Who else? Despite being a relentless and uncontrollable drunk, the Wimbledon-born Reed was one of the most charismatic Englishmen to have lived. The tales of debauchery are endless, from drinking 126 pints in one session to that unforgettable appearance on ‘The Word’…
Joanna Lumley’s fashion editor in ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ spent most of the ’90s with a glass in her hand. We all remember the Bolly, but let’s not forget the vodka – always Stolly – and the wine (she was once revealed to be living in a storeroom above Oddbins).
This political own-goal came with an assist from the scorer’s son. In June 2000 PM Tony Blair proposed fines for drunks exhibiting ‘offensive and loutish’ behaviour in public. Less than a week later, his 16-year-old son Euan was arrested in Leicester Square while exhibiting offensive and loutish drunken behaviour. He wasn’t charged, but it’s likely the dressing down he got from his father was far worse than any police record.
4.Dr Samuel Johnson
The eighteenth-century poet, essayist and dictionary compiler was not only a great drinker but also a provider of great quotes about drink: ‘Claret is the liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.’ On peach schnapps and lemonade the doctor was notably silent.
5.The Queen Mother
Every day was a royal old piss-up for this pissed-up old royal. A gin and Dubonnet cocktail kicked things off at noon; meals were accompanied by wine and followed by port. ‘Are we at the magic hour?’ she would ask at 6pm: the signal a martini was to be prepared. Given that she kept going till 101, perhaps pickling yourself can guarantee a long and happy life. Bottoms up, ma’am!
The ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ star had a boundless zeal for a bevvy, and was often found in the pubs and clubs of Soho. O’Toole’s life of excess included enough drinking tales to fill a dozen biographies before he died in December 2013. He was one of the last public figures to make hell raising seem like a gloriously heroic pursuit – when someone like Justin Bieber tries it, we just feel sorry for him.
Journalism these days is all about phone-hacking, checking Wikipedia and sending the intern to Starbucks to get lattes for the team. But Bernard was a hack in the golden age when copy could be filed from the pub. Often ensconced in the Coach & Horses in Greek Street, the legendary columnist was a wit, a womaniser and an unstoppable wine and whisky drinker (till pancreatis struck, whereupon he switched to vodka – the closest to abstinence he could manage). Not a recommended lifestyle choice.
8.Hogarth’s ‘neglectful mother’
In the foreground of William Hogarth’s famous ‘Gin Lane’ print of 1751, the merry mother smiles obliviously while her infant tumbles from her arms to his undoubted death. This uncaring unfortunate was portrayed by Hogarth as the embodiment of eighteenth century London’s insatiable appetite for gin and became a sort of tabloid hate figure – basically the Georgian equivalent of a ‘Benefits Street’ star.
Is there a pub, club or bar that the Croydon supermodel hasn’t been pictured falling out of? All the things that are supposed to slow people down – kids, marriage, turning 40 – just haven’t, and she remains one of London’s most unstoppable partiers. Cara – you’ve got a long way to go.
Churchill was fond of wine at breakfast, champagne and brandy with lunch and dinner, and a whisky and-water combo to be sipped between meals. And he’s responsible for one of history’s greatest comebacks. ‘You’re drunk,’ MP Bessie Braddock once told him. ‘Yes, I am drunk, but you are ugly,’ he replied. ‘And in the morning I shall be sober.’
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