Rock and roll and booze
August 13, 2008

Some of you may be aware that I'm in a band. As such, I tend to post a lot on a music forum. A couple of friends' bands, including Chris from Sisters of Mercy's other project (Eureka Machines), have just been snapped up in sponsorship deals with liqueur company Jagermeister.

I'm not particularly sure about the drinking habits of the rest of the HonestGamers world, but in Leeds - particularly within the adult music community - Jager's a pretty popular drink on those late night sessions. It seems a pretty obvious sponsorship link, therefore.

Until someone points out that both these bands have a fairly young audience.

And it's rubbish, isn't it? Rock music is intrinsically linked with alcohol, for better or for worse. I don't understand the accusation of amorality levelled at Armstrong or Eureka Machines. If I were offered free publicity in exchange for selling a bit of corporate merchandise, of course I'd snap it up. I think any self-respecting human would do exactly this, instead of take moral high ground over an issue they, quite rightly, couldn't care less about - particularly since the "It's obvious they're trying to market it to kids" argument is awfully weak and unproven.

Moreover, I simply don't believe it'll make a difference. Under 18s can't buy booze in the UK. Seriously. Not even if they try, unless they look much older. A group of us went out last night to a bar in Leeds. That's a group with an average age of, ooh, 23. Every single member of the group (except me, fnah!) was asked for proof of age on the door. I don't understand how it can be an issue.

Thoughts?

EDITED to include this phenomenal thing with Eureka Machines and friends. Yes, these are the people I spend my time with.

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EmP EmP - August 13, 2008 (11:05 PM)
Some really talented guy I knew was a drummer in a great band. They only started selling their albums off at gigs in great number after they gave away a free beer drinking helmet with each purchase.

The moral? Indy music needs alcohol to thrive.
bluberry bluberry - August 14, 2008 (01:15 AM)
I'm not sure how it is over there, but here in Jesusland, while the drinking age is 21, it's an absolute joke. everybody knows dozens of people who'll get them booze and anyone who can even remotely pass for not being 12 has a fake ID for getting into places.
Lewis Lewis - August 14, 2008 (09:21 AM)
This is interesting. Here, it's obviously theoretically 18, but that tends to be very much the case in practice these days. While it's not law, there's a general policy in all licensed premises, be it pubs, clubs or shops, called 'Check-21'. This means if the person attempting to buy alcohol appears to be 21 or under, they will be asked for ID to prove they are over 18. This ID may only be either a passport or a driving license, as these are clearly the most difficult (and enormously illegal) things to fake. It's an odd concept when you first hear it, but it works well, eliminating the seventeen year old girls with big boobs from the equation. Unless you look well into your twenties, you'll still have to prove it.

It's illegal to drink in public places, unless they have been given a specific license for that day (ie. community festivals...) which theoretically stops kids from getting their older mates to buy them booze to drink in the park (obviously this isn't policed fantastically, and nor should it be in a country where knife crime's up tenfold), and if it's in a kid's own home then it's not a seen as a problem as long as under adult supervision (but even if it's not, no one else is being harmed by it). It's actually a pretty solid system - which makes it even more odd tha certain people are kicking up such a fuss about the advertising.

Until a few years ago, we could use popular sports teams to advertise cigarettes, for goodness' sake. I honestly don't remember much of a fuss about that until the Government suggested it might be a bit wrong. Sports stars are going to have a lot more influence on kids than relatively unknown rock musicians.

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