Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jackson -- Legends of their Craft


NOTE: If you are here because you were curious and Googled "Wayne Gretzky Alcoholic" I will just tell you right now: I don't really know but he seems like a good guy and if he can pull off being the greatest player of all time and being a boozehound then more power to him. I doubt he started his winery to supply himself with stuff to drink. 


This is a blog about wine, beer ans spirits and the adventures you have when consuming and pursuing them. We hope you read on despite not knowing very much about Number 99's private life. 


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Recently, Wayne Gretzky turned 50 and it got me thinking. Every hockey player since has lived in the shadows of Wayne.

No matter how good you get there will always be Wayne and his 60 records, golfing and enjoying his retirement. Like Plato to philosophy, everything since him is a footnote.

But it’s not like living in the shadow of a legend takes the fun out of the game. Which is a good thing because beer and alcohol writers have their own shadow over them—the shadow of Michael Jackson. What does Michael have to do with beer? Everything.

If you didn’t already know, Michael was the world’s foremost beer and whiskey journalist until his death in 2007. I never got to meet him, but I have read many of his books. If you read them you will feel that you know him a little bit too, but not as much as he does his subject matter. Jackson was a master beer writer. In fact he transcended this niche. He was a travel writer and social historian of the highest order.
Heck of a dancer, but no beer drinker
I was lucky enough to look through his books and papers which are now in the care of Oxford Brookes university in the UK National Beer Library - a fitting home.
Can I live up to Michael? Does such-and-such beer writer live up to Michael? I just don’t think that way. If Sidney Crosby wakes up every day struggling to be Wayne he’ll never touch him. Sydney goes out to be the best Sydney he can be. Best to just lace up, play the game and have fun. Michael's 'shadow' is a testament to the greatness of beer culture, not an impediment in the way of progress and opinion. Michael is a totem of his craft and culture.

If you want a quick sip of Michael’s writing I am happy to oblige you. Here is a link to a collection of Michael’s writing printed in magazine and newspapers worldwide. Here is his Wikipedia page in case he come up in Jeopardy. Here is Michael’s last interview, with Dan Shelton. My personal favourite of book of his is The English Pub.

Now that you know a bit more about the MJ of the beer world, do you want to read about my visit to see his collection? I thought so! What a coincidence…that will be an upcoming blog for your enjoyment.

2 comments:

  1. off to a pub shortly, I will raise a glass to the king of pop/beer

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  2. Both MJ's are forever associated with Beer for me, actually. When the other MJ died I was working at a brewery and his songs played on the radio all day. I was at a pub when I found out.

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