Salut les frenchies,
Fière diplômée d’un bac ES, j’ai intégré, la rentrée dernière, le cursus londonien de l’université Dauphine-Paris (le GBD). L’acclimatation pour moi, Fanny Gavelle, ou Fann pour les anglais (la signification de mon prénom laisse à désirer dans la langue de Shakespeare), est une étape houleuse et loin d’être terminée.
Fraîchement arrivée dans la capitale des buveurs de thé (et de pintes), mon quotidien se résume à prendre des bus rouges et à me protéger de la pluie, mais pas seulement…
… This is my story
Another striking feature of London is the numerous Pubs/Bars/Places serving alcoholic beverages. Wherever you are in London, you can find a pub (or two or three…). Even universities have their own bars, such as UCL and its famous student bar: the Phineas. On the third floor of the UCL Union building you will indeed find this place, and drinking a beer there is clearly part of the enrolment in any student society. I feel like drinking in London is a sort of institution: at any time of the day or the night, if you enter in a Pub, you will find someone drinking, often a huge pint of beer. French people also have the reputation to go to bars quite often, but in a different way. French people are more keen on drinking in a bistro or a café, that is to say places where you can also have a coffee. Hence, I guess that entering a bar in France at 10 am doesn’t make you look like an alcoholic whereas, in London, if you want to get a coffee you go to Starbucks or Costa. You consequently know for sure that someone entering in a pub will drink because that’s the rule!
I wonder if London is a safe haven for alcoholics. If a city reflects its inhabitants, then I see London as a drunk old man in a fancy suit at the counter of an old pub smelling like hot beer. I feel like Londoners are not judgemental about drinking, it’s quite impressive. It’s not unusual to see a collection of white-collar men and women, still in their work clothes, on the terrace of a bar with a pint in their hand on the South bank of the Thames, at 5pm. They are all laughing and very joyful… at least until an hour or two later, when they have had too much to drink. That’s actually when things start getting pretty funny. Men’s faces turn red and their ties disappear. Women don’t care about the properties anymore and sometimes forget they are wearing skirts. Though, in the end, it’s ok. Sure, you’ve seen your co-worker make a fool of himself because he was drunk but the next day, it starts all over again; and that time you may be the foolish one. Thus, I guess London is a good city to live in, if you have a drinking problem. I even feel like London is encouraging this path sometimes, so does Britain. For example, in a report on alcohol and health by the WHO in 2014, I learned that compared to others countries like France, The United Kingdom didn’t have specific regulations, neither that required health warning labels on alcohol advertisements or containers, nor on alcohol sponsorship or sales promotion. I guess that for London, it’s just another way to make money: more regular drinkers, more sales, more profits!
On the other hand, I think that London is slowly starting to realise that alcoholism can destroy its productivity. If they really wanted people to drink a lot, why wouldn’t they let them do it in the Tube, in the streets… They probably realised that it has started to become a public health issue. However, I’m in a cynical mood so I will just conclude that London is an alcoholic city (which would explain monuments like the Gherkin) and its regulations just a way to show clean hands to the world and apportion blame on its inhabitants.
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