By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
The party is heavy, but the beer is even heavier.
In the present tense of liquor, it’s a rollicking night of highs and higher highs in which, under the inspiration of booze, the face of every girl looks like that of an angel from the heavens.
A party in a bar is the very next thing to paradise which duly justifies Ernest Hemingway’s words: “If you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars’’.
And what is more, Paracelsus, the Greek physician, says, “A little bit of beer is divine medicine.’’
Little wonder the wise one, Plato, chipped in: “He was a wise man who invented beer’’.
As the night grooves on, and the beer keeps flowing, man cannot but throw up the poetry of “Drinking’’ as penned by Abraham Cowley way back in 1656 AD:
The thirsty Earth soaks up the Rain,
And drinks, and gapes for drink again.
The Plants suck in the Earth, and are
With constant drinking fresh and fair.
The Sea itself, which one would think
Should have little need of Drink,
Drinks ten thousand Rivers up,
So filled that they overflow the Cup.
The busy Sun (and one would guess
By his drunken fiery face no less)
Drinks up the Sea, and when he’s done,
The Moon and Stars drink up the Sun.
They drink and dance by their own light,
They drink and revel all the night.
Nothing in Nature’s sober found,
But an eternal Health goes round.
Fill up the Bowl, then fill it high,
Fill all the glasses there, for why
Should every creature drink but I,
Why, Man of Morals, tell me why?
Forget all the sad men of the Morality Brigade, alcohol remains the ultimate muse for the creative masters on Planet Earth.
It is no secret at all that at least four American Nobel Laureates in Literature were unrepentant alcoholics.
Let’s name names: William Faulkner, Eugene O’Neill, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. What a great company to keep, for in my little way I have earned an MBA (Beer) of the Media Beer Academy of Nigeria Breweries Plc!
According to F Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you’’.
While the drink takes me in the party, I remember the words of the late drunkard in my hometown, Ikerionwu, who famously said: “Drinking does not kill you; it only makes you sleep where you went to’’.
This reminds me of the Onitsha old landlord who managed to stagger to the frontage of his house after a night of heavy boozing only to ask his astonished neighbours: “Please which house is Number 5 on this street? I’ve been told that that’s my house!’’
The party and the booze get into higher gear when the DJ plays the music we call “Ghana Pieces’’ and my flight of thought veers to the role played by booze in the development of Ghana as narrated by Ayi Kwei Armah in his inimitable The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born.
There was a certain white specialist who was brought to Ghana to teach Kwame Nkrumah’s people “The Stages of Growth’’ but ended up boring all Ghanaians into deep slumber until the Attorney-General of Ghana took over and roused everybody up by teaching Ghana’s specialty known as “The Stages of Booze’’ thusly:
“Stage One – The Mood Jocose.
Stage Two – The Mood Morose.
Stage Three – The Mood Bellicose.
Stage Four – The Mood Lachrymose.
Stage Five – The Mood Comatose.’’
After having gone through the five stages of booze, notably, Jocose (humorous), Morose (mournful), Bellicose (hostile), Lachrymose (tearful) and Comatose (deathlike), it is little wonder that Ghana has overtaken Nigeria in all indices after having obviously seen it all.
Nigeria must perforce undergo her own stages of booze culminating in the fifth stage called “Comatose’’ – or death will supervene to ensure the fulfilment of the Nigerian epitaph written by Chinua Achebe as per There Was A Country.
I think it’s the makers of Heineken beer who made the experiment that scientifically proves that if the music gets heavier the drinking goes slower.
In these slower moments of the party, I can recall that the earliest beers came out of Iraq and Iran when the places were known as Sumeria or Mesopotamia.
And the beginning of beer was feminine, very female, because brewing was then a part of the household chores.
Incidentally, it is the female hop flowers that are tops in the making of beers because they are high in alpha and beta acids that are needed for brewing.
The world as we know it was saved by beer because the greatest invention of all happens to be beer, the lynchpin of the agricultural revolution.
Yes, from 9000BC beer has been making history, remarkably leading to the invention of writing and mathematics.
In Ancient Egypt, writing and math were invented to record and calculate the amount beers needed even in the afterlife!
Now the party is coming to an end, and as I wrote in the beginning, the beer is making every lady available look so beautiful, like a cross between an angel and a beauty queen.
“Babe, you are more beautiful than all the poetry ever written,’’ I tell a bespectacled lady near me.
“How many bottles have you taken?’’ she retorts sharply.
“I don’t drink bottles; I drink beer!’’ I reply with a mighty hiccup. End of party! (MOI)