Sunday, 15 July 2007

The Louched Lounge


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!


Anonymous said...

Really good interview there! But hey, in the pic, you're starting about two feet from the lawn, in the dirt! Wassup with that? Living in a rock infested hillside in Oregon, I've had too many thumps on my blades to count and it tears the hell out of them. You, with the hand-push, and blades that aren't so easy to sharpen. Must still be drunk.

I, too, lurk, like Alan, somewhat like louched liver, a slacker savant, pushing 42 years old with nothing to count but a wife, 2 kids, 40 G's left on the mortgage, and a bag of weed, and other fun party favors. I suppose I should be more sociable on the forums. Everything I read says that networking is a way to build Google-ability and get hits on your site. My site does get plenty of hits ( but nobody wants to buy my e-book. Is it too expensive or does everyone think I'm full of shit? Should I lower the price? It's really based on the real deal (in fact, just 20 minutes ago at the General Store, our county's public defender asked me for another bottle of "fairy squeezin's" {brilliant name}.

Anyway, I guess the real reason I don't hang much online is that when I'm drinking, I can't stand to stare at a computer, and when I'm not drinking, I'm trying to redeem myself by doing something useful, like mowing the grass, or trying to figure out internet marketing, and make up for all the drinks and joints that stole my youth and talent.

Alan, keep up the interviews. Nice peek into the absinthe world.

Scotty Bones

Alan said...

Thanks for your comments, Scotty.

Your book is not selling because it is too cheap. The price is unbelievable. Read about the $50,000 courses on how to make absinthe by clicking the "Making absinthe" label above.

Of course that was written before the apparent legalisation of absinthe in the USA. If absinthe is legal, why bother to make it oneself?

Alternatively if your absinthe is so good, why are you wasting time writing books about how to make it? Get yourself a licence, build a distillery and start selling it legally.

Anonymous said...

Good points Alan, through the summer, I will continue to sell the book for $19.95. After Sept 23, the auspicious date of the next Backwoods Hipster Absinthe Soiree, the price will go to $99.99. In the meantime, we are exploring the potential for a legal distillery.

Why did I waste my time writing a book about it? Well, what does a nutty insomniac do from 4 to 6 AM during dark winter mornings? Plus, I have a populist streak that makes me want to share fun info with everyone. Maybe I should grow up, start acting like a real alchemist and keep everything I learn a secret:o)

Alan, if I get a legal brand to market, would you distribute it for me?


Scotty Bones

Alan said...

Hi Scotty,

Email me to discuss your suggestion.

Or leave your email address here.

Alan said...

Update on the history of The Lounge: received from Skeeter

Back in late 2001, there was not much of an absinthe community.
Disinformation ruled the land, and while Fée Verte had the best
information, it was not easy to get into what at that time was a very
closed society, very hard to get into the forums. There were not that
many noobs back then, and there was no patience nor tolerance for
them. Kinda like the Lounge is now... Please bear in mind that this is
strictly from my point of view.

February 02, someone went to Fée Verte claiming that they were starting
a new forum about absinthe, When we signed up,
it was some people bored with Fée Verte and some noobs. There were
already about ten or so members, not too unusual. It was great, fun,
where the people who came over from Fée Verte (Mainly Crosby,
Drinkslinger, Louched Liver, Rimbaud and our own illustrious Zman) and
taught the noobs what was what and helped separate the bullcrap from
the truth... The Lounge was a raucous place. People were verbally
flayed alive, in the bonds of friendship, and the only people we
really went after were mainly moron Czeckerland forums, like That is were you get the Winston jokes
from... he started out saying that for only a donation of two bottles,
he would kindly put an unbiased review of it on his site. What a
freakin' gentleman, you know? Mainly with the efforts of Lounge greats
Jack Batemaster, Rimbaud, 1888, we ran them out on a rail.

Back around this time, there was not a huge amount of absinthe to be
had. The Emile line had not been out for too long, and were the
current favorites as they were actually distilled, not oil mixes.
Segarra was the only good absenta, but people were buying and selling
Deva, Mari Mayans, and Serpis and liking it. Truly, a dark time.
Bettina was selling her suisse la bleue for only $200 or so a bottle,
and mainly, it was worth it. It was, hands down, the best absinthe out
there but so expensive... About this time another domestic vender
appeared, under the website A few people bought
from him, but almost all the transactions seemed to go wrong... CG
came through OK, and I think that I did the best of all; I actually
got the better of him. But, that for another time.

Now, the head admins of the Lounge were Sonoman and Moses. They were
not horribly active on the forum, and made Drinkslinger, Crosby and
Louched Liver admins. The main difference is that the Lounge allowed
discussion of HG, although in private. Very few people knew anything
back then about HGing, but at least it could be talked about and
people could learn a bit. Not nearly like our good Doctors now, but
still... Anyone who has been to a WS event and had a drink owes a big
thanks to the Lounge. Now, this is not to say that there was no HG or
discussion before the Lounge... But it was limited. I will say no
more, but I will give props to the people who made sure the Lounge had
good information.

On occasion Sonoman would have a "fire sale" from his "personal stash"
of absinthe to "help pay the cost of keeping up the Lounge." We were
happy to pay what was on occasion more than normal price to keep up
such a place... The Lounge was great, a website like no other in my
experience. All friends, people getting together without having ever
talked in RL. All about the booze, all about the friendship. For about
four months. There was also an idea, from Sonoman about ordering
suisse la bleue into Mexico and bringing it over the border to keep
Loungers from having to pay Bettina pricing. Several people bought
into it... Luckily, I did not. All people ever got was a horrible,
horrible oil mix style absinthe that seemed more like an arak or
anisette, yet nastier.

One day, the three stooges, our admin, had been banned. There was a
lot of trouble and whole threads had been deleted. Through a series of
puppets, the admin were still there. I don't remember exactly how, but
we had connected Optimalsmarts (Opie) to Sonoman, in that they were
the same people. The Lounge had been nothing but a shill site for, and the la bleue scam had been the same. There were
also some computer router scams on eBay that were connected to Opie as
well. After a few days, Opie relented and Sonoman left. The three
stooges were given the run of the place and once again, glorious chaos
reigned. It was great. This was the time the Lounge got the title the
Absinthe Mosh Pit. Once again, it was great... for about another four

Opie had not been paying the bill for the site. He came back and
banned all the admin again. One of our number, a very crafty member,
disabled the flood control and wrote a program that was making a new
thread every four seconds. For about an hour... Crashed the whole
site. The next day, when you typed in it re-
directed you to the Alcoholics Anonymous site. Three days later, was open for business, under the helm of the
three stooges again. And there was no Opie.

But, all the collected knowledge of the pre-D Lounge was lost. It
really was not much, with what is known now, but it was, and would
still be, a good resource for those who wished to know more about how
absinthe is made.

Alan said...

DrinkSlinger has added History of the Lounge Part 1:

In the begining there was Feeverte,
and it was a good place with good people (Except maybe Don Walsh).

The ban on Absinthe had just been lifted in the EU.
On the horizon, a hundred shitty absinthes sold by dozens of vendors looking for newfound loot.
The race for the money was on.
It was a new begining for Absinthe, and about to be a begining for a new website.

On a cool spring day, when the sun was just reaching it's apex the venerable Liver was offered a free bottle of Absinthe to start posting at a new site. He went forth and rambled, never one to turn down free booze, with his curious followers in tow
Drinkslinger, a relative newbie, answered a post for web design at the lounge. His job was to ensure the doors stayed open and the toilet cakes were changed.
Crosby stumbled in drunk one night and smashed a few chairs. He was too big to throw out, and too amusing to be pissed at, so he was allowed to stay.
In the following weeks others joined the party.
There was joking, drinking, and pornposting.
The site eventually evolved into a freeform train of thought place where you could kickback and relax.
It was open 24 hours a day.
There was almost always a like soul to tip-n-type with.
It was called the Louchelounge.

The Lounge was good.
But the owner was not.
He was a greedy and dishonest man prone to fits to rage and strings of lies.
He was known as Charles Koontz, Optimal Smarts, Mike, and Sonoman.
He fleeced us out of thousands of dollars.
He fleeced lots of people through other sites.
His taint was ruining our virtual bar.
We renamed him Opie and vowed to overthrow his tyrany.
We recruited a black ops agent called JackBatemaster. With his help the lounge was burned to the ground and Opie was exposed. He fled to Mormon country all the while screaming "I'll get you guys". It's rumored that on a slow night you can still find one of his auctions up on ebay. Never ending, never delivered.

As the the smoke cleared and the blood lust dissipated we rebuilt upon the ashes of the lounge. We kept the bad lighting, the same paintscheme, and the same smell of cheap cologne and smoke. We reopened under new management, added a "D" to the URL, and kept the tone as it once was.

You stand here today by the grace of God, the 3 Stooges, and Crosby's debit card.

The Lounge is dead, long live the Lounge!

Anonymous said...

I recently took a 23 day, 3250 mile road trip, staying mostly w/Loungers or at their benevolence.

Shows how the RL and the Lounge blend and meld.

Thought it apro(phylactic)pro to toss it up here. Like a bad clam lunch.

Click muh name to see the same.

Unknown said...

wow! that lots of liquor bottle used for the event! is amazing!! I think that the end all were empty! For the next event we recommend using Buy Viagra it never ends!