Brit mourns the dying art of lunchtime drinking:

All this talk of cider puts me in mind of a chap I used to work with (small publishing company, he was Editor, I his Assistant). Every lunchtime he would slope down to The Oak and indulge in hour of eloquent complaining about his employer, and while doing this he would sink three pints of thick, gut-rotting scrumpy.

Remarkably, this heroic routine didn't seem to affect his afternoon work one iota (but then he did have a background in the newspaper business).

In my first ever journalistic job - an editorial intern at the Daily Telegraph when it was actually on Fleet Street - I was in awe of the hacks' liquid lunches. I remember watching the late great Peter Utley polishing off a couple of bottles of champagne for lunch, making it back just in time for the 4 pm leader-writer conference, then tossing back a couple of scotches before dictating a blistering editorial on the sloth of the working classes. I remember asking him, slackjawed, how he did it, earning the righteous reply: "My dear boy, one cannot write a leader for the Telegraph without a double on the rocks."

I am not worthy.

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