Saturday, November 25, 2006

Rain in my Heart

I read today that"...worrying about drinking, yet not doing anything about it, is an early sign of alcoholism.". I worry about it all the time, until I have another glass of wine, and then it doesn't seem so bad. I've assumed that the 14 units rule is just abitary really, and even that cirrhosis isn't anywhere on my horizon, then I watched Rain in my Heart. I've stored it on the Sky+ box in case I ever get too cavalier. I sometimes wonder how pickled my liver is already and know that my tendency to depression means I have know some of those monsters the subjects were shutting out by becoming inebriated. Sometimes I drink too much, and I shall now be stopping when I start worrying, but before you begin to fret, I drink mostly just because I like wine, as well as after a hard day, but just too often more than my share of units....
The Family and Sylvania Waters are recognised as the first fly-on-the wall series and reality TV show respectively. So their Paul Watson's new film was eagerly awaited and was mesmerising. I share some of the hesitation about how involved he was with his subjects, and whether he was ethical, but I think he shares those concerns. Alcohol is dangerous, not only for the addicts it kills, but for all the A&E cases, fights in town centres, and risky sexual activity engaged in when mind is not engaged.
Paul himself wasn't very impressed with the Gillian Wearing installation I saw in Birmingham this year, but it is a different audience, even if as he put it "Her agent - this is artists today - her agent wrote to me. 'Gillian got this idea, seminal film, wants to include it in her art form.' Turns out she's got two rooms, a telly inside and episodes of The Family showing on it." He throws his hands up in mock despair. "That's my fucking cutting. I put it together, and she says it's her art." Then he laughs his irresistible laugh again and dismisses it with a wave. "I mean really. What can you say?"
As Nancy Banks Smith wrote in The Guardian; “Paul Watson was keen to follow the lives of four alcoholics - until they started to die. Paul Watson was on the phone wheedling.” It's a serious film. I make documentaries about real things that happen. No, no, no! That's reality television. This is a serious look at real people going through an illness while the National Health Service looks after them. It's not an investigative piece into how you run the hospital. No, not at all. I'm sorry to have wasted your time ... Bugger, bugger, bugger." You need calculus to calculate how many hospital doors were slammed in his face before he found a small, brave Kent hospital, Medway Maritime, and Dr Smith-Laing. Or, as Vanda, put it, "Dr Laing-Smith or Smith-Laing or whatever his bloody name is".”

Whether your tipple is a sophisticated martini at a hotel bar, a glass of wine or 2 with friends, a cool beer, a G&T, or a fruity cocktail on holiday, this was indeed a salutary tale.

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