Tuesday 19 September 2017

Hellraisers make us all feel a little bit better about ourselves

Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead. Photo: Fin Costello
Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead. Photo: Fin Costello

Rowan Pelling

There are drunks; there are bad, boring drunks; and then there are hellraisers, like the late Lemmy from Motorhead. Say what you like about that third tier of liver and life-abusers: they are never, ever boring.

The excesses of true reprobates are so mind-boggling that the casual onlooker comes to find their antics strangely cathartic: almost as if these individuals are boozing, seducing, brawling, cursing and trashing hotel rooms so that none of the rest of us have to.

Take John 'Bonzo' Bonham, Led Zeppelin's drummer, who rode a Harley Davidson along hotel corridors, before dying aged 32 after downing 40 shots of vodka. Such tales may not make you proud to be part of these islands, but do surely mean Britain and Ireland would be assured gold if debauchery was an Olympic sport. In fact, I often feel a tad offended at the suggestion other places can offer up talents as artfully degenerate as Oliver Reed, George Best, Richard Harris, Keith Moon - or Molly Parkin in her drinking days. We women tend to grow out of wanton hedonism; possibly because there are no pretty young men willing to act as nursemaids for vomit-covered rock chicks.

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