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Posts tagged "kingsley amis"
Feb 03, 2013
Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking
The link above is actually to a cheap collection of Amis’s three books on drinking, but the book I loved the best, originally with this excellent cover and illustrations (sadly lacking from my copy) was On Drink, a hilarious batch of observations, recipes, quotes, principles, and thoughts on the art of drinking.
My favorite quote is actually “General Principle #7,”
Never despise a drink because it is easy to make and/or uses commercial mixes. Unquestioning devotion to authenticity is, in any department of life, a mark of the naive—or worse.
Do not miss his instructions for beating a physical and metaphysical hangover, and Lucky Jim, which contains the best description of a hangover in literature.
See also: Maud Newton on the book.
Filed under: drinking
Feb 21, 2011
maudnewton on Kingsley Amis’ Everyday Drinking:
My pick for mcnallyjackson’s Funbruary series will surprise no one, but reading it will make the winter pass a whole lot faster:
The funniest new (to me) book I’ve read in the past year is Kingsley Amis’ Everyday Drinking, a collection of essays and general guidance on one of my favorite pursuits from a great comic writer of the last century. Apart from the recipes, the entertaining historical asides, and the sexist but hilarious dinner party tips — remember, this is the man whose wife wrote on his bare back at the beach, “fat Englishman — I fuck anything” — the most useful part of the book is the famous section on hangover recovery.
Far more pernicious and unsettling in the long term than the physical effects of a night of drinking, as any self-respecting drunkard knows, are the metaphysical consequences. Amis argues that the metaphysical hangover (M.H.) — “that ineffable compound of depression, sadness (these two are not the same), anxiety, self-hatred, sense of failure and fear for the future” — must be handled with care. An essential part of the recovery is to take either his M.H. Literature Course or M.H. Music Course, or, if necessary, both in succession. “The structure of both Courses … rests on the principle that you must feel worse emotionally before you start to feel better. A good cry is the initial aim.” Read an excerpt if you must, but you’d be better off getting your hands on the whole thing.
Bonus link: 1958 interview with the author about how much of himself he saw in his characters, including James Dixon of Lucky Jim. I was surprised, though I’m not entirely sure why, and sort of charmed to see how Amis comported himself.
When it comes to drinking, Kingsley knew what he was talking about.
Oct 01, 2010
HANGOVER READING: Begin with verse, if you have any taste for it. Any really gloomy stuff that you admire will do. My own choice would tend to include the final scene of Paradise Lost. The trouble here, though, is that today of all days you do not want to be reminded of how inferior you are to the man next door, let alone to a chap like Milton. Safer to pick somebody less horribly great.
Jun 03, 2010
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
If y’all are looking for a quick, funny read, check out this book.
It not only contains the greatest description of a hangover ever written, but also perhaps the best description of academic writing:
…the article’s niggling mindlessness, its funereal parade of yawn-enforcing facts, the pseudo-light it threw upon non-problems. Dixon had read, or begun to read, dozens like it, but his own seemed worse than most in its air of being convinced of its own usefulness and significance. ‘In considering this strangely neglected topic,’ it began. This what neglected topic? This strangely what topic? This strangely neglected what?
The perfect “school’s out for summer” read.
May 31, 2010
Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider crab on the tarry shingle of the morning. The light did harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.