Musty Bunches - Tales from the Spit Bucket
last car has finally made it out of the car park at Bordeaux's Palais des Bottlenecks;
the last inebriated French "wine student" has been released from de-tox,
and la Belle Musty has shaken the last baguette crumbs out of her glittery sandals
and returned to work.
The previous generations may have had Glastonbury and Live Aid, but in 20 years time, dyspeptic members of the drinks trade will turn to their children and say "Vinexpo 2001 - I was there, you know".
Now, after two weeks of painstaking research, Musty has come up with the following Vinexpo statistics, to let those of you who were there relive it just one more time, and to bring a little flavour of Bordeaux into the lives of those of you who weren't.
Average time spent driving the 5km from Bordeaux to the exhibition (am): 1hr 15 minutes.
Average time spent driving the 5km from the exhibition to Bordeaux (pm): 1hr 15 minutes
Average time (per day) spent queuing for food/coffee/water: 1hr
Average time (per day) spent queuing for bathroom: 1hr
Average time (per day) spent aimlessly wandering in circles: 2hrs 30 minutes
Average time (per day) spent waiting for appointments who will 'definitely, positively be able to see you at that time': 2hrs
Average time (per day) spent in meaningful conversation: 30 minutes.
Favoured topics of conversation (by percentage of average daily discourse).
The state of the traffic in Bordeaux: 60%
The state of the hotels in Bordeaux: 20%
The lack of decent restaurants in Bordeaux: 10%
The size (and reasons for) one's hangover: 8%
No. of exhibitors: 2,400
No. of happy exhibitors (Sunday): 0
No. of happy exhibitors (Thursday): 25
No. of spirits exhibitors: 50
No. of happy spirits exhibitors: 0
No. of exhibitors who swear they will boycott the next Vinexpo, oh yes: 2,400
No of exhibitors who will bottle out and re-book anyway: 2,400
No. of stands featuring pole-dancing strippers dressed as a nun: 1
that's right - no trade fair would be complete without the ubiquitous flash
of flesh, and VX 2001 didn't disappoint. This year's Blue Nun stand featured
a sister who coped with her bad habits by removing them entirely and gyrating
in a way guaranteed to put the catechism amongst the pigeons. Surprisingly,
buyers who had never even seen a bottle of the sticky plonk before, let alone
drunk it, were gathered in their hundreds round the stand with their tongues
hanging out. The Sußreserve, as one of Musty's colleagues noted, was flowing.
In hope of more of the same, Musty went to search for a wine called Lumberjack's Trunk or Fireman's Hose, but couldn't find one, even among the Languedoc producers.
Before you say "Fireman's Hose, what a ridiculous idea for a wine name," consider the case of Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush which, far from turning consumers off, was a runaway bestseller in Britain. Until, that is, it was discovered that the wine was mostly Muller Thurgau, whereupon people began to wonder just where the Sauvignon-like tang was coming from.
Talking of tang, Musty has chanced upon the story of Dry Tang, a Cockburns brand (though not one with which Musty is familiar) which the company planned to launch in Scandinavia. Alas, Tang means "seaweed" or "bollocks" or something similarly unappetising in one of the Norse languages, so the Scandis put their heads together to come up with a better name for the product in their market. Their suggestion? Dry Cock...
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