Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Importance of Being First

It would seem that co-opt is the new black, or so people do tell me. Everyone with a gripe about not being recognized for their first-i-ness with a particularly popular wine. Everyone there before everyone else, and no one getting the credit they socially aspire to. Even Algernon and Lane, most recently.

Morning-room in Algernon’s flat in Half-Moon Street. The room is luxuriously and artistically furnished. The sound of a piano is heard in the adjoining room.

[Lane is arranging the afternoon amaro on the table, and after the music has ceased, Algernon enters.]

Algernon. Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?

Lane. I didn’t think it polite to listen, sir.

Algernon. I’m sorry for that, for your sake. I did some amazing work just now, really tops, and you could have heard that and known for yourself just how wonderful it was. But here, take this down for twitter: I don’t play accurately—any one can play accurately—but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life.

Lane. Yes, sir. Noted. I will somehow make that 140 characters and yet still keep the deep chords of meaning.

Algernon. And, speaking of the science of Life, have you got the cucumber sandwiches cut for Lady Bracknell? From the recipe we copied off that blog? We aren't so obvious are we at all, are we Lane? You don't think she'll notice?

Lane. Yes, sir. No, sir. [Hands them on a salver.]

Algernon. [Inspects them, takes two, and sits down on the sofa.] Oh!… by the way, Lane, I see from your book that on Thursday night, when Lord Shoreman and Mr. Worthing were dining with me, eight bottles of champagne are entered as having been consumed.

Lane. Yes, sir; eight bottles and a pint.

Algernon. Why is it that when we serve the hipster grower bubbly from the Aube the servants invariably drink so much? I ask merely for information.

Lane. I don't attribute it to the superior quality of the wine per se, sir. I have often observed that if a wine is au courant with the, shall we say, chattering classes, that everybody wishes to be seen drinking it all the time. And if possible, to be seen drinking it first.

Algernon. Good heavens! Is wine so demoralising as that? Each and everybody riding on coattails as if they were magic carpets?

Lane. I believe it IS a very pleasant state, sir. I have had very little experience of it myself up to the present. I have only been thought to have been hip once. That was in consequence of a misunderstanding between myself and a young person.

Algernon. [Languidly.] I don’t know that I am much interested in your wine street cred, Lane.

Lane. No, sir; it is not a very interesting subject. I never think of it myself.

Algernon. Very natural it is, I am sure. That will do, Lane, thank you.

Lane. Thank you, sir. [Lane goes out.]

Algernon. Lanes views on credit for one's trailblazing work seem somewhat lax. Really, if the lower orders don’t set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.

Really, it is as it was, a comedy of wine manners.

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