Monday, January 09, 2006

It would nearly drive you to drink

It would nearly drive you to drink.

In his excellent recent novel The Rooms, Declan Lynch gives an interesting insight into the mindset of an alcoholic.  He makes an interesting distinction between someone who drinks a lot (like Shane McGowan) and someone that alcohol really transforms.  The latter is, in Declan Lynch’s book, an alcoholic.  So while Shane might be consuming more than is good for him, he isn’t an alcoholic.  Mr Lynch posits that Roy Keane probably is an alcoholic who is battling to stay off the sauce.  In the novel, he parallels the protagonist’s battle with alcohol and emotional crisis with Roy’s famous Saipan episode.

Roy has since experienced several more crises not the least the painful termination of his Manchester United career and yesterday’s inauspicious debut at Celtic.  Charles Kennedy, it seems, also has a well developed reputation for serious drinking.  I’ve still to hear Declan’s assessment if Kennedy is an alcoholic or just someone who drinks a lot.  Some commentators have noted that through his dignified departure, Kennedy has done a service to alcoholics everywhere.  But I’m not so sure that being sacked from a job you were doing really well because of your battle with alcohol, does alcoholics any favours.     

it set me thinking, imagine that instead of alcoholism, Kennedy developed another serious, but ultimately, treatable health problem.  I’d imagine that the Liberal Democrats would encourage their leader to go off and get himself healed and install the deputy leader Menzies Campbell as a caretaker leader.  Hounding the man out of office and in the process destroying his career forever doesn’t seem too liberal or very democratic.  But then, perhaps it’s just that alcoholics fail to face up to the reality that their drinking has become so destructive that they just can’t cut it anymore.  As two teenagers ran rings around him in a bobbly football field in Glasgow yesterday, I wonder did the penny drop with Roy?

All in all, its not been the best weekend for either man.  Enough to drive you to drink.


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