Category Archives: hell raisers

The hell raisers of the drinking world, the good and the bad of boozing

Winston Churchill. British PM extraordinaire

Hell Raiser *3 Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

winston churchill

Winston

Prime Minister, Great War leader, Nobel Prize winner, painter, army officer, rhetorician and ace speech maker, I give you the one and only Winston Churchill. Not bad for a guy who was near permanent sizzled on the sauce, on a diet of champagne, cognac, whisky, claret, and port. Where do we begin with this man, his drinking yarns are legendary and so much is written about his drinking tales.

Let’s have a look at some of these stories

Churchill, aged 25, was sent to cover the Boer war, for the newspaper the Morning Post. Not quite knowing how he would survive so far away from home, he did the obvious thing and brought with him some supplies, 36 bottles of wine, 18 bottles of scotch, and 6 bottles of vintage brandy. Its not quite clear what he was expecting!

While serving in India for the military, he frequently had to add whiskey to his drinking water, as a way to prevent disease. “The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learnt to like it”. Which was a valid enough reason to be fair.

As Prime Minister, Churchill didn’t slow down. Churchill admitted he relied on alcohol.

He always had a glass of whiskey by him, starting the day with a “Papa Cocktail” – a hint of Johnnie Walker to be topped up with water throughout the day, and he drank brandy and champagne both at lunchtime and dinner, not forgetting his love of big ass cigars.

But the thing with all this was that Winston Churchill was still able to go about his business as leader of Great Britain and a lifetime as a leading politician. He never appeared to be too drunk, at least not in the public eye. That was the most remarkable thing about Churchill: he always seemed not that bad. How did he do it? Could it be that he liked his food and that he did seem to involve drink in and around his meal times, food good for absorbing the alcohol content?

Funnily enough Churchill hated people who appeared drunk, it was unsightly. Raised as an aristocrat, he believed drunkenness to be contemptible and disgusting, and a fault in which no gentleman indulged. “I have been brought up and trained to have the utmost contempt for people who get drunk,” Churchill once wrote, and he was rarely seen to be so. But one could argue, if he was using an ounce of sarcasm here, he did like to joke after all.

When questioned on his drinking, he always had a witty retort. Here is a few of his most famous quotes and retorts:

Lady Astor once told him that if she were married to him she would put poison in his coffee. To which Churchill replied, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

When Bessie Braddock accused him of being drunk in Parliament, saying, “Winston, you are drunk! You are disgustingly drunk!” the great man replied, “Madam, you are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober.”

While visiting King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, Winston was informed he could neither smoke nor drink, for religious reasons, during a banquet thrown in his honour. Winston wasn’t having any of this malarkey. He informed the monarch that, “My religion prescribed as an absolute sacred ritual smoking cigars and drinking alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and the intervals between them.”

Winston Churchill serial boozer

Winston Churchill

Supposedly, in 1936 Winston won a bet with Rothermere, that he would be able to keep from consuming hard liquor for an entire year, which he won. Yet, immediately following the conclusion of that year, he went right back to drinking.

“I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.” Churchill, his attitude on his alcohol intake.

“Hot baths, cold champagne, new peas and old brandy”, the four essentials of life according to the great man.

Telling the butler at the Whitehouse to be prepared, “I must have a tumbler of sherry in my room before breakfast, a couple of glasses of scotch and soda before lunch, and Champagne and 90-year-old brandies before I go to sleep at night.”

“When I was younger I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast”

Bernard Montgomery the WWII British general, and all round cunt, who of course never touched a drop of alcohol, once “I  neither drink nor smoke and am a hundred per cent fit.” Churchill on hearing this was heard to say “I drink and smoke and I am two hundred per cent fit.” And he did live to a good ripe age of 90!

We salute you Winston Churchill. You have shown to us drinkers that we too can drink and achieve so much if we put our minds to it, or maybe not!

Winston Churchill and cigar

Iconic cigar photo

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Dean Martin, The King of Cool

Hell Raiser *2 Dean Martin

Dean Martin, The King of Cool

Dean Martin, King of Cool

Dean Martin, The King of Cool, was born Dino Crocetti, the son of an Italian immigrant barber in Ohio, the great star of the big screen, TV, comedy and the music clubs of Las Vegas. He had boundless charisma, oozed sex appeal, always extremely self assured, and was a top talent. He was the man. He also was as famous for his views on drinking as he was for his singing, dated a Miss World and was one of the members of the infamous Rat Pack.

The legendary crooner belted out such classic tunes as “that’s Amore”, “Everybody loved somebody”, “Volare”, amongst many other top hits. Martin’s relaxed easy going style was endearing and extremely popular. You just could not like Dean Martin.
Leaving school at a young age, he started delivering bootleg liquor, was a croupier in a speakeasy during the time of prohibition, worked in a steel mill, and became a boxer at the age of 15.
Along the way he started to sing with local bands, and got work with the Ernie McKay Orchestra.

Teaming up with comic Jerry Lewis got him his big break. After a rocky start they both eventually honed their skills into a well received comedy/music act duo. This success led to a series of well-paying engagements. The act consisted of Lewis interrupting and heckling Martin while he was trying to sing. They eventually made it onto American TV screens with movies to follow. This made both of them extremely wealthy but they eventually fell out and Dean Martin went it alone, and for a long time ruled the Strip for decades with his swinging nightclub act.

Dean Martin, The King of Cool

The Rat Pack

As Martin’s solo career grew, he and Frank Sinatra became friends. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Martin and Sinatra, along with friends Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis, Jr. formed the Rat Pack. The men made films together, formed part of the Hollywood social scene, and were politically influential, on friendly terms with the great JFK. Their shows were legendary, lot of singing, improvisations and boozing. The Rat Pack epitomised coolness. Ocean 11, or whatever you call that nonsense, is a pale shadow on these legends, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, you kidding me!
In 1965, Martin launched a new TV show, The Dean Martin Show, in the 70’s. Martin played up his notorious image as a half-drunk crooner, that liked hitting on women, and making off the cuff slurred remarks about fellow celebrities. The TV show was a huge success and was often a ratings winner.

A few of his funnies –
In 1967 Dean Martin got to share his hamburger recipe in The Celebrity Cookbook. The recipe was
• 1 pound hamburger’
• 2 oz. bourbon in a chilled glass
Preheat a heavy frying pan and sprinkle bottom lightly with salt. Mix meat handling lightly, just enough to form into four patties. Grill over medium-high heat about four minutes on each side. Pour chilled bourbon in a chilled shot glass and serve meat and bourbon on a TV Tray.
Frank Sinatra later made his own version. This was his way to make a hamburger.
1. Call for Deano.
2. Tell him to make you a fuckin’ burger.
3. Drink his bourbon.
‘You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.’

Dean Martin, The King of Cool

DRUNKY

“I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” (also attributed to J Lemmon and F Sinatra)
“If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt”
His license plate was “DRUNKY”
Unfortunately Dean Martin died of acute respiratory failure at his Beverly Hills home on Christmas morning 1995, at age 78. The lights of the Las Vegas Strip were dimmed in his honour, and he is buried in Los Angeles.

We salute you Dean Martin, smooth and straight.

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Boris Yeltsin. Russian hell raiser

Hell Raiser *1 Boris Yeltsin

Boris Yeltsin

Boris Yeltsin. Russian hell raiser

Boris Yeltsin, mad fella

I start my hell raising tribute with Boris Yeltsin, that old Russian leader back in the day who always seemed to be pished as a fart. Boris was fun; he looked like an old uncle, the kind that would always embarrass in Christmas time, but a lovely guy all the same. Russia has the much scarier Putin now, a man who oozes toughness (with arguable homo erotic issues) and is kind of a decent alternative to Obama’s ineptitude and classless mannerisms. (a selfie during a commemoration, feck off).

Boris Yeltsin, born February 1, 1931, was the first freely elected President of Russia. Following the attempted coup to oust Gorbachev in August 1991, Boris Yeltsin’s political standing greatly increased when he led the protesters who defeated the coup, and following the break-up of the Soviet Union in December 1991 he remained in power as president of the Russian Federation. As a leader he wasn’t the best, he bombed the shit of Chechnya, and lost it, and corruption was pretty rife and prices rose under his governance, but hell that’s politics.

But if you asked the average Joe on the street about Boris he would reminisce about his legendary drink induced antics.

Boris Yeltsin. Russian hell raiser

It’s the way you tell them

The time he got so drunk on a state visit to Washington in 1995 to visit Bill Clinton that he was found standing outside the White House in is underpants trying to get a taxi to head out and buy him a pizza. The next night he was mistaken for a drunken intruder stumbling around the basement of his guest house trying to figure out how to get back to bed after a few to many. Imagine what would have happened if the secret service had taken him out!

 

Boris Yeltsin. Russian hell raiser

Grooverider

Or the time he thought he was a conductor of a military orchestra on a visit to Berlin in 1994. He was meant to be overseeing the last Russian troops going home that were stationed in Germany after WWII. Boris was drinking since midday, and when he found himself in front of an orchestra he just couldn’t resist in trying to be a conductor, grabbing the baton, dancing like he was in a boy band, and singing as bad.

When he went to Sweden in 1997 for a conference on nuclear weapons, he kicked off proceedings by having a champagne lunch, waffling on about Swedish meatballs and how they looked like the tennis star Bjorn Borg, and trying very hard not to fall off stage for the pre arranged photo shoot. Telling everyone how pleased he was to be in Finland, as you can imagine, didn’t go down to well either. Good man Boris.

Boris Yeltsin. Russian hell raiser

Beer and lots of it

Also the small details of him proclaiming to cut Russia’s nuclear capability by a third without actual telling anybody back home, and telling Germany and Japan to get rid of their non existent nuclear weapons  were slight blunders he could have done without.

In Ireland all the local dignitaries were looking splendid in their shiny suits waiting for the leader of Russia to arrive in Shannon airport. Its not every day  the head of such a great nation as Russia comes into town. The plane landed.

Boris Yeltsin. Russian hell raiser

Boris Yeltsin and Shannon airport

And they waited. And waited. And waited a bit more. This went on for a few hours. Then the plane left. This was all carried live on Irish TV, showing Albert Reynolds, head of the Irish government hanging around in the pissing rain, while Boris was on the plane getting pissed. Don’t blame him, made the right choice as well

Boris Yeltsin died at the age of 76, on April 23, 2007, in Moscow, Russia. Considering that the average life expectancy, at that time, for a Russian male was 58 he didn’t do too badly after all!. He will be remembered as the leader of a Russia opening up to economic and political reforms, and a booze hound.

We salute you Boris Yeltsin

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