Boozy shows have few Fringe benefits

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Health professionals are concerned by the number of boozy shows

HEALTH professionals have blasted the number of alcohol-related shows at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

Shows including 7 Day Drunk, Whisky Fir Dummies, Thirsty and The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol are all on the bill.

Many even offer the audience a free tipple with Whisky Fir Dummies offering six malt whiskies to be tasted.

August is notoriously the city’s most riotous month with alcohol sales rocketing. This is underlined by sponsor deals between brewers and the biggest venues.

And now health professionals are criticising the number of alcohol-related performances.

Jennifer Curran, head of policy, research and communications at Alcohol Focus Scotland, said:

“Whilst alcohol related behaviour will often be portrayed as humorous, the reality is that our drinking is having major health and social consequences for individuals, families and communities across Scotland. “

But Tom Sandham, a drinks writer who performs The Thinking Drinker’s Guide with Ben McFarland, insisted that the production promoted sensible drinking.

Although he admitted that during the show audiences are invited to taste

“modest samples’ of absinthe, rum, tequila, two kinds of vodka and a gin.

Figures released earlier this year showed that Scottish consumers spend 4.5% of their total expenditure on alcohol.

In 2009 consumers spent 15.2 billion on beer, 14.3 billion on wine, cider and perry, and 7.5 billion on spirits.

And over the three year period 2006 to 2008, households in Scotland spent an average of 6.50 per week on alcoholic drinks brought home.

The figures for spending on beer and alcopops in Scotland were broadly similar to other UK countries but Scotland is reported as spending around 60pence more on spirits.

It has also been revealed that British women are more likely to develop cancer than those elsewhere in Europe due to their poor diet and alcohol intake.

Cancer campaigners said women in the UK were 17 per cent more likely to suffer from the disease than the European average.

And in March this year David Strang, the Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police, said that most violent crime in Edinburgh is fuelled by alcohol.

He is quoted as saying:

“The public say it’s drug dealing. But in terms of violence – and I think of some of the serious assaults – then alcohol is the common factor.”

A spokesman from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe said:

“Edinburgh Festival Fringe is an open access arts festival. This means that anyone can bring their show here without it being vetted. The topics of the shows are selected by theauthors on the basis that that is what they want to talk about.

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