Monday, January 29, 2018

Nurse the Hate: A Scotch Man

He had switched from scotch to rum the previous winter. He had always been a scotch man until an unfortunate evening had him re-examine his relationship with Scotch.  His face still burned when he thought of it.  He had been permanently expelled from the best restaurant in the city after a shouting match and a thrown glass.  God, he missed that place.  Oak paneling. Leather chairs. Best steak in the city.  If the restaurant had not been so good he might’ve taking a perverse pride in being 86’d in such a public fashion. However, it was the highest profile spot in the city and it was now common knowledge he was not welcome.  It was the end of an era.

His mother had always been a scotch drinker. She had been addicted to literature. Her favorite writers were scotch drinkers, old British writers that were always clever in print but lived notoriously difficult lives.  She spent most evenings not paying attention to the family while sipping J&B, reading old books she had rescued from second hand shops.  “White trash drinks whiskey.  Gentlemen drink scotch.”, she was fond of saying.  She was a woman with an almost photographic memory of favorite literary passages and could drink like a sailor.  He missed her.    

He had moved on from the scotch shortly after the restaurant incident.  He took the advice of a young woman in the weeks he spent brooding after his dismissal from society. “Scotch always makes me cry” she said. “I don’t want to cry anymore.”  She was a very melancholy yet practical woman.  She offered him a sip of a Pilar Rum.  Bingo.  It was then he embraced dark rums with new found enthusiasm.  He liked how they conjured the sunshine of their island birth place.  Rum reminded him of burying his feet in warm sand while on beach vacations, though to be completely honest, he usually had an awful time on such trips.  His pale skin burned easily and he became hopelessly bored within hours after arriving at a resort.  Still, the idea of rum was good.  

He took to having a tumbler of dark island rum right before bed to help him sleep without dreaming.  He would stand naked in his darkened apartment in front of the large picture window that looked out on the city and feel the chill against his skin.  The rum always made his mind drift to travel.  Trinidad.  Tahiti.  Hong Kong.  Shanghai.  Melbourne.  Dublin.  Edinburgh.  Hmmm...  Edinburgh.  It would be good to try some scotch in Edinburgh…   
He sipped his rum.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Nurse the Hate: The New Sparkling Wine Scheme

I have gone in deep on sparkling wine.  Too deep.  There are dozens of bottles of sparkling wine everywhere.  Champagnes.  Cremant de Bourgogne.  Sekt.  Sparkling gruner veltliner.  Cava.  Lambrusco.  It’s out of control.  Yet, I don’t have a Tasmanian sparkling wine.  I haven’t come across one.  Here I was so transfixed by Tasmanian sparkling wine.  Maybe it’s just not that big of a deal.  The dollars available for Tasmanian sparkling wine might be less than I had bargained.  Perhaps my plan to travel back in time to corner that market might have been flawed.  I will admit relying on Leo to build a time machine out of construction scraps might have been a tad optimistic.  Now with him on a Colonel Kurtz type yoga quest in India, I won’t see him for at least two weeks if ever again.  There’s a decent chance I might be summoned to fly to India and search the entire nation with a grainy photograph of Leo asking all 755 billion people if they have seen him when he fails to turn up at the airport for his departing flight.  I can’t bank on Leo to bail me out.  He’s probably already dead of dysentery.  

While immersed in this sparkling wine subject, I have found all types of obscure sparkling wines I hadn’t considered taking over with a swift decisive swoop into the market.  I became interested in Cremant de Limoux as I could see myself walking around Southern France in rubber sandals making second rate $15 fizzy wine.  However, there are a considerable number of large corporations already well entrenched.  An American bungling things up down there won’t play well in the French press.  In that I don’t speak any French, I wouldn’t even have any idea at how badly they were speaking about me in the press.  They have pretty quick tempers down there.  Someone might come at me with a pitchfork.  No, Limoux might not be for me.

I need something with a relatively low profile that I can get in rather cheaply and use my marketing know-how to create a profitable empire in a short time.  That was when I discovered my future in Clairette de Die Methode Dioise Ancestrale.  It just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?  Who can’t see every American man, woman, and child walking into their favorite restaurant and saying, “You know… Let’s skip the Bud Light.  Do you have a Miller’s Clairette de Die Methode Dioise Ancestrale?  That would really hit the spot!”.   It’s sweet, grapey and just fizzy enough that every high school and college girl would start chugging it like Gatorade if I can get it on the shelves.  Maybe I can put my face on the label making the “OK” sign with my hand like one of those Italian pizza boxes.  That would imply the trust the consumer is looking for in a sweet fizzy wine.  I will likely have to have some sort of corporate mascot too, like a slightly buzzed pony on the label.  I know two things about young women.  1. They like to text and 2. They like ponies.  I think we can all agree that I completely understand my target market.

I still don’t know anything about farming.  I know almost nothing about winemaking.  What I know is how to move product baby!  The question remains at to how could I get access to the product at a reasonable rate and package it as my own brand?  This is when I did a real deep dive and discovered that there is something called “Confrérie des compagnons de la Clairette de Die”, which translates to Brotherhood of the companions of the Clairette de Die.  I learned the following from the Brotherhood’s website:  “If you are a loyal fan of Clairette and Crémant de Die and you want to spread the word about these wines, you will perhaps one day be called to join the community and to become a "capé".  Unlike the compagnons, the capé possess the privilege of wearing the cape bearing the effigy of the Brotherhood.  Investitures take place on the occasion of the chapter meetings, generally on the third weekend in April, in the towns of Crest, Die or Châtillon-en-Diois. Uncompromising with regard to traditions, the compagnons will nevertheless sometimes bend the rules.  During processions, for example, they will sometimes borrow a fellow member’s cape – but only with the permission of the "grand master".

Clearly I need to go to Chatillon-en-Diois in April to see if I can borrow someone’s cape and get myself wedged in the inner circle.  I just need to win the friendship of The Grand Master!  If you had told me three years ago when I started this wine madness that I would find myself in a cape in a village at the foot of the French Alps trying to translate “buzzed up pony on the label” into French, I would have said you were crazy.  Yet, it seems to be my destiny to utilize my newfound knowledge of sparkling wine and fold myself into this brotherhood to create a massive new market for these wines.  I think we can all agree is one thing that Southern French farmers love are wiseass Americans with little understanding of their centuries old traditions.  I see myself with my cape on at The Brotherhood’s dinner, clinking a fork on a glass, saying something like “Excuse me!  Excuse me!  If I can have your attention!  I don’t speak French, but I do speak a language I think you all know…  That language is money!  Now let me tell you what you’re doing wrong and how I am going to help YOU!”.  Then I’d make a little speech and then peel off cash in a “make it rain” gesture to let them know I was serious.  My guess is that it will go very well.  

My plan is to now research Clairette De Die Methode Dioise Ancestrale to the point where I am America’s preeminent authority on these wines and the region.  I will allow others in my WSET class to spin their wheels in saturating themselves with Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava.  I have found my niche.  I have found my Brotherhood.  I will fly to Chatillon-en-Diois this April and win the hearts and minds of the Brotherhood.  It’s a very exciting time.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Nurse the Hate: The Polk Audio Sweatshirt

I found an old faded sweatshirt in the back of my closet.  I haven’t worn it in years.  I haven’t even seen it in a half decade.  It is a Polk Audio sweatshirt, one that was given to me as a gift a million years ago.  My memory of acquiring it is a bit foggy, but I seem to recall a guy named Matt (or a guy that looked like a “Matt”) gave it to me.  He was the husband of a woman that I was visiting with my lady friend of the time.  He worked at Polk Audio doing something uninteresting and had a stack of the shirts in a closet.  I owned a pair of Polk Audio 5Jr speakers, which still perform remarkably well.  Matt seemed to almost pity my enthusiasm for his employer and gave me a shirt in an almost disdainful manner.  Still, it was a good quality promo item and I appreciated it.

The whole trip is rather foggy for me.  I remember the couple as being very pleasant but a bit uptight.  Their home was a tastefully decorated townhouse that felt like Target had set it up as a company demo.  Things were extremely neat and in their place.  It was the kind of house that had a bowl of fruit on the table that was forbidden to eat and was placed strictly for aesthetic purpose.  These were people that watched network TV, listened to commercial radio, and looked like everyone else.  They had a Ford Taurus and a small terrier named "Rusty".  Good neighbors I'll bet.  They were very nice normal people.

Meanwhile, I had begun to transition into being not very normal at all thanks to the emerging opportunities for The Cowslingers.  I was starting to gig and travel a lot.  It was becoming increasingly difficult to pretend I belonged in these people's home.  No less than 48 hours earlier I had been in the basement lair of Brownie's in the East Village with the Devil Dogs and the Lyres talking all kinds of shit with my various new degenerate friends.  Now I was trying to make small talk with Matt and find some topic which we could converse for this 48 hour window while the ladies got caught up.  It wasn't going well.

At some point well past when it should have been suggested, we all got in the Taurus and drove to a shopping area near their home.  They had to be thinking "we have to find something to keep this guy engaged or he might take a bite of our fruit on the kitchen table".  We went to some white bread area near their home.  It was almost all chain stores.  I recall stopping in a record store where I bought one of those lounge music compilations, the one with the fur cover.  I think the three of them were at Orange Julius or some such shit.  This day was going nowhere fast.  There was only one thing to do.  Pour some beer all over it. 

Looking back, I should have realized that Matt and his wife didn't have quite the tolerance of a touring deadbeat struggling musician dude.  I just kept ordering rounds.  By the time we got back to the townhouse, they were struggling a bit.  I'm pretty sure I drove the Taurus.  I walked in, cranked up Matt's stereo with the Ultra-Lounge CD, and saw the sheer uptick in quality in Matt's top-of-the-line Polk speakers from work.  Matt had a truly horrified look on his face when "Mondo Exotica" exploded out of his speakers.  He hurriedly turned down the volume and collapsed into the love seat, careful not to displace the tastefully arranged pillows.  Within minutes I saw the ladies huddle.  My female companion had been informed that Matt needed a "power nap".  I was just getting going, but if Matt wanted to crash with his bride that was fine with me.  It was agreed we would reconvene for some type of meal in a couple hours.  I could care less what they wanted to do at this point.  I went and fucked my female companion in the guest room with great gusto.

It was dusk when our hosts dragged themselves out of their bedroom.  Meanwhile I just kept going.  I had showered, split the beers in the fridge with my lady friend, and was ready to keep this going.  This is when an image that sticks in my mind to this day came to fruition.  I was standing on the stairs heading down to the kitchen.  My lady friend was talking to our hostess above me in the hall.  We were deciding where we would go to eat.  This was when Rusty the Terrier came bounding out of our guest room with my used condom in his mouth, the end squirting liquid onto the still new smelling carpet of the hallway.

I know for a fact I realized what Rusty had in his mouth before the ladies did.  I say this because our hostess said "Rusty!  What do you have there?  Were you in the garbage again?".  Yes, indeed Rusty had been in the garbage.  It must have been right about then when it hit my lovely companion as to what Rusty had in his mouth.  She then made the mistake of trying to grab Rusty while also exclaiming "Oh My God!".  This in turn made Rusty think this was a game and he began to tear around the house leaking the contents out in all directions as it hit our hostess as to what had happened.  It was not an ideal situation.  Not with the high pitched screaming and all.

I can't recall what happened after that.  I have no memory of leaving in shame or going to dinner awkwardly.  I'm sure something unpleasant happened, but that's all I remember.  But I do know I have this reliably toasty sweat shirt with a Polk Audio logo on it, and I would like to thank Matt and his wife for both the hospitality and the shirt once again.