The Alan and Max book is coming out soon. I can say that with all honestly as I have left Max with entirely all the final work of loading the text into Kindle and other places and making sure each comma is correctly lodged between each particular obscenity in each particular list of tirades.
This is a simul-post. Max is posting the same excerpt this morning Central European time. He shared with me earlier today the text he was planning to post by way of introduction. I was a bit taken back with his thoughts as they were so, well, from the heart. You should go read it. See, we have worked on this for most of 2013 and it's been a hard year for each of us with our own deep loses but also a lot of better times. Through the very odd process of writing almost 50,000 words of dramatic dialogue with someone on another continent - someone I have never met - well, I got to get sidetracked when I needed to. I also got to work on a project with someone else's point of view, someone's else sensibilities. I owe Max a lot. If lots and lots of these are sold maybe I will get to meet him in 2014. Planes fly from Prague to Canada, right?
Anyway, it's the 82nd edition of The Session, too, today. Steve Lamond is hosting and is seeking some beery yarns. So, here is the start of one, one fifty-eighth of a little something called "The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer – A Rant in 9 Acts”...
“Shite weather!” He grunted as he walked in, passing a hand through his wet hair as if he expected to dry it that way.
He greeted the tapster and found an empty table near the bar. No need to order the beer. It had materialised with a “thump!” by the time he had taken off his coat and scarf. As he watched the half litre mug in front of him, he decided that no more shits would be given today about the weather, or anything else for that matter. As far as he was concerned, the whole world could go fuck itself in any way it saw fit, and to make a point of it, he downed almost one third of the glass in one long swig and put it down with an even louder “thump!”.
The first sip of the first beer of the day. That unadulterated pleasure devoid of the prevalent bollocks. That is what beer is truly about. That is the essence of beer. A blog post was beginning to write itself into his mind when he noticed a familiar face walking in cursing the weather. Just as he had.
“Hey, Alan!” said Max with a half-smile. “How're you doing?”
“Better now. What are you drinking?” Alan shook the rain from his coat.
“Beer. What else?”
As if waiting for that cue, the tapster thumped a pint right in front of Alan as he sat. Glasses were raised and for the moment no further words were said. It was now Alan's time to enter into his own communion with the first sip of the first beer of the day. He immediately softened, exhaling his worries.
“As nice an ale as ever I've had!” he declared with the utmost satisfaction sucking the wet from his moustache.
Max was startled. “Say what?! This is not ale! This has ‘lager’ written all over it! It couldn't be any lagerer even if it tried!” Max spoke with a slight hint of irritation and then proceeded to squeeze the last drops of his mug before taking the fresh, full one that had just been brought and showed to Alan so he could see how many times lager was written in the beer.
“How can this be a lager! Did you miss your mouth?”
The argument warmed. Words like “notes”, “hints of”, “mouthfeel” were used. Then thrown back and forth as if they were snowballs. Soon the sanity, intelligence and knowledge of both were liberally put into question.
The tapster watched them in complete disbelief. Morons, he thought. Two seemingly normal fellows bursting into such a heated argument about something of such little importance. For him, and surely everyone else in his pub, it was just beer. What could be so complicated about that, he wondered.
The two then stopped, each steeping in their own juices.
“Oh! For fuck's sakes! Who cares?” said Alan sneaking a smile.
“Morons. That's what we are.” Max couldn't hold his laughter any longer. The tapster smiled and nodded as he wiped the bar.
“It's incredible how stuck in this bollocks we have all got,” Max continued looking around the room. “Look at the people here. Do you think they care? I mean, I'm sure there are some of them who wouldn't be able to recognise a hop bine even if it was growing out of their assholes! And do you think they aren't enjoying their beer? The fuck the do! And perhaps more than us, because they are not wasting any time or energy pondering over the stuff they have no control over. They are enjoying the beer for the beer's sakes and this beer it's not the centre of their universes in this pub, it's just another part of the whole lot. And I understand them. Let me tell you this,” and with a an almost conspiratorial tone, he said: “I wouldn't walk across the street for a glass of this beer, but I would walk across town to have it in this pub.”
Alan - thinking it wouldn't be wise to interrupt a Max in full rant mode - just listened, learned some new bad words and sipped his beer trying to catch up with his drinking. Once the Argentine paused to answer the call of his mug, the Canadian decided to add some fuel to the rant. He was after all still thirsty and had no intention of cutting the discussion short.
“I've noticed a pub around the corner with some pretty interesting beers.”
“Oh, yeah," Max sneered. "That place. Have you been there? It's got the atmosphere of a dentist waiting room. I won't argue about the beers there, they are lovely, much better than this.” The second mug was gone, deftly replaced by a third one. “But you know, though the truth is always in the glass, beer is a lot more than that.”