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Issue 48 - The fire next time

Whisky Magazine Issue 48
June 2005


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The fire next time

Michael Jackson on the campaign trail

If it was a contest between two Scots and a Welshman, we might have expected more eloquence in the recent election. Are British party leaders Celts in denial?

Despite his Scottish surname, New Labour leader Tony Blair has always seemed unsure of his nationality; Liberal- Democratic Charles Kennedy sounds Irish; and Conservative Michael Howard's Welshness is reinforced with chicken soup and pastrami.

Of the three, only Kennedy seemed committed to a decent drink at a reasonable frequency. Where was the cutting clarity of Churchill on Cognac, the passion of Bevan on Bollinger, or the booming rhythms of George Brown on Bordeaux?

Politicians who speak in polystyrene language deserve to be torched by the invective of a scornful press. The scorn was there, but the language was too sober. Journalists have lost their bottle.

The dullness of the election made me realise how much I was missing Hunter S. Thompson. To my pairings of politician-and-poison, add journalist-and-juice: Hunter S. Thompson on Bourbon. A man of such a capacity for mind-altering substances, and such an ability to bend the brains of others, cannot be allowed to pass without a glass. Here's to Hunter. Mine's a 101.

“A Socrates who cursed and drank Wild Turkey,” recalled columnist Mary Schmich, in The Chicago Tribune. The same newspaper's obituary had Thompson seeming to drink a bottle of Jack Daniel's at a reading. The obituarist suggested that this was a piece of theatre; that, each time Thompson reached t...

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