Intrepid citizen reporter Caddis hid behind the curtains as the Aberdeen licensing czars pronounced on the booze night of the year.
Aberdeen City Council’s licensing board decided (following a convincing and patriotic word in their collective shell-like from a pub retailer and brewer who runs 13 Aberdeen bars) that the good folks of the Granite City should be allowed to make merry with the sherry for a whole extra hour on the night of the royal wedding of Prince ‘arry to his main squeeze on the 19th of May. Let joy be unbounded!
It is an offer on par with a three-for-the-price-of-two deal on Jumbo bags of mince from Iceland. It will re-invigorate those saddened by their inability to exercise their well-wishers’ rights during normal licensing hours on the day. They’ll now be able to toast themselves pie-eyed and bowdy-leggit without shouts of ‘time gentlemen please!’ interrupting their state of royal delirium.
One writer at the Aberdeen Evening Express (January 25, 2018) found it impossible to keep this royal swally-time news to himself, penning a spiritedly priapic page three article on the subject under the headline, ‘Revellers’ set for royally good time with extra hour to toast newlyweds’.
The paper seems to have imagined a royalty-embracing Scotland whose citizens spend their days gloomily munching haggis in brief hiatuses between royal couplings. It’s a vision of modern Scotland as accurate as Brigadoon. At least Brigadoon materialised just once in a hundred years, whereas, in parts of Scotland, royal appearances once a century would be considered pushy.
This fictional Scotland is one in which the mere hint of a royal hatch or match has Scots forming impromptu eightsome reels, birling like industrial centrifuges and heuching themselves hoarse with joy.
This somehow reminds me of the Macauley family, numerous enough to constitute a clan, who lived in the same tenement as me in the sixties. You wouldn’t see them from January to December. Then they’d turn up on the landing of my tenement flat in George Street, en masse, just before the bells on New Year’s Eve. They always had a tin of sardines with them; a first-footing gift. This fishy ‘gift’ was meant to make me feel obligated to ask them in, of course. But giving in to this psycho-tactic would inevitably lead to the systematic depletion of my stock of Auld Cock-a-leekie single malt — a long drawn out affair which ground to a halt around 5 a.m. when their last-man-standing passed out.
The Macauley family’s annual sojourn to the gates of my drinks cabinet echoes the royal family repeatedly conning their way into my life with a tin of sardines (on this occasion, an hour of extra drinking time).
Supper licence, seventies’ style
We should not delude ourselves into thinking that anyone foolish enough to take up this offer will do so out of feelings of bonhomie for the ultra privileged. Some, I fear, may welcome, not the wedding itself, but the opportunity for buckshee drinking time per se. If so, this would echo a social phenomenon of the early seventies known as the ‘supper license’.
If I remember correctly, (A bold assertion at your age, Cuddis. Ed.) pubs in those days were shut at 8 o’clock and everybody had to be in their bed by nine (That’s just how it felt, Cuddis, Ed.) This was clearly unacceptable and by way of remedy a ruse was introduced to allow licensed premises to serve drinks for a wee while longer just so long as punters bought a ‘meal’.
This was snuck past licensing boards by pretending that this change would be a benign, civilising influence. Alas, this seed of an idea fell on very stony ground: Forget tucking into Beef Wellington over a cheeky Merlot — 98% of those availing themselves of this ‘perk’ ordered Chicken in a Basket (Puffin on a Stick in Orkney) and eight pints of Old Speckled Hen, binning the viands as soon as the wallop hit their table.
At the end of the day, after we’ve thrown enough muck at the wall to see what sticks, when we’ve covered all of the nine yards behind the eight ball, the bottom line is this: Yet another bucket of establishment cow dung in the form of another royal wedding, has been slung across the creaking shoulders of the hoi polloi to dangle from the taxpayers’ yoke.
In the view of the chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, who hailed the excellent news: ‘It means people who will be out enjoying their night out on May 19 will be able to toast the happy couple longer …’ Just don’t wait for me before clinking the shot glasses. I’ll not turn up. But I do look forward to a time when the entire royal family lives self-sufficiently on an island of their own (Madagascar would be my choice). Now that I’d drink to!
No vox pop appeared in the Evening Express article, so Cuddis, in an homage to the MSM, added the following, utterly made up conversations, in an effort to trick people into thinking they’re real.
‘Big’ Jock Galashan (49)
Zero hours’ contractor
‘Wow! Result! My boss has waived his right to fire my arse if I spend this extra hour fawning over two people I have never met and who would most likely shun me if I did. He has deigned to release me from my contractual responsibility (temporarily of course) for hanging over the phone on the off chance I might be needed for 20 minutes to shovel offal into a skip at the jellied eel factory. I’ll get no pay of course, but money isn’t everything, is it? Especially when the country comes together on historic occasions such as this.’
Jane Cummings (60)
Unemployed oil worker
‘I pissed myself with excitement when I heard the news, I don’t mind admitting. There was mair waater in my incontinence pants than comes doon the Stoorie Burn in spate. Ah loves a wedding, me.’
Jim Jameson (23)
‘When I read this news, my sphincter spiralled open like a camera shutter. Filled my tracky bottoms to the brim. Worth it though. The mere expectation of a royal wedding helps take the edge of my 6 week wait for universal credit. That I will have an extra hour to buy drink I can’t afford is a bonus.’
Tam the Bam
‘Ye can poke yer Viagra, pal; I’ve had a hard-on since the engagement. I, for wan, will be havin an extra swally or four to toast these lovely hangers-on. In fact, ah canny wait — I’ve started drinking already (dry January didnae work for me).’