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.