Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trollied Tuesday: In memoriam the two Keiths

To cook well is good; to do so in way that others can learn to follow is better; to do so while getting progressively more sloshed on red wine is best of all.

It is thanks to Keith Floyd that I learned this best way to cook: with a glass of wine to hand to progressively enhance the senses as the dish is prepared. In this style of cookery, the journey itself is as important as the destination.

If you care about these matters, and you should, there's a rather neat journalistic distinction between a bon viveur (it is short-hand for raging pisshead) and a bon vivant. It is a rare, and impressive feat, to combine the two qualities. As the Telegraph obit puts it:

With craggy good looks, slightly askew bow tie and upper class tones gravelled by a prodigious smoking habit, Floyd had something of the roguish charm of a 1950s chancer about him. This was not an altogether misleading image as his four wives, most several decades his junior, might attest.

Note too the rather sad irony that Floyd died of a heart attack shortly after being treated for cancer. There was also an ill-timed, but amusing vignette in the Sun:

Docs opened him up for surgery after a lifetime of drunken mayhem and his liver was perfect despite having seen enough booze to float an air-craft carrier.

UPDATE: On this theme, it would be quite wrong of me to overlook Keith Waterhouse - a man who would have appreciated the bon viveur/vivant distinction. An archetype of the old Fleet Street hack; a man whose whole oeuvre was boozy conversation.

Despite listing "lunch" as his only recreation in Who's Who, Waterhouse's output was staggering. As well as the columns, there was his novel and film Billy Liar, and Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell, the play based on the excuse for the non-appearance in print of an equally heroic luncher. He also wrote scores more novels and scripts, and speeches for politicians including Hugh Gaitskell and Harold Wilson.

That's what Labour needs: a leader who while appreciate a bit of literate louche style, none of this management speak and censorious hectoring in future. Please.



Blogger dominic said...

Hmmm...not a fan of Harriet Harperson then I take it?

11:16 am  
Blogger bill said...

Outside of the Guardian women's pages, I challenge you to find someone who is.

1:08 pm  

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