Well the best man’s speech at my brother’s wedding went off okay. No fuck ups, no swearing, no colossal faux-pas and mercifully short. Well, two swears actually, but no-one seemed to mind. In fact I was so relieved to get the bloody thing over with without ballsing it all up for everyone I went straight to the gin, poured a couple of extremely generous ones and proceeded to spend the rest of the wedding getting utterly smashed.
I have some culinary points to make about America, two good and two bad, so if you’re a Yank-basher you may be disappointed, but if you’re one of those flag-waving twits who thinks the sun shines out of the arse of all things Yankee-Doodle-etc.. then you may get vaguely irritated as well. Yippee – a post that’ll offend everyone!
Coffee – Unspeakably, undrinkably bad: piss-weak, flavourless, aromaless, lifeless, characterless, spineless fucking dishwater. It’s not that you can’t get decent coffee, but you have to really, really search for it. My brother found us an excellent place in the Italian part of Boston, but virtually every single cup you get everywhere else, even in the coffee houses and decent restaurants, is so thin and weak and grey it is actually impossible to drink. The reason? Well Americans seem to drink gallons of the awful stuff so I suppose if it actually was even vaguely related to actual coffee they’d all be whizzed off their tits on caffeine by elevenses.
Bob Dylan – One More Cup of Coffee (Live 1974)
Beer – You’d expect me to have the same to say about American beer really, wouldn’t you, given the ‘fucking close to water joke’* and the abominations they foist on the rest of the world in the form of Miller and Bud and their flavourless, frat-boy ilk. Well the reason American beer abroad is so utterly dismal is because they won’t bloody well let any of the decent stuff out of the country. While the EU tries to batter the shit out of British micro-breweries with their blanket standardisation laws, America have gloried in their smaller brewers. Most of the local beers in America are an absolute treat – well, in New England anyway – not as heavy as British ones, but good flavour and character, complete with evocative names and natty artwork. Bloody marvellous, no wonder they don’t want to share.
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals – A Kiss Before I Go
Food – Bleuch. The East Coast seafood is excellent in the sense that they do nothing to it whatsoever, and then slap it on a plate with plenty of butter. Sandwiches, for the most part, knock anything you’d get in Europe (outside of France of course) into a cocked hat. And I’m sure the very expensive stuff is just as good as you’d get for lots of money anywhere else. But honestly, absolutely everything in-between is utterly unvarying, served in stupidly enormous quantities and, most importantly, utterly devoid of vegetables. Fuck me, people, they’re not poisonous and no, ‘Freedom Fries’ do not fucking count. Salads, also, do not have to contain bits of fruit to be considered cuisine. Fucking awful. If you want a good meal, go to Australia.
Rich Amino – Chicken ‘n’ Chips
Jeff Foxworthy – Supersize Them Fries
Gin – last and, let’s face it, most importantly by some distance, is gin. Let’s face it, a nation could live in pools of their own faeces and fuck dogs for sport, but as far as I’m concerned if they served a good gin they would represent the pinnacle of civillisation. And do Americans serve a good gin? Ooh, Mummy! Americans pour gin, and indeed every other spirit, with the sort of reckless abandon that makes me fall to my knees and kiss the turf in gratitude. Three quarters gin, a big fat squeeze of lime and if there’s any space left then perhaps some tonic. Fucking marvellous. We may have invented the stuff, but it appears it took our bible-bothering cousins across the pond to figure out what to really do with it. A juniper-laced, lime-kissed alcoholic delight!
Tom Waits – Gin-Soaked Boy
*Q: Why is American beer rather like making love in a canoe?