Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur: Cheers! Why occasional drinking can really lift your spirits

Richard Farleigh
DO YOU ever get sick of people banging on about the evils of alcohol? Health this, irresponsibility that. Let’s just, for once, ignore them and spend a moment recognising the wonderful effects of occasional drinking! Some of the most enjoyable moments of my life have been with friends when everyone gets slightly tipsy. Just the other day, a friend of mine hosted an awesome Christmas lunch, which kicked on well into the evening. There was a load of lovely people, and fired up with a little bit of wine, they rocked. The conversations were littered with witty one-liners:

“The Danes can’t be a very successful nation if a Great Dane is just…a dog.”

“You don’t fancy a drink because you don’t like the taste of alcohol? Drinking is for the effect, not just the flavour. You’re getting boring; now drink up.”

“Success needs a little bit of luck. It was certainly crucial in your case!”

Even the odd slip-up was funny. “I love him from the heart of my bottom.. Er.. Bottom of my heart!”

These precious pearlers spontaneously appeared after the relaxing effect of a few glasses, but alcohol isn’t just for repartee. It can trigger some long, almost serious discussions. Our lunch group even delved into the subject of alcohol itself. “Wine must be good for you. Why else would Jesus have ‘squandered’ one of his seven precious miracles turning water into wine? He obviously liked a glass or two.” “Or a chalice or two!” “Yes, and imagine what a delicious drop that would’ve been!” “And, if it wasn’t, imagine the complaints. After all, there’s always at least one wine snob at every party. ‘We know it’s your first attempt Jesus, but can’t you give us something decent?’”

“Yes, but hang on a minute – isn’t there a more serious issue here? Since it is clear that Jesus and his disciples were drinkers, doesn’t that raise the question of whether any important decisions were made under the influence? Maybe Jesus got a bit lippy when he was light-headed?” “Hey! Enough of that, it’s Christmas!”

And we moved onto another subject: “Why do we have two kidneys, when we only need one, but only one liver when we clearly need two?”

So isn’t it obvious that alcohol can really get the creative brain going? What’s lost in concentration and calculation can be outweighed by a fresh outlook and unburdened imagination. You get new ideas and are happy to give them a try. And that doesn’t mean you pee on the pot plant. I have found, for example, that after a glass or two, my online speed chess improves. Not what you would expect huh?

Of course, another joy of alcohol is in the taste and the variety. Not that I’m an expert. My woeful awareness was touched on at the lunch. “Remember that dinner when someone ordered an expensive Grand Cru? We were all saying how much we liked it, and when Richard went off to the loo, we switched his for a glass of the cheap house wine. He came back and didn’t notice the difference!”

While I am singing its praises, I’m not suggesting that we should all be irresponsible with our alcohol. Everything in moderation, right? (Mind you, logically shouldn’t that be “Most things in moderation”?) One way to drink sensibly is to follow the “unit system,” but you have to get it right. A friend of mine was quite happy when she was advised to drink no more than 14 units per week. That is until she realised that a “unit” was a glass, not a bottle. Cheers!

Richard Farleigh has operated as a business angel for many years, backing more early-stage companies than anyone else in the UK.