An occasional guide to what’s bourgeois and what’s not, from the man who knows what’s bourgeois and what’s not.
Part 2: Vices.
Alcohol: depends rather on what the booze is.
- Beer. Specifically, Real Ale. Always good, particularly in the company of Morris Dancers. Nothing wrong with Morris Dancing. It’s a folk tradition; therefore the music is definitively proletarian. It’s agrarian, for the most part, or nautical. Mostly the former, though. I digress, however. The beer is generally brewed in defiance of the PubCos, and finds a place in enough hearts to maintain a stubborn resistance to The Man, who believes in quantity over quality (hence the so-called ‘vertical drinking’ establishments, which demean both the consumer and the licensee). Pick out the twigs and love your traditions. (NB: Nothing wrong with lager. Just maintain a healthy suspicion of anything associated with Anheuser-Busch, and remember who invented the word ‘Budweiser’. Czechs, not Americans).
- Wine: Generally Socialist. Therefore Brilliant. The Co-operative movement has very strong roots amongst the vineyards of La Belle France. So go for the Vins des Pays of the Deep South, for example, or some of the fabulous wines coming out of the former Soviet republics. And southern Italy.
- Spirits: Vodka, of course – preferably Russian (and made from potatoes), but, failing that, Scandinavian. Absolut (capitalists to a man, of course) recently confounded themselves by collaborating with Brother Spike Lee to produce their limited edition ‘Brooklyn’ edition. Flavoured with Green Apple and Ginger… with equal parts of cranberry juice and ginger ale over ice = ‘Stoop Party’. A truly proletarian cocktail. Whisk(e)y: The booze of choice for the armchair revolutionary. Gin: Plymouth = Good. Artisanal. Gordon’s = No. Bourgeois. Bombay Sapphire = ‘pretend colonial’. Don’t even go there. Even though it’s delicious. Rum = Good. Particularly the proper Jamaican stuff. Caution needs to be exercised with Morgan’s Spiced, though.
Drugs: Also, depends rather on the substance.
- Smack. No. Obviously. When you’re useless, you’re useless.
- Cocaine. Lovely, but No. Even the most hardened revolutionary socialist will find themselves interested only in chasing the high. This is what The Man wants. Plus, it’s the source of misery and slavery for hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters in Latin America. Derivative: Crack. Effect? Half an hour of fucking someone you don’t want to fuck, then stabbing someone you don’t hate to get more. Truly shit.
- Speed (meaning amphetamine sulphate or one of the commercially manufactured versions *fondly remembers ‘Blues’*). The proletarian revolutionary’s drug of choice. Home-made, intense. Never did me any harm. Unless you count the dental bills. Good for R’n’B. And rockin’ in general. Just take my advice – don’t try dissolving a gram in a bottle of Newcastle Brown. VV Bad. Also, steer clear of the ol’ Crystal Meth. Very Very Bad Indeed (see Crack).
- Cannabis. No. The drug of bores. There is no insight, apart from the fact that you are stoned (and paranoid). This is why the Grateful Dead could have been a good band, but weren’t.
- LSD. Recommended, if you can get the real thing. It’s a bit utopian, but what good Socialist isn’t? Like a windscreen wiper for the mind.
- Ecstasy (meaning MDMA): See LSD, only a bit vacuous. Not as recommended, if only because it’s really lovely, and therefore doesn’t lead to insights as such, apart from ‘Ooooo. My forearm feels really amaaaaaazzzziiiiiinnnnnnggg, and I think I love you. Yes, like that! Even though you’re my brother. WOAH…’
- Any ‘legal highs’. Are you a plant? No? Then what are you doing inhaling plant food?
- Tobacco. It’s brilliant. But don’t take my word for it. And for fuck’s sake, don’t start, if you haven’t already. Enfin, it’s the ultimate capitalist drug. Its roots are firmly in slavery, FFS. I’m ashamed to be weak enough to still be an addict.
The Man’s way of taking your money away while you’re pretending you’re having fun. What’s to like? Never forget that it’s an industry, with the odds stacked against you. Buying a raffle ticket in the name of a good cause is acceptable, however. If you must, then I would recommend Blackjack/21. Best odds in the house. NEVER Roulette. I learned the hard way, over a very painful 12 minutes in Vegas.
Not a ‘vice’, and I’m not going to get into prescribing or proscribing here. So long as what you’re doing don’t involve relatives, children, animals or anyone/thing that can’t/doesn’t consent, then do it. Particularly if it makes your partner feel good. Nothing more fulfilling than that – particularly if they share your particular vision. Plus, we have to make more socialist babies, comrades! The Catholics have us beaten hands down at the moment…
A quick aside about guilty pleasures. These are not vices. Thee Faction had a discussion the other evening about Steely Dan, for example. The band, that is, not the implement in the William Burroughs book. A guilty pleasure (for me and Billy B, not for Baby Face, it should be stressed), not a vice. Ditto Girls Aloud (for me only, I suspect). Although there would have to be a sexual fantasy attached here (see above). Just so we’re clear, I don’t have a ‘thing’ for Donald Fagen. OK – I might, but that’s between me and the bedpost. And you, dear reader.
But hey – that’s just me. Follow your conscience, Comrades.
Keep it real. Or don’t, depending on your vice of choice.