Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Keeping faith with screw-caps

I have a horror of deathbed conversions, of being bullied by pain, fear or fatigue into embracing a received religion. I hope when that particular needle’s eye arrives I shall remain faithful to St Pragmatus, patron saint of the believable world.

Given my age and the growing relevance of Shakespeare’s most seductive, most sibilant line (If it be now, ‘tis not to come…) such considerations are important. Romanticism and fantasy are always at my elbow and require constant suppression. Briefly they got the upper hand at my birthday dinner last Saturday. I’d ordered a sauvignon blanc for starters and since the best stuff is brewed in New Zealand it came with a screw-cap which the restaurant owner proceeded to unscrew at the table.

I mock-complained. I told him that screw-caps are OK at home but in public one yearns for corkscrew panache. Complete nonsense, of course. Over the last ten years I’ve probably opened a dozen bottles of wine that have been corked (ie, undrinkable). None had a screw-cap. Yet because this was a jolly, sweaty social occasion I found it necessary to hark back mendaciously to one of those imaginary golden eras.

Corks are harvested from tree bark by curly-haired Mediterranean types who I’ve always suspected beat their wives. Corks can communicate a fungus to the wine resulting in a mouldy smell and taste. Screw-caps prevent this but they’re technoid. I’m ashamed I betrayed my intellect and resorted to jokiness even though jokiness was in the air. But I also worry about finding myself in a poor way, looking up and hearing a dark-suited man reading selections from The Song of Solomon. Beautiful but irrelevant. Will my belief in particle physics and the cell hold out?