When I was a lad, drinking was a past time of relaxation and fun
Thanks for reading.
My “I’m not on twitter but still read specific twitter feeds every so often” (mainly actual brewers, for information without the white noise) does really pick up around now as its Manchester Beer Week and while I currently pen a response to the “”Diversity” Manifesto” I stumbled across this thread of tweets from Liverpool’s Mad Hatter Brewing, which could indicate that someone is ingesting mercury somewhere amongst their food and beverage intake.
In a thread of 22 tweets it starts off sensibly and logical…
Paints a good background of a fledging brewery starting up mixed in with real world situations (kids, bills, housing, etc.)
Then, halfway through it starts to go off a bit…
Is this worse than the nightmare of cake?*
What. The. Fuck?
Are we taking the piss now? Is this a parody?
I hope you paid for the microphone you just dropped.
I hear Venezuela is a nice place to open a brewery, good socialist and communist principles over there.
Thanks for reading.
*Its a Brass Eye reference
Despite being out of the beer loop it was quite a surprise that I had an interview, perhaps a none broadcast pod-cast, fall in my lap quite recently.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories but it does seem a bit odd that I was never made aware of it whilst I was part of that most exclusive of clubs.
Anyway, I present it to you for your own delectation; transcribed as best as I can, all spelling and grammatical errors are mine, as you’d expect.
Interviewer (I): Hello, its everyone’s favourite blue-haired beer communicator Simon Jessica Wrighton, here for another episode of “Beer, its a really fucking serious business” and I’ve yet again braved not only stepping outside of London but also, being in the North of England, outside of Manchester and Leeds, to bring you this interview with John, brewer and owner of Common Sense Brewing, here in [remember to add which backwater town this actually is]. So John, as most of our readers and listeners might not know about you and your beer please tell us a bit about yourself.
John (J): Well, my background was in science and I home-brewed for a number of years and then, following a small lottery win I thought I’d see how well a hobby could grow into a business and if I could make enough to leave science and hopefully earn a living doing something I preferred, while being my own boss and hoping that I didn’t end up hating it. 8 years on, so far all 3 of those criteria have been met.
(I): And tell us a bit about the beer.
(J): Well, we brew a variety of beers, your pales mainly, we have a bitter, a mild, a stout and sometimes I try and dabble in what seems to be on trend in the beer world.
(I): So would you say you’re more of a traditional style of brewer or a more modern, forward thinking brewery?
(J): I brew what sells really. Obviously my main market is my local area and it has a more of what you probably call a traditional feel to it but they all seem willing to try anything. Likewise I can sell to wholesalers who can ship it around areas it isn’t really practical for us to reach.
(I): Give us an insight into the set-up of the brewery.
(J): Well it is a one man operation, I…
(I): One person operation.
(J): Er, OK. So I’m the sole person handling the brewing, sales, admin, accounts, marketing and everything else in between.
(I): So you don’t have anyone else on your staff.
(J): Not at the moment no, I’m handling things quite well as I’ve have done since I started.
(I): But in the future you may need to employ some other people to help, possibly from other ethnic or gender backgrounds?
(I): You’ll be an equal opportunity employer?
(J): Well, yes, because I think it is the law.
(I): So you might end up getting a woman to help out.
(J): I suppose so, but if the time ever comes I’ll get whoever is best qualified or suited to whatever role I need filling.
(I): So what you’re saying is that you wouldn’t employ a woman?
(J): Where are we going with this, I thought I was here to talk beer and brewing?
(I): Yes, of course, but I’m sure our fans want to know that they won’t possibly be buying your beer knowing they are funding someone who doesn’t believe in equality.
(J): Sorry? You’ve lost me, but look, if the time comes I’ll advertise a role, interview whoever applies for it and then make a decision based on what information I’ve gleamed from them and their CVs, but this seems to be a hypothetical discussion so perhaps we should just talk about the present?
(I) Yes, of course. Tell us a bit about your most popular beer.
(J): Right, it is a very simple 4% pale ale.
(I): What is the grist make-up?
(J): Just pale malt with a bit of wheat for head retention.
(I): So you don’t use any black malt?
(J): Er, not is this particular beer as it is a pale.
(I): But you do use black malts?
(J): Well yes, in my more amber and red beers and I of course use chocolate malts in my mild and stout.
(I): So what you’re saying is you’ve not yet brewed using all black malts yet?
(J): Er, no because I wouldn’t get beer, at least beer as we know it, out of that.
(I): Don’t you think you should at least try?
(J): I could try but experience and the general science behind brewing says that I won’t get beer from it. If we are still talking about beer that is?
(I): Yes, of course we are. What is the hop profile?
(J): I use Admiral hops for bittering, I use Admiral for bittering the vast majority of my beers just to keep it simple and cost effective. The aroma comes from liberal use of Mosaic hops.
(I): Do you use more Admiral or more Mosaic?
(J): Erm, Mosaic but that is because of the nature of the beer.
(I): So why not use more Admiral?
(J): Because that isn’t what this beer requires.
(I): So you’re saying that Admiral and Mosaic aren’t of equal value?
(J): Eh? They both do important jobs but both are quite different in the jobs that they do. Seriously pal, are we still talking about beer?
(I): Touched a nerve have I?
(J): No, you’re just confusing me with this line of questioning. Is there anything else I can answer for you.
(I): Yes, of course.
(J): Is it about beer or brewing?
(I): Of course it is.
(J): Ask away then.
(I): Why don’t you maintain quotas for how much hops and malts you use?
(J): What do you mean by quotas, I record all the weights I take on my brew sheets if that is what you’re getting at?
(I): Good. So you’re saying we could look through you’re brew sheets and see how equally you spread your use of hops and malts.
(J): What do you mean equally?
(I): To make sure you use everything equally.
(J): What? I can’t use everything equally, that isn’t the nature of the beer I make.
(I): So you’re saying you don’t use hops and malts equally?
(J): Well, they do completely different jobs.
(I): So they aren’t equal?
(J): What, hops and malt, are we talking by weight?
(J): Well, no, as I just said, they do different jobs and they can’t be compared as being equal. There is no like for like comparison.
(I): Not even as an average?
(J): What? Especially not as an average. Honestly, are we still talking about beer here?
(I): Thank you John, thank you for your time and a highly revealing insight into the brewing practices up here in [remember to add name of this rainy backwater].
(J): Er, thank you.
Thanks for reading.
I did have a whole draft post dedicated to Channel 4 news.
Wondering how a programme that was seemingly so against the invasion of Iraq (2003 – onwards) could be so hawkish for attacking Syria (2011 – onwards), after it was also so drum bangingly for the attacks on Libya (also 2011 – onwards). Maybe they are so left-wing they love that the UK supply arms to
islamists the underdog rebels, or maybe its because everyone’s favourite, can-do-no-wrong US president, Barack Obama, was so adamant that waging war in these additional two fragile, fragmented and unstable countries was the best thing to do for world peace.
It also questioned how its strange bias has got worse over time and how all their presenters; but mainly Jon Snow, Cathy Newman and Krishnan Guru-Murthy (a man whose best days were on Newsround) and moved away from simple interviews to get to any truth and towards posturing, supposed moral superiority and repetitive, nonsensical talking points.
But fortunately Channel 4 have been very gracious to allow the release of the simple half hour interview to save me writing any further on the subject.
That this is from the same channel that brought us Brass Eye highlights how Channel 4 is drowning in its own self-important, puritanical, moralistic, irony-free drivel.
Thanks for reading.
Subtitle: You can’t filter out agendas with Isinglass
May you live in interesting times goes the alleged Chinese proverb brought to my attention by the writings of Terry Pratchett and we certainly do in 2016.
I don’t think it remiss to point out that as broad as the spectrum is that drink beer you would probably suggest that the older “CAMRA” set are to the conservative right and the younger “CRAFT” set are to the liberal left and while I’m not one for grouping people along political lines it would seem that many brewers and bloggers in the beer bubble, to their own detriment, probably do so.
The EU referendum vote in the UK on 23rd of June, that ended up with the result being to leave the European Union caused fissions, unsurprisingly many on my twitter time-line were for Remain.
Schisms formed on 8th November with the results of the US presidential election that saw Donald Trump become the elected, prospective 45th president of the USA.
Of course this lead to more fallout from breweries, brewers and bloggers on twitter.
One tweet caught my eye, from an actual brewery account and I’m not going to post it here simply because this is neither about naming and “shaming” (free speech is an absolute, even “hate” speech) nor do I bear any grudge towards the brewery or the brewer (he is a nice chap) or wish to see his business suffer.
Thing was, they (he) called for the assassination of Trump. Now, whatever your feelings and political leanings are, two things struck me about that:
Then again many brewers & business owners in general, have personal accounts from which to let forth their own thoughts and despite all the caveats they may have in their biographies sometimes it can be guilt by association.
What is also striking is the lack of people who called out the brewery on this tweet and also subsequent tweets about boycotting specific countries.
We can probably, fairly postulate that many people didn’t even see the “assassination tweet” but to those that did see it and did not pass comment on it, you really do need to look inside yourselves and question that whatever morals and integrity you bleat about so often, is it that honestly what you actually practice.
“We use selective annihilation of mayors and government officials, for example, to destroy the presence of the state and create a vacuum. Then we fill that vacuum.”
Thanks for reading.
This is my Hitler clock…
Much like Nazism, it doesn’t work but is certainly striking to look at. It was made by a French man so I think we can forget about puns about German efficiency…that comes later in this piece.
Of course if you are offended by this because you think it glorifies our little toothbrush-moustached Austrian (by birth) dictator then that is your business, I’m of the opinion it mocks him.
Then again some people are offended by the Swastika without appreciating it’s history and significance to others completely devoid of any relation to the Nazis.
I never knew either of my granddads but was always fascinated by the story of one of them and its relation to personal identity.
Walter was from Bohemia and he was fluent in 4 languages; German, English, French and Czech.
Bohemia (where the Rhapsody is from) is currently in the Czech Republic (formed 1993, or as Sporcle now insists its referred to as, Czechia), though during my grandfather’s birth it was part of Germany (making him German by birth) but then, from 1918, part of Czechoslovakia following the carving up of Europe after the First World War. It was then part of the Sudetenland that was annexed back to Germany in 1938.
Then the Second World War happened.
Apart from being in the midst of the Nazi Empire my grandfather and his family also had the rotten luck of being Jewish.
Being of some standing and right before they were stripped of all their possessions, they were at least given the chance to get away with their lives, provided they could prove that someone (I assume in a then neutral country) was willing to support them and prove that they could, hence the document below.
How and when my granddad left Bohemia I don’t know, I’ve heard via Italy but it isn’t really important other than the fact that rather than getting to America he wound up in England and joined the British Army.
Fun Fact: he helped teach media-baron in-waiting Robert Maxwell how to speak English (apparently Maxwell had a very good ear).
“As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazism or Hitler approaches 1″.
– Mike Godwin, 1990 (Godwin’s Law).
The above “law” doesn’t just apply on-line, it is a go-to comparison of the mentally lazy who not only report & comment on the news but also those that lead countries.
We are currently living in a world where people are obsessed with defining themselves; be it gender, race, religion, sexuality, political leanings, class, nationality, diet, weight, height, general appearance, the list is as endless as the list of people ready to get offended at the slightest utterance of anything that seemingly disparages any of these things.
It is a world obsessed with itself, a world of narcissism. People so desperate to identify as something end up creating divisions in their own minds, thinking themselves open-minded, they really are as narrow-minded as those they think they are the antithesis of.
What you drink probably makes you Hitler too.
Hitler is/was, sadly, neither the be all or the end all of all that is or has been evil in the world. These modern despots and murderous terrorists are so much of a world away from the person with an opinion or a comment you disagree with and the choice language that may come with it, that it is a sign of how laughable things have become that this distinction even needs to be made.
My grandfather was lucky in a way, reaching the UK and being able to start a family and have a relatively normal life up until his death.
Emma and Amalie lives however ended in Auschwitz, their names now in the list the adorns the walls of the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague.
For the record, my other grandfather was, at the very least, a descendant of an Orangeman, but that is probably another story.
Thanks for reading.
I was going to put “The North” but I’m sticking with my local area for rather obvious reasons.
I’m not exactly a massive fan of the system we call democracy in the UK as it currently stands, I’m more a fan of proportional representation (PR) than first passed the post (FPP) but then again as has been shown with the recent referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union, because the vote didn’t go the way of the “enlightened” then it clear indicates that some people shouldn’t even be allowed to vote, let alone the if PR was the system of voting in the UK, then UKIP would indeed have far more parliamentary representation than either the Lib Dems or the Greens.
A great many in the county of Manchester voted to Leave, 7 of the 10 boroughs in fact. Because the referendum was reduced by some to Leave = right-wing, Remain = left-wing it came as quite a shock that supposedly a left-wing party, Labour heartlands would vote in massive numbers to Leave. So much so that this somehow fell on the head of Jeremy Corbyn (to be fair the man has been against the EU most of his political career) and so now the Labour Party is tearing itself apart with a leadership election.
As the fallout between Corbyn and ABCs (anybody but Corbyn) continues in the Labour party, it is the face of Tony Blair that always looms large and this 3 consecutive victories (achieved regardless of numerous invasion follies) that are brought up as to why Corbyn isn’t a suitable leader and/or Prime Minister.
Watching spin doctor Alistair Campbell (ever so briefly) on Question Time banging on about how they won over Tory voters highlights what went wrong and what continues to go wrong. Yes, you need to win over some of these voters but sadly they did it at the expense of their core working class vote.
Its a bit like the mob in the Christopher Nolan Batman film “The Dark Knight,” they had a problem with not having a grip on power any more (Note: any MP using the term “in power” should be viewed with suspicion) so turn to a force they did not fully understand, this brought some initial quick gains but they undercut themselves in the long-term.
Of course that analogy can be applied today, Jeremy Corbyn is no great cure-all but at least he isn’t a Liberal Democrat, a party akin to John Daggett, teaming up with the Tory’s Bane and then looking on in horror as to what destruction they have enabled while they themselves also end up destroyed.
Damn, if only I had a political analogy involving Ra’s al Ghul.
Locally the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), all Labour except 1, a Conservative of the Trafford Borough (which voted 57.7% to Remain).
My borough council, Wigan, voted 63.9% to Leave the EU, it is made up of 65 Labour seats, the other 10 split between local independents and the Conservatives.
Manchester City Council has 95 Labour party representatives and 1 Lib Dem (60.4% Remain).
I’ve blogged about local issues before locally in Atherton and around the borough as Wigan Labour systematically remove popular and necessary public assets for private profiteering.
About the loss of Manchester’s heritage as Manchester City Labour purge history from Manchester’s streets and most recently the evisceration of another historic part of Manchester so Gary Neville can build his own versions of Barad-dûr and Orthanc.
Of course should Labour lose seats not just in Greater Manchester but in its heartlands around the UK, then all the blame by those same MPs will be lain at the feet of Corbyn and the cyclical mess will continue, people will just get more disillusioned with politics and MPs will continue to feather the nests and prime themselves for big paying consultancy jobs when they are eventually gotten rid of, all this while conveniently forgetting about how Labour has been wiped out in Scotland by exactly the same behaviour.
On a national scale, the worst thing about all of this is that you have a new level of patronisation, especially when every Tory and anti-Corbyn entity try to sound magnanimous by uttering “we need a strong opposition to us/the current government in check and better,” and as every TV channel and news services continues to do special programmes about the end of Labour. These programmes are solely from a political/media point of view and have absolutely nothing to do with actual support within the general public, highlighting the growing gap and level of contempt that both the media and the current crop of politicians have for us plebs.
Many in the media use the term Populism in a negative way, safe way to explain an apparent rise in “right-wing” (Trump, UKIP, Leave winning the EU referendum, etc). As you can see from the link description the term populism can be ascribed to any side of the political divide and this is the problem, and if you’ve sat at home blaming “stupid people” and “racists” for everything that has gone on in the UK recently than you are just as culpable as those who blame “immigrants” and “Europe” – it is a political malaise but hopefully the tide is turning to something more positive and hopeful.
Thanks for reading.
As I always feel a blog should have one picture and to show that I’m not actually right-wing myself, I post my latest results from Political Compass