Sunday, November 16, 2008

Now it's lend me ten pounds and I'll buy you a drink

No doubt due to the vaguely illicit nature, there are far more good books about eating than there are about drinking. So I was quite happy to stumble upon Kingsley Amis's Everyday Drinking at the library. It's not everyday that we get musings on drinking by major literary figures. It reads like a serious, if still funny, version of Modern Drunkard. This is the sort of book you flip through and immediately fall upon a gem, like his description of the metaphysical hangover, which I quote below:

When that ineffable compound of depression, sadness (the two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future begins to steal over you, start telling yourself that what you have is a hangover. You are not sickening for anything, you have not suffered a minor brain lesion, you are not all that bad at your job, your family and friends are not leagued in a conspiracy of barely maintained silence about what a shit you are, you have not come to see life as it really is, and there is no use crying over spilled milk.

It's about 200 pages of that. It's not all, or mostly drunkenness though, it is about the enjoyment of drinking, a pleasure many are loath to fully embrace. It (and I should mention this volume is a compilation of three prior volumes) is written as a guide for the uninformed. Amis advises us to favor quantity over quality arguing that people prefer two decent drinks to one exemplary one (a point with which I completely concur.) He also notes that the wine trade has erected a vocabulary and set of rules that make people nervous about what they are drinking. He argues, you should find things you can afford and that you like and to drink those.

I probably need to buy a copy of this one, it is just too much fun to pick it up and read a page at random.

Since I started it with the Pogues, I should probably end with them as well.

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