Sunday, 26 August 2007

I have seen my own death, there'll be brandy....

On Friday I mentioned a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that shows bar workers and those who work in the hospitality industry as a whole are most at risk from suffering an alcohol related death. As the ONS put it,


"The findings largely reinforce earlier research regarding those occupations with the highest indicators of alcohol-related mortality. In particular, it is very clear that those with access to alcohol at work are more likely to die from alcohol-related causes, compared to the population as a whole."

Some lovely graphs...





We are twice as likely to die from liver disease or pancreatitis as the rest of the population. So that's something to look forward to!

There isn't a bar worker, chef, waiter, bar/restaurant manager I know who doesn't enjoy a drink or fifteen. Right now even I am clasping a lovely big mug of Gin*! It used to be chefs who were the worst/best, depending on your view, for drinking. Some would arrive to work drunk, some got smashed during shift. But they all got very nicely marinated after work. You could spot the chef's with the drink problems quite easily. They would ask for 4 brandies from the bar for a brandy sauce that would never materialise. And when they are using a case of Schnapps a week to make fruit salads you have to assume there is more being consumed in the staff toilets than going into the dessert. But chefs aren't as bad with the alcohol now as they were years ago. Now they are stoned most of the time. Still doesn't chill them out though...

Bar staff though, still love a drink. And you can understand why. The hours are hard, the work can be tough. When you finish at 3am on a Sunday morning and all your friends are either drunk or getting it on what else are you going to do? The people you work with become your new family, your new best friends. You go to a colleague's, hopefully a fit and sexy colleague, house with left over wine and a carryout you procured earlier on your break. Parties are always planned during the shift. It's the best way to get things done quicker at the end of the day and it gives you something to look forward to. Most bar staff are young and have the energy and will for late night partying. For the most part it's just young uns being young uns.

Most of them slow the drinking down as they get older or settle down with the fit and sexy colleague. Some don't. Some fill up pint glasses with what looks like water but is actually vodka and lemonade just to get through the night. Some arrive to work with the sweats and the shakes and yet still can't go home without having another drink. Would they be any different if the worked in an office or as a bricklayer? Well if they were a bricklayer they might just get stoned all the time.

Times have changed a lot though from the days when my father worked in a kitchen. Drinking was not only tolerated during shift by the chefs it was sort of expected. But now there are organisations like Hospitality Action who offer help and advice for those in the business who are having problems with alcohol etc. In the olden days (70's) you would have been given a pint of shandy and told to get over yourself! We are surrounded by drink and by people drinking. It is understandable that bar workers etc want a drink at the end of our working day, just like everybody else in society does. It's just unfortunate that we finish at 3 in the morning!

As I was leaving work tonight word reached me via the Glorious Leader (General Manager) of an alcohol related accident in the restaurant were his fiancee was dining. It appears a waiter was heading to a table with a flaming brandy cocktail, you can see were this is going, and tripped on his way. The flaming brandy hit another waiter who's shirt burst into flames. A quick witted customer enjoying a bottle of Champagne saved the day by chucking the contents of his ice bucket at the flambéing waiter. Not sure if this would be covered in a ONS report but definitely another indication that alcohol can kill. Sounds like a scene from a Mr Bean movie. Hope the guy is OK and all that. Thoughts are with you comrade.

So the next time you are in a bar or restaurant be nice to those who are serving you for we are not long for this world....

*actually it's a big mug of tea....

everything is ready for the next staff party...

22 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Charlie said...

loving the fact the threw "Clergy" in there... pureply just for the craic!

Manuel said...

Ah the clergy, our moral compass, well they would be if they weren't busy touching kids and having secret families and such...

Anonymous Boxer said...

Funny, this sounds just like the Ferry Boat operators in our State. I wonder if they started out as Waiters.....

I love the word marinated - just wanted to throw that in, too.

gimme a minute said...

Flambéing waiters are a fab idea.

If you set yourself on fire I know I'd be upping the tip to at least 20%.

You might even get Old Knudsen to fork out a couple of sheckles if there were pyrotechnics involved.

livesbythewoods said...

Hurrah! "Senior Civil Servants" are up there in the "Die Young" category too.

See you on the other side, all too soon, apparently.

Medbh said...

I tended bar in this one place that was almost exclusively filled with construction workers. Those guys drank their faces off every night and then got up at 6am to get to the job site. The looked 60 when they were 40 though.

Manuel said...

Gimme: I'll add it to my list of demeaning things I would do for cash...

LBTW: Me, you, and George Best eh!

Medbh: The steam form the glasswasher keeps us all looking lovely and young!

Conortje said...

Well I'll be joing you too being a civil servant myself. At least I'm in good company - top up?

James UK said...

Has anyone ever done any research into alcohol being absorbed through the skin, akin to getting lung cancer through "second hand" smoke? Just crossed my mind that if you were constantly mopping it up / spashing it on yourself, would it get into your system to some extent?

I'm thinking along the lines of Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) particuarly, with it being used as a carrier gel to get other drugs into your system through the skin. (Sorry if it's a bit early to get all "science-y".)

sheepworrier said...

Another fantastic reason to get in the bar trade - bar monkeys are the biggest carriers of hepatitis due to all that lovely sharp, pointy broken glass.
I remember the amount of blood spilt back in my bar days and always watch with suspicion the newbie with the bandaged fingers.

Aside from that alot of belfast taxi drivers enjoy the odd pint or 5 at the start of their shifts. they talk shite for a reason...

Manuel said...

Conortje: "Show me the way to go home..." Gin Gin

James UK: "would it get into your system to some extent?" God I hope so...

Sheepo: Our pain is nothing but laughter to you. I could die today, have you thought of that?

Conortje said...

By the way, still no response from my e mail to The Ned. I reckon they're all too pissed to be reading e mails :-)

sheepworrier said...

Manuel: I have thought of that, but for completely different reasons...

Manuel said...

Conortje: Let me look into it....

Sheepo: JEBUS!

Ms Robinson said...

Not to cast aspersions on the obstacles you face Manuel but it seems to me that at any one time several professions are vying for the title of most alcoholic/most suicidal/most stressed. The difference is that at least working in the Biz, you know how to choose a fine drop to kill yourself with.

The Little Cheese said...

What about the effin journos? They are the biggest boozers out there. The only reason there is such a cocaine problem in medyah is that it allows them to drink more when they are three sheets to the wind.

Not me included of course, I am far too sensible (read boring) for that.

Manuel said...

Little Cheesey: Yeah journos, very true. There's one that used to visit my place of game full employment, and editor! He got well pished and was asked to move along, in a polite way of course. He didn't like this and wrote a nasty little piece about us in his bar review section. Cunt.

Old Knudsen said...

At least you'll go before me, unless I fall over board.

Manuel said...

Sailor boy eh?

The Little Cheese said...

All Editors are drunk barstards. End of. Until I get promoted that is.

Manuel said...

Obviously...

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