Peter Dench, renowned Reportage by Getty Images’ photojournalist, has today announced the release of his latest book, titled Alcohol & England – a compelling visual exploration of the United Kingdom’s drinking culture.
Pickled. Soused. Mullered. Blotto. Hog-whimpering. Pie-eyed. Tired and emotional; downwind of a few. The presence of so many words and phrases in the English language, to describe a state of inebriation, surely says something about the English themselves: this is a nation that seeks the comfort of oblivion – towards the bottom of a bottle.
But why do the English tipple until they fall over? Is it simply the weather, so wearyingly unpredictable? Is it to overcome the awkwardness inherent in a half-denied class system? Is it just because the English are more culturally advanced, and have realized there is no cure for the human condition but nice-tasting painkillers?
All these possibilities are explored in Peter Dench’s witty, clever, poignant, challenging, sometimes dazzling, sometimes affecting photo-diary of Anglo-Celtic drunkenness. The result is a unique and compelling visual history, full of photography that bears a striking resemblance to the drinking it depicts: at best it is perfectly intoxicating.