ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
Youngsters sitting on the banks of the Diamantina River in downtown Betoota this afternoon are enjoying a wide range of activities.
Some are playing ping pong on the concrete table tennis tables built by the council late last year. Others are crowded around a chess game beside the Remienko Bridge. Each time the oversized chess pieces are picked up and placed down, an audible ‘ooooohhhh’ can be heard all around. A self-described alt-rock country busking Troubador is playing Ed Sheeran covers on his Maton, which is plugging into a trusty set of loop pedals.
But on this sunny afternoon in our cosmopolitan desert community, the one thing that all these people are doing, no matter what they’re doing, is enjoying a drop of alcohol.
There are the usual suspects.
Beer, wine and the popular home-distilled rum called Jet A-1.
But one new contender has muscled in on the local market.
The streets of the French Quarter have to be cleaned every Sunday morning because of the number of empty wine cans left on the ground by revellers.
In fact, canned wine has become so popular in Betoota, it’s prompted local health authorities to look further into it.
Professor Glenn Dumas from the South Betoota Polytechnic College’s School of Health Sciences explained to The Advocate that young people need to understand that just because wine is coming out of a can, it doesn’t make it any less dangerous.
“If you can imagine a young person drinking a six-pack of chardonnay as fast as they would a six-pack of XXXX Gold or Betoota Longhaul, it raises some concerns for us,” he said.
“Our research shows that canned wine has a similar effect on the brain that magnets have on VHS tapes. Whereas, a person can be enjoying a night out and then all of a sudden, wake up naked on the floor of their bedroom covered in their own urine and have absolutely no idea how they got there,”
“The chardonnay scrambles the brain. It erases key information like don’t try to piss into your own mouth at the taxi rank. It’s important for young people to understand what effect canned wine is having on them.”
Despite this, many students and other young people wise enough not to fall into the trap of going to uni just for the fuck of it then being saddled with a rapidly-indexing loan from the government, who then steal from your fucking pay packet each week until you’ve paid the fucking cunt off some ten years after you’ve dropped out the useless fucking tertiary institute, will head out tonight and drink canned wine until the sun comes up.
“And that chills my blood,” says Professor Dumas.
More to come.