Advent Calendar 2nd December 2011: On drinking

Now that we’ve started out boldly with a sex quote, we’ll go back a bit in Michael Davidson’s autobiography. Not only his experiences and his interesting life as a foreign correspondent made this man extraordinary, but even more so his attitude. Here’s a passage on drinking from The World, the Flesh and Myself (page 20):

Since I was 17 I have drunk an awful lot; and I hope to go on drinking for as long as I can swallow – preferably the gloriously inferior wines of southern Italy. I adore drink: either sozzled contemplatively in a delicious melancholy of solitude, or swilled in company as a fecund base for talk.

The good fortune (and no merit of wine) which saved me from becoming an alcoholic, a compulsive drinker who wants brandy for breakfast, was mainly, I think the psychological fortune that midday drinking makes me ill: I like to start at six in the evening and drink steadily on until I’m ready for bed. Midday drinking, I’m certain, spells many a drinker’s doom; while an evening’s soak never did anybody harm.

But I’ve found, too, that drink distracts: it lowers the intensity of appreciations other than of itself. Conversely, other appreciations distract from the cerebration of drink. I cannot drink and work well, drink and make love absorbedly, drink and listen to music mentally, drink and read a book sensibly, drink and see squarely the things which looked at intelligently give me a pleasure of the mind.

And I cannot do any of these things and at the same time drink well. When I drink, I do so for drink’s sake; the other, more exacting, employments of one’s time mustn’t be allowed to spoil it.

2 thoughts on “Advent Calendar 2nd December 2011: On drinking

  1. I didn’t know the man before reading your site but it must have been a very fascinating human..I will try to het thebook, here in Amsterdam it isn’t available unfortunately.
    Kind regards,
    Charles

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