French riot police have today been told “très bien” by Nicolas Sarkozy’s Ministry of Frenchification after making one of the most stultifylingly French demands ever witnessed in human history.
The weapon-wielding violence enthusiasts have expressed their complete outrage at a law which bans them drinking at lunchtime. Yes, you did read that correctly. The officers are apparently incandescent with rage at being told they can no longer enjoy their customary beer or wine with lunch whilst on duty, a practice which formerly involved large quantities of fine Merlot and a couple of cheeky Lafites being carted along in the riot van, to be cracked open in the street. Whilst they were working. On protests. With weapons. And protesters. In a climate of hostility.
In a statement, spokesman for the police Pierre du Pierre announced the collective disgust: “If a French man cannot enjoy some fine wine, some bread smeared in a paste made of cruelty and entrails, and somebody else’s wife over lunch, then what is the point of living?”
“Henri! Bring me my cravat.”
Outdated national stereotypes aside, perhaps the riot police have a point. They might argue that French culture is built around casual afternoon drinking, and they might well win such an argument, but they should beware of shouting about it too loudly lest their British counterparts get wind of it and start demanding Jägerbombs with every fag break. Our riot police are probably violent enough without any chemical encouragement. Couple this with the fact that us Brits are notoriously bad at lunchtime drinking and there are compelling reasons why this debate ought to stay very much on the other side of the Channel.
I wasn’t around for the Eighties and too busy being a child to remember much of the early Nineties, but by all accounts this was the end of a golden era of British luncheon beverages. This was also the end of an era where literally nothing got done after 2pm because everybody was asleep or fighting. A relative once recalled her 21st, some 30 odd years ago, which involved “a couple of lunchtime drinks”. When pressed, the exact figures were 9 vodka and lemonades and three shots. In a 45 minute lunch break. She doesn’t remember the rest except vomiting into a stairwell down 22 floors and being found in the toilets at about 7 by a cleaner who assumed she was dead.
And they say our generation has drinking issues.
Staying with great British traditions, millions of us are off to partake in the traditional Easter weekend activity, queueing! Thousands of cars will glide onto the main roads and simultaneously stop for no reason, leaving people free to enjoy the picturesque settings of Junstion 26 of the M25. The weather is fantastic, and people are really going to make the most of it by slow-cooking themselves in an old Ford Mondeo for the majority of the weekend.
Whatever you’re up to this Easter weekend, I hope that Jesus brings you all the chocolate you could wish for. Poor guy is probably kicking himself for choosing the whole messiah business over a more lucrative career in confectionery. The man sells more creme eggs than Bibles.