2018-03-20 17:45 books blog

The Time I Drank with Borges in a Scottish Pub | Literary Hub

One of several scenes that hang in my dreams occurred in a pub along the coast, near the fishing village of Anstruther. Borges wanted to experience a Scottish pub “in its full glory,” he said. Drinking in Scotland is, indeed, something of a religion, but it’s strictly low church. We stopped at a sawdust-floored, concrete-walled pub in the middle of the village, and I recall leading Borges into a basement room, the walls sweating, the place so dark that even a blind man needed help to get around the large wooden tables.

Borges asked for beer, and I brought him a pint of Export, the flat, warm beer that everyone drank in those days. I can see him bending over the glass, both hands around it. He sniffed the foamy head of the brew, and approved, stirring it with one finger, which he then licked clean. He took a long slow drink and smiled. He wiped the foam from his lips on the sleeve of his jacket. The big blank eyes rolled in his head.

[read more]