Liquorature Gathering #029 – “The Stand” (Stephen King)
Date: June, 2011
Whisky: BenRiach Solstice, Isle of Jura Prophecy, Duthies’ Hazelburn 8 y.o.
Rum: Iceberg, Gosling’s Black Seal
The rum-guzzlah had to take a pass on this one due to other obligations, and is kicking himself once again for missing out on arguably one of our best conversations to date. We spent about three hours on this book, before circling references back to it several times throughout the course of a long and enjoyable evening. Poor guy. Missed another one of our best in the ‘Blood Meridian’ night, then left early on ‘Atlas Shrugged’ night just before things ramped up for some heat and polarity. Perhaps it’s the black humorist in me that finds a funny irony in the fact that the guy who would likely most enjoy good sporting conversation missed some of our shining moments. Sorry, buddy. If it is any cold comfort to you, we held down the fort admirably.
This little soiree, hosted by Scotty, aka The Ginger Buddha, initially promised a low key event, but delivered in spades. Brilliant drinks, a great read and hours of engaging conversation. Love it when I have no expectations and end up floored. Walking away from this one with many pleasant memories.
The Buddha knocked one outta the park with his Scotch selections this month. First up, an indie bottling of an 8 year old Hazelburn from Duthies. Charming and unique. More peat than I’d expect. Next, the first Isle of Jura I’ve ever really been able to sink my teeth into, the Prophecy. Large, smoky and as it says on the bottle, ‘profoundly peated’. Finally, my personal highlight for the night, BenRiach Solstice. A port finished peat monster. VERY different and utterly winning.
The rums, uncertain though he was as to Ruminsky’s attendance, were Iceberg and Gosling’s. I can’t speak to either here, as I neither tried them, nor had any inclination, but I have a mate who swears by the Gosling’s. These bottles were hardly dented. Mild fender-bender perhaps. Gotta say it…the stunning whiskies stole the show.
But wait! There was one more whiskey this eve. I managed to track down a bottle of The Kid’s ‘happy crappy’ (You believe that? Don’t tell me, I’ll tell you.), Rebel Yell. C’mon…I had to. Soon as I found it I know it would be good for a laugh. Though expectations were justifiably low as we popped the top, it actually turned out to be a fairly palatable bourbon. No stunner, to be sure, but not bad at all.
With the G7 gathered and quenching thirsts over their redneck juice, we kicked into ‘serious mode’ (as serious as it ever gets anyway).
First things first, the gang wanted to know whether or not $80 worth of motivation was enough to coax Bob (he of the compromised schedule and busier-than-hell lifestyle) to the end of the tale in time for our gathering. He and Lance had laid down a $40 wager last month on whether or not he’d finish. Though unable to attend this one, looks like Lance has a payday waiting for him come next meeting. Good times. Lots of laughs about this.
The book, Stephen King’s opus, “The Stand”, was either loved or appreciated by all, I believe. A couple members of the collective are King junkies and have worked their way through this one multiple times. It simply doesn’t get old.
The greatest criticism was reserved for slow development and meandering passages. The point was countered by saying this was a somewhat sociological tale that was meant to depict the rebuilding of civilization, and not simply blow sh*t up. This ended up as a polite ‘agree-to-disagree’ type scenario. Fair ‘nough.
The characters were liked (some loved), the dialogue and setting praised and many, many favorite scenes pointed out. The attention to detail and speculative nature were also lauded.
Thematically, we delved into religion (the primary contention centering on where the other demographics were? Did god wipe out all the Muslims? Hindus?), politics, crime and punishment, sociology, inherent nature, metaphysics, economy and survivalism. Though I could share details, I prefer to let the imaginations run and keep these conversations private as the ‘intellectual property’ of Liquorature. Let’s face it…we’re frickin’ brilliant lads!
We spoke to the reasons for King’s success and post-apocalyptic fiction as genre. We touched on all of the ‘what would you do’s?’ and what each of our personal roles would be in a similar ‘rebuilding of society’ situation. Of course, we also briefly touched on the Dark Tower. Finally, I should note…for sh*ts and giggles…it was ME who gave the guys their obligatory mentions of the ‘Taboo 3’. Yep…all three were courtesy of yours truly.
As this book is about to see its second screen adaptation realized, some fun was had playing the casting call game. A few of us who have seen the old made-for-TV version agreed a few of the actors from the original series should reprise their roles, but several new suggestions were bandied about. Fun exercise for a book like this, and relatively easy as the characters are so well-defined.
All in all…a bloody great night. One of my top 5 now for sure.
Well done, Buddha. Drinks, book and all. Good picks.
The randoms: Rebel Yell…”Sold!” Auction Bob…the throbbin’ 8…Clint’s ten minute two minute summary…Rob Lowe: “You actually know he’s a handsome man”…”What’s the point of Flagg, other than to be a d*ck?”…saddle up a cow…”saved by the grace of god, a dog and a ******”…”if you’ve had one pistol in the butt, you’ve had ‘em all”…The Hoff ‘Ooga Chaka’ing…”Wake up! Wake up!”…”Rebel Yell ranks right up there with the abolition of slavery”…”you didn’t write down ******, didja?”