I just got back from a trip during which I had very limited access to the internet (hence no blogging), but during some periods of travel I did manage to get a bit of reading done (manuscripts and other matters), including a very interesting book that mixes social history, pharmacology, and a dry British humor: The Book of Absinthe: A Cultural History, by Phil Baker. It’s clever in the way that only books by English authors can be. It’s full of amusing vignettes about artists and poets (I especially enjoyed the description of the outrageous life of Alfred Jarry), enlightening insights about the role of ritual in enjoyment of drugs, and the sort of information that tends to undermine the exaggerated fears of the freedom to ingest what one wants that motivated the ban on absinthe (still illegal to make or sell in the U.S.) and motivates the failed “War on Drugs” today. (At the same time it contains rather chilling descriptions of the awful deaths of alcoholics.)
I tried some absinthe during a recent trip to Poland (it was fun, but not as wicked as its reputation) and brought some back for a small absinthe party in the near future. As an ad for a contemporary European brand of absinthe put it, “Let’s Party Like It’s 1899!”
3 Responses to “The Green Fairy”
I’m going to see if the Central Valley library system has that book. I’ve only had absinthe once (in the District actually)… I lost my cell-phone and woke up with a bruised forehead and a numb mouth.
But I’d definitely do it again!
Ryan–that doesn’t sound like much of an advertisement for absinthe.
By sheer coincidence, I am waiting for delivery of a bottle from The Green Fairy at this moment. Apparently it’s been held up in Czech customs for the past 3 weeks. I think that Ryan’s description of his experience is a GREAT ad for it, since the anticipation is killing me, and having no idea what to expect is part of absinthe’s allure for me.