“but was I no longer fun?”. Earlier in the Prohibition, it seemed you were a little ambivalent as to what your friend asked you. ie are you having fun? There is a good deal of difference between having fun and being fun, yet they coincide experientially. One cannot but be fun when having fun. Despite your Prohibition Era, I am utterly convinced that you had fun that nite on Oxford St. with your drunk buddies, and, ‘as with dawn the night doth blend’ you could not but have been fun. Perhaps that question had best been reflected onto its author.
At any rate, I am not sure that I have found or am replying to the lady I heard this evening on a BBC Panel at the SxSW Festival in Austin, TX, it being early on the 21st of March, the night of the Great Moon, 2011. If it is you, I can assure you that you are fun, and have a great attitude as well as many talents.
I don’t drink, either, due to an old wives’ tale, and the advice of several physicians, that it interacts with medication. After listening to the panel, I decided to have a drink. My liquor cabinet was quite dusty, and is difficult to access since I moved my office to our basement and have it tucked into a corner…balancing on one foot with my right arm extended to its limit I was able to grasp the slender neck of a bottle. Upon liberating it into the light, the label was all in Japanese, and it brought to mind the friends from the Orient, whom I have always thought of as the Wise Men, though the head of their delegation, and the one I came to like most, was a woman, who had given it to me. Not knowing what it was, I craned my back to replace it and nibbed the short stubby neck of another bottle. “The National Drink of Iceland”, it proclaimed in English, as thoughts of the young lady whom I have long thought of as a daughter flooded my mind. I have always heard that Icelanders have no truk with fools, or don’t suffer them gladly, or something like that, so I put it back despite my affections for it’s donor.
After a nearly acrobatically induced apoplexy, I managed to wring another neck…Cacasa, [with the little curly tail under the second c]. The National drink of Brazil. The wisest, kindest eyes I have ever beheld, gazed again at me, and I saw the slightly rising lines of the beginning of a smile on the face of the head of the post graduate Dept. of Mathematics from the University of Brazil. Born in Jerusalem, a Palestinian Muslim, he has brought me more joy, just sheer joy, in the brief times we have spent together, than I could describe. No, I couldn’t open it. We will drink it together some nite when we are staying under the same roof, somewhere. Nearly exhausted, I managed to replace it into the 17th Century Barrister’s Beadle’s Proof
Signing table, (from Oxford St. in London) which serves as my liquor cabinet.
With all the sense I had in my fingertips, I felt around until they embraced the slender shoulders beneath the long neck of a bottle which had nearly cost me my life, Sljivovica. If you think that Croatian People are crazy in nature, you don’t know Slijivovica. In nature they are brilliant, talented and beautiful. In Sljivovica [yes, there is a little curly thing under the final c ] they are mad. It is twice distilled plum brandy, like Single Malt Scotch, never mixed at its source. It is a warm Baltic afternoon, bottled and stalled in time. The fruit that grew from delicate blossoms in the breezes that blew under the Balkan sun. I knew I had put two of them in there. Tonite [this morning] the first is one quarter gone…back through me into the Elements from whence it came. And I feel marvelous.
While I cannot encourage your use of alcohol, my dear young lady, I can tell you that all the fun you imagine that you used to be, while breaking things on the way to flopping into bed, and more has been distilled and is with you still, in your listening to your friends and priming the pumps of their stories.
I can also tell you that for every old wive’s tale and the glistening advice of physicians, there is an antidote….
Finally, I would love to tell you how the Slivowits nearly cost me my life, but don’t have time or energy, after what it took to get the damn thing out of the cabinet. Perhaps you will come to the States again, if you are who I think you are, and we can make a night of it. Publius Ovidius Naso was entirely correct. In Vino, there is, Veritas. And it has reminded me of many letters I need to write.
If you are in England, you might look up an old friend of mine. He has a hotel, simply called The Spa Hotel, which I imagine is in Kent, and he races Aston Martin cars. I have always called him, affectionately, Sir Christopher Scragg. I made contact with him, after many years, just before the Crash, from which nothing has been recovered.
Stay Fun,