What does your choice of drink say about you? Sir Terry Wogan's favourite tipple, he confessed this week, is vodka and tonic a revelation that saddened The Daily Telegraph's Michael Deacon. "Vodka and tonic is all right," says Deacon, "but for a man of such wit and singularity, it's a bland choice." If Wogan wants to join the drinking elite, he'll have to be more imaginative.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the most creative drinkers are often writers. According to Deacon, Carson McCullers, he of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter fame, worked while sipping a Sonny Boy a concoction made up of hot tea and sherry Evelyn Waugh, on the other hand, favoured a blend of Guinness, ginger beer and gin known as Noonday Reviver; while Anthony Burgess (pictured above - A Clockwork Orange) advocated a cocktail called Hangman's Blood: doubles of gin, whisky, rum, port and brandy, mixed with stout and champagne. ("It induces a somewhat metaphysical elation," Burgess once said.) As for Coleridge, when he wasn't in an opium-induced stupor, he swore by Smoking Bishop, a drink made from port and oranges.
Exotic as these drinks are, I doubt they'll tempt Sir Terry. I don't blame him. A few days of imbibing Hangman's Blood and I wouldn't be able to write anything again.
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Where's my £60,000 shoot?
The stockmarket may be collapsing and London may be burning, but nothing can be allowed to interfere with the Glorious Twelfth. I'm even planning to escape for a few days to the moors myself, but luckily to judge from a report in the FT I will be staying with friends, so won't have to pay for my sport. According to the FT, prices for commercial grouse shoots are as high as they were last year. Taking into account VAT, a 200-brace day on "one of the more prestigious moors", typically for eight to ten guns, would cost more than £38,000 before agents' commissions, insurance, travel and accommodation.
Yet, says the FT, "agents report no slackening of demand both from City-based clients and international shooters". Many of the best days for the 2012 season have already been snapped up. "I have a Dutch client who wants back-to-back 200-brace days on the first two days of the season next year," says one leading sporting agent. "That's £60,000 of shooting. And he can't find it." It's a reminder that the super-rich inhabit a separate planet from the rest of us.
Nobody touches my satin
Nancy Wake, the resistance heroine, was famously stylish as well as brave. Asked why she always insisted on travelling in the lead vehicle when attacking German troops in France, she said it was because she couldn't bear the dust being thrown up in her face by cars in front. In one mini-battle, according to the Daily Mail, her car was strafed by German fighters but she crawled out of the wreck clutching her prized possessions: a jar of face cream, a packet of tea and a satin cushion. For all the horrors of war, she never lost her softer side. Two American weapons instructors who dropped into her forest hideout found a jar of flowers beside their makeshift beds.
Tabloid money... Spielberg's transatlantic trawl for cheesecake
The playboy and Spectator columnist Taki Theodoracopulos, 73, is selling his yacht Bushido, says Ephraim Hardcastle in the Daily Mail. Built in Turkey in 2004, the 123ft vessel, which has four double staterooms and five crew, will be available for viewing at the end of August, priced at £2.8m. A spokesman for yacht broker Camper and Nicholsons says: "Taki has other interests and wants to release funds... to pursue them."
Millionaire golfer Rory McIlroy has been fined £100 for speeding, says The Sun. He was also given three penalty points for driving at 40mph in a 30mph zone. McIlroy's solicitor was asked by the judge if his client "needed more time to pay". The court "erupted in laughter" when the lawyer said he didn't. McIlroy, who wasn't present, had been visiting Belfast when he was pulled over by police. It wasn't revealed which car he was driving, but his latest buy is "a gun-grey £163,000 Bentley, which he calls his Batmobile".
Stephen Spielberg, 64, is "a peculiar fellow", says Ephraim Hardcastle in the Daily Mail. The famous film director flew his private jet into Ireland's Shannon airport last weekend from whence he made a 70-minute journey to the remote town of Ballyvaughan in order to drop in on the town's tearooms. He then told startled staff: "I'm back for the cheesecake I had last time". After that little spree he returned to the airport and flew on to Monaco. The entire round trip took him six hours. The taste of this cheesecake must have been out of this world!
"A masseuse has won her court battle to keep two adjoining London properties, worth £3m, belonging to her former lover," says Jane Moore in The Sun. "She claims he gave them to her as a gift during their relationship, and the High Court agreed with her. The lover's identity is protected by legal order, but the masseuse's name is Fuk Wu. No punch line needed really."
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