October 17, 2009

Today's Tune: "If You Don't Start Drinking
(I'm Going To Leave)" By George Thorogood
And The Destroyers

The London Beer Flood according to Wikipedia:

The London Beer Flood occurred on October 17, 1814 in the London parish of St. Giles in the United Kingdom. At the Meux and Company Brewery [1] on Tottenham Court Road, [2] [1] a huge vat containing over 135,000 imperial gallons (610,000 l) of beer ruptured, causing other vats in the same building to succumb in a domino effect. As a result, more than 323,000 imperial gallons (1,470,000 l) of beer burst out and gushed into the streets. The wave of beer destroyed two homes and crumbled the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub, trapping the barmaid under the rubble. [3]

The brewery was located among the poor houses and tenements of the St Giles Rookery, where whole families lived in basement rooms that quickly filled with beer. The wave left nine people dead: eight due to drowning and one from alcohol poisoning. [2]

The brewery was eventually taken to court over the accident, but the disaster was ruled to be an Act of God by the judge and jury, leaving no one responsible. The company found it difficult to cope with the financial implications of the disaster, with a significant loss of sales made worse because they had already paid duty on the beer. They made a successful application to Parliament reclaiming the duty which allowed them to continue trading. [4]

The brewery was demolished in 1922, and today, the Dominion Theatre occupies a part of the site of the former brewery.


The 'Today's Tune' for such an event in history has to come from someone experienced in writing and performing quality drinking songs. We don't have to search too hard on this one, do we? From Wilmington, Delaware, USA ... Oohhh George! "If You Don't Start Drinking (I'm Going To Leave)" by George Thorogood And The Destroyers seems a tasty choice.

George Thorogood with David Letterman's band
"If You Don't Start Drinking (I'm Going To Leave)"

For the original music video, click here. It's so much better and funny as hell, but the George Thorogood And The (Delaware) Destroyers YouTube video has the maddening "Embedding disabled by request" blocking option on, dammit!

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