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Issue 128 - Screeching In St John's

Whisky Magazine Issue 128
June 2015


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Screeching In St John's

Newfoundland uncovered

Are you sure it's July?” I ask through chattering teeth. His back braced against the numbing wind, Davin shows no interest in conversation or in the icebergs drifting by in the rough sea behind us. “This can't be summer,” he grumbles.

Signal Hill in St. John's, Newfoundland. The very spot where one December day in 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received a wireless message from England, proving that transatlantic transmissions would bend with the curvature of the earth. If it's this cold here in July, why he chose December is beyond comprehension. Perhaps he planned to warm up afterwards in one of the many watering holes beckoning across the harbour.

Suddenly, I have a bright idea. Marconi's message travelled 1,700 miles through the air more than a century ago. If Marconi, shivering in the icy rain, headset frozen to his ear, sat patiently on this very spot waiting for his trans-Atlantic message, the least I can do is text my wife, at home 1,311 miles away in Toronto. If you believe, as I did, that the earth is blanketed in cellphone towers and satellites, you haven't visited Newfoundland. With my frozen gonads retracting into my body like frightened turtles I glance up from my equally disengaged cellphone to see Davin shaking his head in disbelief as he stumbles down the hill towards warming libations.

St. John's is a rum town with a budding underground whisky resistance. Gazing down on the brightly painted city we have planned our attack. The notorious George Street, ...

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