Thursday, April 16, 2020

Nurse the Hate: Musing Over A Ventoux

I am having a Cotes du Rhone, a humble little bottle from Ventoux.  The Cotes du Rhone is in Southern France, a place that is quite pleasant if you like good weather and the air to smell like lavender and olives.  These wines are the everyday wines in France, or they used to be before American fast food and movie culture switched over the younger generations over to energy drinks and spirits.  They are the kind of wines that I rarely open, but almost without fail when I drink them I think, "Hey, that's pretty good.".

Southern France would be a great place to live.  Hemingway spent a great deal of time there, having lazy swims in the clear blue ocean and reading the papers with pitchers of cocktails in small hotels that kissed his ass.  Impressionist painters rushed in to capture the colorful landscapes.  Movie stars bought the land with gorgeous views in the 1950s.  Picasso swaggered around taking in the sun and fucking young girls.  Hell, even the Papacy moved there in the 1500s.  The famous wine region Chateauneuf du Pape is "House of the Pope", a nice little summer castle where a Pope could let his hair down and have fabulous wine made by his minions.  What am I waiting for?

I cannot speak French.  I can barely read French.  I have no understanding why I cannot discern the sounds of foreign languages, but still hear a slight tic in one of my vocals on a record made 16 years ago that drives me crazy.  "You hear that John?  Where I make that weird "huh-uh" sound before coming back to the verse?"  John Smerek then stares at me trying to simultaneously fix the problem while letting me know with his blank expression that no one will ever notice what I'm talking about.  Godammit John!  I still do!

How does that type of obsessive hearing go completely South when listening to someone say "Monsieur, pouvez-vous s'il vous plaît arrêter d'appeler tout le monde copain?"?  All I hear is "mama fah mum ahh no duh nuh".  This is a clear problem, because once a group of foreign guys recognize that you can't understand them, they will start to talk shit about you right in your face.  You can tell something is up from the facial expressions and reactions of grins and so on, sort of like a dog is aware something is happening when he sees you gather up some towels and the dog shampoo before heading to then spare bathtub to warm the water for his unwanted bath.

Assuming I can't speak French, now I can't have a job of any type unless I become some odd expat rake that hustles tourists with "tours" where I make up all the history of the region on the spot as I drive them around in my beat-to-shit Citroen.  This is too much work when envisioning the Hemingway/Picasso lifestyle of padding around in leather sandals calling out pigeon French to shopkeepers wildly interested in pretending to be your friend so they can overcharge you for cheese.

The hurdle to having a country hamlet in a state of beautiful decay appears to be my not being a genius author or artist.  I knew that would come back to bite me eventually.  In this new world of social distancing in a Greater Depression, it's not going to be easy to pull off.  Now more than ever Religion and Chemicals are the key to the future.  And I'm a guy that knows about wine and advertising and commercially unsuccessful music.  Hmmm.  Maybe I could eek out a few years by masquerading as a knowledgable American Wine Importer that can help local vintners Get Into The American Market.  

I looked up a house I could afford for at least a few years.  I could lease out these vines, swagger around giving unwanted and largely unwarranted advice.  I'd make myself a regular at the main bar in the village.  "Look Pepin, if you want to break into the American market the right way, we have to control New York and Chicago!  I know the guys there that can make that happen!  (I don't).  Your wines are fucking fabulous!  (They aren't).  I just need a couple grand a month to grease the wheels over there.  (I'd spend that on a shitty car and restaurants, and wheeling around American tourists on history tours in Monaco where I'd make shit up as I went.). We can make that happen!  (I can't)."

In these Uncertain Times, all options are in play.  I also need to mention, this Ventoux is actually quite good.


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