Mar 022016
 

Liquorature #079 – “The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale Of Christmas Stupidest AngelTerror” (Christopher Moore)

Date:  December 21st, 2015

Host:  Curt (but not really)

Whisky:  Lots and lots of ’em

 

You had me at ‘zombies’.

In what we’ve dubbed a new Liquorature tradition, this was our second annual Christmas wrap-up.  We do things a bit different for this once-a-year shindig.  No hosts…no whisky purchases…none of the usual stuff.  Instead, we hold a heels party and a bit of a potluck noshing.  Everyone is responsible for bringing a bottle (or three or four) and some sort of food to contribute to the feast.  The book is shortlisted and agreed upon by majority.

In hunting through Christmas titles to follow last year’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ selection, I chances upon this little sliver of a novel by Christopher Moore.  You may recall we read ‘Lamb’ by Moore a couple years back.  His irreverent sense of…well…everything actually was quite a refreshing little break from the more serious nature of so many of our picks.  It was like plunging into a cold pool or having cask strength come out yer nostrils.  A bit of a wake-up.  And a hell of a way to engage again with the fun side of reading.

Moore is fucked up dude.  No two ways about it.  In the vein of Vonnegut, Robbins and other intellectual, yet humour-driven, authors extraordinaire.  But it’s this fucked-up-edness that makes him instantly appealing.  His stories are absurd to the point of almost becoming believable again.  Come on…we all know some pretty colorful characters in this life If we think about it.  Now just imagine a world entirely populated by those sorts.  Then add zombies and shit.  Awesome.

The b’ys loved this one.  Not an intellectual puzzler by any means; simply a great escape and an easy read for the holidays, a time in which we all struggle to make time for the little things in life (such as books).  These sorts of discussions are more along the lines of shared laughs and recollections of favorite parts than any sort of true literary dissection.  The consensus was, though, that while this was great, ‘Biff’ was better.

So…no malts to discuss.  Though we had about 25 on the table for sipping.  And the food?  A brilliant mishmash of delish.  In a way it’s like everyone is the host, as we all get to put our personal stamp on the night.  In fact, I’m already looking forward to Christmas 2016.

And with that we close out another great year.

 

– Curt

Mar 232015
 

Liquorature #067 – “A Christmas Carol” (Charles Dickens)a-christmas-carol

Date:  December 19th, 2014

Host:  Collective (at Curt’s place)

Whiskies:  Lots

 

There’s a reason the adjective ‘Dickensian’ has entered the English lexicon.  The man had a style and resonance all his own.  He was an unparalleled master in both atmospheric composition and cheeky turn of phrase.  His characters were unforgettable.  His stories: rich beyond measure.  Taking six years of Liquorature meetings to finally read Dickens seems almost unforgivable in hindsight.

We mixed things up a little bit with this meeting.  In the early years of Liquorature – in the days when many of our members’ spouses were running a parallel ladies’ book club – we used the December gathering as an opportunity to bring our better halves together and have a shared night of animated book chat.  Each sex bringing their best book from the year and trying to outdo the other side.  A couple years (and a spoonful of drama) later we let that concept fall by the wayside.  We went a calendar or two with no special December events, but when it was time to reinvigorate this monster I decided to being a little tradition and holiday spirit to a beautiful time of year.  Each December we will table a holiday-themed book for discussion.  This won’t be a typical club night in some ways, but in others it will fall perfectly in line.

The suggestion was made by a couple of members early on to not have a host, per se, but instead to allow everyone to let their personalities shine a little by contributing something to the event.  I opened the doors to my place on a snowy evening less than a week before Christmas day and each member of the Collective arrived with food and drink in hand.  Something like a potluck / heels party.  We ate…we drank (probably a little too much)…and we made another truly memorable night for the book crew.  It definitely felt like a Christmas party, which was exactly the intent.

And as to the reception to the book?  What really need be said here?  This is one of the most iconic stories of all time.  Even those that had never read it knew it inside and out from past stage adaptations, the Muppet version, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Scrooged, etc.  The story is beautiful and timeless.  The message still resonates today, and though we’re well past this Victorian age, Dickens’s visuals loom large and haunting.  And the guys let it be known that they all felt the same.  An overwhelming appreciation for this one.

Next year’s Christmas tale may again take us into the macabre.  I’ve got a l’il something in mind already.  A tale that is somewhat at the root of the formation of Liquorature.  More to come.

Random Thoughts:  ‘you may leave if you roll an 18’ … serving up some Johnnie Red … Pat bailing

Until next…

 

– Curt

Sep 252014
 

After a lengthy hiatus, Liquorature is back.  Though not as you may have known it.

Earlier this year Liquorature fell from its lofty perch as the last outreach of civilized modern man. For five (mostly) glorious years it had stood as a bastian of hope and intellectual respite in a world sadly riddled with reality TV, socialite headlines and video games displacing books as the preferred medium of escapism. Something had happened. The spark had very nearly died. The lamp had dimmed.

lamp

Rather than see this beloved outpost fall into ruin, we pulled closed the doors and shuttered the windows.

It leaves a hole in your life though.  Once you’ve become accustomed to the ritual of the monthly gathering, the anticipation of a good read, the salivation for new drams and the hope of an inspired conversation, well…it’s hard to simply let it rot on the vine.  Some things inevitably needed to change, though, in order to make it work again.

Now…many moons later, that guttering spark has been brought back to life.  In a way, this is a Frankenstein moment of sorts for Liquorature.  The make-up of the club has changed.  The overall direction has slightly shifted.  Perhaps a few formalities will morph into something more or less than they were previously.  Either way…we’re back.

A mate of mine – a filthy, devious, Irish mate of mine – got hold of me a few months back regarding Stephen King’s magnum opus ‘The Dark Tower’.  We had discussed the merits of this series when we gathered for the ‘Cell’ event a couple years ago.  Apparently the recommendation did not go unheeded.  As my hobo pal drew towards the end of this monstrous yarn, he called me and said that this was one that needed to be discussed.  A timeframe was soon agreed upon, and a few of us more masochistic souls began laboriously plodding through the seven canonical volumes, plus the apocryphal add-ons.  Finally, a month or so ago (August 8th, actually), we gathered and talked the shit outta this one over many a dram.  It turned out to be a great night that effectively became the launching point for this new iteration of Liquorature.

Prior to our untimely (though temporary) demise, there had been a couple of books lined up that we never got ’round to.  I guess only time will tell whether or not we ever come back to those tales.  Instead, we have moved forward with a new collective, a new rotation, new selections and a new outlook.  The coming months will bring the following:

“Star Maker” (Olaf Stapledon)
“The Stars My Destination” (Alfred Bester)
“The Old Man And The Sea” (Ernest Hemingway)
“A Christmas Carol” (Charles Dickens)

…and after that, leading off 2015, who know?

Feel free to pour yourself a drink and read along from your distant vantages and partake vicariously here via comments.

Keep watch for many updates to the site.  She’s a little rusty, but we’ll pretty ‘er up.

In the meantime…I look forward to sharing the journey.

 

‘Keep your lamp trimmed and burning, for this old world is almost gone’

– C