I've a collection of several essays, handwritten, from those glorious days in Roscoe & Gladstone. The name sounds grander than it actually was, but you'll be pleased to know that the tutors remain total losers:
I'm in the third year of a Geology and Physical Geography degree. Apparently that means I enjoy looking at rocks. Not true!
Nice one Dave... The uninspirational tutors displayed a telling lack of scholarship - no culture of learning, and an absolute void of a collegiate atmosphere. And so, we created our own, a candle/conception that would become enflamed within the mad walls of 47 Greenbank Rd, and flickers still today here on The Filter^ (Thomas, James, Andrew and myself all lived together throughout university).
I'd sit at my desk, back in 1999, writing essays, by candlelight, to the outside noise of vomiting and general debauchery. I'd turn up for lectures wanting to learn more, a condition that others found amusing. I still remember bumping into Stephen Lai, in The Cambridge, and discussing Cambridge economics, and really being glad to have found someone willing to tutor, teach, and encourage my unsophisticated enthusiasm.
Thus far, i've presented "our group" as being an enclave, on account of the seriousness with which we studied. A type of outcast, excluded from the rumble of the adolescent trouble flowing around us. But it wasn't like that - Randolph Quirk made sure that we were feeling the pulse of glorious intoxication. Strolling through the streets of Liverpool - pineapple in hand - like caged spirits, literally. It was in pubs that we thought, and planned. That's where the ideas came.
I've always been uneasy about the books vs beer distinction - the impression that work and play are at odds. In the words of Gavin Ekins, people who work hard and play hard wake up drunk! That's indeed true, but waking up drunk is better than going to bed sober.
All I'm trying to say, is that books and beer are compliments. My Rational Addictions are intertwined, and soothe and cojole any modicum of talent I possess. I had a slight book buying binge today, picking up Emile Durkheim, Selected Writings; Max Weber, by Reinhard Bendix; The Doctrine of Saint-Simon; Extraordinary Groups; Economics: An Awkward Corner, by Joan Robinson; The Economist as Preacher, by George Stigler; and The Thrust Toward Technique. And all for just $1! Usually it's the book fetish that costs me the most, and the alcohol intake that's relatively cheap. And there'll be a beer buying binge this weekend, because in my research I'm in need of a BLAST.
The process of Drunkeness is Schumpeterian: creative destruction, innovation, blazing thoughts rapidly cradled. Swirling along with geniune fear that these plans now being made might be lost, you can envision with clarity what you've always been groping for, as the flashing lights perspective kick home. Dorset Police had anice flyer up in Bournemouth asking:
lively and intelligent?
lairy and intolerable?
WHICH ONE ARE YOU?
Ripped off the wall and in my back pocket, notes scribble all over the back, as I make my way home. For the morning...
The next morning begins with a slump - the hangover - the unfortunate aftermath of crouched back and gasps for water, a cup of tea, maybe a nice full English... According to convention the "night out" has two stages: being drunk, then being hungover. But if this were true it would be a fall less intoxicating experience - there's a third stage, called "ALERTNESS RETURNS".
As the physical body starts to recover, and you lie on the sofa with each blissfull stretch of limb, and permit the stretching of mind, all those plans and ideas generated vociferously return. You look through your trouser pockets and notice the little missives that trace out your night and map your lubricated thoughts. You respond to them, fulfill them, and align intention with action. A Kirznerian agent of arbitrage, you stroll through the scenes of mental devastion, tidying up, sorting, arranging. It's like knocking over a bookcase, repenting, and then returning items to the shelf.
And that is why BOOKS & BEER are bedfellows. How each impacts the other, to create the ebb and flow of mental tides. We all live within peaks and troughs, and there's nothing like a night on the lash to blast through monotony and stir up substance. Cheers.