Binge flying

May 10, 2007

My favourite phrase from last weekend’s papers was ‘binge flying’ – coined by (of all people) Rough Guide founder Mark Ellingham. It neatly transforms another of our pleasures into a vice and castigates us (in a friendly sort of way) for our excesses.

Many years ago, I spent New Year in deepest Scotland. Afterwards, I hitchhiked my way back to Edinburgh and was picked up by a lovely couple in their sixties. As I jumped in the back, the woman turned to me and confided, “We’ve been on a bunge.” (Forgive my poor attempt at the accent.) They’d been drinking for six days – he’d fallen over and got a black eye, she’d fallen asleep in a bush. Today’s official definition of ‘binge drinking’ seems positively pale in comparison.

But there might be something in Mr Ellingham’s analogy. The glint in the old woman’s eye was much the same as you see in the eyes of the Friday night hordes heading off to Luton Airport with the Rough Guide to Barcelona clutched in their eager palms.

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