Monday, 24 September 2012

Everyday Drinking

I bought a copy of Everyday Drinking by Kingsley Amis the other day. It's a book I've heard a lot about but never got round to reading before.

Even if you were a teetotaller, I think you'd enjoy the wit of Everyday Drinking. Not being a wine drinker, I can't judge his claim that "the best wine is much better than the best beer" or that "a lot of beer is probably better than a lot of wine, in this country at any rate."

Like Andrew Campbell in his 1956 Book of Beer, Amis ranks Ind Coope and Allsopp's Double Diamond as one of the premium bottled pale ales. He's also a fan of super-chilled Carlsberg Special Brew mixed with ordinary Pilsner: "To quaff the two of them half and half, really cold, out of a silver tankard produces as much goodwill as anything I know."

The most-quoted bits of Amis' writings on alcohol are about hangovers. He seems to share his friend Philip Larkin's taste in jazz in prescribing as a cure "any slow Miles Davis track. It will suggest to you that, however gloomy life may be, it cannot possibly be as gloomy as Davis makes it out to be.

Warning: Make sure that Davis's sometime partner, John Coltrane, is not "playing" his saxophone on any track you choose. He will suggest to you, in the strongest terms, that life is exactly what you are at present taking it to be: cheap, futile and meaningless."

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