In the face of increasing opposition, Jonny McAra argues the case for Scotland’s other national drink…

Admitting that you regularly drink and enjoy Buckfast tonic wine in pleasant company is a bit like admitting you get sexual gratification from torturing kittens with a lighter at an RSPCA meeting. Gasps of horror follow; “My God, not that stuff!”, “How can you drink it?”, “Do you know it contains more caffeine that all the tea in china and causes irritable bowel syndrome???” (The second part’s actually true). And in yet another attempt to demonise the devil drink, Scottish Labour are campaigning for an alternative to the SNP’s minimum pricing that would particularly affect the sale of caffeinated alcoholic beverages. The most infamous of which, obviously being wreck-thehoose-juice. But why the social stigma? Most people will point to its association with anti-social behaviour. The obvious solution is to ban it, since making things that people enjoy illegal is an effective and sensible course of action that has been successful throughout history. And of course, banning it would greatly reduce, if not end, all anti social behaviour.

Just imagine little Jimmy standing outside his local Spar of a Saturday evening, in his good trackies, sweaty wee hand clutching at the six quid nestled within. It’s been a hard week thinking up new ways to torment the wee fat guy in his class and there haven’t been many good fag ends to catch a draw off lying around the school car park. He just wants to relax with the lads down at the playground, maybe impregnate Chantel in the bushes. Imagine his absolute dismay at being informed that commotion lotion was no longer available. “Oh well” he’d say, “I kinda wanted to stay in and get to grips with Kant’s categorical imperative anyway. Time to turn my life around!” Or, more likely, he’d just buy some other type of alcohol. Because the truth is, Buckfast isn’t responsible for people acting like cunts, binge drinking is. Buckfast just gets you there faster. You might think you’ve been drunk before, but if you haven’t had a full dose of Supersonic down your neck then you’ve never really been that drunk. Buckfast gets you the kind of drunk where you wake up alone in your girlfriend’s bed with a note on the pillow saying she never wants to see you again. The kind of drunk where nightclub bouncers use you as an example of the sort of person not to be let in. The kind of drunk where you pull your trousers and pants all the way down when you’re doing a piss and not even for a laugh, just to minimise the risk of getting piss all over yourself.

I drank my first ever bottle of Buckfast in Barcelona when I was travelling (if your first experience of Buckfast makes you sound like more of a student wank I’d like to hear it). The next day my piss looked like vegetable oil and the substance leaking out of my arsehole could only accurately be described as toxic sludge. Thus began the most enduring love affair of my life. Because Buckfast is the person at the party you go home with that looks like good clean fun but models for Wikipedia STI pictures in their spare time. Sure you’ll hate them and yourself the next day but you’ll always come crawling back. “Why did we ever break up?” you’ll ask seductively as the purple ambrosia slides down your neck and makes you hilarious, charming and the world’s greatest dancer. The next day, when all your excretions are indistinguishable from each other, you’ll remember why. People who moan about Buckfast should bear in mind that the bottle carries a warning, something that no other alcohol container I can think of does. “The word tonic does not imply health giving properties” is plastered clearly across every delicious bottle. Arguably it’s not so much a warning as a lesson on what the word tonic doesn’t mean. From this we can deduce Buckfast Wine Ltd. are keen to promote proper use of the English language among young people. Finally a respectable bastion in the fight against the decline of the English language, from the unlikeliest of places. Also, Buckfast is made by monks. Monks are on God’s side. Therefore, God loves Buckfast and wants you to drink it every day. The logic is inarguable.

[Jonny McAra]

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