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Issue 42 - Here's to grumpy old men...

Whisky Magazine Issue 42
September 2004


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Here's to grumpy old men...

This month's guest writer is market analyst Tom Stinson

At Manchester Piccadilly railway station they have turned the area outside platform 13 and 14 in to what they laughingly describe as a lounge.

The concrete and glass area has been fitted with seats and some thigh high sloping metal bars which you're meant to lean on. There's a Costa Coffee and a WHSmiths, and at the top end there's a neon digital display informing you about train arrivals which everyone stares at gormlessly.

And this ‘lounge' has illusions of grandeur. It thinks it's in an airport. So passengers are told to ‘wait in the lounge' until two minutes before the train leaves and then to ‘go to departure gate.' Well not quite, but you get the gist.

Being the contrary sort of person that I am, I went to my platform before I was told I could just to see what happened. Nothing did. I mention all this because it's just one more example of how our society is changing, and for the worse. Never mind that your train doesn't run on time, or that it's dirty and over-crowded – at least there's a nice waiting area in the station.

That's nice as in ‘anaemic', ‘sterile' and ‘sanitised.' I have this theory that the reason whisky is so cherished is because it has come to symbolise tradition and heritage. It's a totem unaffected by market trends that have created global drinks brands and homogenous retailing opportunities.

I should declare at this point that I don't like whisky – or at least not the taste of it. Can't stand the stuff. But I like the idea of whis...

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