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Joanna Lumley was right: Ladettes need to wake up and smell the coffee
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It seems I’m still having a jolly January as opposed to the dry one not being enjoyed by several of my friends.
I do like a drink at the end of the day. Not every day, mind you.
I think it comes from years of watching David Hunter and Meg Richardson heading for the decanter tray as soon as the sun went down at the Crossroads Motel.
I can imagine Joanna Lumley drinking in similarly elegant style, unlike her Ab Fab character Patsy, who is regularly plastered.
Ms Lumley says she “detests” Patsy’s drunken behaviour, and she feels similarly about Britain’s “ladette” culture.
I think we all feel that way when we see newspaper pictures of young women lying around in town centres with barely-there clothing – sometimes nearly bare – after a night of getting bladdered.
Ms Lumley says she despairs seeing girls being “sick in the gutter” and fears they’re putting themselves at risk of being “robbed or raped”.
Her advice is to simply behave like a human being should.
She said: “Don’t look like trash, don’t get drunk, don’t be sick down your front, don’t break your heels and stagger about in the wrong clothes at midnight.”
And who could say she’s wrong? She says she believes “something in our society” has caused the ladette culture.
Yes, but it’s not just something. It’s several things.
Firstly, the glamorisation of drink.
Back in the day TV adverts led you to believe that you would never be sophisticated or attractive without a glass of Dubonnet in your hand, and your parents were exotic creatures for sipping Babycham and shandy in the pub while you sat outside in the car park scoffing unsalted crisps with a bottle of Coke.
I started drinking aged 11. Unfortunately, by then – the early 70s – drinking had already become something you did to get drunk.
I don’t think I enjoyed one drink, but I couldn’t stop. That’s what happens.
Around the same time women were fighting for equality and by 1979 the UK had a female Prime Minister, proof that women were equal to men – and that included drinking pints, or as much of anything else as men did.
Only women’s bodies can’t handle it in the same way.
UK advertising rules for alcohol are now among the strictest in the world.
Alcohol consumption has been going down annually since 2004, yet admissions to hospital for alcohol-related illnesses are on the rise, and incidences of comatose girls being taken advantage of by groups of men are becoming all too frequent.
It’s not glamorous. It’s not attractive. It’s not clever. It can be lethal.
What’s needed now is a campaign, similar to the one aimed at the annihilation of smoking, to get that message on the streets.
Especially near the gutter.
Why blue saw red
THE Eden Hazard incident, in which the footballer was sent off for kicking a ball boy in the Capital One Cup semi-final against Swansea, was a regrettable one.
Hazard has apologised, though. He said he lost his head when the ball boy clung on to the ball in an effort to waste time at a crucial stage in the game.
I can understand why Hazard reacted, but he shouldn’t have taken the law into his own hands.
The ball boy, Charlie Morgan, whose parents own nearly a quarter of Swansea City FC, sent a smug tweet before the game: “The king of all ball boys is back making his final appearance #needed for #time-wasting.”
Ugh. Morgan is more than culpable in this. If he hadn’t tried to hold on to the ball in the first place, Hazard wouldn’t have done what he did.
I wouldn’t go so far as saying Morgan deserved it, but...
Oh stuff it. Yes, he did. Final score? Hazard 1, Morgan 0.
A winner all the way
THERE are some people I’ve interviewed who have left an indelible impression on me. Director Michael Winner, who died this week, was one of them.
As a junior TV reporter, I was dispatched to his impressive London home. The crew and I arrived at the allotted time and rang the front doorbell.
It was answered by a florid-looking Mr Winner, who announced: “You’re f***ing early! Get round the back and set up in the garden.”
So we did, like a clutch of naughty schoolchildren. When he re-emerged for the interview – with a distinct twinkle in his eye – he was charming, forthright and very funny.
Following his death, his PA Natalie took to Twitter to say: “He was truly the greatest boss.”
A difficult man, a rogue and a loyal, kind gentleman all rolled into one. It was a winning combination.
Fat? No this MP's fatuous
HEALTH Minister Anna Soubry once made her living working in TV.
I think she must be missing the glory, as I can’t think of any other explanation for her ill-informed, sneering, attention-grabbing remarks about being able to spot a child from a poor background, because they’re usually fat.
It’s like saying you can spot a pleb by the fact that they’re wearing a police officer’s uniform.
Deprived children, she said, used to be called “skinny runts”. “Now”, she says, “they’re overweight as parents stuff them with lots of bad food.”
That’ll be because there’s lots of bad food available. But it’s available to all of us, including the TWO THIRDS of the UK population who are overweight.
Are two thirds of us poor? No we’re not. (although we might well be if this Government does more than a term).
Go figure Ms Soubry. A chunky frame is not a sign of deprivation. It is a sign of eating too much and in particular eating too much readily available junk.
Why not tax junk food pedlars in the same way that products which are similarly detrimental to our health, such as alcohol and cigarettes, are?
And why not use that extra cash to support small British food producers who supply healthy, quality products?
It’s no good coming down heavily on the heavy, if you’re not providing solutions.
This week I love...
...Prince Harry, who admitted that on his latest stint in Helmand province, as co-pilot of a helicopter gunship, he’d taken enemy soldiers “out of the game”.
It caused a bit of a stir. What did we think he was doing out there?
Playing Scrabble? Scanning the dating site UniformDating.com for posh singletons who want to hook up with uniformed royals? Spreading the word on the benefits of talking to desert plants?
How strange that we give him great kudos for fighting for our country and then lambast him when he actually admits that that’s what he does.
No wonder he’s often confused.
? FIONA, I agree with your stance on sugary sports and energy drinks, they shouldn’t be sold to under-18s.
I give my son money for lunch and when I empty his pockets they’re full of sweet wrappers and his school bag is clinking with empty Powerade and Monster cans.
His moods are volcanic and I’m convinced it’s not all down to hormones.
These companies have to take responsibility as well grabbing the huge profits gained through sugar and caffeine addiction.
Angela Eden, via email
? THESE days it’s mostly aspartame in soft drinks.
My hairdresser is obese and drinks five cans of Diet Coke a day. When she skipped breakfast she was shaking so much that by 11am she had to have a fix.
Her doctor said she had a bad addiction and could not go cold turkey and must do it gradually.
Jacqui Stevens, via email
FP: THE European Food Safety Authority is currently re-evaluating aspartame’s safety and is due to report this year, Jacqui.