I heard yesterday that a new movie of Absolutely Fabulous is being released. I was overcome by a huge wave of nostalgia for the wonderful Patsy (Joanna Lumley) and Edina (Jennifer Saunders).
In the early 1990s, when I was in my twenties, Absolutely Fabulous (or AbFab as we called it), was my favourite comedy sitcom - along with Friends, obviously. Not only did I adore Patsy and Edina - I actually wanted to be them.
And with my great fondness for nicotine and alcohol, plus my high paying advertising job, love of Harvey Nichols and convertible sports car, I was a pretty good approximation. For me, they were not an ironic comedy duo, they were role models.
So when I heard the news yesterday I looked them up on YouTube for a trip down memory lane (isn't the interweb just marvellous?).
Now please, please check out this compilation of 'Edina and Patsy's Finest Moments'. The amount they drink, in just this seven minutes, is horrifying. But at the time I honestly thought that drinking every day, and with abandon, was cool, rebellious, kooky and cocking a snoop at the establishment and the uninspired. Just like Patsy and Edina.
These two were obviously extreme examples, but they weren't my only role models. My parents drank every evening. Gin and tonics before dinner. Wine with dinner. And, for my Dad, a brandy or whisky afterwards. They were never drunk, but often drinking.
All my friends drank, at least they did whenever we met up, and I assumed they did at home too. I never felt any concern, stigma or shame about daily drinking, or drinking at home alone.
The 1990s were, if you remember, the era of the 'ladette'. The cool girls who refused to be demure and cute, but worked hard and played hard with the men. Zoe Ball, Denise van Outen, Tara Palmer Tomkinson and the like, were pictured out drinking hard every evening (or so it seemed).
One of my main reasons for quitting now is so my three children don't grow up thinking that drinking every day is normal. Their example will be a mother who doesn't drink at all, and a father who drinks from time to time in moderation (goddamn him!).
Then, hopefully, even if they've inherited my 'caution to the wind' genes, they will at least question their habits well before I ever did. With luck, and good role models, they will keep their cucumbers unpickled (see Moderation. Is it Possible Part 2 if you don't get the cucumber reference - it's important!) and be happy, moderate drinkers throughout their lives.
I could hate Patsy and Edina for leading me astray, but I only have myself to blame and, the truth is, I still have a huge fondness for them in all their flawed fabulousness. The problem is that their new film, I'm sure, will portray them as unchanged - still chuffing and chugging away twenty five years later.
Yet we all know that, if that were really the case, they'd either be in rehab or dead. But where's the comedy in that?
An absolutely fabulous day to all of you.