A sad reason to drink wine today – on this day in 1984 American comic Andy Kaufman died. It’s a perfect night then to watch the movie Man on The Moon and, whilst steadily drinking more and more, discuss whether Andy was a comic genius or something else altogether? (That discussion though is, of course, part of the Kaufman joke.)
Also, as you get steadily more drunk listen to REM sing Man on the Moon or Great Beyond and then go to YouTube and watch endless footage of Kaufman press the buttons of American culture with seemingly endless monologues, female wrestling and crazy puppet shows.
Finally finish off , well and truly smashed, by doing your own Elvis impression whilst standing on the coffee table. Maybe even wrestle ….
These are the moments wine was made for ….
A quote: “Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water. ~W.C. Fields
I like my cartoon icons to be much like my real life heroes: a bit anti establishment, a bit anarchic and semi deranged. Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry types – the one’s you wouldn’t trust to look after your house but who you’d recommend to people you didn’t like. The world needs a bit of craziness and comedy violence every so often. So let me come clean right at the beginning _ I don’t actually warm to Micky Mouse. (I’ll probably now end up with Disney hate from those people who walk around wearing mouse ears and singing songs from Frozen under their breath.) But he always seems a bit of a do gooder, a bit of a god botherer type who always wants to do something worthy. In short he’s a bit too wholesome and ‘vanilla’ to tick my boxes. (Oh and he’s a mouse which doesn’t actually endure him to me.)
But – because I’m an openhearted kind of guy – I’ll ignore all of these negative things and happily use the squeaky rodent as an excuse to open up a bottle of wine to celebrate the fact that today in 1928 he made his debut in Plane Crazy. You can watch the whole thing HERE on YouTube.
(My one other Disney fact is that Walt, apparently, couldn’t get it up.)
A quote: (and one that Disney folk wouldn’t like!) “What is your advice to young writers?”
“Drink, fuck and smoke plenty of cigarettes.” Bukowski.
Talking Heads front man artist (and all round genius) David Byrne was born today in Scotland in 1952. As previously discussed at length in this blog, I like people who appear to do what the fuck they like and Byrne seems to fall strongly in this camp. As I saw in the comments to some youtube video of him playing live (wearing a head to foot purple furry suit): “It’s fucking fantastic because David Byrne thinks it’s fucking fantastic and very soon everyone else realises it’s fucking fantastic.” (Or words to those effects.) And it’s true – his sheer force of will makes what he does magical.
This site now has a theme tune. Go to YouTube and search The National All The Wine. Listen and read.
Talking Heads don’t sound dated, Stop Making Sense remains one of the greatest music movies ever made and “This Must Be The Place” remains one of the very few songs that can actually make the tears well up in my eyes because it’s so beautiful and expresses – somehow – what love is about. For these reasons alone it’s worth putting on a Talking Heads play list – or even just a David Byrne one as his solo stuff is good too – and getting drunk.
Today in 1965 The Rolling Stones recorded the anthem of wine drinkers at the end of a long night drinking and sharing the love: Satisfaction.
You know that feeling – like when is not being quite complete, when the movie is good, when the risotto feels nutritious but not the stuff of culinary dreams. Well – to non drinkers – all these things are catastrophic and explain why they walk around with that easy to spot beaten look on their faces and the screaming desire to make life a misery for others.
But for us – for the elite elite troupe of wine guzzling disciples of Bacchus – these trifling problems are easy fixed. We simply lean across to that big bottle pile in the corner – where we used to keep unimportant stuff like bills, photos and ornaments (the type of stuff those hoarders on television can’t be bothered to get rid of) – and we grab the first bottle to hand, open it and watch as the magic seeps out.
That day? Suddenly fucking spectacular!
That movie? It should clean up at the Oscars.
That risotto? It’s Michelin starred.
Welcome to the world of wine. Transforming worlds since the year dot.
So put on The Stones – let’s get drunk.
A quote: “He who knows how to savor will no longer drink wine but rather taste secrets.”Dali.
Hieronymus Karl Friedrich von Münchhausen was born on 11 May 1720 in Germany. He was the inspiration for the fictional Baron Munchausen. The King Of Tall Stories he is certainly a role model most wine drinkers can aspire to. Why bother with the truth if sprinkling the canvas with a little myth, invention and glitter makes it a better finished picture?
Many, many years ago when young and stupid I got locked in the bedroom of a woman I shouldn’t really have been with and, using hastily assembled tools of a metal clothes rail pulled out of a wardrobe I hacked my way through the door so I could get home to where I should have been. When I tell the story now I tell it as if the finished escape hole was the perfect shape of a drunken me with arms and head etc like those spaces left in cartoon when someone gets pushed through a wall.
In reality it was a grubby, slightly bloodstained gap that I squeezed myself through whilst saying things like “But I need to be home” over and over again. But the person shaped hole is a better story so I use it. Life is short – it should be theatrical and rich in spectacle. Who cares if it’s real?
Münchhausen got this. As Wikipedia puts it: “One guest described Münchhausen as telling his stories “cavalierly, indeed with military emphasis, yet without any concession to the whimsicality of the man of the world; describing his adventures as one would incidents which were in the natural course of events. Rather than being considered a liar, Münchhausen was seen as an honest man.”
Wine – with its magical ability of changing the importance of things – lets us slip into the game. It’s a good place to be ……
A quote : Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully. ~Graham Greene
Today in 1837 saw the splendidly named Panic of 1837 in the USA when New York banks failed and unemployment reached record levels. It’s a stark reminder that – over all those years – nothing much has changed and the only thing that you can truly trust (like in THE WHOLE WIDE FUCKING WORLD) is wine. Bankers waste your money, governments bomb people with kids (not that they should bomb people without kids either), lovers leave and companies treat you like shit when it suits them whilst demanding you take part in group hugs when they want to feel better about themselves.
The answer then? It isn’t Jesus, Mohammed, Shiva, Capitalism or Communism – it’s far far simpler than that: it’s to remain in a constant state of mild inebriation which allows you to see through the lies and find some solace and security in the modern world. Wine, my three friends, wine is the new tin foil hat and I’m wearing one as much as I can.
However I should point out that, in our house, the Panic of 1837 refers to an evening some time ago when – whilst unpacking the shopping just before twenty to seven in the evening – we thought we’d left the wine at the checkout. Screaming and wild panic ensued until we realised it was still in the car. Phew, what a nightmare.
Thank all the imaginary gods for Mrs Drink Wine Today’s calm and steady mind that discovered it still locked in the car boot. Panic over and a great reason to celebrate….
A quote: “A glass of wine, one must also understand that it’s not just wine, it’s friendship.” Louis de Funes.
Today in 1662 the legendary Mr Punch made his first recorded appearance in Britain. The character actually comes originally from the Italian tradition of Commedia dell’arte where he’s called Pulcinella which – because us English can’t be bothered to learn other people’s languages – we just corrupted it to Punchinella and then, when we’d had a bit to drink, shortened to Punch.
I once worked with a guy called Bill who steadfastly refused to pronounce my Spanish colleague’s name correctly – Arantza, pronounced as its spelt – and who managed to come up with an ever so slightly different every time he said it but always slightly wrong. She was Arittza, Irantzad, Arantsy and all derivatives in between. He was just the kind of man who will have called Pulcinella Punch and then claimed it had been that all along.
Anyway, as Punch is a bit of a firebrand renegade loose cannon – like many wine drinkers – today seems a perfect day to celebrate his first British appearance by getting drunk on Italian wine thus reuniting the two cultures. Maybe go the full hog and drink it alongside some polenta and sausages. (Sausages are “a thing” in the traditional play.) Oh and hit someone – preferably a policeman although any old authority figure will do. My other reader, Jamie The Satanist, will be happy as it generally also features the devil.
Anyway, come on, let’s drink and get a bit out of order.
A quote: “The wine urges me on, the bewitching wine, which sets even a wise man to singing and to laughing gently and rouses him up to dance and brings forth words which were better unspoken.” — Homer
Today, 1886 : John Pemberton first sells the beverage Coca Cola from a pharmacist shop in Atlanta. As it’s name suggests it was actually a drug laced decoction that, not surprisingly, the residents of Atlanta declared as “Glorious, Delicious! Refreshing! Exhilarating! And Invigorating!” (That’ll be the cocaine speaking then.)
Little did they know at that time – or maybe they did know but were just too blissed out to care – it creates a future of fatness, diabetes and really bad teeth. And of groups of annoying people standing on hillsides singing feel good anthems that stay with you into adulthood the way that PTSD does. And, as if that wasn’t enough – Santa commercialising Xmas by packing it into a great big truck to sell to children.
Coca Cola then – the devil’s drink. #Proven. Let’s not be part of its insidious cult, its evil church of syrup.
What then is the alternative; where then lies Salvation?
Easy: there is a drink that has none of these side effects* or generic anthems/slogans and yet helps to create an easy going attitude that life (actually) is quite good that is always just an illusion to those on a sugar rush. That’s right – the genius liquid of fermented grapes.
So, counter intuitive as it seems, let’s celebrate the invention of a sickly caramelised soda by drinking the smooth, adult life affirming liquid that is wine – the REAL real thing. In fact let’s have a wine and a great big smile. And some olives. (A better slogan even if I do say so myself.)
Also you’ll never be stuck for an answer in the eternal debate: “Which do you prefer Coke or Pepsi?” Answer: “Red wine.”
*Well okay it maybe has some of these effects but at least you don’t have to buy into a generic multinational government bothering dream business to drink it and get fat and toothless.
A quote: ” Coca cola and fries, the wafer and wine of the Western religion of commerce.” Tad Williams.
Turn off the laptop. Turn off the tv. Dim the lights, open up a bottle of wine and celebrate the joy of good old fashioned radio because today is Radio day. (It’s celebrated today to commemorate the day that Alexander Popov gave a public demonstration in St Petersburg in 1895.)
Yeah, yeah, yeah some people say that Marconi invented it but – as far as using it as an excuse to just drink some wine – does it matter? (A far bigger ‘issue’ is that this ‘Radio Day’ is NOT the proper radio which is celebrated, internationally, in February. This one is only celebrated in Russia. Let’s not give it too much thought .though or – before we know it – Trump and his cavalcade of urinating prostitutes will have come into the picture….)
In the modern age though, it’s easy to forget how great radio can be: remember all the days listening to the charts and stuff like that that the youth of today will never experience. (I love listening to boxing on the radio – it’s somehow MORE gladitorial listening to it than watching it. Mrs Drink Wine Today detests boxing and sleeps whilst I lay in bed with headphones in listening to the sounds of Las Vegas. There’s something almost film noir about it – the boxing not Mrs Drink Wine snoring away mumbling about her current dreamscape.)
So say cheers to the airwaves and quietly allow yourself to be enveloped in glorious drunkenness as you rediscover their secrets.
A quote: Men are like a fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it’s our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you’d like to have dinner with.” Jill Shalvis.