As Jon knows better than anyone, I have no patience for anything. Despite this, last weekend I went to an English field festival. It was full of people (and also a lot of children) yet still I thoroughly enjoyed myself. They say your enjoyment of a festival depends on the company. And when my camping buddy pulled out a double-handled flagon of overproof rum and a tray of elderflower poison he'd brewed in his own petrol tank, I knew I was in the right hands. Because a festival is just like British summer: it only lasts a few days, it is too precious to waste with the wrong people. And by 'the wrong people' I mean anyone - even your mother - especially your mother - who drinks gin and tonic.
Gin and tonic. G&T. Gin Tonic. Or - as Billy Joel lyrically inverted it in his supremely depressing ballad 'The Piano Man' - Tonic & Gin. A drink for which BJ himself has such disdain he sings about an old man sitting next to him who finds it so undrinkable he has sex with it instead.
Gin and tonic, anyone?
"Ooh, now that's a saucy idea?... Do I dare?... Well, it is 5 o'clock... Ooh, go on then. Just the one couldn't hurt."
What??? Sorry, when I said 'gin and tonic' it wasn't a euphemism for 'Let's all smoke an 8-ball and be child pornographers'. I honestly just meant that drink associated with sitting in the dark getting depressed about your life choices, bored housewives in the 50s or in their 50s or whatever, and British colonialists slaughtering sepoys while running away from mosquitoes in India. Oh, and with a splash of tart fizzy water and something about malaria.
None of these things are fun.
I don't drink to stave off illness, I drink to have a good time. So next time you think about boring me with some guff you heard on QI about tonic water, lime and scurvy, fuck off to Mr & Mrs Boring's garden party next door and have a riveting chat about how tonic water glows under UV light. You know what else glows under UV light? My sweat at a rave in the 90s. You know what quinine reminds me of? Quinoa. I killed her because she offered me both with dinner. Until then she had been a very decent wife. I rest my case, Your Honour.
What's that, you criminal paradigm of tedium? You know the secret for the “perfect” G&T? Sorry, I was erroneously following the other 150 million unsolicited recipes I'd been given. I thought it was just 'gin + tonic = grimace'. The secret! Are you sure you're not getting it confused with 'The Secret', that pseudo-spiritual self-help coffee table book you bought from a hippy crystal merchant in Glastonbury?... No, no, I must know your secret immediately, I love being told I've been doing things wrong all my life... Chill the glass with ice? What, this glass I've already poured a fistful of gin into? The only possible use for ice here is to chill this G&T so much I won't have to taste it. Anyway it's too late for ice, you human valium, I just drank both of these so pass me that gin again… No, I don't know what label it is, it's just the cheapest one I found at the off-licence cos I'm gonna drink my entire NHS-recommended-weekly-alcohol-intake before you can tell me what a Beefeater is without using the word 'fascinating'…. And before you ask, this tonic here is just something flat and bitter I found in a half-empty plastic bottle at the bottom of the cupboard. And while you were slicing a garnish of lemon to make it a little more "fancy", I got my buzz on cos I just drank five tumblers of booze, you citrus mincer. So squirt that lemon juice into your own eyeball and tell me how to poach an egg. Or how long to infuse green tea. Or how breathe. Or preferably, how to kill myself politely in your company.
This is British summer. It is here for ten minutes so don't use that time giving me gin and something or other unless it's the rest of your liquor cabinet. That was a trick, by the way - if you even have a liquor cabinet you are part of the problem. Shove Percy and Tylenol and your other useless children in the Audi and fuck off back to Dorset. Or... get out the funnel and empty all your booze into it because this party has started and we are keeping nothing on ice except your soporific personality.
G&T. If you can buy it in a can at Heathrow M&S, it's not a real cocktail.