“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





17 June 2017


Röst gefr ödlingr iastar
öl virdi esvá – fyrdum.
Thögn fellir brim bragna
biórr forn er that – horna.
Máls kann mildingr heilsu
miödr heitir svá – veita.
Strúgs kemr í val veiga
vín kallak that – galli.

The king gives currents of yeast [that is what I adjudge ale to be] to men.
Men’s silence is dispelled by surf [that is old beer] of horns.
The prince knows how speech’s salvation [that is what mead is called] is to be given.
In the choicest of cups comes [this is what I call wine] dignity’s destruction.

Vikin poet Snorri Sturluson wrote this in his epic work Edda, a primer to teach poets and scribes of his day the etiquettes of court and the manners and language one should use when addressing kings. He was slaughtered in his cellar in Iceland in 1241.

Vikins drank from horns and the skulls of the vanquished but their helmets had differing types of wings, not horns, to indicate their rank. 

Those graves at the top were hand-cut into sandstone for important Vikins at Lewsham in Lancashire. The drinking skaal, skål or skál was photographed at the Natural History Museum by Derek Adams. That cutter, cup and trencher is my standard handbag table setting. Piss all over it last thing at night and you'll never get sick.

Be warned about these helmet things and Occ Health and Safely. Helmet horns is bullshit.

It seems that when Hakon or somebody got their cleaver into the scone of St Magnus in Orkney they never got the  chance to drink a proper draught, unless they used a straw. This is with some of his bones in the wall of the beautiful Edda-era Vikin kirk bearing his name just up the hill from the Highland Park Distillery in Kirkwall.  And here's a photo somebody got of him before he saw Jesus. No it's not, it's a reco job by forensic wizard Hew Morrison 

Personal Marketing, Viking Era: I reckon if Magnus had presented a bit more along the lines of, like, say, my Brer Stephen, he wouldna got such a leak in his skál.

1 comment:


I suppose Mr White it must have seemed easier to chop some chap's skull open to find a convenient disposable wine cup than like looking around for clay and designing kilns and collecting firewood and whatnot. You people never change. Go on! Go on! Off you row!