Books The Hero as a Boozer
posted by March 24 at 9:32 AMon
In the last decades of his life, [Kingsley Amis] became a stickler for routine, finishing work at twelve noon, when the first Scotch was promptly downed, then to his club (the Garrick) for lunch, where he stayed drinking until five thirty, before leaving to be somewhere else for drinks at six. Every Thursday (or was it Saturday?), he went to dinner with his son, Martin, and daughter-in-law, Antonia, at Chesterton Road, and every Thursday (or was it Saturday?), he expected to be served the same meal—tinned potato salad and pressed tongue. He had no interest in food (“irrelevant rubbish,” he called it), but the kitchen cupboard at Antonia’s house (Martin now lives in Regent’s Park with his second wife) is bursting to this day with old bottles of strong sticky drink that were brought for him to have on his weekly visits, before, during, and after dinner.
At the end of Plato’s Symposium, after a night of drinking wine and talking about love with male friends, Socrates leaves not to go home and bed but into the day to do his business. His stamina amazes everyone. Booze means nothing to this man of ideas, this hero of the city.