Writers’ Tipples: Straight Scotch – Dylan Thomas

This writer’s drink is a straightforward one; his relationship with drink itself was not.Dylan Thomas

Over the last couple of weeks, this little series of writers’ favourite drinks is part homage to writers I admire, part a bit of fun.  I find myself unable to draw much fun out of this writer’s association with drinking, however.

There is a very old and very entrenched myth that many of the world’s best artists were aided, creatively, by mood-altering substances, with such great names as Toulouse Lautrec, Johnny Cash and F. Scott Fitzgerald regularly appearing as examples.  Closer to my generation, stunningly talented artists such as Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison and Philip Seymour Hoffman all produced incredible, enduring work before succumbing to their addictions.

Much has been written by people far more qualified than I about the tendency among writers and various other types of artists to over-indulge, or depend on drugs or alcohol.  A fascinating article in The Guardian by Blake Morrison examines this relationship closely, and refers to what sounds like a very interesting book by Olivia Laing, ‘The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink’.

Mr Morrison concludes in his article that the great works of famous drinkers were produced in spite of the alcohol, not because of it.  He finishes his article by pointing out that the old adage “drink like a fish, write like an angel” more commonly translates to “drink like a fish, write like a fish” and I have to say I agree with him.

Have a look at this link for Dylan Thomas’ incredibly extensive bibliography, and see below for my favourite of his many breathtaking poems.  How sad it is to think that all that was packed into just thirty-nine years.  Just imagine what he could have done had he lived longer.

If you’re a fan of his work and will be in Dublin this week, click this link to pick up a ticket to ‘My Life with Dylan Thomas: An illustrated talk by Professor Tony Curtis’, which will be taking place on the 20th March (this Thursday) in the Irish Writer’s Centre.

And this weekend,  if you’re having a scotch, make it a good one, raise it to Mr Thomas, and then maybe put the cap back on the bottle.

 

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