Alcohol – Britain’s Most Harmful Drug | Drugs Map of Britain
PHONE RINGS Alcohol delivery. You just called us? Is that you trying to work out my alcohol? It’s fucking lovely. Cos alcohol’s my best friend. Do you want to get yourself arrested? Go on, then, arrest me. Do you know how drunk you are? Fuck off. I’m not going to accept that just because you’re drunk. No. 20 quid for eight beers? Ha-ha! Cheers! Wow. Looks like you’ve got a lot of champagne in there. Jesus. In four months there’s been three people that have passed away. Look at me. I’m a nervous wreck here. INDISTINCT CHATTER Sorry, I can’t stay still. Don’t know what’s wrong with me.
Ah, dear. Is it cos you need a drink? Yes. I mean, I’ve got no money, and I hate it. I hate when I’m like this. Can’t stay still. You all right, there, Des? When you end up in hospital, sometimes you just want to give up. Especially when you’ve lost your loved ones. I’ve lost all my family. I’ve got two kids and that, but nobody gives a monkeys, you know what I mean? They don’t like me drinking. Probably a strong cider, strong lager. Tenner a day, you’re done. Most of our residents do have an alcohol addiction, yeah. Want to sign for me? There’s yours. All right, Colin? Thank you very much. All right, mate. ‘We’re just doing daily alcohol. ‘Some people get them at eight. Most people get them at ten,’ depending on how dependent they are. You’re welcome, you’re welcome. ‘Part of the reason that we give out cans is to try and reduce ‘the risk of withdrawal and everything that goes with it, ‘like seizures. And also, I suppose, some of our residents’ are seriously reduced in their mobility, and so getting to the shop can be quite a problem for them, and that would be quite dangerous if they couldn’t access the alcohol that they needed.
There you go. Thank you. All right, mate. ‘You could describe it as harm minimisation. ‘If they are going to drink, ‘then at least drink something that’s not so harmful as, like, ‘the super-strength alcohol, which, ‘it’s not just alcohol – there’s ‘chemical components in there that just’ really damage your organs really badly, quite significantly. And I think the most worrying thing, as well, is that these cans are usually about £1 a can and, for me, that rings alarm bells. If something’s cheap, why is it cheap, you know? A lot of times when I’m describing the job, a lot of people are still so surprised by it. They ask the ins and outs of the job, like, “How does it work?” I said, “It’s literally just like ordering a pizza, “but it’s alcohol and cigarettes instead.” Literally. You’d be surprised – I’m getting orders on a Monday morning at 7am, and I was like, “Shouldn’t you be getting ready for work?” It doesn’t make any sense.
This is the expensive stuff. How you doing? Are you all right? You all right? Cash? Cash, yeah? HE LAUGHS INDISTINCT CHATTER Sounds like you’ve got more than one girlfriend in there. It’s not fair! No! INDISTINCT It’s 204.15, yeah? Sorry? Her ex-boyfriend was telling her… You don’t need the gym, no. 100% sure. You don’t need the gym. Don’t listen to him. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas to you. Have a good night, all right? Yeah, I’m sure.
HE LAUGHS He’s got more than one girlfriend in there. She was stunning. So, I think he’s living the lifestyle that we would like to live… ..but some of us got to deliver alcohol. £20 tip. Lovely for Christmas. We’re proud to be British. Bam! LAUGHTER I’ve had a lot to drink… LAUGHTER Cos alcohol’s my best friend. Oi oi! Oi, it’s Charlie Bear. INDISTINCT SINGING Father, we thank you for the honour of serving you, and we pray this evening, Lord. We pray for a night of joy and people having a good time. Mm. We just put tonight in your arms, in his name. ALL: Amen. There may be people having work Christmas parties this evening, so that’s something to consider. It’s what we’ve sort of being saying the last couple of weeks. See you later. I’m a street pastor. And we go out in Kingston and in other towns round the country, just making sure that the youngsters that go out to the towns during the Friday and Saturday nights are safe.
Eh… Just some chicken. 1.40. Past your bedtime. You should be home in bed. SHE LAUGHS My goodness. What are you doing out at this time of night? If we come across any that are very drunk and need help, then we will give it to them. ‘Fuck off!’ What’s the matter? Eh? He was really horrible! You’re freezing, darling. Luke? Have we got a space blanket? You ask the doorman to call us. And what’s your…? Like, who do I say? We’re street pastors. Street pastors. If you need us to come back. Thank you. Oh, no that’s lovely. You sure? It’s actually so warm. Good night. Merry Christmas. Yes, and you, darling. I hope they’re not too long. WOMAN CRIES I’ve told her that she can still report it.
It happened last week! Someone just came up to me! Basically, a group of lads hadn’t even walked past, and they picked me up as a joke and, like, carried me along… And I thought it was funny, because, like, they just carried me along. But then they put me down, and one of them, like, grabbed me… Right in my private area, like… And were these people that you know or people that you don’t know? People I don’t know.
Sorry. I’m sorry. No, don’t apologise. I’m sorry. No-one’s going to take me seriously! We’re taking you seriously. I don’t think it’s fair that that happens, no. Because I think the boys would laugh it off as a joke, whereas it had obviously affected this lady, you know, drunk or not, quite badly. And it should be understood that that sort of thing isn’t… Shouldn’t be allowed. I think sometimes the young ladies it does happen to are probably too drunk to realise, the next morning, what happened. Er… Extra-dry Prosecco. Youngsters take their own booze when they’re waiting to cue up for the nightclubs. Alcoholics that are wandering around Kingston collect these bottles up and drink the contents. Probably better for us to get rid of them as well. It’s not as bad as other peoples’. I’ve seen other peoples’ rooms. But I can’t be praised for this. HE LAUGHS It’s kind of embarrassing, in a way. In the other hostels that I’ve been in, plenty of violence and that, but nothing so here. Nice day today. Lovely winter sunshine. Can feel it on my face. In a few weeks, I’m going to be moved on. So, I know that much.
I don’t know where I’m going to go or where they’re going to put me. They’ve actually suggested that my best option is to go into detox. I’m just waiting for… Well, I don’t know what I’m waiting for, to be honest. Erm… I think they said something about funding. I’m just… Do you want to do detox? For my own good, yeah. The other day I didn’t have a drink. Well, I had one can, and I didn’t sleep that night. And I started hallucinating. And it sounds really weird, but it’s true. I was seeing things that weren’t there. I was seeing black bags in the street, thinking it was a person. You know, it’s really weird. It’s a really strange experience. It’s actually terrifying, cos… Cos sometimes you worry because you think you might have a seizure. And that worries me the most.
If I stop drinking, dead, I might have a seizure. I’ve seen people in other hostels having seizures, and they’re terrible to watch. You do meet famous people every now and then, though. Rita Ora whenever she’s in London. She’s a regular, actually. Um… I’ve met Example. I’ve met Kano. I haven’t personally met, but other drivers have met Peter Crouch, Heston Blumenthal… Quite a few, quite a few. PHONE RINGS Hi, how can I help? What we got? We’ve got beers, wines, cigarettes, champagnes, spirits.
What were you after, do you know? Any idea? Yeah, course we’ve got vodka. Grey Goose, Belvedere… Depends which brand you’re after. Is there any particular brand you’re after? Cool, one of those. Any mixers with it? Coke? Our largest order, the one that we’re most aware of, was £671.50. I mean, they actually spent £1,000 that evening. It was the Brexit winners, on the referendum night. The main party contacted us after there was the announcement that they’d won, and they celebrated in absolute style. They were literally at the Houses of Parliament. Alcohol delivery. You just called us? Did you need to place an order? I mean, at one point we had a disabled lady who’d order alcohol from us every three or four nights, I suppose. Two bottles of vodka. Because she couldn’t get to the shops. So, it’s not just for young people looking to continue their party. Erm, we deal with all walks of life. Do you feel bad about that? The disabled lady? Eh, not being able to get out? Just… Two bottles of vodka a night seems a lot. Yeah, but it’s every, I would say, probably four days.
Erm… I don’t feel particularly comfortable about it. But it’s not for me to… It’s not really for me to, sort of, question how they lead their life. What we are going to do is reposition Nathaniel from where he is at the moment on the map up into the West End of London, because we are just coming into peak time now and, undoubtedly, we’ll get a flood of calls for the west part of London. There’s a fella here. That’s him. Good. Are you paying cash or card, mate? I’m playing… I think I had a card, but I’m trying to look at what I’ve got. Two bottles… Two bottles of wine. And then… A pack of Rizla. And you want to add some beers. Yeah. Can we put some beers on top of that? It’s a Christmas thing. It’s a Christmas thing. I don’t do this…
Do I do it every week? I don’t. I’ve done it the last bloody three weeks. It’s… Seriously, it’s Christmas stuff. So, what are we doing? If you want the beers, it’s an extra 20 quid, for eight beers. 20 quid for eight beers? Yeah. Unfortunately. 20 quid for eight beers. That’s all right. Can I just take the case? Do you want to take the whole case? It will cost you more. 82 quid for colder beers. That’s what we do. You have a good night, mate. Take care. We will do. Nice one. Love to everybody. NAT LAUGHS Cheers! He’s having a ‘mare. NAT CHORTLES On to the next one now. I’ve got another one. The word I get most to describe myself is, “Oh, you’re a lifesaver.” HE LAUGHS You’ve run out of beers. All the shops are closed. You’re not ready to call it a night yet. So in comes Nat, innit, to save the day. It’s nearly quarter to four.
CHUCKLING DANCE MUSIC BOOMS It’s my idea of hell, going into one of those places. LAUGHTER ‘I did used to come into Kingston, actually. ‘We used go out and have a drink, ‘but very rarely got drunk.’ ‘Even my children,’ didn’t used to get, you know, so drunk that they couldn’t remember what they… ..couldn’t remember what they’d done the night before. Erm… ‘Well, I suppose the last ten, ’20 years or so,’ it’s got a lot worse. Jesus! RAISED VOICES Tubby’s just turning everybody out now, so there’s a lot of people waiting for cabs and taxis and lifts home. They all seem very jolly tonight. SHE LAUGHS RAISED VOICES ARGUING Oh. ARGUMENT CONTINUES Shall I give them a lolly? Have a lolly.
And be friendly. We’re being friendly. Are you? Are they? Do you know what they’re arguing about? Do you know what they’re arguing about? No. RAISED VOICES Do you want to get yourself arrested? Go on, then, arrest me! Please arrest me. And you cannot touch me. I am a person. I’m a person. Good night. Good night. Thank you. OK. Is he all right, this lad? Yeah. It’s just some cleaning. Yeah. BEEPING CHORTLING This the longest lift. It’s only one floor, but it takes forever. Oh, this… Oh, yeah, this is the, erm, arts room. I dunno if I showed it to you before. This is the arts room. This is where the residents do all their art.
These pieces here are from a good friend of mine, John, who recently deceased. They’ve been kept up in his memory, basically. Erm, all I know is he went out to get a drink and he collapsed and died on Wandsworth Road. Uh, dear. Was he a friend of yours? He was an excellent friend. I’d known him for ten years. We’d been in three different hostels together. He thought I was following him about! Bless him.
Good old John. Do you think he died of something related to alcohol? Eh, there’s a very distinct possibility. ‘When you… When I get involved with things, like, ‘it keeps me away from the drink for a bit.’ There’s a… There’s an organisation up the road, Wicks Lane, and it’s amateur dramatics. I got involved with them there four years ago. It’s my fourth year in a play. This year, it’s called Home. And it’s about… It’s about street…street life. About residents of a street and everyone’s got their little role to play. I’m just going to go and read a poem, or a verse of my poem.
It’s going to be really good. Last year, when we were at the Omnibus Clapham Arts Centre… ..I took a bow and the audience were clapping for me. That made me feel really happy. And I felt like I’d achieved something. Hi, Ray. Do you want to come down for your medication, please? Thank you. I’ve been at Robertson St for four months now. How many people have died since then? Three. Possibly four. Do you think people view alcohol as a drug? No, I don’t think they do, actually. I don’t think they do. I think they see it as like as a means to relax, something to enjoy yourself with and stuff like that. And, erm… No. Not a drug. I don’t think that people see it as something that you can seriously get addicted to, until you are actually in that addiction. I can’t believe this! HE CHUCKLES Excuse me, please. Thank you very much.
He missed rehearsal and he missed the tech and the dress this morning, so it is 12th Hour stuff, but he’s here now and so he will be in the performance. He will be in the play. I’m sorry about… That’s all right. I’ll probably have to read my text. No, that’s fine. You will need to do that. Is that all right? Yeah. We need to get you to do your bit in front of this fantastic set here. SINGING APPLAUSE Homelessness. What is homelessness? On the outside looking in? Sleeping rough, I cry in silence. Salvation. Sanity. Shelter. APPLAUSE On you come, sir. Oh, Gawd Almighty! I’m going to sit over here…
I was so nervous. INDISTINCT SPEECH ..child of the universe. I wasn’t born to shine. Look at me. I’m a nervous wreck here. Oh, God, I’m terrible. Gawd! HE LAUGHS I can’t believe this! So I’m going to go back to the Robertson Street Project and have a can of beer. It might not be such a good idea, but if I don’t get rid of these nerves, I’m going to go mad. Do you think you need to have another drink? Definitely. I’m sorry, I’ve got the shakes. I thought it was nerves, but I actually have the shakes. No, it’s better if I just take the edge of myself. I don’t even know if I’ve got any money on me. I’m skint. Hold on. No, I can’t be skint.
That was me. That was me. HE CHUCKLES That was definitely me. I want to stop what I’m doing, basically. I’m not playing games. I want to stop what I’m doing. Just get my own place to live, get a job. Maybe it’s a bit too late. I’m only 47, but… I don’t know. Do you think 47’s a bit too old? Course I can get a job. I’m just going to the shop there. I’ll just quickly be a minute. In and out, in and out, in and out. Shake a leg. See, it takes the edge off you when you feel a bit jittery. That’s what I call it – jittery. But the thing is, I mean, you hear about alcoholics. I mean, yes, I’ll admit I’ve got a problem with it. That said, I don’t say I’m an alcoholic. I say I’ve got issues with alcohol. And, erm… But the problem is, I rely on alcohol to get me through any day of the week. So…that, my dear friend, is that. HE LAUGHS.
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