The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol
The duo behind the show raise a glass to the power of alcohol
An incredible amount of elbow-bending occurs in Edinburgh during August. The Fringe is steeped as much in drink as it is in culture. This is no coincidence. The two are inextricably linked. Alcohol, in all its sublime, shape-shifting forms, has inspired art since the beginning of time … and maybe even before that. Professional clever-clogs Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: ‘For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.’
Without drink, there’d be no Edinburgh Festival. There’d be no Edinburgh Fringe. There wouldn’t be 2,500 shows treading the city’s boards this month, there’d be two or maybe three. And no-one would go and see any of them as a) they wouldn’t be good and b) you wouldn’t be able to drink until a point where they were.
If the Edinburgh Festival was the Olympics then alcohol would be a banned substance. Alcohol is like a creative steroid that makes the mind muscle mightier. It’s been a magical muse for history’s greatest writers, comedians, musicians, playwrights and authors. Louis Pasteur, history’s most famous white-coated boffin, famously exclaimed: ‘There is more philosophy in a bottle of wine than there is in all the books in the world.’
Drink percolates through the pores of the past. Without it, the world would have been robbed of the words of Hemingway, the witticisms of Wilde and the doodlings of Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso. Scotland wouldn’t have been invented.
Alcohol sets artistic tumbleweed on fire; it inflames the imagination and, when deployed generously, unmasks the mind. It shows daft ideas the door (Hitler was a tee-totaller) and ushers in much better ones, it fills the brain to the brim with revelations and shines a light on the subconscious, where all the splendid stuff lives.
But the effects of drink, say the doubters, are merely a deceit. A falsification forged by chemicals in otherwise logical lobes. And they’re right. But what’s wrong with that? All emotion is a chemical reaction in the brain. Get the good feelings where you can.
These days you can’t open a newspaper or turn on the telly without alcohol being blamed for all of society’s ills. Beware, dear reader, the dark and dastardly forces of neo-prohibition are circling and drink finds itself in the cross-hairs of a righteous rifle held by the nanny-staters. They’ve taken out tobacco and now they’re aiming it at alcohol. It’s a very real and present danger.
Someone needs to take a stand – albeit a slightly swaying one – and selflessly throw themselves onto the do-gooding grenade. And that someone is Dwink. The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol is a reasonable rebuttal to the ridiculous rhetoric. It’s also a chance to drink free drink.
In our show, we’re not saying you should drink more, we’re just saying you should drink better. Have a martini. During lunch. Why? Because you deserve it.
We should be proud of all this imbibing during August. Some people may sneer at this. But don’t be ashamed, don’t feel like a pariah for having a pint. Remember that some of the earliest advocates and makers of alcohol were monks and they’re very nice chaps. It’s their job. And remember the proud line of creative geniuses who have indulged. So, if drinking is OK with them then, frankly, it should be OK with everyone else. Cheers.
The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol, Pleasance Courtyard, 0131 556 6550, 6–29 Aug, 1pm, £9–£11 (£8–£10). Previews 4–5 Aug, £5.