Yoga in slab land

Thursday, 23 February, 2012

A visit to Ireland at the beginning of Lent, a time of penitential observance when many people decide to abstain from pleasures such as alcohol, is a sobering affair. The sad and disturbing fact is that the culture of binge drinking is wreaking enormous havoc in terms of illness and violence upon the country. And the fire is being fuelled by the supermarket chains that have added an appalling word to the domestic vocabulary: slab. A slab is a collection of 24 cans of beer and, true to the original meaning of the word, the slab of beer is a flat, ugly, rectangular thing that bears an uncanny resemblance to many of its, mostly male, purchasers.

Because alcohol abuse has reached a truly terrifying level, Minister of State Róisín Shortall has taken on the Herculean task of fighting the national addiction and she’s proposed a 55 cent per unit “floor” for alcohol which would mean that a 500ml can of beer would cost a minimum of €1.10 and a standard bottle of vodka (the drink of choice for young women) €15.40. Shorthall told the Sunday Times it was “crazy” that you could buy a “slab of beer” or a bottle of vodka for as little as €12.

Meanwhile, US chain store Urban Outfitters is offering seasonal headgear with the slogan “Irish Yoga: downward facing upchuck” and an image of a person on all fours vomiting up shamrocks. If the cap fits, and all that.

Irish Yoga

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