The Session #62: What Drives Beer Bloggers?

When I wor a lad, when television was sometimes black & white, when petrol cost less than a pound Sterling for an Imperial gallon, when cross-country running over the clay pits was still an option for afternoon games rather than certifiable child abuse, I knew this much.

I wanted to write.

My junior school was what is now called 'progressive'. Which is shorthand for what happens when idealistic Oxbridge graduates take on the 'challenge' of a soon-to-be-ex-mining-town new school and decide that Beatles songs sang in the round and maths taught using Cuisinaire rods would take us to places that academia could only dream of.

Well, they were right there. It took me to to a prefab classroom at North Staffordshire Polytechnic.

But in the meantime, they let me write. Lots.

One day, we had to write a short story of no more than a hundred words. I wrote a chapter. And a synopsis for the rest of the novel.

And they let me carry on. Once a week, for two terms, until I'd spilt myself and a huge dash of Ian Fleming / Alistair MacLean inspiration over my jotter.

At the same time, we also had a weekly newspaper to prepare.


The idea was that you brought in newspapers from home, took the key stories, summarised them on pieces of lined A5, cut & pasted in bits of the paper for photos etc and presented a four-page newspaper.

My first copy ran to sixteen pages. When I was told it was cheating to cut and paste crosswords and cartoons in, I designed my own crosswords instead. And got Chris Markham to draw cartoons that I'd then narrate.

And so it goes.

The sixth form magazine - my first editorial post - which I fucked up to such a degree that I am eternally grateful that there was no such thing as the Internet to record it. The great thing about bander copy is that it burned quickly.

The poetry magazines - oh, my, the poetry. Because wearing a pastel yellow cardigan and a paisley yellow shirt was nothing without un-rhyming a shit ton of teenage angst into a fifth-rate magazine driven by whoever you were forced to study for English A level.

The fanzines. The days of sniffing glue as you cut and pasted. The mornings when you sent postcards to bands with interview questions and they posted it back to you with crayon answers. The afternoons when you bunked off to go to Selectadisc to meet a band, only to find the lead singer was fucked up on brandy somewhere else. As a teenage muso, this was infuriating. Later in life, you realised this behaviour was laudatory.

And now; this. Blogging. Where me and every other arsehole can pass an opinion.

Where so many say so little to so few followers.

So why do I write about beer?

I used to kid myself that it was all about the Reithian values of being able to educate, inform and entertain.

Probably I do. In parts. But that's after-effect, not intention.

It has its roots in sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, political purpose.

But writing for me is a baser need than all that jazz.

I write for me. For no-one else.

What drives me is the occasional compunction to spill stuff out my head and put it to bed somewhere. Sometimes, it's here.

You really want to know why it's here?

Reader, it's not for you. It's for me.

I have to write, when I need to write. If you read it, it's a bonus. If you comment... I'm sorry, I really don't care.

All I know is that I spill my occasionally splenetic frenetic heart out here. It's not in hope that you get a warm fuzzy feeling from it. It's for my release.

Anyone who wants a refund, please queue by the back door.

Something drives me. Sometimes it's beer. Sometimes it's architecture or pottery or archery or orchids or recalcitrant trout or Roger McGough.

Most times it's the beating of a heart that sounds like a fucked clock. A ticking that forgets to tock.

*I* drive me. Over the cliff singing ho-de-doo-dah-dey. I play to the wings. If you happen to be sat in the stalls and take in the full enchilada, bully for you.

1) Today's Session was brought to you by Brewpublic. Cheers and beers to them for actually making me stop and think about a Session blog.

2 What literally drives me is the Little Blue Beer Taxi, driven by Mrs Scoop. Actually, it's what picks me up when I fuck up and get lost some place. The Little Blue Beer Taxi is about to become the Little Mars Red Beer Taxi. We'll need a better name than that. Thinking caps on...