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The idea behind this blog is to share my opinions about Post-Apocalyptic Literature, Films and Ephemera as well as my random nattering on a regular basis.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bar None by Tim Lebbon: Heavy on fine ales; light on PA

Tim Lebbon in Bar None refers to beer being more enjoyable or accessible than wine because there are no such things as beer snobs. I loled out loud when I read that. Mr Lebbon you might be a great author but if you were to make my acquaintance you would quickly change your mind. Beer snobs do exist especially here in Beertopia. Also I figure that if you can write a book mostly about beers but that is masquerading as Post-Apocalyptic, I can do the same with my post today. I hope no one minds much.

First some Man-Laws for beer. Two things here before I continue. Thing the first: I agree with the majority of these rules ... but not all of them. Thing the second: these are stolen from issue 13 of Beer Magazine. I don't feel at all bad about it though since they in turn stole a goodish amount of their laws from the fine fellas at Modern Drunkard Magazine. So here goes; with my obligatory comments to follow.

1) A proper 'cheers' requires an immediate sip (or gulp) from all involved parties. It doesn't requires eye contact for groups over three, which creates an awkward scene.

2) Thou shalt not talk down to the person next to you drinking something you don't like.

3) When given the choice, one must always drink out of glass.

4) Memorize one great toast, and use it on special occasions.

5) One cannot complain about the brand or style of beer another brings, however temperature complaints are acceptable.

6) It is socially acceptable to offer a taste of your beer; it is not acceptable to to spin the glass so you don't sip from the same side. Potential lipstick marks make for an exception.

7) Buying a strange woman a beer is allowed; buying all her beers is not.

8) You don't have to figure out what beer goes with you dinner. Beer goes with anything.

9) Beer before liquor never sicker; liquor before beer you're in the clear (I prefer 'never fear' oh well).

10) If you think you might be slurring a little, then you are slurring a lot. If you think you are slurring a lot, then you are no longer speaking English.

11) Once you open a beer you must finish it, even if it's a Steel Reserve.

12) You must be able to open any beer without a bottle opener. No exceptions.

13) You must try to funnel a beer, do a keg stand, or shotgun a beer at least once in your life.

14) You have to have played at least five different drinking games and won, or at least been on a winning team in all of them.

15) When bringing beer to a house or a party as a gift, warm beer -- no matter what brand -- is unacceptable.

16) Mark your beer when drinking in a large crowd to prevent confusion, or better yet, never put your beer down in this case until finished.

17) When drinking a pitcher of beer with friends, the last pour should always be divided equally among all -- but the person who poured gets the first full pint of the new pitcher. This is void if you are pouring and no one is looking.

18) Putting your fist through anything is not an acceptable form of drunken entertainment.

19) If there is any confusion, the fuller beer is always yours.

20) When in any country, your first beer selection should be from that country and local if possible.

21) Beer goggles are a privilege not a right. Do not abuse the privilege.

22) Naked photo hunt is a social acceptable game after 10 p. m. in some places.

23) If you owe someone $20 or less, payment in beer is acceptable.

24) When you're a guest in another person's home, the last beer in the fridge is off limits unless offered to you by the host.

25) Conversations at a urinal are acceptable, as long as there is no eye contact.

26) Beer is an acceptable replacement for 'I'm sorry.'

27) Men play horseshoes - learn the toss.

28) You cannot own a shirt that mixes Hawaiian flowers and beer bottles.

29) Beer shouldn't ever go through a straw -- unless it's attached to a helmet on your head.

30) Beer does not go well with cereal.

31) There is no figuring out how much one owes when out with friends. The formula is simple: Total owed divided by the number of people in your party. If you didn't eat or drink enough ... you didn't eat or drink enough.

32) Never insult another man's homebrew! No matter what your opinion, the correct response to the question "What do you think?" is "Not bad."

Ok now on to the comments portion of today's program. (Thou shalt not talk down to the person next to you drinking something you don't like.) ... words aren't required to cut to the bone. A look will do fine. (...temperature complaints are acceptable.) If a beer cannot be consumed at cellar temp. -- at coolest -- and room temp at warmest IT IS NOT WORTH CONSUMING!! See also rule 11. Also apropos of rule 5 I completely disagree with rule 15. If a guest brought me cold beer I would be certain the beer was terrible. Cellar temp please. As for rule 32 the only 'bad comments' I get are that brewing 10 gallons at a time are just not enough. This concludes the comment portion of the program. I hope that I have cemented my position as a beer snob. Trust me, I wouldn't drink fizzy yellow beer if it was free. Hell not even if I was being paid to drink it.

Now on to bit of discussion about the book Bar None. The cause of 'The End' was every nasty disease known to man spontaneously erupting from all places on Earth, simultaneously. It is billed as a 'road book.' Not too sure what that means exactly. It's a book in which a part of the plot was about 'The Journey'. I've discussed this PA plot device several times. The Journey in Bar None was to another bar (Why did the drunkard cross the road? To get to the other bar... Bud-ump-da). I have to give Lebbon credit though, I can completely see myself holing up in a mansion and raiding the cellar. I bet if I found a place with a cavernous basement filled with many beers, I would dig in like a tick as well. Only way to get me to unass the couch would be for the cellar to run dry. At that point I could only hope that some benevolent stranger would come along with directions to a new and much better supply.

I had expected there to be a bit more mayhem involved in the trip to Bar None, and Tim Lebbon is not afraid of copious bloodshed. The last book I read of his was 'The Nature Of Balance' everyone dies because they can't wake up from the falling dream and get pulped in their sleep. As I made my way into Bar None I was a bit surprised by the near-lack of chaos as our band of heroes made their way to the bar. I guess I shouldn't have been because the world had come to an end months before. Enough time had passed for all the diseases to burn themselves out and for the majority of the stench of rotting corpses to fade.

This book reminded me most of The Portent by James Herbert in which the Earth gets sick of humans and shakes us off like a dog with a bad case of fleas. And also The Bridge by John Skipp and Craig Spector in which the Earth gets tired of the pollution and snuffs us all.

Bar None was a great read. I went through it pretty fast, in almost a single day. It made an otherwise boring day subbing much more interesting. Also made me thirsty. Every chapter was named for a beer. The only one I'd heard of was Monty Pythons Holy ale. Funny thing was I've never had it for the same reason as in Bar None, I thought a novelty beer would be ass. After read Tim Lebbon's review of it I may just change my mind and have it.

Final thought ... even thought this book is perhaps 2/3 beer review, the apocalyptic aspect made it a damn fine read as well.

1 comment:

Rich said...

The book is a corker. It's pretty much the only book that my Dad and I have both read. He's a real ale fan, I'm a horror fan.

Perhaps that was the authors intention??