February 21, 2017

Cocktail Talk: The Third Man

http://www.easyreaders.eu/media/115489/978-87-23-90103-3.jpgI recently re-read (for the, oh, let’s say, fourth time) Graham Greene’s classic short post-WW-II Vienna thriller The Third Man. It was written specifically to be made into the (possibly) more classic movie of the same name, and is entirely worthwhile. And a quick read, too, as it both keeps you on the edge of your reading chair or couch – as you, along with the amazingly-named Rollo Martins, unravel the mystery of Harry Lime – and because as mentioned, it’s short. It also has a couple of neat bar scenes. I especially like the description below.

After he left me, Martins went straight off to drink himself silly. He chose the Oriental to do it in, the dreary smoky little night club that stands behind a sham Eastern façade. The same semi-nude photographs on the stairs, the same half-drunk Americans at the bar, the same bad wine and extraordinary gins – he might have been in any third-rate night haunt in any other shabby capital of a shabby Europe.

– Graham Greene, The Third Man

January 23, 2012

Cocktail Talk: Travels with My Aunt

As the political, um, talk is reaching its election-year-in-January proportions (talk which I’m sure by the actual election will reach astronomical asinine-ness), I thought I’d throw in a Cocktail Talk quote from Graham Greene. It’s not, however, specifically about politics, but it seems relevant. It’s not, either, from one of my favorite books by Mr. Greene (who is of course super-fan-tabulous), but from a perhaps lesser novel called Travels with My Aunt. The fact that it’s one of his books makes it better than most books on the top seller list, however. But, to get back to politics. And booze. The reason this quote seems so perfect for an election year goes back to a thought I once had (and if anyone says “the one thought you ever had,” well, good point), that if we could see those fight’n politicians after a few glasses of bubbly we could probably find out more about them then listening to any ol’ debate. Which leads to this quote, which I might use as a slogan if I ever run for office:

Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector.

–Graham Greene, Travels with My Aunt

May 16, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Our Man in Havana

First, an apology for the lack of posting. Moving back to Seattle from the I-tal has been a process, and has left me with little umph for blogging. Or, after reading (re-reading really, as I’ve read it at least once, and probably twice, before) Graham Greene’s somewhat funny/somewhat serious Cuban spy-and-not novel Our Man in Havana, I’ve been too inclined to have a daiquiri at noon for blogging. I like that take on things much better, so let’s go with that excuse, and start a rumor of me being a two-daiquiris-at-noon fella. Heck, maybe I’ll even inspire you to start. If I don’t, hopefully this quote does (or starts you collecting miniature bottles of whiskies):

‘Eighteen different kinds of scotch,’ the stranger said, ‘including Black Label. And I haven’t counted the Bourbons. It’s a wonderful sight. Wonderful,’ he repeated, lowering his voice with respect. ‘Have you ever seen so many whiskies?’

‘As a matter of fact I have. I collect miniatures and I have ninety-nice at home.’

‘Interesting. And what’s your choice today? A dimpled Haig?’

‘Thanks, I’ve just ordered a daiquiri.’

‘Can’t take those things. They relax me.’


Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene

Rathbun on Film