With summer knocking at our door, Joplin’s “Summertime” is probably playing at the back of our heads more often than ever. Was it a friend who recommended Janis Joplin years ago? Or did we stumble upon her when surfing YouTube one humid May afternoon?
It might be either, but once you have listened to her raw, anguished, soul-wrenching voice, you know that not many people can appreciate her music, let alone her life. As for that, let us tell you a few things that may be quite intriguing.
To really understand who Janis was, it is important to look for and establish a connection between yourself and her—a connection that exists beyond her music. Only then can you truly keep going back to her when happy or heartbroken and still find solace, like you did a long time back.
Janis was a young troubled genius and a social misfit who rose to fame in the 60s era of rock and roll music, fueled by her love for whisky and addiction to drugs. But before she became a rockstar, she was a Texas girl who rebelled against fashion that was gendered and that confined women to predetermined standards of the fashion industry. By wearing men’s clothes when she was not more than 14 years old, she practiced individualism unlike anybody her age. Subjected to years of bullying, she resorted to making friends who shared her taste in music, a bunch of boys who were equally enthusiastic about the Beat Generation propagators.
After changing several educational institutes because they failed to offer her what she was seeking, she joined the University of Texas, in Austin to study art. That was also when she started performing. She would often walk around barefoot carrying her autoharp so she could sing anytime she wanted. Her public performances were initially limited to folksongs and local pubs, and gradually shifted to music festivals and cities in other parts of the nation.
Her honesty, opinions, and presence reflected how she personified the growing counterculture. Inspired by legendary artists like Bessie Smith, Lead Belly, and Odetta, Janis oscillated between blues and jazz, and folk music. Over time, she just grew more outspoken and her fondness for Southern Comfort grew more outrageous.
But underneath the person that she appeared to be, she suffered from increasing performance pressure and alienation, which only bottles and bottles of Southern Comfort could help her escape from. In fact, she was so fond of this smooth whisky that when Jim Morrison made violent advances toward her, she didn’t shy away from breaking a bottle of Southern Comfort on his head. Morrison passed out cold and that was the end of what could have been a phenomenal duo in the history of music. Morrison though, remained smitten and a little heartbroken about her.
Another very popular story that goes around about Janis and Southern Comfort is about how she managed to get a lynx coat for drinking whisky. Because she drank Southern Comfort, it boosted sales and she convinced the company managers to thank her with a lynx coat. What Janis did was not exactly advertising SoCo, she drank because she loved drinking, much like the rest of the things that she did.
The last music tour that she went on in 1970, accompanied by David Dalton from Rolling Stone, she emptied the contents of her handbag on the floor of a limousine in an attempt to find her lighter. From his account, we now know that it had movie stubs, pack of cigarettes, an antique cigarette holder, and of course an empty bottle of Southern Comfort!
For most of us who like listening to and exploring music, who find new genre and new artists every day, it becomes a real challenge remembering all of the artists we come across. Few escape our memory with time. But then there are people like Janis Joplin, who come and alter the course of our lives. There’s no going back—one day you wake up and it is not a blasphemy to ask the lord to buy you a “night on the town” or the next round of whisky.
Ok, this is for real. On No Dishes Day on May 18, you can choose to give a miss to the mundane task of washing dirty dishes. Grab life by the collar on this day, show it your disapproving face and sternly say, “Today you cannot boss me around. I’ll do just what I please.” If there’s one thing that all of us can relate to, it is the drudgery of housework. On this day give yourself a break, take a moment, sit back and marvel at what life has to offer. The breakup which made you wiser, the tough manager who increased your coping skills, the fleeting friendships which made you realize the importance of being emotionally independent. Or, in the sheer bliss of not having to do the dishes, you could simply celebrate. Get the entire family together and go out for a good meal in a plush restaurant, or order a takeaway and opt for disposable dishes. In case you plan to host a house party, fetch that dishwasher which was lying in your loft unused. At least, eat things which do not require utensils. Whatever you do, just don’t create dirty dishes which make you stay up late and brood.
“When it comes to whiskey, it seems like nobody can quite get enough of it,” says Becky Paskin, editor of The Spirits Magazine in London. We couldn’t agree more. Indeed, a great whiskey makes one of the best gifts for a whiskey enthusiast. However, what one considers good, may quite possibly be just ordinary to someone else. Hence, naming the best whiskies can be tricky. More so, as every year witnesses the addition of new variants, each claiming to be of an improved quality than the previous version.
Settle Down for Some Fun: 4 Party Games with Whisky
Hosting a party and need ideas for ice-breakers or just good ol’ fun among friends? Look no further— here are four games that will definitely sort you out. What’s more, they entail drinking, so break out that bottle of Jack, and get your party swinging!