you live and the outdoors and then finding some solitude when you get there, and the cost of staying there. But compared to many countries, we are fortunate in the variety we have in close proximity to where we live.

True, although for quite a bit of it it's fairly dull countryside. I think the issues with that though are maybe 10% the way we do things and 90% simply too many people though.

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1 hour ago, JoeDavola said:

A friend of a friend emigrated to Canada years ago because he basically had no qualifications beyond a few bad A Levels and there was no work for him here in the UK. I see the occasional post on Facebook of the things he's doing in Canada; he looks to be living a far better life than even my friends here that got the 'good jobs' in the UK and managed to get a house ect...he's dating a wonderfully young woman and it looks like that have lots of different things to do together in Canada, their latest post was skiing in a place called Grouse Mountain which I had to google, but which looks rather impressive.

 

That's just what they do in Vancouver.  Skiing in Grouse Mountain, camping on Vancouver Island.  Um.  Dropping cameras off Capilano suspension bridge.  Hanging around Granville Island.  Okay, there is a bit more, but it isn't this amazing place which overwhelms everywhere else.

I terms of your local area, go with what you've got.  In the UK it is often architecture, rural footpaths, coast, accessible uplands, culture.  People come from around the world to see it.  Don't get me wrong, it also isn't some amazing thing which overwhelms everywhere else, but it does have a lot going for it.

 

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59 minutes ago, Riedquat said:

And we've got a culture where being interested in anything beyond perhaps cars and football is seen as sad.

I think there's definitely a cultural difference in the UK; it also occurred to me that the first thing that many ask or say about travel destinations is regarding how expensive the drink is: "oh such-and-such-a-place is great, the booze is really cheap". kind of thing.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule so a person should be able to find enough people to build a good circle of friends even if the culture trends in a certain way. 

As another poster said, there is an element of 'grass is greener', especially when I'm reminiscing on places that I visited as a tourist; seeing some place as a tourist is a million miles away from the reality of trying to build a life there. 

I'm also lucky that I live in a capital city, albeit a small one, so I've got a few cinemas/concert venues on my doorstep which is good. The 'nothing to do but drink' feeling really comes into play when I see what life is like for my friends who live out in little obscure towns which are just nothing but row after row of new-build suburbia as far as the eye can see.

I was going to joke that beer, netflix and antidepressants help keep people who have to live in such places sane, and then I realized that the three blokes I know who live in the small town I'm thinking of are actually all on antidepressants :unsure: 

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1 hour ago, JoeDavola said:

A friend of a friend emigrated to Canada years ago because he basically had no qualifications beyond a few bad A Levels and there was no work for him here in the UK. I see the occasional post on Facebook of the things he's doing in Canada; he looks to be living a far better life than even my friends here that got the 'good jobs' in the UK and managed to get a house ect...he's dating a wonderfully young woman and it looks like that have lots of different things to do together in Canada, their latest post was skiing in a place called Grouse Mountain which I had to google, but which looks rather impressive.

I looked at it and thought about the folk that I know where I live; people either sit and watch TV, go out to a bar and get smashed, or to a restaurant to get something to eat - they don't really 'do' anything else. I also thought about the 'things' I could take a date to beyond getting drunk or eating, and I came up short. Perhaps an indication to get more hobbies.

It made me think of a few things from my travels over the years:

- Two things that I saw in Budapest; the roman baths and a large outdoor Ice Skating area. In both cases I saw locals, young and old (the memory of what must have been a 75 year old woman skating beautifully with the flexibility of gymnast will never leave me!) enjoying these facilities, somewhere nice to go and be around other people. It seems like we're short of such places in the UK.

- Strolling along a beach in San Diego early evening and seeing a mixture of couples having a walk across the beach after work, and people who had just got home from work taking their surfboards onto the beach to catch the last couple of hours of daylight.

It also brought to mind a colleague who emigrated to Australia about 10 years ago, I remember when I asked him why he said he wanted to live somewhere where "there was something to do after work every day other than get drunk".

Am I being somewhat unfair here?  Is this just a case of someone who has lived the city life too long and needs to explore his own countryside more? Or is there a better quality of life in other places if getting drunk isn't your main pastime?

If I go to my local beach on the south coast any weekend I see wind surfers, people sailing small yachts, dog walkers, even a few brave souls swimming in the sea. I can quite happily fritter an afternoon down there just drinking a cup of tea from the hut on the foreshore and watching the endlessly shifting panorama of wind, waves and weather. Maybe I am just easily entertained.

BTW in my experience boozing to relieve boredom is not just something Brits do in the UK.  When they go abroad on holiday or even to live it seems to be a habit they take with them.

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7 minutes ago, dgul said:

I terms of your local area, go with what you've got.  In the UK it is often architecture, rural footpaths, coast, accessible uplands, culture.  People come from around the world to see it.  Don't get me wrong, it also isn't some amazing thing which overwhelms everywhere else, but it does have a lot going for it.

Agreed - I wasn't saying that life in the UK is totally miserable, but just that it felt lacking in some regards and also felt that there was a cultural difference, as you'd expect I guess, compared to other countries. I also get the feeling we have a reliance on booze moreso than other countries.

I like posting the crap that stirs in my head on this fine site, so that it can be mixed with the knowledge of the posters to see if there's actually some grain of truth in it!

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15 minutes ago, Riedquat said:

True, although for quite a bit of it it's fairly dull countryside. I think the issues with that though are maybe 10% the way we do things and 90% simply too many people though.

The sea is genuinely wild, it is less than 70 miles from most peoples front door in the UK and to my knowledge they have not found a way to build on it yet.

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4 minutes ago, stormymonday_2011 said:

The sea is genuinely wild, it is less than 70 miles from most peoples front door in the UK and to my knowledge they have not found a way to build on it yet.

Off-shore windfarms? :) And the Dutch have been building on it for years...

 

 

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14 minutes ago, JoeDavola said:

I'm also lucky that I live in a capital city, albeit a small one, so I've got a few cinemas/concert venues on my doorstep which is good. The 'nothing to do but drink' feeling really comes into play when I see what life is like for my friends who live out in little obscure towns which are just nothing but row after row of new-build suburbia as far as the eye can see.

"Small" shouldn't be a problem but "lifeless and souless" certainly is. As much as I grumble about the amount of building what is built is also a huge problem, and one we've still not learned since most new developments appear to be exactly that. No sense of community, no sense of belonging, no sense of identity, no charm that means you can wake up, look out of your window, and what you see makes you happy (British weather notwithstanding). I love not being in cities, I can understand the appeal of city centres (not that I share it) but suburbia is hell not because it has loads of bad stuff but because it doesn't have anything - which in some ways is worse.

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I think the reason you see this with people who gave emigrated is that it's all new; like moving to a new area.

There are plenty of great wild areas in Britain, I'd guess NI is particularly well blessed but I've yet to get there, but if you've done a walk hundreds of times (as I have with one local one) then it lacks freshness.

I motivated myself a few years back by getting a fifty best walks book and doing all of them. Including the ones which were a pain to get to, and felt huge satisfaction when at the year end I had ticked off forty seven of them. I also lost several stone!

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2 hours ago, JoeDavola said:

.. he wanted to live somewhere where "there was something to do after work every day other than get drunk".

... is there a better quality of life in other places if getting drunk isn't your main pastime?

You don't have to get drunk.

Sip and savour instead.

Why not drink craft gin out of child-sized copper mugs instead? Get yourself some denim man-tights, a wide-necked t, a lumberjack shirt and some ironic glasses. Team it up with a WG Grace beard.

You just have to be a little more imaginative. And. After that sipping has turned into a full-on alcohol addiction, console yourself with how much worse it could all have been for your poor liver had you not spent  three house deposits on organic, artisanal foodstuffs.

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My own option for what it is worth is more people take mind altering often addictive substances to excess to escape reality, kill the pain, to escape pressures, to escape what is 'expected' of them, to escape what they are supposed to achieve that is clearly beyond their reach, because of peer pressure, MSM, the man on the moon says they should.....so not only boredom but also loneliness.....heck of a lot of loneliness out there....anyone can be lonely surrounded by people.;)

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