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BBC Radio "Absinthe Makes the Art Grow Fonder"

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A radio program on BBC4, 30 min. from yesterday.

Interviews with:

George Rowley

Marie-Claude Delahaye

Jad Adams

and others.


So expect a lot of 'same old thing' from those sources. (some BS and half-truths)




The novelist and poet Michèle Roberts presents a history of absinthe, and its influence on art and writing.

Verlaine, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Oscar Wilde and Hemingway - all are united
by their love of absinthe. In the late C19th it became so popular that
5pm, when absinthe was served, became known as 'the Green Hour'.

celebrated this bitter-sweet, aperitif. The way it changes from clear
green to milky white with the addition of water is an alcoholic metaphor
for inspiration and artistic transformation. But absinthe is very
strong, and was thought to be hallucinogenic.

Artists' subjects
and modes of expression changed radically in the later C19th. Artists
and writers seemed to pursue lives of reckless extremity. Michèle
investigates how all this became associated with absinthe. A symbol of
the demi-monde, 'the green fairy' was demonised and banned in much of
Europe (including in France), and America. At first an aid to
inspiration, did absinthe lead to fondness, in the Shakespearian sense
of foolishness? Did absinthe make the art grow fonder?

meets George Rowley, absinthe entrepreneur, who initiates her into the
rituals of its consumption and Marie-Claude Delahaye of the absinthe
museum in Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh lived, who helped Rowley
recreate absinthe using old recipes. The historian Jad Adams and
Pataphysician Kevin Jackson explain the myths surrounding the spirit;
its rise, decline and fall - and recent resurgence. Barnaby Wright of
the Courtauld Institute explores the fascination of absinthe for the
young Picasso. And, under its influence, Michèle writes a poem. Maurice
Riordan, editor of Poetry Review, judges whether absinthe inspires or
wrecks her work.

Listen here





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Agreed. I just watched the documentary the other night, and aside from the usual "hallucinogetic" nonsense I thought it was pretty well done. But my jaw hit the floor near the end when Marie-Claude Delahaye admitted that she never drinks any alcohol. :shock: Sure, she can know about the history, but drinking it is an absolutely integral part of the whole story -- especially if she is "an advisor" to a distiller making absinthe.


EDIT: I was posting at the same time as Brian so my comment referred back to King_Stannis.


MCD said twice in the documentary that she doesn't drink. I took those statements at face value.

Edited by Georges Meliès

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