Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Still life with bottle is a wittily constructed history of Whisky and Scotland, which also endeavors to explain to the reader the reasonings behind why Scotland hates England so much.

Ralph Steadman travelled the length of Scotland visiting distilleries exploring the importance and place of Whisky in Scotland’s heritage. He considers the art of blending and creating a brew (even goes as far as to tell the reader how to achieve the same desired result) and ponders the question and provides a few theories of when and how man first stumbled upon the mere idea of creating a perfectly fermented brew.

His unique take on the art of Whisky making and history makes for an intriguing read and while the prose is wittily and intelligently written it is the illustrations which really bring the book together and make it a real treasure.

Nothing short of beautiful and occasionally graphically gory, anyone could sift through this book and marveling only at the artwork, flick through it and still pick up on the main ideas of the prose. I would have loved a few more days to pore over this book but I had to return it to it’s rightful owner (a customer from the pub I work at let me borrow it). I’d never actually really heard of Ralph Steadman until I was introduced to this book, so I decided to look him up on the internet (oh the joys of the internet) and was intrigued to discover that Ralph Steadman is the man who illustrated one of my favourite childhood books: Alice in Wonderland. Turns out I was a fan and didn’t even know it.

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