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Issue 43 - Plentytosmileabout

Whisky Magazine Issue 43
October 2004

 

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Plentytosmileabout

BeingScottishisn'tbeingdepressed,youknow.Notallthetime,anyway

Therewasanintriguingstoryontheradiorecently.Amanclaimingtobesufferingfromdepressionhadbeenbafflingpsychiatrists,noneofwhomcouldworkoutwhattherootcauseofhisconditionwas.Eventuallyoneshrinkarrivedatthecorrectdiagnosis.

“You'renotdepressed,”heopined.“You'reScottish”.

Mywife–whoisEnglish–wasoverjoyed.AccordingtoherIonlyeverlistento‘depressing'music.

Icounterthatcountrymusic(whichisbasicallywhatshe'stalkingabout–withanextrasmatteringofNickCave)isn'tdepressing,butcathartic.

Letmegiveyouanexampleofalyric:“Anemptybottle,abrokenheart,andyou'restillonmymind.”

Isthatdepressingorstrangelyuplifting?Ifitisthelatter,thenyoucanseethatwhatappearstobemaudlinselfpityisinfactacceptance–andacryofforgiveness.Seethis,andyouhaveanunderstandingofwestcoastsensibilities.It'sacomplex,paradoxical,stateofmind–somethingwhichwasbroughthomewhenIreturnedhometoGlasgowforWhiskyLive.

ForthefirsttimeinmylifeIwasallowedintotheostentatiousbrownmarbleinterioroftheCityChambers,atriumphofVictorianmunicipalarchitecture–allhighceilings,giltandEscher-likestaircases.

ItwasbuiltatatimewhenGlasgowwasthesecondcityoftheEmpireandhometosomeoftheworstslumsinthewesternworld.Contradictory?Glaswegian.Whereelsewouldyoufindaplacard-carryingprohibitionisthappilyhavinghisphotographtakenwithwhiskyrevellers?

IwasdoingacoupleofmasterclassesatTheCorinthianwithGillianBellonwhiskyandfoodmatchingwhich,somewhatambitiously,becameanattempttounlocksomeofthesecretsofsevendramsbypairingthemwithgreatScottishfoods,us...

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