No-one has been beating down my shed door to understand how my research process works. But, as I don't have the 1.89 for my cans of Lager yet, I'll take a little time to explain. Hopefully it will help dull that terrible craving for Ace.
"How do you come up with one of your wonderful historic recipes, Ron?"
I'm glad you asked that. As it's a far more complicated process than you might imagine.
There are three routes: public archives, private archives and the stuff I've been able to buy on the interweb.
I'm going route one today. Public archives.
Plan ahead. Try to work out from the proorly-described pulic catalogue what might be useful. Put all the reference numbers and description in a document and print it out. Hope that the catalogue really matches with the documents and that the descriptions are vaguely accurate.
Prepare your equipment. Charge your camera bateries - always have a spare and a charger to hand. And a few extra memory cards. And another extra battery can't do any harm.
Dress for the occasion. Black, black, black. Your clothes will most likely end up black from the grime coatint the records. Best to go with that. Very dark brown or blue will do at a pinch.
Prepare mentally. An hour of meditation or a monster line of speed work equally well. Make your choice based on time available, predisposition and the procurability of high-grade amphetamines. If neither is practical, have a really nice cup of tea. (Remembering to put the milk in first.)
Go mental photographing. Really mental. Really, really, really mental. Then go mental some more. Until your back aches and your mind moans stop this shit you mental bastard.The only photos you'll regret are the ones you didn't take.
Wind down. Prefereably at a pub run by Jeff Bell that serves Old Peculiar and Lagavullin. Have five of the former and two of the latter. Remembering to leave enough time to get to the airport for your flight home. And not to leave you camera in the pub.
Next time: how to turn those blurry photos of brewing records into recipes you can sell for cash money. Or exchange for beer.
A BBC Documentary on Problem Drinking - Periodically we examine, as part of a general interest in beer and alcohol history, textual and film treatments on temperance/Prohibition, alcohol control,...
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