Sunday, 5 December 2010

Them and usquebaugh


In an elegant essay Ms Kentucky (aka Charlene) runs up the flag for deferment of gratification. I can only add the following story.

SOME years ago a brand of whisky, as celebrated for the excellence of its product as for the egregiousness of its copy style (a callow forerunner of the quality on offer here), advertised in the national press for stories, poems, cartoons, anything that readers might care to send in for publicity use. Whatever made it into their marketing department out-tray would be rewarded with a case of whisky.

I remembered the gist of a story my aunt Evelyn used to tell, typed it up, not certain that it wasn't too feeble, indeed too fey, for the distillery to use. I sent it off and thought nothing more about it. I gave myself some licence: I never had a great-uncle Sandy, aunt Evelyn could hardly specify which brand of whisky he drank, we never kept a family journal. However, a next door neighbour we had at one time when we lived somewhere else in Scotland did indeed refer to porridge as 'them'. And I did spell 'practice' correctly in my original.

One Saturday morning a few weeks later there was a ring at the door. Who should be standing there but the Marketing Director of the distillery in person, with a case of whisky at his feet. I was as pleased as I was surprised, and the personal delivery by such an august personage might have been even more gratifying if he hadn't lived a quarter of a mile away the other side of an enormous field.

I gave most of it away. I don't remember ever pouring any of it back into the bottle.

For several weeks beer mats and publicity material, like the card above which folds into a kind of pyramid, carrying aunt Evelyn's story were distributed to pubs and hotel bars throughout the UK. This probably marks the very pinnacle of my literary career.

10 comments:

Dave said...

Agatha Christie alos worked in advertising. I believe she came up with 'Guiness is good for you.' You will go far.

Sarah said...

Splendid! It's fab.

Gave all the whiskey away? shame. I'm rather partial to a dram...and as for
deferment of gratification....I've never held with that either.

english inukshuk said...

I've always envied the Guiness toucan design person. . .

. . .your story reminds me of a souvenir purchase from a visit to a Scottish distillery - a set of East to West whisky miniature tasting bottles (the eastern ones tasted of gorse, the western ones of seaweed!)

Z said...

I did an ALOL at the dénoument. Jolly good show, darling.

I'm not sure if I've ever written about the whisky that Ronan won at the school fĂȘte when he was 9. Nowhere near as funny as your story, so maybe I won't bother.

Rog said...

Very Good Christopher. You could write a few more and turn it into a book to cash in on the lucrative Christmas publishing market. You may have to include the word "shit" in the title.

Tim Footman said...

Why do none of these amusing whisky-related anecdotes never involve physical violence.

Christopher said...

So there's hope yet, Dave?

Thank you, Sah. So do I, but what with? Neat, water, ginger ale, Coke, vodka?

I: Whisky tasting of gorse? That's a new one. (The island whiskies certainly have a flavour of seaweed or iodine underlying the basic peat about them.) Gorse en masse seems to me to have an unpleasant sicklyish scent to it.

Z: Don't remember such a story. Is the world ready for it now, do you think?

Rog: Would there be the same chance of success if I used the word 'stool' instead? Some of my readers e.g. D*ve are very particular. Your suggestion may also explain why Vicus hasn't called in.

Tim: I think I should tell you that I cut my finger preparing this post. Will this do?

Patroclus: How wise. I hope you're training your little ones to climb trees for fruit, grub in the dirt for roots and plowter in the low-tide mud for slimy mud-lurkers?

Christopher said...

Patroclus: Sorry, this has got into the wrong comments box through senile inattention. Should be the previous one.

I've been on to Age Concern. The outlook isn't encouraging, I'm afraid.

letouttoplay said...

Oh I like that.
I had porridge for breakfast this morning. They were delicious and I felt quite sorry for Uncle Sandy.
(I always thought a porringer was a kind of hat but now I know the truth)

Christopher said...

Mig: The man who wears his heart on his sleeve may also wear his porringer on his head.

(Man embraces woman in this context)