British lunchtime drinking phrases: a translation

WORKING in Britain? Then a ‘swift half’ will be suggested at around noon. What does this really mean, and what will happen next? 

“Anyone fancy a swift half?” 

Anyone fancy abandoning our jobs halfway through the day in favour of sinking seven or eight Peronis in the Lamb over the next five hours before heading for the station and raiding M&S for two bottles of train wine for an unconscious journey that will take you past your suburban stop to an dark, terrifying ghost town by the sea?

“Shall we take this brainstorming session off-site?” 

Coming up with ideas in the pub will bring fresh ideas to the table, along with many pints and the dawning realisation that you drove to work and will now have to get a bus and a taxi home, explain why to your partner, and tomorrow you won’t be able to decipher your notes on what the ideas were.

“Anywhere close where we could all sit outside?” 

It’s summer and therefore your boss believes sitting outside a bar is a healthy act of self-care. Amongst the ten of you who agree, five will be fired in the toilets, three promoted to the board, and two will shag in the toilet and become engaged. All of which will go unmentioned tomorrow.

“We’ve earned ourselves some refreshment, I reckon?” 

You’ve been in the office for three hours and knocked about some half-arsed ideas for tomorrow’s Frankfurt call. Head to the Red Lion to relax with four pints before wandering back at 3pm to stand in the stairwell wondering if you’re going to throw up or pass out.

“Where do you fancy going for lunch?” 

The coward’s gambit, but one that, after every one of your spineless colleagues goes though the charade of shrugging and saying ‘I’m easy’, will result in four hours down the juicer and the final nail in the coffin of your career.

“F**k this. Pint?”

The opposite of the coward’s gambit, this old-school and entirely honourable way to suggest a lunchtime drink doesn’t requite any la-di-da translation. Down tools, head to the door and bollocks to work. The fast-track to senior management and retirement at 55 with a final-salary pension.

Sign up now to get
The Daily Mash
free Headlines email – every weekday

Free stuff, ranked from worst to best

THE best things in life are free, it’s claimed, but hotel Bibles are both free and crap. Gratis stuff, ranked: 

Anything shoplifted

It feels free, for a bit. And it’s a growth business now cheese and butter are for the rich. Upcoming British gangster films will feature Cockney faces shoving Lurpack and Cathedral City down their trousers then meeting at a Southend lock-up to share the wealth on a pack of Digestives. But shoplifting’s only free until you get caught.

Hotel Bibles

The Gideon Bible is a staple of every hotel room, in the drawer next to the bed. And anyone who stays in a hotel feels obliged, because they’re such a rip-off, to strip the room of anything of value. Teabags, shower gel, body lotion, they’re all swept into an open suitcase. The Bible? Left for the next guest to ignore.

Presents from distant relatives

There are two kinds of birthday present. Parents, siblings and partners get you what they’ve been explicitly ordered to get you. That doesn’t count as free because you’ll pay for it on their birthdays. But the distant aunt, who you last saw when you were eight, who sends a seven-pound pack of shelled peanuts, a dusty box of solar garden lights from 1992, or a plastic squirrel that sings Stairway to Heaven? That’s free.

Tickets to a show

People buy tickets but can’t go so give you the tickets. That’s great, except the tickets are always for Lesley Garrett Sings Michael Bublé or a show where horses sort of dance but not really, and you’re obliged to go along and say you enjoyed it and so it ends up sort of having a cost. But you still take the tickets next time it happens.

Club Tropicana’s drinks

In 1983, Wham’s song transported dancers in neon-lit clubs in Swindon to a sun-kissed paradise with George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley drinking cocktails in swimming trunks and trotting about on donkeys. There were no all-inclusives in those days. Drinks were genuinely free. Club Tropicana went bust in 1984.

Free toys in cereal boxes

Those who survived the pre-health-and-safety years remember tearing open cereal boxes like a feral cat and digging with grubby hands for the free toy at the bottom. It was crap but worth more than gold to a seven-year-old. Then one dumb kid choked on a plastic monkey and ruined it for every generation to come.