My favourite description of someone writing under the influence doesn’t come from Hemingway, Bukowski or any of the usual suspects – instead, it’s from the fourth page of What Makes Sammy Run? by Budd Schulberg.
Published in 1941, this satire of success revolves around Sammy Glick, an insatiably ambitious copyboy who rapidly becomes a Hollywood mogul due to sheer shamelessness and chutzpah. Compared to him, Entourage’s Ari Gold is a mild-mannered pussy.
Sammy is an unsympathetic force of nature – but what anchors this novel is the narrator, Al Manheim, a newspaper hack who watches Sammy’s meteoric rise through whiskey-tinted lenses.
Al is repulsed by the young copyboy’s obnoxious ruthlessness – and yet is also mesmerised, to the point where he finds himself in a bar asking the bewildered bartender, “What makes Sammy run?”
The barman, naturally, tells Al he’s drunk and should have another drink to quieten down – which leads Al to go back to his newspaper office “with an awful load on”. Continue reading →
Let’s be blunt: the cocktails most people drink should not be called cocktails at all.
They should be called sugary concoctions from hell.
Now before I sound too snobby, please keep in mind that I’m the type of guy who guzzles Coke while eating pizza and watching trashy 80s movies while wearing fur-covered cat pajamas – it’s just that I also happen to love classic cocktails.
Cocktails that can be subtle, dry, bitter, strong, or smoky.
Cocktails that actually taste like liquor, rather than spiked soft drinks.
You see, we’re in an odd situation where a large proportion of bartenders have an impressive knowledge of cocktails, to the point where they can make arcane potions most people never even heard of – and yet, because good cocktails are often an acquired taste, most cocktail menus list saccharine concoctions that are easier to sell instead.
However, I’m not in the business of selling anything other than my soul – and so I suggest that you tear up the menu the next time you walk into a bar and demand one of these cocktails instead:
This is the king of all cocktails, a drink that rarely makes it on any cocktail menu despite its reputation amongst bartenders as one of the best drinks known to man or cat. Continue reading →
I never understood the line in American Pie when Don McLean sang, “And the good ole boys will be drinking whiskey and rye”.
After all, as a kid I had no idea there was such a thing as rye whiskey and when I grew up and started drinking/guzzling the stuff, I didn’t understand why people would drink whiskey AND rye when rye is a form of whiskey.
According to Rock Genius, however, the lyrics are commonly misunderstood and McLean’s song actually refers to people drinking in a town called Rye.
So there you go.
That’ll change your next karaoke night.
Yet it turns out you can now buy whiskey and rye – or, more specifically, Wild Turkey Forgiven, which is a blend of bourbon whiskey and rye whiskey.
By this stage you might be thinking this post is a shameless plug for Forgiven – and you’d be right. I called them up, begged them for a bottle, and am now peddling this story because I’m too cheap to fork out the cash in a store. That’s the kind of guy I am.
In my defence, however, I get sent other bottles from companies and never write about them because – well, because I’m a bastard and don’t like feeling like a prostitute. But I do like Forgiven enough to throw my sweet honky ass on the street and say it’s not a bad drop. Not bad at all. Continue reading →
When you think of how disturbed, conflicted, disastrous and vicious romance so often turns out to be, it’s perverse that most love songs are light hearted, simple-minded affairs that pander to haywire hormones.
Well, I’m jack of it.
Perhaps I’ve had a bad year, perhaps I’m just bitter, but I’ve created a playlist of songs for those who wish love only came in feline or bottle form.
It would be easy for me to start with Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart or The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry (which has the plaintive line “I took you for granted / I thought that you needed me more”) – but while both songs are great, they’re … well, too easy for me to start with.
Instead I’ll shift the focus onto The Way I Made You Feelby Ed Kuepper, who croons not about how he feels but about the devastation he’s wrecked on someone else (see the YouTube clip embedded at the top of this story).
In fact, there are a few songs that look at broken love not from the singer’s point of view but from their partner’s, such as Fiona Apple’s Criminal or The Stone Temple Pilots’ Sour Girl, which is about a girl who only becomes happy once she leaves the singer. Then again, considering how Scott Weiland dances in that video clip, it’s not surprising she fled as fast as she could. Continue reading →