Teato­tallers and weak beers: rock ex­cess ain’t what it used to be

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Opinion -

IN THE EARLY days of Blur, Da­mon Al­barn would get so home­sick on US tours that he would tune into the UK and Ire­land ship­ping fore­cast, sim­ply for the sheer au­ral com­fort. His fas­ci­na­tion with the Ship­ping Fore­cast made its way into Blur’s song This Is a Low, which ref­er­ences Bis­cay, Dog­ger, Thames, For­ties and Malin (the only time any­thing to do with Co Done­gal has been men­tioned in a Brit­pop song, pub quizzers).

The band I Like Trains re­cently dis­played sim­i­lar feel­ings about Old Blighty while tour­ing Europe. Be­ing rather fey types, their big yearn­ing was for a nice cup of tea, which our con­ti­nen­tal cousins are ge­net­i­cally in­ca­pable of. In the throes of with­drawal symp­toms – the well-known PG Tips DTs – the band came up with the spiff­ing idea of launch­ing their own brand of tea.

“Once the tour had reached Not­ting­ham and we were back en­joy­ing a pre-gig tea in one of our favourite cafes, Lee Rosy’s Tea Room, it re­ally started to take shape,” they say. “We asked Lee Rosy’s whether they would be in­ter­ested in col­lab­o­rat­ing on the pro­ject, and they were only too happy to get in­volved. The next step was blend­ing the tea.”

Demon­strat­ing the same sort of fas­tid­i­ous­ness that goes into their be­guil­ing mu­sic, I Like Trains took some time to give the once-over to dif­fer­ent sam­ples and strengths un­til they set­tled on their of­fi­cial “sig­na­ture blend”. “We have gone for a strong blend with a unique taste that is suit­able for con­sump­tion with or with­out milk,” they con­tro­ver­sially say.

I have in­structed I Like Trains to send me over some of their tea forth­with, and if you can hold your breath we’ll bring you an ex­clu­sive re­view next week. Mean­while if you want some in­die-tinged loose tea, you can or­der 100g that comes in “a lovely white tin” for £5 at shop.ilike­trains.co.uk. (They also have cus­tomised mugs for £10, but I’ve seen bet­ter in Aldi.)

You re­ally don’t know how se­ri­ous the band are when they say their diver­si­fi­ca­tion into the tea mar­ket has been prompted by de­clin­ing record sales. “Tea can’t be digi­tised,” they ar­gue. “And as we all know, dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion is the process

where things that once had value are turned into a worth­less string of ones and ze­roes. The tech­nol­ogy re­quired to digi­tise tea is some way off – you can not, as yet, down­load tea.” True dat.

By a spooky co­in­ci­dence, my courier will also be de­liv­er­ing an­other mu­sic-re­lated bev­er­age next week. El­bow, us­ing much the same logic as I Like Trains, have just an­nounced their own be­spoke Build a Rocket Boys! beer. You’re no­body in mu­sic these days with­out your own of­fi­cial drink.

El­bow jol­lied them­selves along to the Robin­sons Fam­ily Brew­ers in the ur­ban par­adise that is Stock­port, Greater Manch­ester to sam­ple their wares and come up with their own dis­tinc­tive brew. They’ve gone for a Golden Ale (again, con­tro­ver­sial), which has “a rich rounded body, smooth bit­ter­ness, a sub­tle tang of malt and a fruity aroma”. It’s 4 per cent ABV (un­of­fi­cially, this strength is known as “girl’s beer”), so you might want to or­der it by the crate in­stead of the bot­tle.

The Ale­bow beer (ged­dit?) de­buts at the Manch­ester Food and Drink Fes­ti­val in Oc­to­ber and then goes on gen­eral re­lease through pubs na­tion­wide. It will prob­a­bly be avail­able on im­port over here at the same time.

So, it’s of­fi­cial: tea and beer are the new T-shirt. Add an ex­tra ta­ble to the mer­chan­dis­ing stall.

Have a cuppa: David Martin of I Like Trains. Right: El­bow’s spe­cial brew

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.