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Fork It!

I was talking to my husband about out favourite ‘drinking’ films. Though we named ‘Sideways‘, ‘Casablanca‘, the James Bond movies‘ ‘Arthur‘, ‘Animal House‘ and ‘The Jerk‘, our favourite drinking movie of all time has got to be ‘Withnail & I‘.

‘Withnail & I’ is considered one of the top British films ever made and was voted the third funniest film of all time by readers of ‘Total Film Magazine’. One things for certain 9 out of 10 Brits under the age of about 40 will have quoted the film at least once in their life, more often than not it being “I demand to have some booze!”

Very briefly, the film follows the exploits of two ‘resting’ actors, Withnail (Richard E. Grant) ‘and I’ (Paul McGann) in 1969 Camden Town in London. They drink away their disappointment at being unemployed and decide to go away on holiday (by mistake). That’s it. But it’s one of the most brilliantly written, perfectly directed and marvellously acted comedies around.

Though the film was released in 1987, still all across the UK people continue to play the Withnail & I Drinking Game, the object being to keep up with the drinks the character Withnail (pronounced With-nell) imbibes during the film. The complete list of drinks is as follows:

9 1/2 glasses of red wine, 1 pint of cider, 1 shot of lighter fluid (you can substitute this for something else), 2 1/2 shots of gin, 6 glasses of sherry, 13 whiskeys and 1/2 a pint of ale. Drunk as follows:

• Mouthful of red wine
• “Lighter fluid” (eg overproof rum)
• Double gin
• Finger of cider (with ice)
• Finger of cider (with ice)
• Finger of cider (with ice)
• Glass of sherry
• Two big chugs of sherry
• Mouthful of sherry
• Sip of sherry
• Double whisky
• Mouthful of whisky
• Mouthful of whisky
• Mouthful of whisky
• Mouthful of whisky
• Splash of whisky
• Single Teachers
• Double Teachers
• Double Teachers
• Single Teachers
• Sip of sherry
• Three fingers of ale
• Sip of red wine
• Gulp of sherry
• Small glass of red wine
• Sip of red wine
• Half glass of red wine
• Sip of something white (gin & bitter lemon?)
• Sip of red wine
• Sip of red wine
• Gulp of red wine
• Gulp of red wine
• Finger of red wine
• Finger of red wine
• Gulp of red wine (“’53 Margeaux”)
• Gulp of red wine (“’53 Margeaux”)
• Gulp of red wine (“’53 Margeaux”)
• Gulp of red wine (“’53 Margeaux”)

Of course, I’ve never known a single person to finish the game (I think it’s the sherry that properly gets me). As we’ve got older our game playing has veered from sitting on the floor in front of a small telly and a loud VHS machine trying to match Withnail drink-for-drink to basically just over-indulging on expensive wine and stinky cheese while watching it on our wall mounted wide-screen telly and home cinema surround sound system. We still believe that you’ve not properly watched ‘Withnail & I’ if you’re not ill for at least two days afterwards.

Take a weekend, get some great wine and food in, buy or rent the DVD, over indulge yourself. And laugh.

Elsewhere.

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