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Tag Archives: In Store

  • Existence, Nothingness and a bottle of Oddbins No.8, please!

    A chimp walks into a bar and asks for a pint of lager. "That'll be £8 please, sir. I must say, we don't get many chimps in here.", "I'm not surprised at £8 a pint. Anyway, am I in the right store here? I'm supposed to be talking about Oddbins No.8, and you seem only to have a selection of every day beers, most of them as predictable as that joke."

    No.8

    "Oh, right," said the barman, polishing a glass. "You should be in that wine shop just across the street. Dunno what's going on with those places, they're full of monk - er, apes, at the moment." In the snug, an orangutan looks up from the crossword in the Daily Spud and nods, sagely.

    Abandoning his beer, he knuckles his way to Oddbins' Chiswick store where his cousin, Curious, is reading a book entitled '5,000 Things You Should Know About Stuff'. "Did you know," says Curious instead of hello, "that the venom fangs of a Montpelier snake point backwards?"

    "Which makes them a sight less poisonous than what they serve behind the bar down the Hammersmith Gorilla," remarked Thoughtful. "But might you not want to swot up on craft ales, given that Oddbins' new collaboration beer will be here today?"

    Thoughtful-Banner

    "I have given it some thought, actually," mused Curious looking up from his book and rubbing his eyes through the empty frames of his pretend glasses. "It sounds like a fairly recent development, but the Campaign for Real Ale has been knocking about since 1971 to protect traditional ales and pubs from the tide of long hair and psychedelic depravity. Nowadays it seems some of the craft breweries have gone so far out that what would recently have been considered real ale might now seem like..."

    "Yeah, whatever. What gets me is, what is the opposite of craft beer? I mean, what is an un-crafted beer? If it hasn't been crafted, it doesn't exist, right? So, what I had earlier, which was patently untouched by human hand, was in fact not there. It was in an existential quandary, that's where it was, and it should have stayed there!" He rubs his tummy and emits a rumbling burp. "Pardon me! Better an empty house than a bad tenant, as they say!"

    Curious-Banner

    "Tsk, really, Thoughtful! Look, here's the delivery, let's open a bottle of Oddbins No.8 and make our own minds up." From beneath the counter Curious brings a well-thumbed volume entitled 'Everything You Need To Know About Things That Haven't Happened Yet!'. Opening it at a post-it note bookmark he advises: "A blonde style, brewed with a proportion of smoked wheat, using a yeast called bastogne, as used in the Orval Trappist brewery. A collaboration with Anspach & Hobday of Bermondsey, who started with what was little more than a home brew kit in a tiny railway arch". He raises his eyes and fondly inspects his beer. "I told you things were getting far out!"

    "Mmm, thicker texture than you'd expect from a blonde," enthused Thoughtful. "Bit of smoke to it as well. Still a fairly light body, nice fruit and a lovely sort of brioche feel on the finish. Absolutely delicious, possibly their best one yet! D'you reckon we could get the Hammersmith Gorilla to take some of this, as it was obviously crafted, therefore it is a concrete entity and they won't have to do refunds on sales made in an existential abyss."

    "We could just tell them it's gorgeous, you know..."

  • EU Referendum - should we stay or should we go?

    In a little over a week we will march like toiling drones in an Escher painting to the polling booths to make one of the most important decisions in our nation’s recent history.

    The EU referendum is almost upon us, and thank the stars we will consign these months of repulsive campaigning to history.

    In the Donald Trump inspired post-truth era we have been besieged by misinformation, lies and malicious slurs by campaigners on both sides of the so-called debate. Never have our politicians stooped so low to secure our support and never have voters been so repulsed by their foul antics.

    What should have been an informed, serious and measured debate to decide one of the most important questions to have faced the UK in generations has been reduced to a slagging match. The mother of all democracies has been left an imbecilic bereft of all decency.

    Depending on whom you choose to believe, the NHS is doomed if we remain in the EU and definitely doomed if we leave. And the cost of a bag of groceries will significantly jump if we opt out and we would be inundated with half the Turkish population if we stay in!

    A plague on both their houses!

    Brexit Arguments

    Is there any way that we can cut through the fusillade of mud-slinging to come up with an informed decision on which way to vote?

    Well, before me as I write is a bottle of CoBo Côteaux Bourguignons 2015 (France) and a bottle of Leyda Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 (Chile). In my futile attempt to come to a clear minded decision, I might as well let these two wines guide my thinking.

    Meanwhile, business leaders from the founder of JCB to the CEO of Unilever are all graciously offering words of advice from their gilded pulpits.

    The Masters of the Universe that run the City would have you believe that they would migrate like swallows to the other side of the Channel if we leave the EU. These are the same banks that loathe “EU red tape”. Oh and the same banks that nearly bankrupted the country in 2008. Yes, let’s listen to what they have to say. Good idea.

    Brexit Voting

    Their profound utterances from on high are supposed to sway their staff and others to support their personal business cases. Well balls to that! At Oddbins I am quite happy to let my colleagues across the UK make up their own minds. They have a tough enough decision without me weighing in with dire warnings. They probably wouldn’t listen to me anyway.

    My, this CoBo Côteaux Bourguignons is remarkably good. Say what you like about the French, but they are masters of “le humble grape”.

    Where was I?

    Ah yes, business leaders weighing in sprouting drivel – the only business person to have put forward a rational, logical argument void of emotional claptrap or sentimentality, is Sir James Dyson. He argues that we are better off voting to leave not because of various dubious reasons given by the political class, but solely due to his first-hand experience of the uncompetitive nature of the EU - “we have never once during 25 years ever got any clause or measure that we wanted into a European directive. Never once have we been able to block the slightest thing”.

    Time to sample the Leyda Reserve Pinot Noir. Yep, as good as the CoBo.

    As for Boris Johnson and David Cameron – they are both so divorced from reality that they wouldn’t recognise the difference between Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Noir. David Cameron’s so called Euro Reform deal doesn’t add up to a hill of beans and Boris’ suggestion that we would have a strong hand negotiating with the EU is nothing short of cloud cuckoo land.

    Jack

    Back to the CoBo, yes, this seems to get better if you let it breathe a bit. This is something I am struggling to do in a calm fashion at the moment – is it too much to ask to have a clear answer about the consequences of either option?! All I am reading now is an analysis of the nature of the debate! Am I guilty of adding to that? Yes. Maybe. But one thing I know for sure is that in the event the result is a vote to leave, we can expect the rest of the EU to make life difficult for us even if it means cutting their noses to spite their face. Why will they do this? In order to protect the EU they will have to make an example of us so as to deter other countries that might be thinking of leaving - similar to the 'zwischenzug' manoeuvre in a game of chess.

    Really can’t make up my mind as to which of these two wines is better…

    My last comment on the subject: No one really knows what the blinking consequences of ‘Brexit’ will be, because we have not been informed or simply because the politicians haven’t thought this through. This however, should not stop people from voting to leave as long as we all realise that we can expect a world of pain for the next 10-12 years.

    So I am going to vote with my instincts and suggest you do the same. Now, where did I leave my polling card?

    IN or Out?

    According to latest opinion polls (assuming one can believe them giving how wrong they were at last General Elections!) 11% of voters haven't decided which way to vote. So if you are one of these voters we invite you to pop into an Oddbins store and taste 2 wines that represent the "in and out" proposition and let your palate guide which way to vote. The wines will be on tasting across all Oddbins stores between 20th and 22nd of June. Preferences will be counted and results released on 24th June.

    On the other hand why not try our "Leave" case of new world wines and/or our equally compelling "Remain" case of old world wines. Both cases are priced at £65 and available to order online until 2pm Wednesday 22nd of July.

    Remain

    Brexit In Mixed Wine Case

    Leave

    Brexit Out Mixed Wine Case

     

    Well, my mind is made up now, what about yours?

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