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Oddbins Wine Merchants

  • Spanish Whites


    We have perceptions of places that are often incomplete, it is this removal of nuance that leads people to believe everyone in Texas is a gun-toting cowboy, that all citizens of Tokyo are supressed businessmen and Londoners are rude hipsters that spend 20 quid on a round of avocado toast and half a pint of 18% craft beer. Then you visit these places and you’re actually a bit disappointed that no Texan greets you by cocking a revolver, the people you meet in Japan have an excellent work/life balance and despite an unhealthy partiality for avocado, the Londoners you came across were perfectly lovely.

    The same is true of wine. Most people have a monochromatic view of grape growing regions, certain that they only produce the wine they are most renowned for. If we were to mention Spanish wine, most wine drinkers’ minds would skip to big, full-bodied, oaky reds from Rioja. However, just like a Texan who is more than his NRA membership (he’s really into the work of Gustav Klimt and studies mandarin every other Tuesday), Spain is so much more than heavily oaked red wines. Along with outstanding fortified wine and incredible value sparkling, their white wine is of ever growing quality and well deserving of our attention. These are some of the Spanish regions making a name for their white wine.

    In the north-west of Spain, in the region of Galicia, Rías Baixas almost certainly has the most noteworthy reputation for whites. Given the cool Atlantic breezes and persistent rainfall, it is unsurprising that 90% of vines in Rías Baixas are white. While there are several permitted grape varieties, the region’s reputation is almost entirely built on single varietal Albarinos. Here, they typically retain a piercing acidity, keeping the wine fresh, which is balanced by a fruit profile of citrus and ripe tropical fruit, with an undertone of white blossom. There is also increasing excitement for the Godello grape, while permitted in Rías Baixas, it is more frequently found from the Valdeorras region to the East.

    “What, but you said Spain did more than just Rioja and this blog was about White Spanish wines?” We did indeed, glad you’re keeping up. What may surprise you is that there are some truly wonderful whites produced in Rioja. Typically made from Viura (called Macabeo in Cava), Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca. As with red Rioja, these wines can vary stylistically, largely determined by the amount of oak aging they have received -

    • Joven: Wines are under 15 months old with no oak requirements
    • Crianza: 12 months aging with 6 months in cask
    • Reserva: 24 months aging with 6 months in cask
    • Gran Reserva: 48 months aging with 6 months in cask

    Young Rioja will be lean, crisp, with citrus notes of lemon zest, lemon curd, melon and a distinct herbal aromas, typically tarragon. These wines will often have a mineral character on the finish. Aged Rioja, however, will tend to have riper tropical aromas, namely pineapple as well as preserved lemon, with obvious oak and aged characters of vanilla, coconut and hazelnut.

    Centred on the town of Rueda, in the province of Valladolid to the northwest of Madrid. It is known primarily for whites made from the Verdejo grape. Up until the 1980s, these wines were typically oxidative and not dissimilar to Fino sherry. Over the last 40 years, advancements in the vineyard and the winery have led these wines to be much more racy and crisp, they tend to be highly aromatic and fairly full-bodied. Rueda is typically a single varietal Verdejo however these wines can also be blended with Viura, and Sauvignon Blanc is having a growing impact in the region.

  • For Goodness Sake, It's Sake Day!

    We do hate having gaps in our alcohol knowledge, it’s embarrassing, we’ll be holding court at a trade event, everyone looking at us doe-eyed, as if, as an organisation, we represent the wine reincarnate of James Dean (stop laughing, you don’t know). Then Craig, blooming Craig from an unnamed wine importer asks us “so, where do you land on the so called therapeutic use of Kombucha?” In our ignorance we must fake an outbreak of Ramsey Hunt Syndrome and hightail it out of there to save face (that’s a joke for the GPs in the house).

    We swore this wouldn’t happen with saké. For too long we only thought of saké as that hot liquid seemingly served in earthenware espresso cups, at unspecified ‘Oriental’ restaurants and must be greeted by a chorus of “o for goodness saké!” So, before we could be shamed by Craig again (god damn Craig), we went on a class trip to learn all about saké!

    “Right so, what is saké?” we asked our beverage guru. Saké is essentially a fermented rice wine from Japan, where the rice has been polished to remove the bran. The level to which the grain has been polished dictates the style of the saké, with nearly all falling into four distinct categories (described below). Saké rice is inherently different from rice eaten in Japan. The grain will be larger, stronger and with less starch in its core. Although there are many strains of saké rice, the most widely used is Yamada Nishiki.

    Although often regarded as a wine, production of saké is much more similar to that of beer. Unlike grapes there is no sugar in rice grains so the starch must be converted into sugar, which can then be fermented. However, unlike beer where this process occurs in two distinct stages, in saké this conversion and fermentation takes place simultaneously.

    Rice is first polished then milled, after which it is soaked in water, the length of time typically related to the degree to which the grain was polished. The grain is then cooked by steaming, which is carefully controlled as overcooked rice will ferment too quickly.

    The fungus Aspergillus Oryzae (the same used to ferment soy beans to make soy sauce) is then added for up to a week to begin fermentation. After which yeast (normally the same strain used in grape fermentation) is added to finish the ferment. The main fermentation will typically be at 15-20°C for 2-3 weeks but more premium saké will often ferment at temperatures as low as 10°C for considerably longer. In some styles, a small amount of distilled alcohol will be added before filtration and pasteurization.

    Junmai

    The purest form of saké, with no fixed polishing percentage, while the addition of distilled alcohol is not permitted.

    Honjozo

    A minimum of 30% polishing; a small amount of alcohol is added.

    Ginjo

    A minimum of 40% polishing, the addition of distilled alcohol is optional, bottles labelled ginjo will have alcohol added; those labelled junmai ginjo won’t.

    Daiginjo

    A minimum of 50% polishing, the addition of distilled alcohol is optional, daiginjo sakés will have alcohol added; sakés labelled junmai daiginjo won’t.

    There is a vast range of styles in saké; from bone dry to sweet to sparkling. As mentioned previously, level of polishing has a huge impact on style, hence it can be difficult to generalise on flavour profile. However, most sakés will have some esters that express fruit aromas such as green apple or banana. Most people describe a white flower character such as acacia or honeysuckle and saké will typically be expressive of yeasty characters such as pastry and honey.

    Like grape made wine, preferable serving temperatures can vary vastly from style to style. More delicate styles like Ginjo and Daignjo do best lightly chilled, ideally around 10°C. Whereas more full-bodied sakés drink best at room temperature or lightly heated. Warmed sakés are often served at around 50°C, there are decent quality sakés that can be served at these temperatures although heating is often used to cover up faults in poorer sakés, so caution is required.

    Place a saké cup on top of a pint of beer, resting on chopsticks. After shouting ‘Saké Bomb’ to the rest of the karaoke bar, bang the table until the saké sinks into the pint of beer at which time you are ready to drink your delicious cocktail. Do not let a citizen of Japan see you do this, they will probably be offended by your desecration of their beautiful native drink.

  • Portugal Goes It's Own Way

    We like to think of Portugal as the wine producing equivalent of M. Night Shyamalan’s the Village. This might strike you as mean, after all it’s the film that confirmed M. Night Shyamalan as a one hit wonder and that Joaquin Phoenix definitely isn’t as good an actor as River…You know their sister is called Rain Joan of Arc Phoenix? The Phoenix family clearly had some fun with the Big Book of Baby Names.

    Despite the Village’s questionable quality, it serves as a useful metaphor for Portuguese wine. Just as the Village was, the Portuguese wine industry is an isolated pocket, unaffected by the influence of the rest of the world. While this was rather macabre in the Village, in Portugal it means there is a huge resource of indigenous grape varieties, resulting in wines that are replicated in few other places.

    Perhaps due to the Pyrenees cutting off Portugal from the rest of Europe, their winemakers have never fallen into the trap of ripping up native vines and replacing them with fashionable international varieties. Often part of high quality blends, few Portuguese grapes are household names, but the wines offer some of the best value of any old-world region and are well worth the time of any adventurous wine drinker.

    The National Touriga if you prefer (you probably don’t, you probably prefer to call it by its actual name), is arguably the Portuguese black grape of most renown. Often compared to Cabernet Sauvignon as, like Cab in Bordeaux, it is regularly used in blends to add structure and fruit intensity.

    Where’s It Grown?

    It’s most widely planted the Douro where it is significant in Port blends however a growing number of producers in the Douro and in the Dao region are making excellent quality table wines from port varieties such as Touriga Nacional.

    What Does It Taste Like?

    It will quickly become a favourite if you’re a fan of full-bodied, ripe red wines. On the palate black fruit dominate namely blackberry, blueberry and dark plum backed by more savoury aromas of bitter cocoa, dried violet and eucalyptus. Tannins and acidity tend also to be high, so it is a wine that tends to age well, if you do lay it down for a few years, except notes of prune, tobacco and leather to develop.

    What to Pair It With?

    As we’ve established Touriga Nacional takes no prisoners, it’s basically Liam Neeson who wants his daughter back. Thus, subtle food is not going to cut it, think rich fatty meats to balance the tannins and acidity, such as a well-seasoned lamb shank. Creamy vegetables curries are awesome pairings if you don’t dig the meat.

    The only grape that is grown in any significant quantity outside Portugal however it’s confusingly called Tempranillo in much of Spain but often goes by Tinto Fino in the Ribera Del Duero & Aragonez in Alentejo, this grape has more names than P Diddy. Tempranillo is derived from the Spanish word for early, a reference to the grapes early ripening.

    Where’s It Grown?

    It’s been kicking about the Iberian Peninsula since the time of the Phoenicians, most notably as the dominant grape in Rioja, it is considered a noble grape in Spain. In Portugal it is a key ingredient in Port and unfortified ‘Port- style’ blends from the Douro. It can be found more frequently as a single varietal wine in Alentejo, these are of rapidly increasing quality. Interest from New World producers has also been increasing with some very fine examples coming out of California and South Australia.

    What Does It Taste Like?

    Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) is relatively neutral compared to other full-bodied reds making it an excellent blending partner and does very well with extended oak aging. Flavours tend to be quite savoury the fruit profile tends to be more on the red spectrum; red cherry, red plum and currants, while given its affinity for oak, oak characters such as vanilla and coconut are common.

    What to Pair It With?

    Due to its savoury characters, it’s quite versatile as a pairing. BBQed grilled meats & Mexican cuisine are excellent choices.

    A white grape on the rise, often part of Vinho Verde blends but is becoming more widely planted in other regions of Portugal. The UK market hasn’t scratched the surface of what Arinto can deliver, be excited, be very excited!

    Where's it Grown?

    The Minho region as a blending partner in Vinho Verde, while becoming more important as both a single varietal and in blends in Baírrada and Alentejo.

    What Does It Taste Like?

    It has racy acidity, grapefruit and citrus notes, with an undercurrent of honeycomb and hazelnut. It does decidedly well when aged in oak so will often display sweet spice characters.

    What to Pair It With?

    With the renown Portugal has for its fish, it’s hard to look past sardine dishes and similar to pair with Arinto. Keep it simple – try Arinto with sardines, fresh tomatoes and watercress on toast with a touch of balsamic vinegar.

  • Win a Luxury Race Day with Laurent-Perrier

     

    We can’t imagine you need much of a nudge to shop for Laurent-Perrier Champagne, just a casual glance down the list of prominent Champagne names will, before long, reveal Laurent-Perrier as one of the leading lights. With its impeccable credentials, Laurent-Perrier is an instantly recognisable byword for quality, whether it is their fresh Chardonnay dominant La Cuvée or their delightfully diminutive, round-bottomed rosé, Laurent-Perrier have a range that suits all occasions.

    Despite this pervasive renown, sometimes we have a price promotion or a prize giveaway so good that we think “hey, let’s remind everyone Laurent-Perrier’s still awesome,” and this month we have both…

     

     

    This autumn we’ve teamed up with Champagne Laurent-Perrier and Newbury racecourse to offer Oddbins customers the chance to win a luxury day at the races for you and 15 friends!

    Simply purchase any bottle of Laurent-Perrier in store or online before 30th October to be in with a chance of winning a hospitality box for 16 guests for at the Betway Challow Hurdle on Saturday 29th December 2018. This prize includes a Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Reception, a 3-course lunch, afternoon tea, access to all the activities on site plus 2 Jeroboams of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée to enjoy throughout the day.

    For full details and T&C's, click here.

  • Win One of Five Weekend Escapes to Tuscany

    The home of Da Vinci, fine cuisine and world renowned wine. This summer, Oddbins customers could win a weekend break to stunning Tuscany. Start your wine renaissance by winning a 3-night break for two at the beautifully rustic villa Karma Borgo Di Colleoli. This summer, Oddbins in collaboration with Karma, are giving away 5 weekend breaks in the heart of Italian wine country. With the escape fully-catered, including an evening with an Italian chef preparing traditional Tuscan dishes with a wine pairing at the hotel & a tour of a local vineyard where Oddbins’ guests will receive a traditional cooking lesson and a sunset dinner, this is the ultimate culinary escape!

    • 3 night’s fully-catered accommodation, including an evening with a local chef preparing traditional Tuscan dishes with a wine pairing at the retreat
    • Return Flights
    • Local vineyard tour
    • A chance to experience the famous Pilgrims Walk (Via Francigena)

    To Enter, simply purchase anything from Oddbins instore or online, T&Cs apply.

    Karma Borgo Di Colleoli

    Located in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, equidistant from the splendours of Florence and the historical oddity of Pisa and its leaning tower, Karma Borgo Di Colleoli is a sprawling historic manor house which has received a new lease on life as an elegant country-style retreat.

    Tuscany’s top tourist destinations, including Siena, San Gimignano, Volterra, Pisa, and Florence are within easy driving distance. A few kilometres from our front door lie the renowned beaches of Forte dei Marmi, Pietrasanta, Viareggio, and Cecina.

    That’s not all! Every entrant will also receive a £250 voucher to use against accommodation at any Karma Resort or Retreat worldwide!

  • The Winners' Circle

    Throughout history, defection has not always been positive; ask that American chap who, after several glasses of soju, saw an advert for a splash resistant urinal cake, concluded capitalism was ridiculous and hightailed it over the Korean border. While he may not have had to endure adverts for aids to micturition there weren’t really adverts for anything, except for the omnipotence of the supreme leader of course and that got tiring real quickly. Yet, in the case of wine, the reasons for leaving behind the tyranny of supermarkets and walking into your local Oddbins is vast; our enthusiasm, the knowledge of our staff, our phenomenal range and incredible customer giveaways.

    Last Christmas we gave away an amazing week-long trip to Bali, for one lucky Oddbins customer and 9 of their friends. With the party jetting off this month and the launch of a couple of new great giveaways, we thought it was time to let some of our previous winners provoke some Instagram envy and send some love to all our previous entrants.

    In the Autumn of 2016, to lighten the malaise of chilly mornings and darkening afternoons, we teamed up with Champagne Laurent-Perrier to offer our customers the chance to win a magical 10-night trip for two to The Islands of Tahiti. Donna was the lucky winner and found herself 8 months later, on an island paradise, sipping Laurent Perrier Champagne.

     

    We often go big over the Christmas period, not with 10-foot inflatable reindeer or light displays causing seizures several roads away but we do tend to spoil our customers rotten. In 2016, we offered our lovely patrons the chance to win a two-week trip to Malaysia and Borneo. The following September, Katy jetted off with her friend Brenda and documented her amazing experience that you can read here.

     

    This April, Oddbins Hyland regulars Grahame & Lynsey flew out to Australia and New Zealand for luxury tour of Oceania courtesy of Oddbins and Saint Clair Family Estate.

     

     

    We don’t just give away holidays however, we regularly have bottles to be won on our website and social channels. This month, any web purchase of H by Hine Cognac could wine you a bottle of Hine Triomphe worth £650!

    If you have entered one of our most recent contests to win a trip to Tuscany, a fine dining experience paired with Orin Swift wines or a meal for 2 at the restaurant of the ‘Squaremeal Female Chef of the Year’ courtesy of Champagne Ayala, we will be notifying winners soon, so please keep an eye on your emails!

    Fancy yourself as a bit of a wine buff?
    Then take our quiz below and see if you or your friends can match the wine quote to the person!
    Take Our Wine Quote Quiz

  • The Secret Gems of the Wine World

    “The wine world moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once and a while you might miss it… Chickachicka.” Thanks Ferris Bueller you old cad, we’ll take it from here, now get back to school!

    If you’re not a fan of references to 80s cult classics or information about emerging wine regions then this blog may not be for you, no hard feelings we’ll catch up with you next week… Now they’re gone, cool kids, what do you reckon, was Ferris just a manifestation of Cameron’s rebelling id during a flu induced hallucination, like a timorous teenage Fight Club? Good, that’s what we think too.

    It is astonishing the breadth of regions where wine is now being made, we remember when wine came from Bordeaux, Burgundy or sometimes Tuscany!  Given our business is tracking down the greatest bottle oddities from around the globe, we couldn’t let these curious regions go unrepresented in our range. This month we’re focusing on the wines of Slovenia, Macedonia and Crete; here’s what you need to know.

    Crete is the largest Greek island, to the south- east of the mainland, if you were on the precipice of asking “what about the Peloponnese?” that’s a peninsula smart-ass. Considering Crete shares a latitude with Syria, many consider this a less than ideal location for quality wine production however these nay-sayers would be wrong! The Mediterranean breezes and the altitude of top quality vineyards allows the grapes to have an extended ripening period, preserving the grapes aromatics and acidity.

    Today the most important viticultural centre is the area south of Heraklion, although ambitious producers are also to be found around Chania in the west and Sitia in the east.

    The growing conditions of Macedonia are defined by the interacting influences of the Mediterranean & the continental climate to the north, along with significant mountain ranges throughout the country and sizeable lakes to the south-west.

    Like most Eastern-European wine countries, quality wine production was not a priority for much of the 20th Century however with recent investment in modern winemaking equipment and foreign consultants improving vineyard management the quality has rocketed. There are significant plantings of international varietals but most excitement has been around indigenous grapes; Smederevka, Vranec and Kratoshija have all attracted attention.

    After the Second World War, production was limited to state led co-operatives where quantity was prioritised, and quality was regarded as subversive. However, private sector enterprises emerged and became commercially significant in the 1970s. Slovenia was the first ex-Yugoslavian nation to develop a successful wine industry, with well-regulated wine laws (Vinska družba is the regulatory body and introduced a seal of approval for Slovenian wines) and commercially significant international and local wine sales.

    Slovenia is divided into three wine regions; Podravje in the north east, Primorska in the west, close to Italian border and Posavje in the south-east.

    Traditionally, wines were vinified in large neutral casks made from Slavonian oak, despite this practice still being relatively common, the use of stainless steel is now widespread. Most wines are made with international grape varieties such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Grigio however some local varieties are gaining traction.

  • Oddbins the 9th

    It was in 2013 that Oddbins first launched a series of collaboration craft beers with young and thrusting breweries, which when judged against the concept of eternity, feels rather brief. For example, if we were to brag about the persistence of this project to a 16th generation Alsatian wine producer, they would likely sneer “wow 5 years, that’s impressive, you know, I think that’s how long the Ming Dynasty lasted?” They wouldn’t say that because Alsatian wine producers are lovely, but you can bet your ancient Riesling vines they’d be thinking it!

    Yet, in the world of craft beer, 5 years feels like multiple lifetimes. Think back to 2013; you could walk into a pub and your beer choice consisted of 4 different lagers supposedly from a spectrum of European countries but were actually all produced in a mega-brewery in Herefordshire. Saying that now, we feel like a gentleman in his 70s recollecting powdered eggs for an aghast and disbelieving grandchild.

    Today, craft beer is unrecognisable from when we began this project. This month our buying team visited London Craft Beer Fest and you couldn’t swing a hipster cat without hitting a beer style that didn’t exist a week before. It must have been what it was like for music fans in the 60s! At the same time, beer conglomerate buyouts and supermarket sales are now part & parcel of the industry, provoking lamentations of beer purveyors in a manner reminiscent of Dylan going electric. We understand this is a natural evolution for industries in their infancy and it actually allows us to hunt out new boundary pushing breweries and focus on the most experimental beers of our existing partners.

     

    Hence, as we approached the summer of 2018, we considered who best to team up with for the ninth in the series of our collaboration brews, who could represent the astonishing leaps forward made in the industry. We found it hard to look past Gipsy Hill; one of the shinning lights of the London craft beer scene with a core range focused on showcasing how much flavour can be expressed in sub-5%abv beers and a innovative experimental range that sells out faster than they can brew it.

    Luckily for us, Gipsy Hill weren’t put off by our fundamental wine unprofessionalism or our relentless references to Lord of the Rings’ characters in tasting notes and agreed to brew some beer with us. Thus, in June a few of our staff went over to the Gipsy Hill Brewery to assist with Oddbins No.9 (by which we mean, we drank insanely delicious beer, while leaving the brewing to the professionals).

     

     

    Six weeks later we had our beer; Oddbins No.9 is a west coast style Session IPA with bags of big C hops – Cascade, Chinook and Centennial – added hot and cold side, then dry hopped with Californian orange zest to give it a citric brightness; at 4.5% it’s the perfect summer beer.

    One of the many reason Gipsy Hill jumped out at us to partner for number 9 was their awesome artwork designed by Marcus Reed. Each of Gipsy Hill’s beers features a caricature of someone involved in the brew; Oddbins No.9 features Oddbins’ legend Joe Persaud. For over 20 years Joe has played the part of wine aficionado, shop hand, cellar master, delivery man, painter & decorator, merchandiser and ultimate problem solver; he is our Winston Wolfe except Joe never sold out to go work for an insurance company. Standing with a big ol’ trolley delivery and an ice-cold beer we feel Oddbins no.9 perfectly depicts Joe’s maxim ‘work hard, play harder!’

  • California Dreamin'

    Oddbins was founded amid the swinging 60s so we’re rather well versed in hippy culture. In fact, the Beatles wrote ‘I am the Walrus’ after we told them about a Merlot induced dream we had, where we were inside the mind of Sarah Palin as she clubbed Alaskan seals with a copy of Dinesh D’Souza’s The Big Lie… Goo goo g’joob! Yep, Oddbins is terribly ‘right on,’ we just do it with better wine than your average bohemian.

    California is where it all began, with nothing but good vibes, counter cultural spirit, terminator governors and boundary shifting wine. 50 years on, we wanted to celebrate the history of this pioneering state by bringing in a host of Californian wines and making August 2018 at Oddbins the Summer of Love.

    Despite modern day Californian winemakers exuding a laissez-faire attitude that seems to have changed little since the 60s, the wine industry and the bottles they are producing are unrecognisable from those heady days. Below we examine how California became King of the New World wine industry, all while rocking a tie-dye t-shirt and humming along to Sgt Pepper.

     

    California is defined by the interaction of the Pacific Ocean in the west and coastal ranges in the east. The arid conditions in the east pulls cooling Pacific fogs through gaps in the mountain ranges, such as the San Francisco Bay, creating pockets that are perfect for quality wine growing. Get too close to the ocean, and the conditions can be too cool whereas further in land, areas such as the San Joaquin Valley are too hot to be conducive with quality wine but are hugely significant for bulk production.

     

    With any Californian modus operandi destroyed by prohibition, winemaking was pretty much a blank slate in the 20th Century. While French producers were unwilling to alter from the way their family had been making wine for the last 16 generations, Americans were much more of the “yeah, why not?” way of working. This led to massive innovation; temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks, work with oak, experiments with yeast and site and varietal matching has made California one of the bastions of high quality wine.

     

    Now a smash box office hit starring Severus Snape; you remember the scene Dumbledore’s asking him about his love for Chateau Montelena: “after all this time?” and Severus responds “Always.” Don’t, we’re going to start weeping. That’s basically the whole story but if you want a little more clarity, English wine writer Steven Spurrier organised a blind tasting, pitting Californian wines against prominent French counter parts, with Chateau Montelena winning the white category and Stag’s Leap winning the red, much to the disgust of the French wine judges. This announced the arrival of Napa Valley as a premium wine region.

     

    In the late 70s and early 80s American wine writers, most notably Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate, gained huge influence over consumers. It was regions such as Napa, that could cater to Parker’s penchant for full-bodied, ripe reds, that gained huge prestige from these reviews. It was at this time Cabernet Sauvignon ruled the roost.

     

    The American wine industry is one of polar opposites, those who do it for love and those who do it purely for business, huge operations and tiny family run wineries, what we would describe as cheap and nasty all the way to some of the world’s finest wines commanding over £100 a bottle, classic Bordeaux blends to the downright crazy, it's all here.

  • Drink Magnums for Trump!

    header-1It is a rare occurrence that the UK is united; we see it all the time while scrolling through Twitter posts, looking for videos of cats being started by cucumber infused gin. As we all hide behind our perceived online anonymity, there flows a torrent of vitriol and unrestrained abuse, directed at people who, if we had met in any other walk of life we might share some friendly discourse over a bottle of wine (except Tommy Robinson… because you can’t bring wine into prison). The problem is the trolls have been emboldened by a provocative bag of Fillet-o-Fish with Carotenosis, that appears to be leader of the free world. All the while the bag’s wife, who is yet to successfully gnaw through her own ankle to remove the electronic tag, is an ambassador for anti-Cyberbullying. It’s like the Hamburglar’s wife being an advocate of healthy eating! … Or Melania Trump being an advocate of healthy eating.

    Yet, days such as this, when the people of the UK seem to share a unified consciousness it is perhaps the most beautiful & exhilarating place on the planet. Our heads held high from an excellent World Cup campaign and a chance to display some disdain at the most impressive world leader in Britain, we don’t think you understand how impressive he is, very impressive, the most impressive.

    We have never been a nation of violent uprising nor lawless mobs, our approach to protests is similar to the attitude we hold towards line-cutters; sarcastic irreverence. Sure, Donnie may have allegedly colluded with the Russians, empowered racists, sexually harassed women, payed off pornstars, pushed the globe closer to climate doomsday and made Fox & Friends his chief advisor, but the British don’t get mad, we get mordant. That is why today, he will attempt to read signs declaring, “This Pussy Grabs Back,” looked down upon by a petulant Trump baby blimp, while an angry Scot tells him he’d sell well on eBay because ‘he has the colouring and sugar content of an original Irn-Bru.’

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    Of course, not everyone approves or agrees; Nigel Farage suggested that the Trump Baby Blimp is the most egregious offence ever paid to a US President. Although, John Wilks Booth may object to these claims, we see Nigel’s point; you should salute the post not the man. No doubt that was why Nigel objected and had nothing to do with him wanting another golden elevator ride, like a Brechtian remake of Willy Wonka, where all the characters are Augustus Gloop. Nevertheless, it is fair to say we should show respect to the position of POTUS, welcome the leader as a personification of our beautiful friendship with the people of America.

    Donald, we can do little, we are but a wine shop, we can’t shoot blimps out the sky, shut down CNN nor retrospectively remove your lapel mic when you were on that bus with Billy Bush. What we can do, in a small way, is protect your self-esteem. In the name of friendship and unity we ask the people of Britain; disregard your usual wine order, and instead join companions and buy a magnum together. Due to perspective it may make our hands appear small but will show our hearts are large. Let this gesture stand as a symbol of accord with our American cousins, and in doing so extend a perfectly normal sized hand of friendship out to Donald Trump.

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