Friday, June 15, 2012
The Ruining of This Mother... In Praise of Gin
It's not often I can be accused of being au courant - I have made it my life's work not to run with the pack, but rather to saunter without care down a meandering path of my own choosing. This is partly because I took a very wrong turning about 30 years ago and have never found my way back to the Right Track. A little like the infamous report in the Daily Sport some years ago, which claimed a double decker bus had been found on the moon. A spokesman for London Transport apparently said that "the driver must have taken a left at the Elephant and Castle."
It is also because, if truth be told, running does not agree with me. I completely 'get' it, the whole Loneliness of the Long Distance Forrest Gump Runner thing - in fact I have a girlfriend who swears it is the only thing standing between her and a therapist. But she is built for it. Long and lean with fabulously manageable hair. I am built for comfortably lolling, preferably on a high stool somewhere with my chin on the bar. I'd sooner hail a cab and take my issues and my unruly barnet to the pub.
But I digress. The point I was trying to make is that I am unashamedly, even willfully unfashionable. I will not be tempted by pastel cotton skinnies and I don't give a fig if the Duchess of Cambridge has made them quite the thing to be seen in. (Nothing to do with the size of my thighs.) Oh, and ballet shoes are for Anna or Darcy. I straightened my hair once and ended up looking like Cousin Itt. I have never bought a handbag larger than my arse. I like good manners, eiderdowns, black and white films, large pants and carbohydrates. Without honesty, cheese, the seaside and opera, life would be the poorer. I don't care if I am démodé. Not one little goji berry.
So, it has come as something of a shock to find that my beverage of choice is apparently all the rage this summer. No, not absinthe - which would make me sound Byronic and bewitching and bad. Let me whisper it... Gin. I know. Gin. How suburban it sounds!
Photographed in the hands of the glitterati, the Gin and Tonic is suddenly le verre du moment. Websites have sprung up extolling its virtues, its history, how to mix the definitive G&T, even how to cook with it. G&T cupcakes anyone? New trendy varieties have hit the market and the lemon/lime debate rages on in several of the weekend broadsheets.
Till recently, gin and tonic was regarded as a drink best drunk by brigadiers and the yachting fraternity. However, my grandfather (who was neither a brigadier or a boatsman, but a jolly rogue) had mixed a dangerous gin on the dot of 6pm every evening for decades. Known as a Dumfries Gin, I recently had the pleasure of introducing the gorgeous (and equally non-herd-following) Mrs 'Angelina' Mackerel to its delights. Dylan Moran said: "The most dangerous drink is gin- you have to be really, really careful with that. And you also have to be 45, female and sitting on the stairs." Bless him. Mind you, it used to be known, amongst other sobriquets, as My Lady's Eye Water - so perhaps he has a point? Too much and one is inclined to be maudlin.
There are still vestiges of its Hogarthian 18th Century ruinous reputation lingering in the British collective consciousness. I have to admit to quite liking that - those shades of mob-capped women of dubious morality, in petticoats and hob-nailed boots, who flit across the cobbled bottom of my glass.
Finally, I spy a sign on this meandering path of mine. It says This Way to Gin Lane...