Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Cider with posing

Apparently, it's acceptable to drink cider again.

By "acceptable" I mean drink it in public. By "public" I mean order it in a bar or pub. For a certain section of the community, cider never really went away. Bikers...people from the West Country.....tramps.

It's a sort of gateway drink; you have it at a couple of house parties and either learn to put up with it, or get horribly, awfully sick on it and never touch the stuff again. The only time I've ever been properly apprehended by the police was at sixteen, drinking Merrydown and smoking spliffs with the homeless in the town where I went to school. As a fully paid-up (well, by giro) member of the hedge-monkey, living-in-a-lorry, dog-on-a-string set in the early nineties, I was more than happy to order a pint of Scrumpy Jack* in the pub. At bike rallies, it was pretty much compulsory. I once astonished a lovely member of the Hells Angels at Kent Custom Bike Show by getting through a whole two-litre flagon of their "special" scrumpy (warm, flat, with spiders floating in it) and going back for more. On the same day. Me and cider have always been easy company.

But, you know, times change. You get older, stop dying your hair pink, get an office job. Suddenly cider isn't the sort of thing you ask for at the bar any more. You switch to shorts, or wine or (like me) pints of strong Belgian lager instead (for some reason Wifebeater=ok, White Lightning=not). And so it goes on. Cider, unless you are into medieval re-enactment or live in Somerset, is the preserve of the sort of person who is happy to spend the day sitting on the bench outside the library drinking from a blue plastic bottle and shouting at people who aren't there.

And then it all changed again. Suddenly, cider isn't just acceptable - it's cool. Forget chardonnay, and ironic alcopops. No, if you want to be the epitome of effortless style, simply order a pint of tramp juice. As long as you pour it over ice, it's fine. Really. Nobody will think you are a homeless, or an alcoholic, or a student. No - people will clamour to be your friend, to move in the circles you do...to drink cider.

I don't get it.

I mean, it's still basically the same socially unacceptable drink, right? You still see men in dirty trousers carrying it home from the offy, the two-litre bottle rustling seductively in a translucent stripey carrier bag, don't you? So why, because a man from a marketing agency tells you that the addition of a couple of ice cubes elevates it to the apple-based equivalent of Cristal, are you suddenly convinced** that it's the only drink to be seen with? I mean, it tastes like Top Deck and makes your teeth furry.

I find it slightly annoying, that's all. I never said I was going to be rational when I started this thing.

* More than likely a pint of snakebite, made with Scrumpy and Holsten Export. Happy, if blurry days.

** If you drink it on the sundeck of a cruise ship it's ok though. This is the only exception. Do not question it.


Blogger Billy chimed in with...

I'm not a crusty or a biker, but I was raised in the West country so I've had a fair amount of cider.

Thatchers was always the worst. On the tap in the pub there was a variable alcoholic percentage and when you got a pint it was room temperature, cloudy and had 'things' floating in it.

I only ever got smashed on thatchers the once. I was virtually hallucinating. God knows what they put in it.

01 August, 2006 20:14  
Blogger garfer chimed in with...

Scrumpy makes you hallucinate and then all your teeth fall out.

Top gear.

What's all this 'Magner's Irish Cider' bollocks? The Irish have never drunk cider.

01 August, 2006 21:29  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

Garfer's right, it's about as much a traditional Irish drink as Cafferys. That suddenly appeared out of nowhere about 10 years ago.

Having never touched the stuff, I discovered pear cider last year.

It is the dogs bollocks.

Although, I've never drank it anywhere that wasn't actually a field...

01 August, 2006 21:43  
Blogger GreatSheElephant chimed in with...

There was an absolute eulogy to Magners from one of the Observer columnists this weekend. I wonder how much they bunged her - it was blatant.

Is Magners nice though because the eulogy did sort of make me interested?

01 August, 2006 21:44  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

magners tastes like the cider lollies you used to get off the ice cream van. it's about fifteen times the price though. not a patch on white lightning. except you wouldn't catch all those lovely metrosexuals ordering 2 litres of white lightning in the bars of fancy london, would you?

01 August, 2006 21:54  
Blogger belladona chimed in with...

I got some pear cider at Ikea. It was lovely. Not like cider at all. Anyway...

01 August, 2006 22:37  
Blogger garfer chimed in with...

Pear cider = Babycham.

No ta.

01 August, 2006 22:44  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

american alert!

are we talking about plain fermented apple juice? apple jack? had my first slash at granny's knee, if so. mess you up? oh GRACIOUS. everyone made their own homemade. had crud floating in it just as Billy describes.
bring it on, i say!
(you sound like you would have been SO COOL to party with!!!!!)

01 August, 2006 22:46  
Anonymous Slurker chimed in with...

Had four pints of Magners (yes, with ice) in a wanky bar in Brighton on Friday. Give me a Strongbow any day.

(LC's posh friends get one night with me pretending to be urbane and sophisticated, then it's back to snakebite and blow-job jokes.)

01 August, 2006 23:18  
Anonymous Whinger chimed in with...

It's just so SWEET - I get a sugar headache if I have more than one glass, and a drink that doesn't allow for a second is not a proper drink.

02 August, 2006 01:37  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

Since my one and only experience with a 2 litre bottle of sweet Woodpecker cider when I was 15 I've not gone near the stuff.

Oh and Magners are on my deathlist since they used Thin Lizzy's "Dancing in the Moonlight" on one of their adverts. To desecrate this most holy of tracks by using it on a shit commercial is tantamount to blasphemy !!!

02 August, 2006 09:19  
Blogger Betty chimed in with...

We've just spent the weekend with a couple of cider drinkers who just don't want to give up the student lifestyle in middle age. They still keep student hours, which meant we had to stay up 'til four in the morning.

Too many unhappy memories of drinking gassy horrible ciderapple pop when I was a kid, and the accompanying indigestion, have put me off drinking the alcoholic version.

02 August, 2006 09:55  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

FN - yes - cider is just that, fermented apple juice.

But over here there are other industrial 'ciders' like Diamond White and White lightening which are 7-8% abv and mainly made from the fermentation of glucose. And dirt cheap, so the drink of choice of homeless people and fourteen-year-olds all over the country.

A survey in Hastings a few years back found that some street drinkers were consuning eighty units of alcohol PER DAY of the stuff.

02 August, 2006 10:33  
Blogger the plate invigilator chimed in with...

Haven't touched cider since Freshers Week (some years ago) - now, if I even smell it, I start to wince and shudder. There's something about a cider hangover...


(Word verification: mhkvndvi - the whimpering noise I can't help making when I smell cider)

02 August, 2006 10:34  
Blogger Robert A. Swipe chimed in with...

"Bikers...people from the West Country.....tramps."

You imply that a distinction can be made bewteen these groups Surlster....

02 August, 2006 14:25  
Blogger Robert A. Swipe chimed in with...

"the sort of person who is happy to spend the day sitting on the bench outside the library drinking from a blue plastic bottle and shouting at people who aren't there."

Yes - I wish the Librarians wouldn't keep doing that...

Excellent post Surlster - I'm going back to the 'buie breezers and Magners can lump it...

02 August, 2006 14:28  
Blogger Huw chimed in with...

Ahh... but WHITE cider will never be okay. That is forever Piss, and nothing more.

02 August, 2006 14:33  
Blogger FUNKYBROWNCHICK chimed in with...

We're a little behind ... ciders just washed up on US shored within the past few years. So, there hasn't been enough time for them to go away, let alone come back again. :)

02 August, 2006 15:36  
Anonymous NRG chimed in with...

Fucking magners. Fucking barstaff assuming because its one the adverts for one shit mass-produced piss-weak cider they should put ice in the glass when you order a real* cider. Oh, and where has all this 'pear cider' bollocks come from. If its made from pears its a perry, not a fucking cider.

*made from actual apples, far more than 4.5% alcohol, doesn't taste of wee

02 August, 2006 17:05  
Blogger Arabella chimed in with...

Still laughing at Swipe's librarian comment.
'Cept it's the library assistants that do all the actual work, you know.
Ciderapple pop...the pop man in the van...d'you think Tizer will ever make a comeback?

02 August, 2006 17:42  
Blogger frangelita chimed in with...

Drank an awful lot of Woodpecker when I was 14-15, it certainly wasn't cool then. Nor was the resultant throwing up.

02 August, 2006 18:05  
Blogger Stef the engineer chimed in with...

The one time I ever got drunk on cider was during a caving trip in the Mendips. I still get flashbacks. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but there was a game of human pinball somewhere. I don't remember much else. Except the cider was locally made, and chewy. The landlord made jokes about the rat in the barrel. I think they were jokes. Definately not a metrosexual drink. Unless "metrosexual" means "West Country sheep botherer". It doesn't, does it? I'm not too up on these modern terms.

02 August, 2006 18:45  
Blogger rockmother chimed in with...

I won a competition once - it was doing a drawing for the cover of The Brownie magazine (just before I got chucked out for disruptive behaviour). The prize was 4 bottles of Cidrax. As a 7 year old I won four bottles of cider. Incredible but delicious I recall.

I used to do cider in my going to college with Bob Swipe days but sadly think I must have done the aversion therapy program and drunk too much to ever drink it again. Oh and I hallucinated on Breton cider once - utter gutrot but delicious at the time until I started seeing small imps darting around the campsite we were staying at. That was in my leggings, dm's and hippy top and lots of eyeliner days. Oh dear.

02 August, 2006 19:56  
Blogger garfer chimed in with...

When I was (briefly) unemployed and skint in Bristol I drank Thatchers rough scrumpy at 80p a pint in a cider pub.

God it was a rough pub, and so much scrumpy had been spilt on the carpet that the soles of your shoes stuck to it.

02 August, 2006 20:04  
Blogger Spinsterella chimed in with...

"I used to do cider in my going to college with Bob Swipe days" - RM, you say that so casually...

Garfer, the pub wasn't in Bedminster, was it?

I've never hallucinated on alcohol, having stayed clear of cider, but I did have a few decidedly odd experiences drinking Thai 'whisky'. It's the formaldehyde, they reckon...

02 August, 2006 22:37  
Blogger Arabella chimed in with...

Rockmother- those weren't imps. They were Bretons. I dated one once (quite an enclave in Galway) and they tend to be short in stature.
Watch the one tall Breton blogger get all annoyed...

03 August, 2006 01:00  
Blogger GreatSheElephant chimed in with...

sudden rush of suspicion - rockmother, perchance ARE you Bob Swipe?

Anyhow, I used to love cider lollies and fizzy Apple pop (Cidrex if I recall correctly) so it sounds like Magners is for me. What a sophisticate I am.

03 August, 2006 16:02  
Blogger Jools chimed in with...

Ooh being an almost west country lass like Billy (not the lass bit, altho his blog is pink!) cider was a staple growing up but I can't drink the stuff as it makes me heave, as I find do most people who spent their teenage years drinkling it and then throwing up. Plus cider isn't cider unless it's got stuff floating in it and is served warm out of some barrel...ice! pah..ice is for wussies and those that drinks shandy's - I mean really!

03 August, 2006 17:31  

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