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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
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Friday, 18 April 2014

Magic BM revisited

It used to be a magic moment. Released from the Hell that was Sunday-morning check-in at Gatwick during the ski-ing season, I would fetch up at the bar and order a Bloody Mary. Sipping, I told myself, I am finally en route for the slopes.

Ski-ing is now only a faint memory but not the liberating taste of that cocktail. Would a BM similarly liberate VR? It seemed it would.

We had to have two, of course, to adjust the amounts. More tomato juice and much less celery salt, said VR. Less Tabasco (that tiny little chap) for me; uxorially I also turned up the wick on tomato.

Still it wasn't right. Now VR wanted more Lea & Perrins  and I'd overdone the tomato. Nevertheless, we were content. The perfect Bloody Mary could wait for tomorrow (ie, today). And here I am in my shirt sleeves at the computer; outside there's a strong sun and a bit of a nip. The garden chairs and table will need disrobing so there'll be additional symbolism at work.

Too nippy? Why do you think vodka was invented in the first place?


Tone Deaf's tribute to Joe Hyam, poetry lover and friend.

But bright Cecilia's rais'd the wonder higher:
When to her organ vocal breath was given,
An angel heard and straight appear'd,
Mistaking Earth for heaven.

The reason why. No more comment on what you can't see; only what you can. The title is Song For St Cecilia's Day, you get that. St Cecilia is patroness of musicians.

The last two lines are a neat conceit. "Organ vocal breath" tries hard, but it’s “voice" in drag. "Bright" only makes the line scan; "was given" seems unresolved. Doggerel? Yes, but redeemed by that compact last line. 

John Dryden.


  1. How did your BMs compare with your memory of the skiing ones? Did the professionals do it better?

  2. One has to plan ahead for the Bloody Mary. Alas, no vodka and old floppy celery only. Don't know it's origins but the Canadians (both urban and rural) have a thing called the Bloody Caesar, mixed with Clamato juice instead of whatever is the original......V8? Wouldn't this go well just ahead of the liver & onions I am at this moment preparing for our Good Friday dinner. Ah, there's the timer.......onions carmelized, must run.

  3. Sir Hugh: The Gatwick BM is now enshrined as a myth, its perfection cannot be disputed. But we came pretty close. It was a little nippy but VR put on a shawl, I took all the fixings out and we had a couple. Being based on vodka the BM has the advantage (disadvantage?) of not seeming alcolholic; as a result we indulged in flights of fantasy, creating a list of instructions for our gardener, knowing in our contented hearts that these would be ignored.

    Stella: I want to be terribly kind about this but variants are out, however seductive. The North Americans are so fidgety; no sooner had the other lot south of you come up with an unequivocal symbol of civilisation itself (ie, the dry martini) than they were into bastardising it. Thus vermouth is initially seen as the perfect additive then - the following day - the inventors are searching for ways of doing without it, seemingly to prove they've got hair on their chests. I regard myself as a reasonably generous host but if you were to pull up your Conestoga wagon in my drive-way (What the heck am I saying? your eighteen-month-old Buick) I'd force my BM recipe on you. After which you could have your pick of the bottles under the stairs.. I can't say fairer than that.

    Liver and onions! How un-Easterish! How tempting! Any bacon or would that have been messing around with the original concept?

  4. I don't think I've ever had a Bloody Mary. Perhaps the best thing to do with Worcester sauce.

    Hard to get with the Dryden isn't it? We don't really care much for panegyrics these days. I quite liked the lines in the first verse though:

    'When nature underneath a heap
    Of jarring atoms lay'

    and I very much like your 'It's 'voice' in drag'.

  5. BM has always meant bowel movement in these parts, so I'm skipping the drinks part and going straight to diagnosing Lucy as having Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

  6. Lucy: A BM is a deceptive cocktails intended to persuade you that its after-effects are beneficial. Complete bollocks of course. The bits and pieces are included to reduce the incipient sweetness of the tomato juice.

    I was somewhat startled when, having delivered my judgment on the extract (no cheating with Joe's Nudge), I then identified the author. Had I chosen the first verse my view would have been more favorable. As it was, I couldn't see any reason for changing it. Luck of the draw, John, luck of the draw.

  7. MikeM: Given that you've found it necessary to come up with an abbreviation for bowel movement, it sounds as if constipation is rife in your neck of the woods. May I recommend senna pods - they work like dynamite.

    Are you again making use of an abbreviation by calling Lucy ODD? If so I feel it necessary to interpose my body and defend her honour. To the phrase in full I can only nod sagely.

  8. ODD is in the DSM, but I was only being cheeky...and ignorant. It's a childhood disorder. The dry martini talk reminds me of the time a girlfriend of mine found herself in posh company-administrators and such-early in her freshman year at a swank private college. The waiter inquired about drinks before dinner, and my poor bumpkin, wanting to sound worldly, could only come up with "a Beefeaters...on the rocks".

  9. MikeM: I wonder when your anecdote took place. When I arrived in the USA (very, very late 1965) everyone was talking about Beefeater - a British gin I'd never heard of. It cost more and in the words of a friend it was the only gin one could drink neat. Fine, I thought. If you want to drink gin tout seule go right ahead. But why call it a martini?

    I sympathise with your girlfriend and I hope she went on to better things - notably to a position of power where she could lord it over some of those swank administrators and cull a selection of them as if they were baby seals.

  10. Mid 80's incident, and she was surprised at tasting what she'd ordered. Your comment is interesting though...perhaps she'd heard the phrase "Beefeater's on the rocks", in an ad or from a gin aficionado. Perhaps she accidentally DID impress one of the bigwigs!

  11. Aw Mike, you certainly know how to make a girl feel special!

  12. I am only catching up now.........you are all hilarious, except when you're being profound. Great reading, better converstion than any real life cafe.