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Issue 14 - The Night Porter

Whisky Magazine Issue 14
February 2001


This article is 17 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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The Night Porter

Michael Jackson on the road again, testifies to the magic of malt... and music

Paris. Around midnight. No, it's later: the wee small hours. The dinner is long over, whiskies and all. Robin Laing has poured out the last of his vocal tributes to the water of life. Norma Monro has moistened our eyes Westering Home. They have acknowledged the applause, put their guitars back in their cases, and now there is not a cab to be found.

We set off walking: Norma, Robin, Angela Forsgren D'Orazio, Jim McEwan, Islay's Ambassador to the World (he had been the Master of Ceremonies at the dinner) and myself (I had been speaker). For a moment, there is a ripple of romance in being by the Seine, but soon we are wearily navigating the night among the roads and railtracks of the old warehouse district. At first we are glad to walk and take some air but Gentleman Jim's breezy assurance that it is only two miles dampens spirits slightly. He offers to carry Norma's guitar for her, then I take my turn. It's very heavy by the time the hotel is in sight.

It's now 2.00a.m. This has been our second night of appearances in Paris. After yesterday's dinner, we did manage to find a cab, and got ‘home' earlier. Even then, we had to ring for the night porter to let us in and he was grumpy. Tonight, we are later – will he be even grumpier?

A different night porter is on duty. A small, neat, man with a hint of a smile on his face. He has slightly leathery skin. Dark hair, brushed back in a style that hints at the 1950s. Could have been an extra in Casablanca. I thought the same...

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