Friday 5 November 2010


This news just in: throw away that Paris goblet (see 15 September) and that crystal toilet bowl (see 21 September) so beloved of PK. The answer to all your drinking needs is (of course!) the Duralex Picardie range of glassware. Why has it taken me so long to acquire a pack of these miraculous tumblers? Was it some residual shame at those years of schoolboy smuttiness (Durex, ha ha, we had thousands of things in the school dining hall)? Was it lack of opportunity? Was it simple laziness?

Almost certainly the last. But when I found a Picardie 6-pack in a surprisingly snotty little shop in town, I knew that Destiny had sounded its trumpet and I had to get my fix of these stupendous vessels. So I bought an inital half-dozen, and the effect is every bit as magical as I'd anticipated. Any beverage tastes better - orange juice, tapwater, whisky - while wines of all complexions are at last given that proper stage on which to express themselves.

The secret of Duralex's success? It's a tripartite strategy. 1) The faceted shape of the glass ensures plenty of flattish surfaces to press your sweating fingers against, thus ensuring a firm, steady, comforting grip at all times 2) The 16 cl version holds just the right amount for this writer, a couple of good swigs or four decorous sips before needing a refill 3) It is virtually unbreakable, so if you chance to put it woozily too close to edge of the table, or just let go of the thing altogether, no harm done. Thus it penetrates the essence of the relationship between glass and drinker, which demands reassurance: the drink is precious, the pleasure is momentary and contingent, the dignity of the drinker is vulnerable, the situation is highly charged. The glass has to be not only an extension of one's senses, but at the same time provide confirmation of a differentiated, tangible reality standing apart from human uncertainties. The Picardie is as close to perfect as I can imagine and once again, the French (cf the cubi) have found the answer to a question we English are scarcely aware of.

In other news: the notoriety of Sediment has grown to the extent that when we had some people over for supper, one of them brought a bottle of wine whose identity had been concealed by a thick sheet of paper, and invited me as a so-called wine blogger to make an intelligent guess at its provenance. I stabbed wildly at South America, turned out it was Italy: an extremely suave red called Le Volte, whose terrifying purchase price our guest would not reveal. Anyway, what did he expect? My ignorance is fathomless, and growing magically deeper with time.

And finally: I served up some of that Azzuriz stuff that PK critiqued (see 6 July) largely as the result of this same fathomless ignorance. I saw it in the supermarket, was dully hypnotised by it until I remembered that PK had done a number on it, but was quite unable to remember whether he'd liked it or not. Paid over the odds, dished the stuff up, strong chemical blast to the back of the throat, not unpleasant, but not worth £8, not by a mile. What a mug.


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