Sunday, 15 July 2007
MAKING THE ABSINTHE WORLD STUPIDER. POST BY POST.
The things a blogger has to do nowadays. Having conducted an interview with the founder of one absinthe forum, I thought it important to look at a different side of absinthe on the Internet. And so it was with some trepidation that I approached one of the members of the famous Louched Lounge. The Louched Lounge is different and greets you with the following messages:
Not just for insufferable pricks anymore.
Being a drunk asshole isn't a requirement but it helps.
Making the absinthe world stupider. Post by post.
I've posted on the Lounge a few times, and been flamed most times. I've even had my own thread. Since I'm commercially involved in the business, flaming is only to be expected, so nowadays I lurk more than I post. To many, first impressions of the Lounge to an outsider must be ... interesting, to put it mildly. It's anarchic, with little apparent respect for feelings, and only at times seems to stray into discussion of absinthe. But dig deeper, much deeper, and a very different picture emerges. In the last few weeks, there have been some very intense - and very important - discussions, including one on a "secret place" which sadly led to another sub-forum being closed down, one about L'Artisanale, and a critique of my last blog article.
The discussion with my first contact there (a Crosby who may be named after a famous American absinthe lover of the 1920's) went a bit like this:
Tell me a bit about the history of Louched Lounge. No.
Later that day ...
"Good afternoon," says Crosby. "I think you should talk to Louched Liver. He's the best person for this."
So 3,000 miles later, here I am looking for Louched Liver. Sometimes known, at least by himself, as "The Mayor of Absinthetown", also known as Allentown, PA. That may be his photo at the top of this article but he also uses these avatars ...
Hi Liver. Or maybe we can use your real first name:
Sure, you can use my whole name - Mike Marvin. I’ve had it out on the Internet for years.
Can you provide a bit of personal background? How long you've been drinking absinthe?
Drinking for 6 years. If you ask my liver - 60 years.
Your first absinthe?
Good ol’ Deva, from Spirits Corner. If I could get that xit here as cheap as it is in the House of Spain, I’d always have it on hand. For an oil mix, it ain’t bad at all. And the sexy heft of that full liter bottle? Gives me a hardon. And actually lasts 3 days instead of 2.
What have been your favourite absinthes?
All were hogsmack. The time, care, love, and huge effort the cookers put into their stuff jumps it into a league commercial cannot touch. The old saying still holds - “If you really want it, you can’t buy it. If can buy it, you don’t really want it.”
What else do you drink?
Cheap beer and cheap wine, on a ‘cuz that’s all my broke ass can afford. Plus, living in the Deep South, I thought it’d be a good idea to not try to fight the (lack of) culture.
What do you do in your private life that you can talk about?
I do basically nothing. I’m your classic underachiever - 50 years old and waiting tables 4 days a week. A real fuckin’ role model for the striving youth of today. Beyond that, I read (fuck you, no I don’t move my lips and the books don’t have pictures that take up ¾ of the page) and watch movies. Mostly foreign, independent or documentaries. That way I can remember there really is a world out there w/culture and a nonconservative outlook.
Liver and I discover we have a shared interest in foreign movies - we both like Fellini.
(And he also does a fine job at self-deprecation. Talking to his friends, I discover later that Liver is a lawn mowing machine. "Drink with him until the wee hours and the fucker still gets up at 6AM to mow the lawn."
"You’ll never meet a more gracious, generous host. He also has the ability to walk for miles while drinking. We walked to 13 bars in one day, having at least one beer in each one, more in the better ones. Only problem with this being the drunker you get, the further you have to walk to get back home."
"The most important thing to remember is never offer him a Wheat Thin. That and don't let him call your wife and tell her he needs your bail money sent out, on-a-'cuz he ain't gonna pay it. Grate guy.")
Can you tell me a bit more about your personal life ... your partner?
The Lounge’s own Greeneyes, aka Peeps.
She’s the reason I moved to Tallahassee. We actually met in the Lounge. 3,000 miles apart, both in relationxips. A whole story in and of itself, full of heartbreak, longing, phone sex and ultimately, redemption, love and a shared postal code.
A short history of the Lounge. When did it get started?
Woulda been ’02. Some of us at FV (Fee Verte) got mysterious emails to check out a new site. A lame fuckin’ site. I went in one night, drunk (surprise!) and figgered out the whole site was a sham. Populated by puppets. Poorly disguised puppets at that. The whole fuckin’ thing was basically set up sell sketchy absinthe by someone w/the tag Optimal Smarts. Who came to be known as OP, and ultimately Opie. I kicked the furniture around, slung xit on the walls, pissed in the ‘fridge. And forgot about it. Next day, someone posted @ FV that Louched Liver pitched a bitch @ the Louche (no “d” then) Lounge and someone called me an ENORMUS dick (sic).
So some of us from FV started hangin’ around over @ the Lounge because we could do/say anything, as opposed to the civility of Fee Verte. And more and more fucks piled in until we had our own little Internet bar w/a small but fiercely loyal crowd. There’s a whole ‘nother story involving the Lounge being given, then taken back, by Opie, then burnt to the ground by Jack Batemaster and the new Lounge, with a “d” rising from the virtual ashes. (More about this in the 5th comment added at the end of this article).
How can I describe your role on the Lounge?
God would be a description only slightly off the mark. Since I was 1st in, and despite frequent absences and deleting myself entirely at one point, in aggregate I’m still top poster overall, I set the motherfuckin’ TONE, and always have. As someone just said, we let ‘em all in, we always have, and the Liver sorts ‘em out. The whole mob sorts ‘em out, really, but I like to get the initial bitchslaps in. I hate poor grammar and sloppy spelling, and the fuckin’ idiocy of quoting the post above yours to answer it has always gotten me pissed off.
Officially it says "Moderator." Any more to add?
Used to be one of the Three Stooges ...
Cros, Dinky, and me. The Admins. Quit. Came back, got my admin keys back, got pissed (another side story), deleted a bunch of xitty porn and other stuff and turned the Lounge into a beer forum, got busted down to Horse’s Ass.
I see you are also one of the very first members of Fee Verte too.
I was there right before/after a retooling. Hence my low member #, but I was there back starting in about 2000. Head I consider a personal friend. We are both from Michigan and we would amuse ourselves at Fee Verte w/out any care at all if anyone else got what the fuck we were on about.
So why did you see the need to use the Lounge too?
See above. Fee Verte is what it is, and part of what it is is civil. People complain if threads go off topic. At the Lounge, it’s hard to catch a thread more than 12 posts long and figger out what the fuck the original topic may have been. I used to do it as a kind of game, see the last couple posts and try to figger out how the fuck it got to that point from where the thread started.
What makes it different from other absinthe forums.
No censorship, we admit everyone, we are brutally frank, and sometimes cruel, well, usually cruel, especially amongst our core membership. We don’t talk much about absinthe at all. We’re pretty fuckin’ unstructured. If fucks would look at the Lounge as a virtual incarnation of a real life dive bar, they’d get what we’re about pretty quick. Xit’s gonna happen, just not the xit you may expect. Bullxit and hucksterism get sniffed out and pissed on real, real quick.
Information on current Lounge members: numbers total, number active.
A bunch. Not many.
Describe the range of your users: ages, locations, experience.
We’ve had as young as 18 and a few are older than me. Mostly US, but we’ve picked up some You Row fucks lately. Fun to make of their language problems. They all seem to have no trouble w/profanity, though. God bless ‘em. Most Newbians either hang on the periphery until they feel they’ve got a grip on the TONE well enough to not get their asses kicked, or they dumbly wade in and get their asses kicked.
Few stick around after that. Some do. Not many. Hence, the experience level is high by dint of the fact if you aren’t already knowledgeable, you aren’t gonna really find anything out in the Lounge, anyway. If yer funny and have a tough hide, well xit, c’mon in and join the party.
How many of your members have you met?
Dozens and dozens and dozens. My last Louche Fest in Allentown, Pa had about 2 dozen+ plus attendees, from 10 states, and lasted 8 days. I am the motherfuckin’ party master. It’s part of my mystique. If you go to the Louche Fest Scrapbook sub forum, and set it to All, you can see the 3 Louche Fests. Lots of pics too ...
(above a T-shirt design from Louche Fest 2003 and below some of the damage done at the event)
Part of the glue of the Lounge is the high percentage of regulars who’ve actually stepped up and looked each other in the eye. And crotch punched each other. Just a little thing we like to do.
The future of absinthe in the USA. How do you see the absinthe market developing?
Really fuckin’ slowly. It’s a niche drink. It’s unknown. And, in the main, those who know of it only know the stupidass side of it. The fucktard mythology. Not exactly a repeat buy clientele. And the fuckin’ price is pretty crazy, too. Especially when you consider the 1st offering that’s legal stateside, Lucid. Weak ass, low quality and still 60 damn bucks. High price, lack of knowledge the xit even exists=slow row to fuckin’ hoe, Joe.
Why is there so much ... ill-will between the forums, ... the rivalries between some people, the animosity, the jilted lovers etc? Or are the forums just a reflection of life?
Thazzit. Different bars for differing barflies. And as most of the forums have a small, but loyal member base, fuckers get testy when they think their xit’s gettin’ stepped on. Each of the forums draws a different base crowd, although there is much interspecies mating. The actual online community is pretty fuckin’ small. You see the same fucks poppin’ up everywhere. There’s been some actual sex involved, and as always, that’ll get xit really percolatin’.
Personally (yeah, I'm supposed to be interviewing, but ...), I think it's because there is so much passion about absinthe.
Um, no. At the Lounge, we really don’t discuss absinthe much at all. It’s gotta be 90% crap yap. Until the last couple years, w/ever expanding legalization and more decent commercial products coming out, there wasn’t a hell of a lot to be passionate about. There just wasn’t that much fairy squeezin’s around worth talkin’ about. Even now you can’t really sustain talk about absinthe very much. Get some motherfuckers in an online pissing contest, that’ll bring out the passion! Seems like it erupts in the Lounge more than at the other forums. Since we don’t censor, and our TONE is pretty snitty, it’s the place for xit to get aired out pretty frequently.
So do you think we can all ever be friends again? (A bad question to ask, immediately seized on by Liver ...)
Again? Who the hell were you buds w/? I’ve seen pix of you, they must have been blind. I think eye to fuckin’ eye we’d all pretty much be palsy-walsy anyway. The mess that is communicating over an Internet board causes mucho miscommunications, to put it very mildly. Nuance, irony (fuck emoticons), shrugged shoulders, a touch, a smile, all missing. Of all the Loungers and Fee Vertians I’ve met over the years, only 1 managed to be a big enough dickhead for me to actually dislike. I’m not sayin’ I’d suck everyone else’s cock, but at least they weren’t assholes, just people.
Here's a possible theory about absinthe forums and the future. They have done so well simply because absinthe is illegal. Now it's becoming legal, the forums won't attract new people. What do you think?
Sure they will. People will wanna see what they should be buying. Like going to Amazon to check out an espresso maker’s reviews. Fucks wanna have some idea what end of the pool to dive into. Hopefully there will be enough choice on the newly legal side at some point to make it worth continued investigating in the future. It’ll be like now, where at most forums the majority peekin’ in aren’t members, they are guests, sniffin’ around to find out what’s what. Most never join. Those who do usually stay for a bit then fuck off to some lawn care forum or who knows where.
And how about the current members? Isn't there a danger they will lose interest?
How much interest can actually be sustained anyway? As I said, at the Lounge we rarely talk about absinthe - that was merely the web that caught us flies. Which is an apt analogy, as we not only regurgitate on our food, we puke all over the place. Forums are good places to plan Fests, check in on your b’day for that lame ass xit where everyone puts together a string of emoticons and wishes “Merry! Happy!” even they don’t have a clue who the fuck the person is.
Some people are obsessed w/absinthe and everything about it, but how many actually? And who the hell wants to hear them prattle on about egg glasses vs. Pontarlier forever, anyway? Not me, amigo! Let’s yammer about sex, music, the weird shape of that guy’s head. How does he buy hats to fit that thing? Had to be born Caesarian or his mother’d look like a wishbone.
What would you like the Lounge to do in future that it can't do now? An even better online bar/pub .. where we can all see each other and talk to each other in real time?
Inexpensive, and working Webcam feeds from Fests would be good, until about 4am when it would be only be good for those who like to watch slow motion train wrecks. As it is, drunk dials are a blast for those screaming into the celly “YOU SUCK AND I LOVE YOU AND YOU’RE A CUNT FOR NOT BEING HERE BECAUSE YOU SUCK AND YOU SHOULD BE HERE AND HERE’S xxxx-----“ who promptly screams "YOU SUCK AND I LOVE YOU AND YOU’RE A CUNT FOR NOT BEING HERE BECAUSE YOU SUCK…” And you can only imagine how much more fun that’ll be when you can see someone’s melon right up against the camera, steaming the lens. I’m waiting w/masturbated breath. Yeah, right.
What does Peeps thinks about your absinthe interest/obsession?
I can’t even afford to pay for absinthe. Generous fuckers send me some from time to time. A real treat when it’s from a hogsmacker. Last Louche Fest I went to, in Seattle in September, flown out through contributions and staying for free as well, that’s how we do xit @ the Lounge, I drank beer during the party. She shares my interest - that is, after all, how we met, but neither of us is obsessed by absinthe. I’m pretty much a self-obsessed drama queen, which is quite evident if you read the crap I post. Me! Me! Me!
Why does Jack Batemaster use your photo as his avatar?!
Um, on a ‘cuz he’s got good taste and we were lovers @ summer camp. Man, can that boy ever kiss!!
Which seemed a suitable way to conclude my interview with Liver.
I watched Capote last night. In it, Truman Capote decides to get close to a murderer to help him write his book, "In Cold Blood." He finds himself getting closer to the murderer than he expected and is drawn into his world in a way he had not expected at the outset. I felt a bit like that during this process, although any comparisons between Capote and myself, or between the murderer and Liver would be ludicrous. Well, maybe the Liver/murderer thing isn’t so off the mark. What I found is that this apparent world of anarchy that deigns to discuss absinthe only from time to time is in fact 100% about absinthe as the glue or - as Liver might put it - the "shit" that binds the forum members together. It is a crucially important absinthe forum which charts (if you can dig to find it there) much of the history of absinthe over the last few years, but also contains much of the ... soul of the 21st century absinthe drinker. Some might say that it goes beyond that: that as social history it is an important Internet phenomenon the way it gathers people with nothing in common initially beyond absinthe and turns it into a 24 hour pub. Some of them may be drunk as they write, but they post with passion for their subject (whatever it is) and with loads of mutual respect.
And a few hours after their last posts at night, they resume their daily tasks like Liver (did he just mention "lawn care forum?")...
As normal as any of us, apparently, but running a great bar and a great meeting place. Judging by some of the comments made by friends, it should perhaps be renamed The Loved Lounge.
Yes, tacky, I know, but for those who know and use the Lounge daily it describes it well. They have a real passion for the place. For those yet to discover the Lounge, it reflects the possibilities it offers. If you've not tried it yet, do so. Once the members start shouting at you, you'll know you've made a good start. Bon voyage!