Thursday, March 15, 2007

Q: When is a piss artist not a piss artist?

A: When he is a Polish piss artist.

A new European-wide poll by Eurobarometer claims that Poles are not one of the continent's heavy drinkers of alcohol. In fact, they are not heavy drinkers of alcohol, at all.


Twenty eight percent of Poles claim that they have not had a drink in the last 12 months. Which means, according to Eurobaromter, Poland is the fifth soberest nation in the EU!


It appears that Poles – a nation which loves a drink as much, if not more than most European countries – are a little embarrassed by their drinking habits, and have been slurring a few fibs to opinion pollsters.

For instance, only one percent of Poles admit that they drink every day; four percent say they drink 4 - 5 times a week; and just nine percent say they drink 2 - 3 times a week.

All in all, Poles claim they drink less than the EU average [?!].

Me thinks someone is...well, taking the piss.

See the whole Eurobarometer survey here (pdf).

This poll should be put forward for a Nobel Prize for Fiction.


Unknown said...

This is v. entertaining! Eurobarometer Team is led by one Antonis Papacostas - at least in this instance we can't blame it on a drunk Pole ..LOL..

beatroot said...

Eurobarometer is the EU pollsters. Policy is based on the findings of these polls.

Oh, dear...

Anonymous said...

Err - well - err pass the Reds someone please:-)

I did visit Poland three times last year (once this year and of course many more times to come in the next few months to visit the dentist!! - another trickey subject for Brits!!)

And yes there were a few 'Lumps' here and there - but hey??

Aren't they in every city, in every country??

What makes Poland so special then?

I could take a drive 7 miles into Preston - yes!! Lancashire - England and find a bunch of ??

You know what I mean:-)


Anonymous said...

I also thought that Poles drink too much. Then I went to France.

You see, the difference is that in Poland people drink mainly vodka. And you can't drink much vodka -- if you do, you fall under the table, end of story. And, since you have a terrible hangover the next day, you only do that over a weekend. Contrast that with French, who must drink une verre during lunch and in the evening they have a four-hour-long diner, during which they empty several bottles du vin, without getting drunk too much. And they repeat it every day. So, if you add it all up, their consumption is way higher than that of Poles.

And don't even get me started on the Scandinavian nations. These guys drink so much, that their governments have to impose prohibitive taxes to prevent them from massively dying from alcohol posoning.

So, all in all, the results are entirely plausible.

michael farris said...

scandinavians binge drink, long periods of not much drinking then getting shitfaced (except the finns who drink all the time).

also drinking vodka straight (with a chaser) does not give you a hangover, especially if you do so often (personal experience) .

rather than self-reported drinking habits, figures on alcohol production and sales should be a lot more accurate.

also, checking the amount of liquid with alcoholic content consumed doesn't tell you much, a liter of beer is not much but a liter of vodka will get you poleaxed. what's needed is a unit of alcohol regardless of volume, let's say 'alkies' so that a half-liter of strong beer is (let's say) 5 alkies and a half liter of vodka is 20 (or whatever it works out to be).

Anonymous said...

This seems to be in good agreement with the per-capita consumption of alcohol in different countries across the continent (unless Polish breweries and distilleries are also in the state of inebriated denial)
So, everything seems to be a matter of perception and urban legend (frankly, I hardly know any Pole who would drink a liter a year, let alone 10 liters). Maybe open-container laws (or their enforcement) across Europe vary - it is probably the reason why you encounter Warsaw residents quenching their thirst on street corners by downing bottles of SO2-saturated bum-wine. Besides, unlike in Britain, Ireland, and Germany getting wasted in Poland does not usually take place in public houses but out there for everyone to see and enjoy. An intoxicated Pole is simply more visible than an intoxicated German, Brit, or Irish.

Anonymous said...

^ Not quite. Drunken Brits piss me off every single time I go back to the UK to visit my mother. The difference is that those Brits are likely to be getting drunk once or at most twice a week. The Poles who drink every night will be getting through a lot more alcohol in seven days than the Brits can in seven.

But there are lies, damned lies, and stastics. Which nation in the EU has the most of a problem with drinking? The UK. Each weekend night is happy time for the breweries of the UK and sad time for the people who have to deal with clearing up after the messes booze leave.

varus said...

Binge drinking is definetley the problem. The majority of Poles drink at home and with food over a long period. The people you see in the street are the unluky parts of society. They can not be taken as representative. - The UK though, has an indemic promlem with booze, definitley the worst in Europe - bar maybe at a stretch Skandinavia.

Anonymous said...

opamp said...
You see, the difference is that in Poland people drink mainly vodka. And you can't drink much vodka -- if you do, you fall under the table, end of story.

It's the end of the story for vodka tourists, of which you seem to be a self-declared member.

Like all good things in life, the body develops resistance and tolerance to vodka. I have been to parties with students (rather than hardcore alcoholics) where the intake a veraged 2x70cl of vodka. After seven years of living in Poland I could put away this much myself - the shots just kept on coming! Not to mention Polish weddings, which feature 'poprawiny' - usually a full day of vodka drinking,
The Polish news each Christmas features an instalment on a drunk person found dead in a ditch in the boonies 40 or 50 or 1,000 times over the limit.
So much for your theory of vodka as the elegant aperitif of moderate drinkers. Not to mention recreational drinking - ho ho - this I encountered in Biesczady when sharing a glass with the labourers who stoked the furnaces that make barbecue charcoal and themselves with moonshine 24/7!
"Bynajmniej jest mi to nieobojetne!"

Anonymous said...

But to balance this comment out a little!
At least going to the pub every Friday and Saturday (and for students on Thursday and probably Tuesday and often Wednesday) with the sole purpose of getting paraletic isn't an institution in Poland for everyone from 18-30 (or whenever alcohol-related mental illness sets in!). Is it because it's so hard to get other drugs in the UK now without inhaling concrete / scouring powder / speed?

Anonymous said...

By the way, on an unrelated subject, did anyone manage to see Inland Empire, the David Lynch film partly filmed in Lodz (and in Polish!) before it was pulled from the multiplexes realized they'd made 'a huge a mistake'?
I encouage everyone to see this unique piece of filmmaking with all its flaws (and some giants of the Polish screen) and poetic licence (scene set in the 1920s with modern street lamps visible in the background etc.). It would be good to see what Poles think of it - particularly as Poland has been promoted to the role of a proto-hades mafia underworld (in the past his films featured italianesque villains).

Anonymous said...

So much for your theory of vodka as the elegant aperitif of moderate drinkers.

This is not my theory.

My thoery is this: a Pole gets drunk dead one evening a week, while a Frenchman drinks small amounts every day over several hours, without getting drunk that much. But if you add it all up, the Frenchman consumes more alcohol over the week than a Pole.
Or: the Poles indeed drink much more than French in one session, but this is more than balanced out by the fact that the Poles drink once a week, while the French drink every day.

Or: if i(t) is the alcohol intake at the time instant t, the maximum value of i(t) is larger for the Poles, the integral of i(t) over time (which is what this statistics measures) is larger for the French.

Agnes said...

And what would be a "drink"? A liter, two, a centiliter?

Charming this "attitudes towards drinking", final eupheism for getting dead drunk and such.

"Like all good things in life, the body develops resistance and tolerance to vodka." - ask any liver specialist.

Hilarious poll, really. The age range again: 15-24, for instance.

"They can not be taken as representative." - they stand for what, exactly, for the moderates? They are not part of the drinking class and statistics?

Anyway I am glad that this time "political action is needed". UNlike with other problems....

Frank Partisan said...

What about cigarettes?

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that virtually no Poles drink them.
But seriously - they're excellent, and are the pefect compliment for to vodka!