Reading novels is tough work even when you’re sober. All those names! All those plotlines! All that worrying if the Heroine and the Hero are going to get it together by the end of the book. And now all these academics come along saying it isn’t enough just to read a book, you have to deconstruct its meaning. There are things like semiotics, symbolism and subalterns. There are Marxist readings, feminist readings, structuralists, post modernists and goodness knows who else who all seem to know more about everything than the actaul author of the book did. It’s enough to make you give up reading and take up a field sport like clay pigeon shooting. And paint all the targets with names like DERRIDA, LACAN and BAUDRILLARD, just to have the pleasure of exploding their theories.
So now we’ve come up with an alternative-a drinker’s reading of the text. And just to start you off, we’ve chosen that old favourite: The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. The plot as usual, is a bit confusing. The Hero, Gatsby, lives on a penninsular near Long Island, and still fancies some old flame whose name we can’t remember, who lives on a nearby penninsular. She in turn is married to a bloke called Tom who, to put it politely,is having an affair with a woman called Myrtle, whose husband is, understandably, a bit miffed. Don’t worry too much-the point is that , in order to win the affections of his lost love, Gatsby throws the most amazing parties where everyone wears great clothes and drinks cocktails until they fall over. Educated readers will recall the last lot of twenties as a whirlwind of Jazz, flappers, fast cars prohibition, cocktails, gangsters, ocean liners and aviation records. And Fitzgerald’s masterwork puts you right in there, clinking glasses with the likes of Babe Ruth and Rudolf Valentino, as ’twere. You don’t think anyone obeyed Prohibition, do you? It was just like the drug laws today.
We’ve found an amazing site called Great Drinksby, * where you can choose from amazing specials of the roaring twenties like Long Island Iced Tea, Manhattan , Mint Julep and lots, lots more. And to help it down a video of the old Gershwin classic I’ll make a New step to Paradise sung by the incredibly cool Mr Rufus Wainwright. * So the next time some deluded intellectual tries to draw you into textual exegesis, tell them that you prefer the drinkers road to textual deconstruction. Cheers!
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