May 9th, 2002

2020 lack of vision

drinking the wine rack

A few years ago, not sure how many, Colin came round to my flat, plonked two wine bottles on the table, and said, "we're practically neighbours now" and one thing led to another ...

On all subjects other than good food and wine we were fairly incompatible but you can travel a long way on your stomach and we were together for a while and togetherish for far longer than that.

All this time, Colin bought wine. He bought wine when he was on holiday, going on trips, visiting vineyards, going abroad, going through duty free (he worked abroad) or exploring somewhere new. He bought wine to commemorate good times and cheer up bad times, to remember people, places and times, as gifts, as treats, or just for fun. He bought wine for the maker, the country, the year but also for the label, the packaging, the colour of the cork and the shape of the bottle. He bought wine because he liked wine shops, wine shows, foodshops, cooking, eating and getting big boxes of stuff through the post. Especially if it was wine.

We went shopping together and saw films together and went to food shows together and one year he took me here for my birthday, though my fondest memories of all are from visiting here. The split was slow and sporadically acrimonious. Like many POAS* I have unreasonably high expectations of my partners, and it was doubtless rough on him, though the last time I saw him he was happy enough, living in gadget and microbrewery heaven in Austin, Texas, and happily visiting in sin with a woman he met on the internet.

I disentangle slowly from people. There are still three boxes in the loft, containing (among other stuff) his port tongs. Up until this weekend, the wine was still here too, or the ghost of it, rather; all the bits he couldn't take with him and didn't value enough to stash at his parents, but was too unreliable to use as bribes or gifts, rotting slowly in the corner of the room, jammed between the comics and my Habitat clothes rail.

Over the almost two years since he went to America, I'd slowly dispersed quite a bit of it. Most of the port had gone, gifts and rewards for people who like port considerably more than I do. At first I'd tried giving the wine to people but after the first bottle, I started bringing an extra bottle of new wine, just in case, and after the third bottle, I gave up; every single one had been ruined, a bottle of mouth-puckering, corked, wood-stenching vinegar. Plus, a good half of it was dessert wine, which is a gift that needs matching to individual puddings. One bottle I saved for my 30th (as it was from 1971, just like me) but it, too, was wrecked; I braved a glass before pouring it away. The cork had crumbled as I pulled it, spattering my white sink with sticky red and black fragments.

Maybe it was that time his flat flooded while he was abroad, or maybe the cupboard at the house we shared was just that bit too warm and damp, but mostly, I think, it was just neglect; bottles that should have been disposed of long ago, still hanging around. The problem was that he would impulsively buy, but once the joy was faded, he didn't want to see it any more. It isn't the he always wanted the new wine; it's just that once he'd grown beyond the wine in question, he just couldn't be bothered with it any more.

I found the wine, little dim dust-shrouded ghosts lost in the shadows in the corner of the room, and decided it was time for it to go now. I broke up the wine racks and took the bottles downstairs. I invited my friends round (though most wanted to know if there would be anything else to drink) and bought in cheese and olives. I tidied the table, and swept the toys out of the way. At around about five, my first guest came round and we started to drink.

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    sleeper - statuesque
2020 lack of vision

the time to get into things was then, not now

I hate all this youth stuff. Everywhere I look there's help and advice and fabulous opportunities available to people under 18, 16, 25 ... sod the disaffected youth, where are all the opportunities for despondent 30 year olds? And where was it when I was that age? Somewhere else, clearly. You only find out things when it's too late for them to do you any good.

Damn. I have a cold, a headache, and it feels like a thick grey band of stuff is moving slowly through my head. "How are you doing?" asked burn-out Mel as she passed me in the corridoor. "OK," I croaked, shuffling back to my room. As I opened the door, I realised that as I had walked off down the corridoor I was made that little coughing sound people make in films to signify that they're terminally ill. What a ham.

I wish I were in bed, but I have another review scheduled for this evening (Rhinocerous by Peepolykus). It's for the best. The worst thing to do is stop moving.
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    moby - we are all made of stars (in my head)