I like a drink.
I’ve liked a drink for about 45 years now. People keep telling me it’ll kill me, but at this stage, if it’s drink that gets me now, I’ll consider it a win.
It started back in late ’73 and my first foray at 15 going on 16 to one of the local discos. Beer was 8p a pint, spirits 10p a shot and a packet of ten Embassy Regal 12p. I took to the beer first, fags later, and spirits a wee bit later after that, but by the time I went to University in late 1975 the taste for beer in particular was well developed.
While in Glasgow I discovered hand-pumped real ale, and that became a love that’s stayed with me though University, then 10 years in London, then eventually back to Scotland and a growing small brewery / real ale pub culture that kept me happy for years before I came to Newfoundland, where the search for decent ale in a small fishing town is a bit more challenging.
There’s an old saying, I only drink to be social. Not quite true, but it’s hard to beat banter with old pals around a table in an old bar with decent beer and food on offer.
Alongside the beer during University days I also discovered single malt Scotch. I’m not an aficionado, but I know what I like, and I like it a lot. I took to it eagerly.
By the time I was around 30, back in the mid to late ’80s in London I was mostly working and mostly drunk, a heady combination of good beer, good whisky, Camel filters, curries and Chinese takeaways.
Sue rescued me from incipient alcoholism back then and nowadays I still like a drink, but it’s under control and even diminishing as I get older and try to avoid hangovers.
All of that has come out in several of my books and stories, Derek Adams, The Midnight Eye in particular being a bit of a Mary-Sue character for my love of booze, Chandler and Glasgow.
And it came out again in my newest work, THE GREEN AND THE BLACK, where you’ll meet a lad who doesn’t know that he likes a drink until he has one that transports him, and a man who knows he likes cigarettes a bit too much, but can’t quit the smoke without a push.
In THE GREEN AND THE BLACK you’ll also find Newfoundland and a lot of Irishmen, many of whom, like the Scots, enjoy a few pints, a wee dram, and a song. There’s also archaeologists, cabins in the woods, derelict mineshafts, singing, and drinking in dark places, where the green meets the black.