A repository of articles, musings and hazy recollections concerning pubs and beer from a London-dwelling beer user.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Old Hooky, Amsterdam stylee
A recent Benelux trip yielded bizarre experiences and happy (moreover, it has to be said, boozy) memories. Not many weekends involve dinner with a notorious call girl and madam, but Van der Valk's stomping ground is a city of many delights.
'Happy Hooker' Xaviera Hollander, a publishing sensation in the early 1970s with her vivid account of days and nights spent turning tricks in the 60s, used to sell her body but now sells her image, running a B&B (self-styled 'bed and brothel', though it is thankfully nothing of the sort with regard to the latter) from her leafy south-Amsterdam pad. Her dinner parties are studied affairs in the art of hosting; Hollander regales guests with blue anecdotes in the manner of an XXX-rated Peter Ustinov. I owe my dear friends who organised this most postmodern of stag dos (ahead of my imminent nuptials) a great many thanks. It was an astonishingly executed and brilliantly conceived night out.
What's this to do with beer? Very little in and of itself, but the incident does strike me as a rich source of banter for pub-going sessions and should remind us all (as we wax lyrical over 18% hop monsters and the pant-wettingly arcane selection of beers at GBBF's BSF) that beer is a social drink over which to share tall tales and create new ones. Amen to that, reverend.
A round-up of the trip from a beer perspective would bore terribly. Suffice it to say anyone visiting Leiden should make their way to WW, an excellent and friendly locals/beer pub,and the terrificoffie Bierwinkel.