Jackson Biko, is a lover of whisky and people watching. He likes to walk the shadows of the city at dusk, picking conversations of a people spurred by the night and by their drink.
Once upon a time I used to drink wine. Red wine, to be precise. I drank it after I had tried beer with little success to show for it but a bad after-taste. Plus beer tastes like teenage curfew. Wine offered that reconciliatory half-way; it had alcohol and yet it tasted not so bad, especially if you had a dry red. My only problem was the glass. It’s well and good when you are on a dinner table, nursing your glass of red but when you are out in the club, amongst folk drinking whisky and cognacs and champagne, you don’t want to be the bloke holding the thin stem. It certainly doesn’t make the girls want to pinch your biceps flirtatiously. You aren’t any different from the guys who drink liqueurs. Folk will judge you. They suspect that you are a rookie drinker, who is too shy to sit with his tonic water and so decides to get a glass of wine to fit in. It makes you slightly effeminate.
But I didn’t care. In fact, I cared about the hangovers more, but more on that later. When you go against the grain and your friends make fun of you, calling you Jacky (from Jackson), and they ask you if you want a packet of tampons with your shiraz and everybody around the table guffaws and slaps your back, you sort of know that you have distinguished yourself. Especially when you ignore the bullying and go ahead and ask the waiter if they have a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Drinking wine just wasn’t a drink for me, it made me stand apart, alone on this path less trodden by men. I realised that at some point I was drinking to prove that I would not bow to peer pressure. In the meantime I was always trying out new drinks to find my “taste.” What broke the camel’s back eventually was the wine-induced hangovers.
There is that myth out there that only bad wine induces a hangover. It’s a sham. All bloody wine induce a hangover. At some point I graduated to the expensive wines, the ones that go for Sh. 1000 a glass and my head would fill like a native tribe had lit a bonfire on it and was doing a dance around. I would not function. I would be immobilised the next day. My mouth would stick together. One day I decided it wasn’t worth it. I was done.
At around the same time I discovered whisky and it was love at first sight. A perfect fit. And best of all, no hangovers, plus the females would pinch my biceps playfully and say, “My, I love the smell of your cologne and whisky. Very manly.” And who doesn’t want to be manly? I’m glad I left before I became what all wine connoisseurs eventually become; these folk who are laughed at behind their backs because of their mannerism. These chaps who say things like, “wow, this is an excellent bottle, I can taste the terroir…”
But the best of all, nobody calls me Jacky anymore. At least not to my face.