Book discussion - The Quarry - Chapter 5:

Wait… I can’t even remember there BEING a bit about mobile phones. Um, can someone refresh me?

I think Doctorow hit on it (hat tip to Chris for linking that review)

Looking at it from the lens of Banks revisiting his own favorite works, his old chummy characters, it is a reunion of lifelong friends. And for someone who’s been reading Banks for as long as Doctorow, the familiarity and allusions to those other works probably has a whiff of nostalgic comfort.

It wasn’t my cup of tea, but this was the first I’d ever paid any mind to Banks.

Are you sure you stirred it correctly?


Oh lord, seriously. :smiley:

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I’m starting to get the impression that Haze ingratiates himself with the rest if the gang because he’s most obviously a total fuckup, which distracts the rest of them from self realisation. He does the party trhicks everyone else is too chicken to do.


There are definitely interesting differences in perception, though I’m not sure how much that translates to actual differences in behavior between the two countries.

Though the Puritan influence is definitely clear in some parts of the country, that’s not the whole story. I think it can largely be attributed to Hollywood; two movies in particular - The Lost Weekend and Days of Wine and Roses. Both great movies actually, and among the first widely popular films to treat alcohol addiction as a real and serious topic (it’s the primary focus of both movies - and they both involve AA eventually, The Lost Weekend in particular basically starting that now-ubiquitous trope in film and TV).

After that, the more classic and “British-like” alcohol culture (at least, what you see in British film and TV) which had been a huge part of Hollywood movies (e.g. The Thin Man series) even after the production code was enacted mostly disappeared from screen.

Nowadays, very few people in the US have liquor around all the time. Well, at least if they do, they don’t automatically offer it to everyone all the time (“can I get you a drink?” mostly means water or soda now). It obviously varies a lot but to me and I think to most people I associate with, it would seem very odd to do that, though it was perfectly normal in the 60s and earlier (and even though the people I associate with are people who enjoy nicely made cocktails, craft beer, all that stuff; although I rarely drink myself - like Donald, the taste just doesn’t work for me).

But, many, many Americans are crazy for alcohol. It seems to me that popular perception is if you mainly drink beer you’re not really an alcoholic. That, along with this:

might both have to do with the drinking age of 21 here, which seems to me to encourage binge drinking and other bad habits in young people (which they then keep later), and the kind of low-brow sports etc. culture (which is obviously very similar in the UK, just with a different kind of football).

Another factor might be the societal safety net, which is much more robust and useful in the UK (I know it’s not perfect, but at least it exists), including health care.

Australia has some of the best slang, especially alcohol-related (no surprise) - I like to jokingly refer to cans of beer as “ice-cold tubes” of beer sometimes, which I heard in an Australian movie. “Slabs” is great too.

Well, it certainly hasn’t happened up to chapter 5, but I haven’t read ahead. There was a significant amount of setup I think in chapter 1 regarding Kit having a smartphone that Guy doesn’t know about, so I’d be surprised if it doesn’t come into play at all later.

@Raita (that quote was in reply to you) - I read this scene as odd and improbable as written, but I took it as having something to do with them both being rather inebriated - they both definitely took coke, and I’ll assume they both smoked some of the weed too, and I assume alcohol (I don’t remember if it said explicitly whether they were drinking or not). They were clearly in the coming-down phase, but with alcohol and with weed especially the effects can last longer than you might think. We also have to remember here that Kit is the narrator, and he’s proven unreliable in certain ways. His perception of what happened - especially if he was high - is likely not that realistic, and may mostly play off of his fantasy of what he wish happened. Like Elusis wrote earlier:

Kit knows they didn’t have sex, but might not be 100% sure of what actually happened, so he filled in the blanks from his fantasy.

I’ve heard drug/alcohol addiction called something you just have. I think actually this is part of the AA/NA “teachings” - an explanation for why total abstinence is necessary, the thinking being that if you have just one drink, you’re inevitably going to finish the bottle because you’re an alcoholic and there’s nothing you can do about it except abstain. That sort of behavior gets frequently depicted in TV and movies (including the movies I mentioned earlier in this very long comment, and very often in political dramas for some reason).

I don’t speak from personal experience but that kind of all-or-nothing thinking seems dangerous in light of this kind of addiction. I could be wildly wrong, but it seems like learning moderation and working on willpower (which I recognize is very, very difficult) might be more effective. I don’t believe that you can just choose not to have the problem any more as Hol does, depending on the person I guess.

But anyway I wanted to point out that the way they consider addiction to be a “disease” is not really what you think of as a disease, but is more like a brain disorder where an addict’s brain is simply wired differently… which should sound familiar. I’m willing to believe that’s true (though I don’t know if the science actually backs that up), but I think if so, it shouldn’t be called a disease. The way you treat a disease is relatively short-term, and the disease goes away. If it’s permanent (like autism), you’re not really treating anything, you’re learning to cope with the symptoms.

There’s obviously a huge problem with misperceptions surrounding addiction (just as there is with autism) and I think the sort of understanding and philosophy that has permeated throughout popular perception stemming from AA (and movie/TV writers who latched on to it not understanding its ineffectiveness) is largely to blame. And I think that calling it a “disease” might even affect popular perception of other things, including autism, which many do consider to be a disease.


Tubes is rare usage. Tinny is more usual, also refers to small aluminium-hulled boats, so a tinny full of tinnies is occasionally offered as a prize. Most beer here is bottled though, which are called stubbies. Not to be confused with the shorts, that are also stubbies. Or a Darwin stubby, which is about 6 times larger than a stubby. Unless the beer is a tallie, which is the size of two and a half stubbies and is sometimes called a longneck, which aren’t usually the long necked stubbies.

Course, this is only for beer from the bottle shop. If you’re buying a beer in a bar, then you’ve got a different system. A pint’s a pint unless you’re in SA where it’s a schooner and a pint is an imperial pint. But plenty of places don’t sell pints so you buy a schooner, which is also a fifteen in Tassie. But a schooner in SA is a middy so you’ll need to order a pint. Now a middy’s a pot or handle, depending where you are, but those posh Sydneysiders have schmiddys which is more than a pot but less than a schooner, because they’re flash bastards.
Now hold on, Smash, I hear you ask. Suppose I just want a small beer? Well, that’s a glass or a seven but a butcher in Adelaide and about the smallest beer you can get, unless you’re in one of those old bush pubs that still serve ponies to the old-timers, or you’re in the arse-end of Taswegia where a small beer is a foursie or a shetland and not worth bothering with.

Simples. :smiley:


Is that two of these?

And why do they call this bitter?


Nah, that’s for Mexicans. TEDs are a bit better, but not for much. A typical night on the Teds ends like this:

Because that’s how you feel after drinking it.


The movie I referred to is The Adventures of Barry McKenzie from 1972; I was sure “tubes” would be out of date by now at best but that doesn’t matter to me since it’s completely unfamiliar to everyone in the US :wink:

I am definitely a fan of “schooner” as a beer size. That seems like something I could safely ask for if I go to Australia (which I’d like to), right (notwithstanding that I don’t actually understand from what you wrote where that’s actually used)? Probably have to go point percy at the porcelain after a couple of schooners, I imagine.

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Ah, but you’re a Queenslander, no?


Guess not.


Pretty safe, as long as you’re not in South Australia, where it shrinks to a half-pint. Not that it matters, because if you’re with locals in SA, they’ll buy you a pint anyway, because you’re not ill.
If you were actually ill, they’d still get you a pint, because it’ll make you feel better. All the glass names are almost irrelevant as there’s really only two sizes, big and small. Tell you what, make it down here and the first one’s on me.

Top movie! :smiley:

Yep. Mind, Fourex is still dreadful piss but it’s our dreadful piss or something. Doubt anyone could tell the difference in a blind tasting anyway. :laughing:

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I think the term “disorder” works better than “disease” when talking about addiction, not least because disease implies short term treatment and then cure (or death) whereas disorders are understood to be chronic issues to be kept under control as much as possible for a much longer time period.

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Ha, yeah, that was the word I was searching for (my thoughts were rather disjointed in that comment as may be obvious), that’s the right one to use (though using that word would imply there is medical/scientific research backing up this idea, which may be why “disease” is regularly used).

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I’ve never been so proud of a bbs joke.

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did you mean this one?


You cut me deep, Noah. Deep.

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It’s that Bat time, that Bat-channel

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