Liquorature Gathering #026 – “Neuromancer” (William Gibson)
Date: March, 2011
Host – Clint
Whisky: Bunnahabhain 18, Macallan Cask Strength, Isle of Arran Machrie Moor, Port Ellen 9th Release*, Signatory Springbank 1969*, Brora 30 y.o.*, ADR Bowmore 15 y.o.*, Jamesons Rarest Vintage*, Laphroaig 25 y.o. Cask Strength*, Tullibardine 1966*
Rum: Flor de Cana 12
Poor Ostby. The lad gets taken to task for his book choices far more than the rest of the crew. For some reason his selections either incite vigorous polarization or overwhelming disgust. Thankfully his ‘awww, shucks, fellas’ and ‘I’d never read it before either’ approach allows him to escape the proverbial cross a couple members have debated nailing him to (after ‘Blood Meridian’ and ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ in particular). All kidding aside though, Clint has brought some great fodder for discussion to the table through his selections.
‘Neuromancer’ came a little out of left field really. Or so it seemed. My ignorance blindsided even me, as the more I looked into this seminal work and influential author the more I realized I’d been living in a cave (hopefully not that of Plato’s farcical idiocy). Let’s face it…Gibson created a monstrously insightful and enigmatic work that set the stage for a legion of followers. The Liquorature take? Well…credit where credit is due…the sphere of influence is easily seen in everyday cinematic and literary trappings. We acknowledged this, but the first comment made on the night was “I want my money back”.
This eloquent turn of phrase can be attributed to none other than the legendary Maltmonster. For those into cryptozoology, rest easy. Even Lance must now readily attest that the beast does exist. Much like seeing the elusive Keenan-Bear, the proof was far too long in the making for some members of Liquorature (Sage Surujbally, in particular). Long and short, Maltmonster joined us as an Occasional Traveler for the evening’s festivities. Clint and I approached him several weeks back about sitting in for a night of inebriation and elucidation. MM was more than receptive to the idea.
For those not so in-the-know, MM is a frequent contributor and resident wit both here on Liquorature and also on ATW (www.allthingswhisky.com). His caustic humor and appreciation for the finer things in life (not to mention a healthy disdain for cane-based beverages) made him an ideal candidate to be subjected to our lowbrow humor and pseudo-intellect. We dragged him down to our level with minimal effort, I should add. No offense, MM.
Ostby laid out the table with a flair for variety. A rich and delicious Bunnahabhain 18 year old (yep…the re-vamp at 46.3%) first and foremost. Balanced, deep and gentle. A deeply-sherried Macallan cask strength next. Macallan being a favorite of the Maltmonster, incidentally. Finally, new to our shores, Isle of Arran Machrie Moor, a peated surprise that sadly does not quite have the balls to back its bravado. Decent…though slightly underwhelming. For the rumchum…Flor de Cana 12. Though I desperately wanted to try this one, I simply ran out of time. No, wait…that’s not right. Plenty of time. Simply have better taste than that.
A pot of seafood gumbo simmered away in a big ‘ol gumbo pot as well. Hella good, but one can expect no less from Iron Chef Ostby (heretofore known as ‘Bubba Gump’). The guy is a helluva cook. If you get an invite to dinner, you’d be sadly remiss to pass on the opportunity.
The consumables didn’t end there however. MM, in his uber-humble, yet unflinching generosity, brought a sack o’ heels with him. Heels does not do justice. These were hefty bottles. Port Ellen 9 (“all bow,” he said reverentially when presenting to the gang), Brora 30 yo 2005, Laphroaig 25 yo CS, Signatory Springbank 1969, AD Rattray Bowmore 15 yo, Tullibardine 1966, Jameson Special Reserve. I can attest, as can the rest, not a dud in the lot. These are damn sexy drams.
Needless to say, while the novel itself was met with a lukewarm reception for the most part, the whisky certainly was not.
Back to the book. A precursor to the whole cyberpunk movement, Neuromancer’s dark and cold shadow can be seen across many facets of contemporary pop culture. I dare not draw the comparisons and parallels here that we did as a group, as I sort of think each reader should do that for him/herself. An overwhelmingly united opinion spoke to the mired tangle of Gibson’s writing (eloquent and sparse, but somehow dense as f*ck to get one’s head around), yet tended towards a solid appreciation of the tale itself. While not likely to be anyone’s favorite, nor will it become toilet paper for some (as one or two previous selections may have been). The characters were unique enough to allow a variety of sympathetic to apathetic opinions by the gang. Come on…who didn’t find Molly sexy? You’re lying.
What night at Liquorature is complete without the obligatory dropping of the sacred terms? Wrestling, Mandingo and sigh…Star Trek. Gad…why this filth permeates such minds is simply beyond me. The only life forms lower than a Trekkie are George W Bush and Stephen Harper.
Finally…there was the morning after. Let’s leave that one alone. What happens at Liquorature…stays at Liquorature.
The randoms: Mel Gibson … the German Shyster … “You sure do got a purty mouth” … “give you the Jimbo” … “Clint…are your plants live?” … “If anyone is gonna insult you, it’s gonna be me” … a flaccid 8 … “drove cabs, smoked pot and lived with a monkey” … the addition of the thumbs up/thumbs down prediction … MM’s ante to the bevy cause*.