Saturday, 15 December 2007

I no longer recognise the land where I was born*

"Gotta go, nan, I'm totally PISSED", said the girl in the photo (right) as the District Line train approached Ealing Common. When discussing how the UK's changed in the past decade, British expats living in Poland will agree that - the presence of a million Polish migrants apart - public female drunkenness is the most visible new phenomenon. (Can you imagine the following words being said on the Warsaw metro - "Muszę kończyć babciu, jestem totalnie zachlana"?)

Earlier this year, I witnessed an inebriated 30-something career woman in smart skirt and suit falling face-long onto the concourse at Charing Cross station, tripping on her heels while tottering for a train. The contents of her handbag scattering all over the floor, mobile phone parting company from its battery. She was too drunk to stand up. A very sorry sight. Or a gaggle of teenage girls swigging white wine from the bottle on a District Line train at Ealing Broadway - drunk and aggressive.

Maybe I'm being a hypocritical male - no one bats an eyelid when Pan Ziutek boards a Piaseczno-bound 709 the worse for drink - but there's something rather shocking about a nation's womanhood behaving in this way. Britain is somehow a country losing its way.

* Quote from Jonathan Wood, publisher of cult literary annual Through The Woods.

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