Liquorature #081 – “Fallen Angels” (Walter Dean Myers)
Date: February 26th, 2016
Whisky: Johnnie Walker Green Label, Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Lochnagar 11 y.o., Douglas Laing Premier Barrel Laphroaig 8 y.o.
Quick! While it’s still fresh!
Unbelievable. These event write-ups are finally up to date. This last one you’re reading is a recap of a gathering just five days back. Can’t lie. Feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I know it is a small contingent that actually reads these meanderings, but they’re captured for posterity nevertheless. The collective can always look back in fondness on some of these old memories. That’s the hope anyway.
‘Fallen Angels’. Interesting pick, this. We were sitting around at one of the past gatherings months back and Jay had yet to make his selection. “Hold on,” he said. He spent a couple minutes on his phone searching the net for ‘most controversial books’ or ‘most challenged books’ or something, and voila! This was announced then and there.
I think we all came into this one blindly. None of us knew the title, nor the author, let alone the subject matter. War. The Vietnam War, to be exact. We’ve covered war before, of course, most recently with Boyden’s ‘Three Day Road’ and Conrad’s ‘Heart Of Darkness’, but this would be a very different take. What went down in Vietnam a few decades back was a watershed moment for many things: media, patriotism, understanding of warfare, culture, politics, on and on and on. Vietnam was huge. And for those reasons, it makes absolutely fascinating subject matter. It has, of course, also led to some incredible films, music and art.
Our discussion was interesting this time around. No real dissent. In fact everyone really quite liked the book (conceding a few small flaws or omissions), but where it got really engaging was in our collective understanding and response to what went down in Vietnam and the state of the world that both led to it and resulted from it. Some truly insightful opinions and, much like the conflict itself, a lot of seeming uncertainty. This was especially evident in discussions about whether the US should have been involved and how each of us would have handled ourselves as draft-eligible (or volunteers) young men if we had been around at this time in history. The class and race aspect was given a lot of consideration. As was an empathetic approach to understanding the Veitnamese side of the story. Actually, quite an unforgettable night.
Johnnie Walker Green made its third appearance as a club selection, and was even better than most remembered. It was two Douglas Laing ceramic decanter releases under the ‘Premier Barrel’ line that had us all sitting upright and taking notice. The first was an 11 year old Lochnagar. Beautiful nose. THe second was a young and kicking Laphroaig 8 year old. I think I preferred the former, but the masses leaned to the latter. Both awesome though. And a real treat from bygone years.
Great night, all in. Jay’s choices of book, malts and great Vietnamese nibbles were inspired and probably earned him just the sort of rewards he’d hoped for.
Random notes: No Jesse, Chris or Ginger … “The sharpest thing on the table…” … “Beat you with a dildo” … Do you guys surf?” … “You can always have more kids” … a couple other great Laphroaig bottles … some membership discussion