02/29/2012 - Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout (Rogue Ales - Newport, OR)
"I will make it a felony to drink small beer" - William Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale
This hearty oatmeal stout from Oregon’s Rogue Brewery is the perfect way to end Febrewary. Of course, it helps that it finally snowed, too.
I have thoroughly enjoyed trying and sharing a beer a day and I am planning to post a compilation this weekend. Let’s see how that goes.
“Drinking With the Poet” by Scott B Sympathy
(Words/Music: Scott Bradshaw, Album: Drinking With the Poet, Smokeshow Records 1992)
One of my favorite songs during college, it rests on the musical shelf in my mind along with The Lemonheads, fellow Canadians Lowest of the Low and other punk influenced folk-rock. The first strum of the mandolin in the intro usually has me reaching for the radio dial to crank it. With apologies to R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion”, never, in the history of recorded music, has a mandolin had that effect before. But somehow Scott B Sympathy (aka Scott Bradshaw) pulls it off. He even manages to use the mandolin as a lead instrument in the first part of the solo section before the electric guitar takes over. He has discovered what no one ever knew before: a mandolin can be an effective counter-instrument to the guitar in a rock band.
Lyrically, the song attracted me in college because it combines two things that have been eternally linked: drinking and poetry. As an English Major, we would often joke that certain country’s poets (I’m looking at you, Ireland) had to maintain a minimum blood-alcohol level. In reality, “Drinking With the Poet” is a simple carpe diem song in which the singer does not want to “live with the afterthought” of inaction. Just who the poet is, if relevant, can be up for some debate. The first person I think of is Shakespeare, often referred to as “the bard,” and known for his numerous sonnets, many of which deal with the carpe diem theme. The CD cover, which shows a man and a skeleton drinking, suggests that “the poet” could be death and drinking with him could be a way of prolonging life by distracting death from performing his duty, a theme common in medieval literature. Whoever the poet is, drinking with him seems to be a better alternative than the mundane life the singer is leading in the song. And most importantly to a college English Major: it just sounds cool.
More info on Scott B Sympathy: Wikipedia