Category Archives: vomit

Unfit to fly

Dalrymple writes: 'I know of no other country in which such a warning notice at an airport is necessary. It is not unusual in British airports, especially provincial ones, to see rowdy men drinking pint after pint of beer at seven in the morning. There are said to be bars in Europe that display “No English” notices. One can’t blame them. Returning home after their drunken routs abroad, they (and foreigners) are greeted with notices at immigration that abuse of or assaults on immigration officers are taken extremely seriously. Taxis from English provincial airports inform passengers that they will be charged a fee for cleaning up any vomit they leave behind. Welcome to England.'

Dalrymple writes: ‘I know of no other country in which such a warning notice at an airport is necessary. It is not unusual in British airports, especially provincial ones, to see rowdy men drinking pint after pint of beer at seven in the morning. There are said to be bars in Europe that display “No English” notices. One can’t blame them. Returning home after their drunken routs abroad, they (and foreigners) are greeted with notices at immigration that abuse of or assaults on immigration officers are taken extremely seriously. Taxis from English provincial airports inform passengers that they will be charged a fee for cleaning up any vomit they leave behind. Welcome to England.’

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Drunken retching as self-realisation

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 08.15.24The British, Dalrymple points out, are

despised throughout the world wherever they congregate in any numbers.

In any English town on any night of the week you will see

scenes of charmless vulgarity, in which thousands of scantily clad, lumpen sluts scream drunkenly, and men vomit proudly in the gutters.

It has been suggested that the English might be able to develop civilised Mediterranean café culture. Dalrymple remarks:

You might as well preach the comforts of the igloo and the tastiness of whale blubber to the Maasai.

Much of the British population believes

not only that it has no duty to control itself, but that it is harmful to try to do so. It believes that screaming, smashing bottles, vomiting, urinating against walls in full view of others, swaying drunkenly in the gutter, and hailing strangers to give them lifts, are essential to its health and emotional wellbeing, that drinking in this fashion is Aristotelian catharsis.

For the English,

there can be no higher accolade for a night out than that no trace of it remains in the brain. ‘Getting wasted’ and then behaving antisocially before passing out is the pinnacle of social life.

Just as the British government is so corrupt that it does not know that it is corrupt, so the British people

are so lacking in self-respect that they do not know that self-respect is desirable.

In England, drunkenness

to the point of brutish amnesia is regarded as admirable, a high achievement.

In search of sordor

Nostalgie de la boue: The romantic appeal of filth, violence and vomit

Dalrymple writes that it is today not uncommon

for children from good homes to seek out a squalid existence rather than a decent one. I have had as patients more than one middle-class girl who ran away from a comfortably bourgeois present and a bright academic future in order to join crack-addled prostitutes.

Why?

Why would anyone run away from a rich and cultivated home…to seek out and allow pimps to ply her with heroin?

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 23.50.03The answer is that squalor

seems more exciting, authentic and real, especially to those who have known nothing but security. Some achieve squalor as some kind of guarantee of authenticity. They wear squalor as a badge of honour won against the odds in the battle against respectability. A respectable career is tame and boring, at least for those who seek excitement and strong sensation. A squalid life is seldom without crises and drama, which keep the adrenalin pumping and ennui at bay. Women who repeatedly have relationships with violent men may quickly reject a man who treats them decently.

Bohemianism of an especially sordid kind becomes a sign of moral election,

as once a scrubbed doorstep was a sign of working-class respectability. Leading a comfortable existence may seem like injustice, the perpetuation of unearned privilege or a betrayal of the poor. Although living in squalor will not assist the impoverished in the slightest, it shows that one’s heart is in the right place.

‘Vomiting quietly in the corner’

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A Merry Christmas to readers of this blog, who I hope will end up as merry — indeed, as hog-whimpering drunk — as I have happily become this festive season. This is a reproduction of De koning drinkt (1638; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels). Jacob Jordaens is known, Dalrymple points out, ‘for his acres of canvas covered with depictions of unattractive fat flesh and Bacchanalian drinking scenes. These usually include someone vomiting quietly in the corner while an obese, grog-blossomed king wassails away in the middle of the picture’

Jordaens’ representation of spewing is very human, but the best part is the woman wiping the child’s fundament, presumably bemerded, though no trace of ordure is shown — unlike in, for instance, Dalí:

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Salvador Dalí, Jeu Lugubre (detail), 1929, private collection

Enjoy your meal

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 12.25.18Emetic post-war English architecture

Dalrymple perambulates with a companion through a graceful square in a once-charming English market town. The town is besmirched by a ‘sub-Mies van der Rohe building’. His companion asks why Dalrymple still cannot enjoy the square, since the other buildings are still — possibly owing to some oversight of the council — undemolished. Dalrymple patiently explains:

Suppose you are in a restaurant and the meal is delicious. Suppose that someone at the next table suddenly vomits copiously. Would it be reasonable of me to say to you, ‘Why do you not continue to enjoy your meal?’

Of clysters and leeches

How should the Theodore Dalrymple daily dose be administered? Orally, most of the time. However, when the need for rapid relief from the acute ills of the modern world becomes urgent, it is taken in the form of a suppository.

Dalrymple quotes, more or less at random, from Select Observations on English Bodies, or Cures Both Empericall and Historicall Performed upon Very Eminent Persons in Desperate Diseases by Shakespeare‘s son-in-law John Hall (from 5:40 in the video below, of a 2005 talk):

Mr Kempson, aged 60, oppressed with melancholy and a fever with extraordinary heat, very sleepy, so that he had no sense of his sickness, was cured as followeth. Leaves and mallows, beets, violets, mercury, hops, borage, epithymum, pennyroyal, wormroot, camomile, seeds of anis, caraway, cumin, fennel, nettles, bayberries, polypod, senna, bark of black hellebore. Boil them all in whey until half be wasted. Of this strain take an ounce. Confect, salt and mix them, and make a clyster.

This brought away two stools of a great deal of wind. It was given in the morning, and again at night. And after these were applied to the soles of his feet, radishes sliced, besprinkled with vinegar and salt, renewed every third hour. This hindered the recourse of vapours and drew them back, and so he slept far more quietly without starting and fear.

The following was prepared for his ordinary drink. Spring water, syrup of lemons, julep of roses, burnt and powdered finely, spirit of vitriol. After, the leeches being applied to the anus, there was drawn eight ounces of blood, after which was exhibited this: lapis bezoar, tincture of coral, mixed, given in drink. After this, the urine was very frothy, with a great sediment, and he was much better.

The clyster, drink and powder were repeated, with desired event. To remove sleepiness, he used to sneeze only with tobacco, and then he was given the restorative, and that was used.

But yet his stomach being very ill, I gave him this: emetic infusion, violets, oxymel of squirrels. This gave four vomits and nine stools, after which he was well for five days, and then relapsing into a shaking ague, a clyster being injected, he became well, bidding farewell to physick, and so was cured beyond all expectation and lived many years.