Brian Edwards Media

Jerusalem in a Green and Pleasant Land – rebuilt and not a pretty sight!


This is one of the least offensive of a series of photographs of ‘revellers’ on a Saturday night in Cardiff. The pictures, taken by 34-year-old Polish photographer Maciej Dakowicz, accompanied an article on binge drinking in Britain’s Mail Online. The article was headed “Captured on our streets by a foreign lens, shaming images that turned Britain into a laughing stock”. As I looked at the photographs I wondered whether “a foreign lens” might capture the same or similar images in this country as we celebrate the Rugby World Cup. Or at any other time. I’m grateful to my old friend Ivan Strahan for sending me the link. Let me know what you think.



  1. Frightening eh.Mostly women or is that just the chance of the photographer?
    An interview on TV recently had such girls saying they just wanted a bit of fun, then crash but go back and do it all over again. Must be something missing in their lives? Sad.

    BE: Yes a British doco on binge drinking by young women which I saw recently (possibly the same doco) indicated that the purpose of the evening was to get pissed, have a good time, then throw up and fall over. Interestingly, the women were largely uninterested in hooking up with men. It was a case of ‘girls just want to have fun’ together.

  2. Lucky you included the link because what I take from the pic is this: they’re eating takeaways and the council hasn’t provided enough bins.

    BE: Well, that’s possible. But it surely tells you something about these people that they’re happy to eat food amid all this revolting squalor.They’ll no doubt contribute by tossing their chip papers on the ground as well.

  3. ^^^ Which isn’t meant to be flippant but is a way of saying: I don’t find all of these pictures disturbing. It’s a good photo essay but to claim they all portray something disturbing is a beat-up.

    The only ones I find in any way troubling is the one with police batons out, and the ones where young women are clearly incapacitated and vulnerable to sexual assault.

    The rest are all just street scenes – a guy serenading a gal, a young couple stand near a doorway, one guy dresses stoopid, another reveals his crack when he bends down, and happy people that we are told are drunk pose for the camera.

    So, if a similar photo essay is done about the RWC, will it show the same thing? Well, if half the pictures are as innocuous as these, I don’t see a problem with that.

    BE: Yes, some of the photographs are merely amusing. But a greater number show (mostly women) totally pissed and out of it, throwing up, collapsing in the street and in some cases comatose. It clearly takes a lot to shock you.

  4. Meh. Hogarth did this 250 years ago.

    BE: And your point is?

  5. My son, who is completing a photographic course, with the cooperation of the police, took photographs in central Wellington on Friday/Saturday nights over a number of weekends. The results were much the same as these photographs. NZ has no reason to feel complacent.

    I imagine if a photgrapher ventured into central Wellington or Auckland after a RWC game the picture would be similar; but why blame the drinkers. They are encouraged to behave this way by our government and by the tournament sponsors. All this crap about “drinking responsibilty” is sheer hypocricy. If people drank responsibly the sponsors’ profits would nose dive. The entire liquor industry, assisted by politicans who are blind to the problem, is geared towards helping people drink irresponsibly.

    There is a news report today concerning the number of bars that have had their licences supsended. This is not because of apolice crackdown but because of an increase in the number of offences of bars serving intocxicated patrons.

    Bar owners and manufacturers of this poison do not give a toss and until someone does give a toss we will continue to witness scenes like these in our city centres and our ED departments will continue to mend the broken bodies.

  6. The words ‘moral’ and ‘panic’ springs to mind.

  7. My Goodness gracious! The scenes are most unholy and likely to arouse very much disturbatations, making the slums of Mumbai seem respectable by comparison.

  8. The Daily Mail? The paper whose primary market is Chavs? Oh, the irony!

    The clothes and the dilated pupils of a lot of those punters are telling me a lot more than liquor was being consumed.

    One of the problems of mixing say cocaine or ecstasy with liquor is you can keep going and going and going.

    And anyway, why are most of the images of hot young women? ZOMG! HOT YOUNG WOMEN LOVED UP ON THE DISCO BISCUITS AND HAVING TEH CASUAL SEX!! MORAL PANIC ANYONE??????!!!!

    The town centre looks rammed. Check out the queues in the background. Most of them look like they are having damned a good time. I dare say if you went looking anywhere for that sort of photo essay’s subject matter, you’d find it.

    BE: “I dare say if you went looking anywhere for that sort of photo essay’s subject matter, you’d find it.”

    Oh well, that’s fine then.

    And why is it ‘moral panic’ to find it regrettable that so many young people think this is the way to be happy? And just in case you’re not aware of the fact, planned binge drinking by young women is an issue of major health concern here in Godzone.

    Your response? Throw a popular cliche at it, like ‘moral panic’, preferaby in caps to make the point stronger. Pathetic.

  9. I do like the first and last images in this series. Mr. Dakowicz would love the Melbourne cup.

    These images were taken over the course of 5 years for a portfolio. I wonder if this series represents Cardiff nightlife truthfully. The photo editor has ‘cherry picked’ the most dramatic images. It would be interesting to see the rest of Mr. Dakowicz series to see if it’s a bit more balanced.

  10. “…The nation which was once regarded as a buttoned-up bunch of repressives in bowler hats is now a land of incontinent alcoholics…”

    Well, buttoned up repressives if you were middle to upper class enough to have had the misfortune of being sent to the sadistic prisons that passed as boarding schools from the 1870s-1970s.

    Classist assumptions reek throughout that entire story. In terms of class prejudice, the UK is probably worse now than it was in the 1980’s when incompetent bowler hatted repressives were at least petrified of incontinent alcoholic militant trade unionists holding them to account for how much they’d buggered up the British economy in the preceding century.

  11. You can blame the IRA for much of the street litter. There were plenty of street bins in the 1970s till IRA bombs started turning up in them.

    I was living there then and remember the ones in the tubes disappearing early on because people were so scared of rubbish bin bombs in those confined underground spaces that noone would stand near to them.

    So councils all over the UK took them away.

    I did think a few more bins might have started turning up again by now – but we have a new generation of terrorist bombers now, from a new lot of countries.

  12. P.S. if anyone has the number of that chick getting her inner thigh signed I am keen to hear.

    BE: Thoughtful, Sanctuary, thoughtful. Though I can’t imagine why you would need that information. There must be lots of Kiwi chicks looking for a sensitive new age guy like you.

  13. However, none of this detracts from the power of art to document, critique, and express. Sure, Dakowicz’s images are disturbing (and common enough scenes in any urban community anywhere in the world) – but what powerful images they are!

  14. Good grief, based on media reports I had assumed NZ was the only country in the world that young people binge drank in. I thought Europeans were all sophisticated like in their sober habits. Now I know they can get trashed with the best the antipodes provide.

    And did this really make Britain any more or less of an international laughing stock than in the mind of the headline writer? No? thought not. Just like all those NZ reputation shattering stories we hear about most weeks that seem to have zero impact on our reputation

  15. “Not drunk is he that from the floor
    can rise alone and still drink more
    Drunk is he that prostrate lies
    without the power to drink or rise”

    BE: Like it. Thanks for that pjr.

  16. This is bad, no question. But it gets worse with the next generation, how can these people be role models? It’s things like this that make you grateful for not living forever!!!!

  17. “…Thoughtful, Sanctuary, thoughtful. Though I can’t imagine why you would need that information…”

    Dude, she is smoking hot, and looks like she likes to have fun.

    OK, OK I will be serious for a moment.

    It is hard to take seriously a cherry picked set of images taken over a five year period and published in the Daily Mail. Picking up-skirt shots and not pixellating anything out to ensure we all get a eyeful is typically cynical tabloid bullshitting. “..dangerously vulnerable in their pathetic state..” so the story tells us. Yeah, and especially vulnerable to cynical photo editors at the Daily Mail who think nothing of publishing five year old up-skirt images of drunk young people.

    I am treating the story with the same gravitas as the Daily Mail treats its readers.

    So I refuse to be shocked at face value by pictures that have selected by the master manipulators of the British gutter press to elicit exactly the sort emotional outrage you are expressing. More guillable fool you. You might be easily led by that sort of newspaper story but I live in the 21st century and I am not.

    “…And why is it ‘moral panic’ to find it regrettable that so many young people think this is the way to be happy..?”

    Oh! Of course! They are trying to be happy! Are secretly yearning for a hubby and a baby to make them complete and happy perhaps?

    DOn’t over-analyse young people. They are just enjoying their salad days and getting pissed with their mates, and they dress that way because that is how they roll and they don’t give a stuff what scandalised old men of (to them) a hopelessly irrelevant and impossibly ancient generation think of them.

    You were like that once as well, Mr. Edwards.

    BE: You started off making a reasonable point about the validity of the photographs as an expression of British life. But then you had to descend into ageist personal abuse. You’re also happy to be careless with the truth. Nowhere have I expressed ‘emotional outrage’ on this topic. The strongest adjective I used was ‘sad’. But you want to say that I did express ‘emotional outrage’, then call me a ‘gullible fool’ and someone ‘easily led’. And I assume I am meant to be one of these ‘scandalised old men of (to them) a hopelessly irrelevant and impossibly ancient generation’.

    And I was never ‘like that as well’. I had my first alcoholic drink when I was 23. And it was never my ambition or my idea of happiness to go out with mates, get pissed as a newt, throw up in the street then fall over comatose. I don’t share your admiration for this booze culture. I’ve spent a night at A & E in an Auckland hospital observing the effects of these nights out on the piss – the verbal abuse and often violence which the medical staff have to put up with from these drunken morons. And I am the co-author with Mike Bungay QC of a book on murder in New Zealand. One of the key themes in that book is that alcohol is the lubricant of violence and particularly of domestic violence.

    And finally, having attacked me for my concern about binge-drinking and dismissed me as some geriatric idiot who doesn’t realise that this is just kids having fun, you send in another comment in which you write:

    ” For the record, I do think we have a major binge drinking problem that is heading towards completely out of control. We are starting to again see the social costs that drove the temperance movement one hundred years ago.”

    Which is pretty well what I was saying. And then you’re back into a bit more geriatric bashing.

  18. Sanctuary: Dont worry about Mr Edwards, he once wrote a lengthy post about how it was OK for a 14 year old to be called a slut because she wore her school uniform skirt a couple of inches too high.

    The guy likes to come across all liberal, but deep down, he’s a nasty Victorian prude.

    BE: This was a case where the girl’s teacher and advisor told her privately to pull down her skirt because she “looked like a slut”. The issue was whether the teacher should be reprimanded for having said this to the girl. I took the view that the teacher’s intention was to protect the girl and that, given the long-standing nature of the relationship, there was no reason for the teacher to be disciplined.

    I’m sorry you think I’m a ‘nasty Victorian prude’, Millsy. But at least I put my name to my opinions.

  19. I am so totally with ‘Sanctuary’ with his thoughts. Way to go, dude; way to go.

    It’s so misleading to cherry-pick a few vignettes of Cardiff nightlife over a period of 5 years and present them as a modern-day montage of the city’s youth. It’s manipulative and contrived to be absolutely worthless, and calculated to present that city’s youth in the worst possible way.

    To be honest, there was a tinge of envy seeing those pics. Man, how I woulda loved to be in thick of that in my younger days — discarded takeaway cartons, leftover junk food and used condoms etc. And I don’t mind telling you, bro’, there was more than just a twinge in my loins, when I saw that “smokin’ hot chick” having her inner thigh signed.

  20. ADRIAN: “Meh. Hogarth did this 250 years ago.
    BE: “And your point is?”

    The point is: plus ca change, mais c’est la meme chose.

  21. Lack of rubbish bins? Last year we were about to leave Edinburgh by train. I had some rubbish to dispose of left over from the rental car and searched in vain around the station for a bin. Nothing. Then I found a skip just outside the station. But no. Padlocked. Asked a nearby attendant. He said just leave your stuff on a ledge in the station somewhere and someone will clear it up. Huh? I did but no wonder bins are absent. Terrorists win again.

  22. Mr. Edwards likes to rail from lofty heights against the amnesia and stupidity of our media, he likes to snobbily deride our “Nil Zilind acsunt” and he likes to be the genteel Sunday afternoon intellectual. Yet he is also happy to sail at full speed into whatever manipulative trap the media creates for him. To easy. Contradiction? With two sugars, cream, and a letter to the editor, thanks.

    For the record, I do think we have a major binge drinking problem that is heading towards completely out of control. We are starting to again see the social costs that drove the temperance movement one hundred years ago.

    But this binge drinking problem isn’t a youth problem. Calling it a youth drinking problem might suit the growing ephebiphobia of our aging baby boomers. But it wasn’t todays young people who de-regulated the liquor industry. It was their parents, who also happen to be the ones making the money from it. It wasn’t todays young people who allow discounted liquor in every supermarket, where a bottle of wine can be had 24×7 for $7. It was baby boomers. “Drunk for a tenner, dead drunk for twenty” to update the saying, and all presided over by todays fifty something “leaders”. This is just another failure of the baby boomer generation, the most nasty and narcissic generation this planet ever spawned. Just like they have with everything else, boomers have commodified youth and beauty and put a price on it for their own little jerk off bunga bunga parties. And then they have the temerity to get angry when beautiful young women respond to the moral direction of the times and “dress like high class hookers”? On what moral authority are they to judge anyone? Spare me the Daily Mail and it’s outraged middle aged readers!

    Instead of discharging their duty of protecting the young and the impressionable the people who have given us cheap booze 24×7 and the Daily Mail and huge university fees and tax cuts for themselves and lavish pensions for their old age prey on them, like a vampire generation sucking the life out of the world before they die.

    BE: Would you like to tell me where I have “snobbily derided” the New Zealand accent? Or are you just being careless with the truth again?

  23. Brian, my name is Brendon Mills.

    So there.

  24. Reading through the comments here is a little worrisome, many people seem dismissive of content of the images. I did not sense any moral panic, it was more a sense of the ugliness of public drunken stupor. I also dislike any attempt to hark back to the good old days and chastise the youth of today. Although as a late twenty something I have no experience of the ‘good old days’, I get the impression that the drinking was just as bad, but not as public.

    Part of the solution to the problem is promoting social drinking. Bars where you can sit round a table with friends and enjoy a drink, where the music is quiet enough that the buzz of a busy bar and people’s conversations make up the majority of the noise. These sorts of bars seem to be growing in number all across Auckland. The other step would be to ban RTD’s. Although I am not generally a fan of banning things, RTD’s are an exception. The sugar content and the lack of any real alcoholic taste make them quite dangerous. If you don’t like the taste of alcohol you probably shouldn’t drink it. This wont solve any problems but it seems like a better first step then changing the drinking age or licensing laws.

    @Sanctury. You have a point about being part of a generation facing a resource depleted world, with prospects of a future less well off then that of our parents. There is no certainty in our futures either economically or environmentally. The real kicker is that the people who control policies that could shape our future are all from the generation that got us into this position. However I would make two points. First, we probably aren’t doing enough to stand up and be counted ourselves, and secondly BE is the wrong person to chastise or insult for not doing enough. I share your sentiments about many baby boomers, but we cannot and must not tar them all with the same brush.

    Also deriding bad pronunciation and sloppy use of the English language is a perfectly acceptable pastime. Promoting excellence and knowledge is never a bad thing, especially in the face of the increasing glorification of mediocrity.

  25. Its not ephebiphobia,its the dislike of drunken, irresponsible behaviour, whatever the age group.Alternative pronounciation and the sloppy use of language, most probably brought the english language to its recent juncture.

  26. “Dude, she is smoking hot, and looks like she likes to have fun.”

    Yeah, but that’s what they used to say about Margaret Thatcher and look at her now.

  27. Good heavens – it appears the histrionic Millsy is a man. You have to wonder why he writes like a teenage girl.

  28. Well, I’m certainly not shocked but I might be if I were to tour the streets of Cardiff on a rugby night and discovered that these photos were depicting the village norm.

    But Dakowicz can’t make much social comment out of a set taken of people who’d been on the sauce all night and weren’t (italics) pissed as chooks or lying around in rubbish, can he? Seeking out this lot is his mission. As far as I know, he’d’ve found better scandal in Glasgow. Or Paris, Prague or Benidorm.

    As a side issue, this stuff happens everywhere. In most big European cities this stuff goes on most weekends so I’m really stuggling here to find the shock material. But, of course, I’m glad my daughter isn’t predisposed to such behaviour.

  29. Brian, you edited my comments.

    JC: Brian did not edit your comments. I edited them – as I edit other contributors who persistently descend to personal abuse.

    We welcome reasoned argument and opinion, regardless of commentators’ views. This site is a forum for wide-ranging and spirited debate; it is not an outlet for mindless ad hominem attack.

    I am therefore deleting the incoherent and offensive rave that followed your first sentence and you are now banned from this site.

  30. One should always be wary of ‘a foreign lens’ lest one be surreptitiously installed around one’s house. Orwell was not paranoid.

  31. Judging from some of the responses, you appear to have attracted the sweepings of the gutter.

  32. 32

    Not all of us want to be a fanboi, like you, Ben.

  33. “Judging from some of the responses, you appear to have attracted the sweepings of the gutter.”


    What strikes me as disturbing is not the images in the media report, but the attitudes of some individuals who trivialise this (worldwide) problem.

    I’ve seen similar sights in Courtney Place, Wellington, on Friday and Saturday nights – and it is nothing to be proud of, or make light of.

    People who think drunk women (and men) are “smoking hot” have a “issues”.

  34. BE: It clearly takes a lot to shock you.

    Me: I like to think that’s because I’m wary of attempts to manipulate me.

    Take the pic of the couple in the doorway as an example. Completely innocuous. No evidence of anything untoward. No evidence of any drinking. But frame it with a poster saying “You won’t tell your mummy will you?” and put it in an essay on yoof binge drinking, and it becomes sinister.

    There is a drinking problem in NZ but it is not a *youth* drinking problem. I live with young people, I work with young people and I guess I’m super sensitive about the way they are unfairly reported in the media. A bit like you are sensitive to ageism at the other end of the spectrum?

    (Frank – what evidence is there that the young woman having her leg signed is drunk or in any way being taken advantage of? It’s one of several pics in this series that I have no problem with bar their inclusion in a “shock! horror!” essay)

  35. In the late eighties I was managing a group of young woman in a telephone fault reporting centre, I being about half a generation older than them. I realised that a quantum shift in attitudes to alcohol had taken place in a short period of time. Wear as I and my friends had gone out to enjoy alcohol these girls were using it to make themselves ill and completely out of it. Their practice was to drink a whole bottle of wine at home before venturing out to the Pub to finish off the job. Not everyone of course but a significant number. A far cry from the attitude of my friends who’s respect could be gained by being able to drink but not show any affects these girls were eager to show just how out of control they could be.
    Cultures are difficult to change and subject to a multitude of factors, but clearly they can change quickly at times if the will is there in society. No sign of that yet.