this was an exhibition earlier this year by the Royal College of Physicians, covering attitudes to alcohol over the last three hundred years. it included many advertising images used in promoting alcohol, which I found unexpectedly harrowing seen repeatedly, so please view with caution if there is any chance this could be triggery for you.

when I think about how alcohol advertising affects me, I think about alcohol advertising today. whereas in fact what affects me most strongly is the residual effect of the advertising that was going on in the 1970’s, where every colour supplement and copy of Reader’s Digest had images of men in Aran sweaters drinking whisky, or flirty girls saying “I’d love a Babycham…” come to think of it my first taste of an alcoholic drink may well have been Babycham.

here’s a link from the exhibition to both a three minute extract and a nineteen minute film. it includes a moving testimony by the wife of a heavy drinker, mixed with differing views of alcohol from members of the public and physicians.

the biggest message for me from this was the physician saying, “there is no such thing as a safe limit for alcohol consumption, so it can be said that distinguishing between use and abuse of alcohol is not actually a useful concept“. so, what consequence does that have on the ‘personal responsibility’ approach taken by government and the alcohol industry?

stay safe, people.

73 days to go to one year.