Vistas of Tooting

Ah, the vomit streaked back alleys, with their bouquet of late-night drunk’s piss. The drizzle washed roads. The sound of buses reversing in the night. Weird christian sects chanting at odd hours on a Sunday, and strange shops selling saris (apparently, the area is one of the top places in Europe for high quality Saris) and Bollywood videos and overseas calling cards, and assorted ghastly knick-knacks. The Popular Front.

I quite like where I live. One of the nice things about it is that parts of it are gentrifying at speed, although as the aborted attempt at a fondue restaurant that opened up briefly downstairs from us last year proves, perhaps not at the rate that some people might like. Still, it’s always nice to find a new bar or resturant that’s not full of pikey filth in the area, and we ran across a rather nice one yesterday, a place called Smoke, where they do good food, adequate coffee, and, importantly, for my non-beer-drinking self, cocktails.

And as for vistas beyond Tooting, I picked up the London compendium the other day, full of little gems about my beloved home, and Raw Spirit, Iain Banks latest, and his first non-fiction, book, an account of a tour of Scotland’s distilleries, sampling whiskies, and seeking the perfect dram. Despite his strange fondness for Islay malts (I just can’t get on with them myself – too medicinal) he does pick out a few good other ones, and I picked up a bottle of the Glenfiddich 21 year old Havana Reserve – I’m quite a fan of their 15 year old Solera Reserve, so I thought I’d give it a go, and it doesn’t disappoint. In so far as I make any sort of resolutions at this time of year, I think I’m going to devote a bit of time this year to getting to know a wider range of whiskies – I’ve got a few I tend to stick to at the moment, and I think it’s time to try a few more, so I may have to lay out the seventy-odd quid, and join the Scottish Malt Whisky Society, so I guess the question is, if I did, would anyone actually want to come with me (Edit: as a guest, unless you really want to buy your own membership) and try their range of drinks (preferably more than once, because it’s a lot of money to spend for a one off night out)?

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