Fact: People who announce in a great gust of lordly piety that They never drink on their own (usually giving you a look at the same time) are joyless pedants, whose pedantry derives from a psychological terror, i.e. that their own natures would compel them to drink the bottle dry and then the bottle after that, without the presence of another individual to stop them.
Fact: But by reiterating their position constantly, and po-faced, they make it seem like the only responsible way to behave. It is not.
Fact: The French drink on their own all the time.
Fact: Drinking on your own is a legitimate and intense pleasure, allowing you to brood on the mystery of life without having to explain or articulate your woozy philosophisings to anyone else.
Fact: It also allows you to drink stuff you otherwise wouldn't be able to drink in company, or would, at least, have difficulty accounting for. As I write, I am reaching an accomodation with something called Kumala Eternal Chenin Blanc/Chardonnay/Semillon, which is one of those scary cheap whites, the usual aggressive mix of a mouthful of ball bearings/escaped coal gas/rumour of incipient migraine, but still okay if you keep it almost frozen. It also has a friendly gecko image on the label and, best of all, is free on this occasion, donated by my wife as a leftover from work. This alone gives it a pathetically grateful high rating on the Great Wine Graph.
Fact: One of the single most pleasurable things you can do, at any age, even better perhaps than just drinking a glass of wine, is sit in a quiet bar, on your own, with a glass of wine and a cigarette and achieve a state of absolute detached calm as the world goes on around you. Nowadays excessively difficult to achieve anywhere in Europe (and impossible in the UK) it marries Fact no. 4 above, with the joy of a thoughtful cig in what Richard Klein calls a caesura in time. Actually, he doesn't stipulate the booze, but in his magisterial Cigarettes Are Sublime - an investigation of the cultural centrality of fag-smoking - he talks incredibly winningly about the way a tranquil smoke can arrest time, freeing the smoker from the jabbering torment of ambition, human relationships, existential angst etc. In this caesura, this intentional breakage of the flow, the contemplative stillness is bliss.
Fact: Cigarettes Are Sublime, along with Dieting Makes You Fat, by Geoffrey Cannon and Hetty Einzig, are probably the two most influential books I possess.
Fact: Now I think about it, I probably drink less when I'm on my own. There comes a point where another glassful will invariably mean intoxication, and being drunk on your own is the living end unless you really, really, want to be drunk on your own (bankruptcy, doomed relationship, terminal illness). Whereas, when I drink with, say, PK, it's all too easy (PK having the capacity and persistence of a wet & dry vacuum) to try and keep up, thereby plunging heedlessly into that second or even third bottle, with disastrous consequences. Whereas the act of putting the screw cap back on the unfinished bottle gives one a little thrill of maturity, as well as being an implicit riposte to Fact no.1.
Fact: Which means I'm starting to sound like no.1 and therefore must