Tuesday, 15 June 2004

Liddl' ol' wine drinker me....

Posted by Hello
Two years ago my life fell apart. I've made it an important rule of this blog not to dwell on that period.

The first rule of Boogie Street is: You do not dwell on that period.
The second rule of Boogie Street is: You do NOT dwell on that period.

Writing round it has proven enormously useful. But what proved even more useful at the time was getting involved in the funny old world of local artshow private viewing.

Some people would be ashamed to say that they based their social life on free drinking opportunities. I'm here to tell them that they'd be wrong. When the Greater Depths opened up, I found that I had no money at all and that everything I had might go down the pan.

[Here, I acknowledge buddies who helped out at the time, and continue to do so, to whom I'm eternally grateful]

One of the things you can do in such a situation is give in. Accept that everything has gone. Gorn, Fiona, lorst and gorn. Or you can say, fuck it, what is there I can do that costs me nowt? And the answer to that - especially to someone in my situation and with my background, is - go to private views.

I am more or less gregarious by nature, and private views gave me the perfect opportunity to make contact with People in the Know. Unfortunately, People in the Know in this arena are not the people who can do you much good as an artist - at University, for example, I made good friends with librarians, print technicians, secretaries etc, all the people who make the world of academe actually work. I did not make friends with most of the tutors, who, by and large, were egocentric arseholes who did not make friends..

But the People in the Know are the people who oil the wheels, who make the world run smoothly. And none makes it run more smoothly than Big & Happy. Big & Happy runs a wine retailing business, and over the last two years he's cornered the position of Wine Purveyor to the Middle Class Gallery Trade.

So it was that tonight I was invited to a wine tasting organised by Big & Happy. Absolutely nothing to do with a private art show viewing. Just a wine tasting. OK, it was in a gallery, but it had to be somewhere. This is the second I've been to, and both were really enjoyable.

Mostly they're full of tolerably, though, unexcitingly well-dressed folk sticking their long noses into glasses and saying. "Ah yes, blackcurrants!" Because I'd had to go to another artist function in the afternoon - four artists talking bollocks over a bottle of rose - I wasn't really dressed for the occasion, but I thought, rather than go home and change, I'd play the Bohemian. Anyway, as I so obviously know Big & Happy, no-one would turn their nose up in an aggressive manner.

And they didn't. Because most people, even the despised middle classes, are just ordinary folk out to get by in the world without hassle. So I had a few interesting conversations with people I've never met, before Boy George turned up.

Boy George bears no relation to his namesake, other than his sexual proclivity, and he is a Very Nice Man indeed. We compared wines - he knows his grapes much better than I do, and I'm always open to knowledge - and ended up going halves on four bottles of something expensive but unbelievably palatable. Should you wish to get out there and get some in your own cellar, what we bought was four bottles of Nine Popes from George Melton's Barossa Valley vineyard. Although the bottle we tasted was the 1998 vintage, we had to accept the 2000 vintage and will have to wait a couple of years before drinking.

I find it difficult to believe I'm writing these words, but I have no doubts about the value of the purchase and that each bottle is worth the money we paid. The reason we bought four bottles? That's all that was left out of Big & Happy's two cases. Crazy, huh?

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