Whisky Magazine Issue 38
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Michael Jackson journeys to the heart of darkness
A counterblast to J.K. Rowling? Philip Pullman has taken off like a runaway train, and the engineer is still stoking. The firebox is an inferno.
Pullman writes about daemons. “Shameless blasphemy,” snarls the Association of Christian Teachers.
Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials, adapted for the National Theatre, has led to debates with the Archbishop of Canterbury. I have been invited to Pullman's home to speak at a writers' gathering. I hope this is not one of those groups where each member reads from his most recent
work and the others criticise.
“Your piece on macho eating – duck's blood soup versus haggis – wasn't very blasphemous, was it?” No, not that kind of group.
“My name is Michael Jackson, and I am a workaholic”? Nor that.
I do some homework. I check Pullman's press kit .
“The most exercise he takes is unscrewing the top of the whisky bottle,” says his bio from Random House.
I have been invited to his home to conduct a tasting of malts for a couple of dozen writers. This is only the second I have done in a private house. The tasting is set for the Saturday before Burns' Night. I decide to invite my lady partner Freckles and make a romantic weekend of it.
The directions end in a country lane, where I should find a cottage “with lights blazing”.
Will Daddy Daemon ride out to greet me? The door opens just as I stumble toward the exaggerated blaze.
“Michael? Be careful. There's a step”
That is as apocalyptic as it gets. I manage...