Monday 11 December 2017

A young man died

in a street brawl yesterday. His death occurred in the early hours  in an area of the city which is known for "nightclubs", crowds, noise, drugs, excessive alcohol consumption and - violence.
His family is undoubtedly in shock, devastated at what has happened on what was supposed to be a fun night out. The family of at least one other young man is also undoubtedly in shock, devastated that their son and perhaps sibling is in custody facing a manslaughter charge - in all likelihood out of a punch landed in alcoholic rage.
I have never understood what the attraction of a night out "clubbing" is about. Perhaps it has something to do that I don't drink alcohol. (I am allergic. It makes me feel itchy all over, rather like being covered with mosquito or flea bites in every possible place.) I don't like crowds. (I am short and not too steady on my rear paws at the best of times.) I don't like noise. (Our house is largely silent except at meal times.) I have never tried  illegal drugs. (I don't like taking the prescribed sort.) And violence of any sort frightens me. 
Yes, I know. I am a wimp. I am not a party cat at all. Is it really fun to do the things that go on along that strip at night? Why would you want to be out all night? 
Don't get me wrong. I can understand wanting to go out with friends and have a good time. I can even understand having a drink or two if you are that way inclined. I can understand enjoying that sort of music if it is to your taste. I don't understand going on beyond the point to where those things are no longer fun.
The Senior Cat has not yet seen the paper this morning. I know what his reaction will be. At the age of those young people his Saturday evenings were made up mostly of PFA (Presbyterian Fellowship Association) activities in the undercroft of the church. There would be things like folk dancing if someone could be persuaded to play the piano or a fiddle. There would be community singing. They would rehearse the play or the musical they put on each year. Occasionally they would go to the pictures as a group - and eat "choc-ices" in the interval. 
At that age my brother was rehearsing theatre productions, taking a girl to the pictures or going night-fishing with friends. If the Festival of Arts was on he might have gone to a free live concert. He can remember vividly the couple of events he paid to go to. He just didn't have much money for that sort of thing.
The last thing the Senior Cat and my brother were doing was wandering the streets in an alcoholic haze. My brother's mates didn't do it either. Yes, the "drinking age" was 21 then - but plenty of people were able to access it earlier than that.  Most of them just didn't feel any need to access alcohol.
I have no idea what the answer is. I don't think anyone else knows either. People say it wouldn't help to raise the age at which alcohol can be legally consumed and the many venues young people attend want the opening hours extended still further. They are a powerful lobby. The claims they make about their contribution to employment and the economy - whether true or not - make it unlikely that anything will change.
So, a young man has lost his life. Another is in custody. The  young man in custody lived not too far from here if the report is correct. I just wish he had, like the boy around the corner from here, spent the evening with his mates fixing Christmas lights to the roof of a house. 
If the laughter was anything to go by they were having fun too.

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