By Squinter

A BIG response to Squinter’s recent piece on Buckfast and the fact that it’s not big in West Belfast. Some readers got in touch to say that West Belfast is not opposed to fortified wine, per se – rather it once preferred another brand, of which today little is known.

They reminded Squinter that in the 1970s and ’80s the sophisticated West Belfast street drinker enjoyed nothing more than a bottle of QC fortified British wine, which at 15% volume is exactly the same strength as Buckfast. It was a classy product, much more sophisticated than Buckfast. Where Lurgan Champagne has assertive undertones of battery acid and cat sick, the West Belfast Commotion

Lotion had subtle hints of cough mixture and custard. Indeed, QC was so high-end that it was advertised on TV – a chic couple at a drinks party (above right) seductively sipping while guessing what the letters stood for: Quietly Classic, Quite Cool, Quintessential Clarity, Quality Counts, Quare Craic (although Squinter might well have misheard that last one).

Then there was Mundies (Mundys?) Fine Old South African Tawny, which was the tipple of choice of yer proper boozebucket. An underage Squinter and the boys shared a few bottles one night round the back of Buncrana Flats – an experience which, while never to be repeated, has stayed with him to this day thanks to the horribly vivid memory of the ruby-coloured boke which was later deposited on Buncrana green.

Sadly – thankfully? – you will today search the wine shelves of the offies of West Belfast in vain for either of these estimable beverages, which have gradually fallen out of favour with street drinkers of all rank – from the doughtiest 24/7 Castle Street veteran to the callowest weekend street corner youth.

All of which is all very well but leaves unans-wered the cen-

tral question

that set Squinter off on this vini-

cultural odyssey – how come hardly anybody in West Belfast drinks fortified wine (i.e. Buckfast) when they can’t just get enough of it up the country? Maybe we’ve just moved on…

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