Thursday 15 December 2016

These I Didn't Do: 2016 In Missed Opportunities

So there were a few things I didn't write about, or couldn't be bothered to, for one reason or another, in 2016. Among them:

Great Wine Moments In Movie History VIII: Sideways (2004) Given that Sideways in précis resembles nothing so much as Sediment (two middle-aged losers drink wine while failing to learn very much about themselves) it would seem the most obvious of all films to take a look at. Too obvious, perhaps. Also, despite the excellence of the leads (Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church) the movie as a whole left this reviewer just a tiny bit underwhelmed when he saw it a decade ago. The principal reason? Too much wine. And wine, as we all know, is the quintessentially boring consumable, more boring even than fast cars or cheese.

On the other hand, in a moment of great listlessness I did once Google Movies with wine in them, but that threw up some real oddities, so odd I just threw them straight back. Hands up if you've heard of, let alone seen, Bottle Shock (2008), This Earth Is Mine (1959, with Rock Hudson, Jean Simmons and Claude Rains, seriously), Merlove - A Documentary About Merlot Wine (2008, starring an animated bottle of Merlot), Barolo Boys (2014), A Heavenly Vintage (2009, New Zealand), The Secret Of Santa Vittoria (1969). None of which is to be confused with the profoundly yet satisfyingly insane The Duke Of Burgundy (2014) - a lesbian lepidoptery fetish movie starring the magnificent Sidse Babett Knudsen and a tremendous amount of ladies' underwear. But no wine, as I recall, although what I do recall of The Duke Of Burgundy I don't entirely believe.

Style Icons: I didn't get round to attempting puerile imitations of

Kim Jong-un
Alice Munro
The IKEA Catalogue
Sir John Gielgud
Melania Trump
Walt Disney
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Iggy Pop

Best Affordable Wine of 2016 - Waitrose Chilean Cabernet Shiraz, £5.99: Bold, fruit-driven, full of dark cherries and a still-youthful vigour. Surprisingly complex and intensely-structured for such a bargain wine. Will even take some ageing - another four or five years won't do it any harm. And what a price! Truly, a red for the impecunious drinker who doesn't want to let his standards slip. The reason I never mentioned this before? It doesn't exist, is why. And even if it did, Waitrose wouldn't stock it, they just wouldn't.

Dares Not Accepted: PK challenged me to polish off a bottle of wine which someone had given him at a dinner party. More than half its contents remained. 'This is so disgusting,' he said, 'I bet even you can't finish it.' He was quite right. It was so disgusting that I couldn't finish it or even make a dent in it. Sometimes you just don't know until you've been there. PK has also challenged me to go into Berry Bros. & Rudd's famous St. James's Street premises and act as if I might be interested in buying some wine from them. Just to see how long I last before I run screaming from the building. So far I have been in too much of a funk even to go in, let alone talk to one of the (I imagine) crushingly urbane staff. I know how pathetic this is; after all, what do I think they're going to do to me? In all honesty, this: expose my low birth and knavish ignorance within the first thirty seconds of the encounter, before crying Let's teach the little squit some manners and chasing me the length of Pall Mall.

Drinking Songs You'd Rather Forget:

Howlin' Wolf: I Asked Her For Water (But she gave me gasoline)
Louis Jordan: What's The Use Of Getting Sober (When you're gonna get drunk again)?
Bill Boyd & His Cowboy Ramblers: Drink The Barrel Dry
W Lee O'Daniel & Hillbilly Boys: Dirty Hangover Boys
Tampa Red: You Can't Get The Stuff No More
Johnny Tyler: It Ain't Far To The Bar (But it's such a long road back)
Muddy Waters: Sittin' Here Drinkin'
Luke Wills' Rhythm Busters: Shut Up And Drink Your Beer
Slim Gaillard: The Bartender's Just Like A Mother

On the assumption that 2017 can't be worse than 2016, I therefore resolve to: No - it's just not coming. Can I get back to you on that one?



  1. Bottle Shock was considerably less than particularly average. Left out huge chunks of the actual Napa story and Chris Pine's wig was a public nuisance that should have been incinerated by drone strike.

    Lastly, I have yet to understand why movie producers in Southern California think that those of us from Northern California talk with a fucking drawl like we're from Louisiana? We don't. We talk like proper mumbling surfers as any good Californian should.


  2. Well. Good to know that I can cross Bottle Shock off the list. Last time I was in Northern California (four years ago) I don't remember how, exactly, anyone spoke. But we did eat a curry while we were there, which now strikes me as strange


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