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Tomorrow I shall be sober

Kingsley Amis was one of the great drinkers of the 20th century—opinionated, blustering, offensive, and rarely less than hilarious

By Sam Leith   January 2009

Everyday Drinking by Kingsley Amis (Bloomsbury, £9.99)

An early Billy Connolly routine describes a pair of bibulous Glaswegian brickies going on holiday in Italy. “When in Rome…” they decide, and ask a barman what the Pope prefers when he takes a drink. The sorry end to the story has them in a green vomit-spattered heap after a night downing pints of Crème de Menthe. “That’s what the Pope drinks?” groans one. “No wonder they carry him round in a chair.”

I’ve always felt slightly the same way about Kingsley Amis, whose fondness for Carlsberg Special Brew (“vandal-strength lager,” as…

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