lunedì 13 maggio 2019

SIMENON SIMENON. MORE ABOUT MAIGRET AND HIS DRINKS

Some commentary derived from “Maigret Juo” via “Maigret et ses verres as a ‘second round’ 

SIMENON SIMENON. PLUS SUR MAIGRET ET SES BOISSONS 
Quelques commentaires dérivés de Maigret Juo, via “Maigret et ses verres”, en guise de  ‘deuxième tournée’
SIMENON SIMENON. ANCORA SU MAIGRET E SULLE SUE BEVUTE
Alcune considerazioni tratte da  Maigret Juo, attraverso “Maigret et ses verres”, come un secondo giro

Risto Ranki’s book focusing specifically on Maigret’s drinking continues with the observation that many people feel a need to change to something different than what they drank the time before. But Maigret reacts exactly the opposite.” Given the same people in the course of the same investigation,” for the Chief Inspector, “it seems logical to him to continue with the same drink he started with at the beginning of the case.” Stated another way, “continuity often prevails over desire.” Of the seven citations presented in evidence from the Maigret series by Rankihere is a typical oneFor example, if he began an investigation with calvados, it was calvados he continued, so too, there were investigations with beer, investigations with red wine, even some with whiskey.”
Indeed, cases often get labeled according to the Chief Inspector’s chosen drink, allowing his associates to tease him by referring to “the case with calvados” and so on. In fact, in the course of an investigation, while one might not know what Maigret might eat, “it is certain that, when he began with calvados, the case would finish the same way.” However, Simenon does sometimes have Maigret switch gears, choosing a drink simply because he had heard it mentioned recently. For example, he ordered a fine brandy because people had talked a lot about fine brandies the night before.” 
Ranki next addresses “how beer and sandwiches and often also cognac are integral parts of interrogatory procedures.” Since many of these encounters become prolonged“it is necessary that everyone regain strength from time to time, and at least get to drink and sometimes even eat. Seven examples of this “so well known” routine are provided. The special bottle of cognac, ever ready in his office armoire, “was destined primarily for suspects who needed a little pick-me-up in order to admit the truth.” Of ten examples of cognac’s role, this one says it best: “Why are you giving me alcohol? ... To help you recover your strength.” Cognac is sometimes granted “after confessions” as “a reward.” And “often for Maigret himself,” it serves as “a stimulant.” For out of the office interrogations, if cognac is absent, the Chief Inspector utilizes the drink popular in the given location or simply what is available at the time, so long as it is alcohol. 
Ranki takes up the matter of Maigret’s difficulty (or perhaps disinterest) in controlling his alcohol intakeDuring their regular doctor dinners, Maigret and Pardon routinely drink wine during dinner and partake of “a nightcap” afterwards. Eventually wanting to encourage his friend to moderate,” the physician clearly advised diminishing his alcohol consumption.” And, “from time to time, Maigret does go on the wagon, but he “fights against his conscience” with the usual result that he quickly “gives up.” Here is one of many examples of the drinker’s self-deception or, at least, facile rationalization: “He had promised Doctor Pardon not to overdo it anymore. But who would say it is overdoing it to drink three draft beers in an entire day?” Thus, with a defiant So much for Pardon” in his mind, Maigret often proceeds to “another glass.”
When Maigret’s cases take him far afield from Paris, be it countryside or foreign lands, he samples the local favorites. Ranki parades out 21 citations to document this phenomenon. For instance, iBelgium, it is lambic. Greece, ouzo, retsina, and Metaxa. Holland, Bols. And he speculates, in Finland, it would be Koskenkorva, a barley-based vodka. He goes on to explain that Maigret “likes to adopt the life style of the local habitants or to, at least, understand it. However, in England, the visitor gets annoyed because gentlemen do not drink hard liquor until the end of the afternoon. “Why the hell didn’t he have the right to have a drink before 11:30 am?” Maigret not only had to wait for the bar to open, he also had to drink scotch, but at least he did get a double. So, at last, “this was already getting better.” This particular Simenon snippet, well selected by Rankiunderscores that this is a man who has to drink.
The next focus is on champagne. After repeating the idea that Maigret drinks a lot and everything,” Ranki shows how champagne is the exception. According to Maigret himself, “It is almost the only drink that does not tempt me.” After offering that this is because “Maigret is a man of the people,” Ranki makes another interesting point“Napoleon Bonaparte drank champagne on two occasions only: to celebrate his victories or console himself about his defeats” whereas Maigret elects beer. In a marvelous demonstration of the author’s thorough knowledge of the Maigret series, he points out that Simenon opened the series with his protagonist drinking champagne and, 41 years later, remembered to end it the same way. And Ranki then provides eight other examples from the body of the series on the bubbly stuff that Maigret, who hated champagne, [only] drank in little sips. 

David P Simmons 

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