Transcript: Tom Standage on "A History of the World in 6 Glasses" | Dec 17, 2005

Tom Standage stands behind a wooden lectern, with a laptop computer open in front of him.
He's in his thirties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a black suit and shirt. He speaks with a British accent.

He says THE CHALLENGE
I FACE WITH THIS BOOK IS
CONVINCING PEOPLE THAT IT'S NOT
JUST SILLY.
I MEAN IT'S QUITE SILLY, I HAVE
MY TONGUE HALF IN MY CHEEK, BUT
THERE IS A SERIOUS POINT TO THIS.

A picture of his book "A history of the world in 6 glasses" appears briefly on screen. On the cover, several letters of the title have been replaced with bottles and glasses of different beverages.

Tom continues SO WHAT I'M GOING TO DO,
TONIGHT, IS TELL YOU WHAT I'M
TRYING TO DO WITH THIS BOOK,
AND I'LL TRY TO GIVE YOU A
FLAVOUR OF IT.
SORT OF A TASTING, IF YOU LIKE,
SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
SO THE TITLE OUGHT TO BE SELF
EXPLANATORY, IT'S
A HISTORY
OF THE WORLD IN 6 GLASSES.
AND YOU CAN SEE, THERE ARE SIX
DRINKS THERE ON THE COVER, AND
THE BASIC IDEA IS THAT DRINKS
ARE A SENSIBLE WAY OF LOOKING
AT HISTORY.
THERE ARE THE USUAL WAY OF
LOOKING AT HISTORY, SORT OF THE
CONVEYOR BELTS OF KINGS AND
QUEENS, OR EMPIRES THAT COME
AND GO, THAT KIND OF THING.
AND I'M SAYING, HOW ABOUT
DRINKING?
THERE USED TO BE THE IDEA OF
THE STONE AGE, THE BRONZE AGE
AND THE IRON AGE, BUT NOW WE
LIVE IN THE SPACE AGE OR THE
COMPUTER AGE, OR SOMETHING LIKE
THAT.
WELL I'M SAYING, NEVER MIND ALL
THAT, LET'S HAVE THE BEER AGE
AND THE WINE AGE AND THE
SPIRITS AGE.
AND THIS MAKES SENSE BECAUSE
EVERYONE HAS TO DRINK, IT'S
SECOND IN IMPORTANCE, ONLY TO
BREATHING, SO IT'S ACTUALLY
MORE IMPORTANT THAN EATING.
AND IF YOU LOOK AT WHO DRINKS
WHAT IN A PARTICULAR SOCIETY,
AND WHERE THEY GET IT FROM, IT
ACTUALLY TELLS YOU A GREAT DEAL
ABOUT THE STRUCTURE OF THAT SOCIETY.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Tom Standage. Author, 'A history of the world in 6 glasses.' Hart House, U of T. May 30, 2005."

Tom continues AND IT TURNS
OUT, WHEN I STARTED LOOKING
INTO THE HISTORY OF DRINKING,
THAT DIFFERENT DRINKS BECAME
POPULAR AT DIFFERENT TIMES, FOR
VERY GOOD REASONS, AND HAVING
BECOME POPULAR, THEY VERY OFTEN
CHANGED THE COURSE OF HISTORY.
AND YEAH, THAT
SOUNDS -- IT'S LIKE, YEAH,
RIGHT, SURE THEY DID.
WELL THEY DID, AND I'M GOING TO
GIVE YOU SOME EXAMPLES.
[Audience Laughter]
AND I HOPE THAT I CONVINCE YOU
AND THAT YOU CAN SEE THAT...
WELL IT SOUNDS SILLY, DOESN'T
IT, BUT I'M SERIOUS ABOUT IT.
OKAY, SO HERE'S AN EXAMPLE,
BEER.
SO BEER IS THE FIRST OF MY
DRINKS IN MY CHRONOLOGY.
SO THE AGE OF BEER, FOR ME,
GOES FROM ABOUT 8,000 BC TO 800
BC.
WHAT HAPPENS AROUND 8,000 BC,
IS THAT PEOPLE ARE HUNTER
GATHERERS UP UNTIL, YOU KNOW A
BIT BEFORE THAT, AND THEY START
GATHERING WILD BARLEY.
AND THEY NOTICE THE COOL THING
ABOUT WILD BARLEY IS YOU CAN,
IF YOU KEEP IT DRY, YOU CAN
HAVE IT SITTING AROUND FOR A
FEW MONTHS.
AND THEN, IF YOU HAVEN'T GOT
ANY FOOD ONE DAY, YOU'VE GONE
OUT TO KILL AN ELK OR
SOMETHING, AND THERE WERE NO
ELK LEFT, YOU CAN EAT THE
BARLEY.
AND THIS IS REALLY COOL.
AND PEOPLE START GOING, WELL
MAYBE WE SHOULD START PUTTING
THIS BARLEY ASIDE.
AND IN FACT SOMEONE DID AN
EXPERIMENT WILD BARLEY EVERY
DAY FOR TWO WEEKS, THEY COULD
ACTUALLY GET A YEAR'S SUPPLY.
AND SO YOU CAN SEE IT MAKES
SENSE.
YOU CAN ENSURE YOURSELF AGAINST
FUTURE FOOD SHORTAGES, AND THIS
IS WHAT PEOPLE STARTED TO DO.
THE TROUBLE IS, YOU'VE GOT A
YEAR'S SUPPLY OF BARLEY, YOU
CAN'T GO ANYWHERE, BECAUSE IT'S
QUITE BIG AND YOU NEED TO GUARD
IT.
SO THEN YOU START SETTLING DOWN
INTO A VILLAGE AND SO ON.
ANYWAY, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS.
ONE OF THE WEIRD THING THAT
HAPPENS IS THAT WHEN WATER GETS
INTO THIS WATER STORE, SOME OF
IT TURNS INTO BEER.
ALSO IF YOU MAKE A GRUEL OUT OF
BARLEY AND LEAVE IT LYING
AROUND, THEN THAT TURNS INTO
BEER AS WELL.
AND SO PEOPLE FIGURED OUT ABOUT
BEER AROUND 8,000 BC.
WE DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHEN,
BECAUSE THERE'S NO POTTERY AT
THAT POINT, AND SO IT'S VERY,
VERY HARD TO FIND ANYTHING TO
DATE, AND THERE'S VERY LITTLE
ORGANIC EVIDENCE.
BUT ANYWAY, THEN THERE'S THIS
SORT OF RATCHET EFFECT.
IF YOU BECOME MORE RELIANT ON
AGRICULTURE, YOU START TO FARM
THE BARLEY TO ENSURE YOUR BEER
SUPPLY, THEN YOU-- THE MORE YOU
DO THAT, THE LESS YOU CAN GO
BACK TO THE HUNTER-GATHERER
LIFESTYLE, BECAUSE NOW YOU'VE
YOU KNOW, BUILT THE GRANARY AND
YOU'VE GOT THE MUD HUTS, AND
YOU'VE GOT THE BIG STONES FOR
GRINDING UP THE BARLEY TO MAKE
THE BEER, AND IT'S QUITE
DIFFICULT TO MOVE THEM AROUND.
SO YOU START TO GET THESE BIG
VILLAGES, AND THEY GET BIGGER
AND YOU GET CITIES.
AND WHAT STARTS TO HAPPEN IS
THAT THE-- YOU HAVE COMMUNAL
STORES OF BARLEY AND YOU
ACTUALLY GET THEM IN THE
NEOLITHIC VILLAGES AROUND, SORT
OF 6,000 BC.
THEY'RE MUCH BIGGER THAN ANY
SINGLE FAMILY WOULD HAVE
NEEDED.
SO WHAT'S HAPPENING IS THE
SURPLUS BARLEY IS BEING PAID
INTO THIS VILLAGE STOREHOUSE,
WHICH QUICKLY BECOMES A TEMPLE,
AND THE PRIEST WHO'S RUNNING IT
JUSTIFIES THIS ON SOME SORT OF
RELIGIOUS GROUNDS.
BEER WAS THOUGHT TO BE MAGICAL
ANYWAY, BECAUSE IT GOT YOU
DRUNK, AND WATER DIDN'T, SO
THERE WAS OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING
MAGICAL ABOUT IT.
AND DO THE UPSHOT OF ALL OF
THIS WAS THE RISE OF THE FIRST
CIVILISATIONS AND THE FIRST
CITIES IN MESOPOTAMIA AND EGYPT
ABOUT SORT OF, 4,000, 3,500 BC
AND THE OTHER THING THAT
HAPPENS AROUND THAT TIME IS
WRITING.
SO HERE IS AN EARLY EXAMPLE OF WRITING.

A picture shows an ancient clay tablet with markings.

Tom continues THIS IS A LITTLE CUNEIFORM CLAY
TABLET FROM AROUND 3,400, 3,200
BC, IT'S KIND OF THE ORIGINAL
PALM PILOT, BECAUSE IN THOSE
DAYS YOU WERE WRITING ON CLAY,
SO IT HAD TO BE A SMALL PIECE,
WITH A LITTLE STYLUS, IT WAS
JUST LIKE A PALM PILOT.
ANYWAY, SO THIS WAS ONE OF THE
EARLIEST EXAMPLES OF WRITING,
AND IF YOU LOOK ALL OVER THIS
THING, YOU WILL SEE THE
FAMILIAR SHAPE OF A BEER JAR.
IF YOU LOOK AT THE SYMBOLS ON
THE BOTTOM, THE LEFTMOST ONE IS
A BEER JAR, AND YOU ACTUALLY
SEE IT IN MOST OF THESE LITTLE
ENTRIES HERE.
AND THAT IS BECAUSE THIS IS A
TABLET RECORDING THE ALLOCATION
OF A BEER RATION.
AND WRITING WAS IN FACT
INVENTED ORIGINALLY TO KEEP
TRACK OF RATIONS OF WHO HAD
PAID WHAT, IN AND OUT OF THESE
COMMUNAL STORE HOUSES, AND
MAINLY THAT INVOLVED BARLEY,
AND ITS EDIBLE AND DRINKABLE
FORMS, BREAD AND BEER.
AND ONE OF THE THINGS YOU CAN
DO IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THESE BIG
STORE HOUSES, AND YOU HAD ALL
OF THE SURPLUS GRAIN, AND YOU
WERE THE GOVERNMENT, YOU COULD
THEN SAY, WE'RE GOING TO BUILD
A PYRAMID OVER HERE, PLEASE.
AND YOU AND YOU AND YOU WILL
BUILD IT, AND WE WILL PAY YOU
FOR YOUR TROUBLE.
AND WE WILL PAY YOU IN BREAD
AND BEER, BECAUSE THAT WAS ALSO
THE CURRENCY.
SO THAT GUYS WHO BUILT THE
PYRAMIDS GOT FOUR LOAVES OF
BREAD AND EIGHT PINTS OF BEER A
DAY.
AND WE KNOW THIS BECAUSE WE
FOUND THE RECORDS.
THEY LOOK A LOT LIKE THIS, ONLY
THEY'RE THE EGYPTIAN VERSION OF
THIS.
AND SO ALL THE OLD THEORIES
ABOUT HOW THE PYRAMIDS WERE
BUILT BY SLAVES, TURN OUT TO BE
WRONG.
AND ANYWAY, THE UPSHOT OF ALL
OF THIS IS THAT BEER AND
WRITING AND CIVILISATION AND
CITIES ARE ALL SORT OF BOUND UP
TOGETHER.
THEY ALL GO TOGETHER.
THEY'RE ALL SIBLINGS, AND
THEY'RE ALL OFFSPRING OF THE
SURPLUS OF GRAIN WHICH LED TO
CIVILISATION IN THE FIRST
PLACE.
SO BEER IS RIGHT THERE AT THE
CREATION.
IF YOU LOOK AT THE-- JUST TO
FINISH THIS THOUGHT, IF YOU
LOOK AT THE SYMBOLS ON THE
BOTTOM ARE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE
SYMBOL FOR BEER.
SO IT STARTS OFF BEING A
PICTORIAL REPRESENTATION OF A
POT, THEN IT FLIPS ON ITS SIDE,
AND THEN, AS YOU SEE, IT
GRADUALLY BECOMES MORE ABSTRACT
UNTIL IT'S JUST TWO LINES.
NOW THE FACT THAT IT'S TWO
LINES TELLS YOU SOMETHING,
BECAUSE TWO LINES IS QUITE EASY
TO DRAW, AND YOU DON'T USE AN
EASY TO DRAW SYMBOL FOR
SOMETHING YOU DON'T WRITE VERY
OFTEN.
SO THIS WAS OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING
YOU NEEDED TO BE ABLE TO WRITE
QUITE A LOT, AND IF YOU GO TO
ORIGINS OF WRITING DISPLAY
CASES IN MUSEUMS, THEY'RE
USUALLY FULL OF DICTIONARIES OF
BREWING TERMS WRITTEN IN
ACADIAN AND SUMERIANS AND
THINGS LIKE THIS.
THERE WAS A LOT OF BEER AROUND
OKAY, SO THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF
HOW A DRINK CORRESPONDS WITH A
HISTORICAL TREND, IN THIS CASE,
THE ORIGIN AND THE EMERGENCY OF
CIVILISATION IN THE ANCIENT
NEAR EAST, BETWEEN 4,000 AND
3,000 BC, AND EVERYONE IN THOSE
CULTURES DRANK BEER, EVEN
INCLUDING THE CHILDREN, FROM
THE PHARAOH DOWN TO THE
CHILDREN, EVERYBODY DRANK BEER.
IN FACT MOTHERS WERE ADVISED TO
SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL
WITH TWO LITTLE POTS OF BEER A DAY.
SO THAT'S THE
KIND OF THINK I'M DOING IN THIS
BOOK.
AND JUST TO GIVE YOU A FLAVOUR
OF A FEW OTHER THINGS.
NOW BEER WAS CIVILISATION.
NOW IN THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH,
WHICH IS THE OLDEST SURVIVING
GREAT WORK OF LITERATURE,
ENKIDU, WHO IS A WILD MAN, IS
BROUGHT OUT OF-- AND HE SORT OF
REPRESENTS THE PRE CIVILISED
HUNTER-GATHERER PERSON.
HE'S BROUGHT
OUT OF THE WILDS, AND HE'S
PREPARED TO GO INTO THE CITIES.
AND THE MESOPOTAMIANS WERE VERY
PROUD OF THEIR CITIES, BECAUSE
THEY WERE THE FIRST IN THE
WORLD, AND THIS IS HOW THE BIT
OF THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH GOES.
"THEY PLACED FOOD IN FRONT OF
HIM,
THEY PLACED BEER IN FRONT OF
HIM;
ENKIDU KNEW NOTHING ABOUT
EATING BREAD FOR FOOD,
AND OF DRINKING BEER HE HAD NOT
BEEN TAUGHT.
THE YOUNG WOMAN SPOKE TO
ENKIDU, SAYING:
"EAT THE FOOD, ENKIDU, DRINK
THE BEER, AS IS THE CUSTOM OF
THE LAND."
ENKIDU ATE THE FOOD, HE DRANK
THE BEER-SEVEN JUGS!
AND BECAME EXPANSIVE AND SANG
WITH JOY!

[Audience Laughter]

Tom continues HE WAS ELATED AND HIS FACE GLOWED.
HE SPLASHED HIS SHAGGY BODY
WITH WATER,
AND RUBBED HIMSELF WITH OIL,
AND TURNED INTO A HUMAN.
AND THIS WAS BECAUSE, FOR THE
MESOPOTAMIANS, DRINKING BEER
WAS WHAT DISTINGUISHED THEM
FROM THE PEOPLE WHO HAD COME
BEFORE.
THEY HADN'T HAD CITIES, THEY
HADN'T HAD BEER, THEY HADN'T
HAD BREAD, THEY DIDN'T HAVE
WRITING.
THE MESOPOTAMIANS WERE VERY
COOL, AND THEY KNEW IT.
AND IN FACT, THE WAY THEY WRITE
ABOUT CITIES IN THE EPIC OF
GILGAMESH IS KIND OF LIKE
PEOPLE WRITE ABOUT THE INTERNET
TODAY.
THEY SAY, HEY, ISN'T IT COOL,
YOU CAN GO ONTO GOOGLE AND YOU
CAN GET THE ANSWER TO ANY
QUESTION IN THE WORLD, AND
YEAH, WITH JUST A FEW CLICKS.
AND WHAT WE'RE REALLY SAYING
IS, ISN'T IT COOL THAT WE LIVE
IN A TIME WHEN YOU CAN DO THAT?
I MEAN, 20 YEARS AGO, YOU HAD
TO GO TO A LIBRARY, AND THAT
REALLY SUCKED.
SO THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE SAYING,
THEY'RE SAYING, ISN'T IT GREAT
THAT WE LIVE IN A TIME WHEN YOU
HAD BEER, AND THAT SHOWED THAT
YOU WERE CIVILISED.
AND THE OTHER THING WAS THE
BEER ACTUALLY ENABLED THE
CITIES TO FUNCTION, BECAUSE IT
WAS SAFER THAN THE WATER, WHICH
BECAME CONTAMINATED EVEN IN A
SMALL VILLAGE, SO BEER ENABLED
CITIES TO GET BIGGER.
AND AS I SAY, WORKERS WHO BUILT
THE PYRAMIDS, WERE PAID IN
BEER.
SO THAT GIVES YOU AND IDEA
ABOUT BEER.
SO NOW WE'RE GOING TO MOVE ONTO
WINE, WHICH IS THE SECOND OF MY
DRINKS.
AND IN PARTICULAR, I'M GOING TO
TELL YOU ABOUT WINE AND ITS
RELATIONSHIP TO GREEK
PHILOSOPHY.
THE GREEKS WERE VERY, VERY KEEN
ON WINE.
AND FOR THEM, ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT DISTINGUISHED THEM FROM
THE PEOPLE WHO COME BEFORE
THEM, THE EGYPTIANS AND THE
MESOPOTAMIANS, WAS THAT IN
THOSE PREVIOUS CULTURES, VERY
FEW PEOPLE HAD ACCESS TO WINE,
IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE.
TI HAD TO COME ALL THE WAY FROM
THE MOUNTAINS OF IRAN.
IT WAS VERY DIFFICULT TO MAKE
IN MESOPOTAMIA OR EGYPT.
IN GREECE, HOWEVER, IT WAS THE
PERFECT CONDITIONS FOR MAKING
WINE AND SO EVERYONE MADE WINE,
AND EVEN THE SLAVES HAD IT.
IT WAS SO ABUNDANT THAT EVEN
THE SLAVES COULD DRINK IT.
AND THIS SHOWED THAT THE GREEKS
WERE MORE CIVILISED THAN THE
PEOPLE WHO ONLY DRANK BEER, WHO
WERE OBVIOUSLY BARBARIANS.
ANYWAY, IN PARTICULAR, PLATO
WAS VERY -- HE TALKS A LOT
ABOUT WINE, HE USES A LOT OF
WINE ANALOGIES.
THE IMPORTANT THING FOR THE
GREEKS WAS, YOU NEEDED TO DRINK
WINE IN THE CORRECT MANNER.
SO IF YOU JUST DRANK IT THE WAY
WE DRINK IT NOW, UNDILUTED,
THEN YOU WERE JUST AS BAD AS A
BARBARIAN, WHEREAS IF YOU MIXED
IT WITH WATER, THAT WAS HOW THE
GODS MEANT YOU TO DO IT.
AND THEY USED TO HAVE THESE
SYMPOSIA, THESE SORT OF PARTIES
WHERE THEY'D ALL DRINK WINE
TOGETHER, IT WOULD ALL BE MIXED
WITH WATER IN THE MIDDLE,
THEY'D ALL DRINK HALF OF THIS
SHARED VESSEL, AND THE AIM WAS
TO GET JUST DRUNK ENOUGH, BUT
NOT TOO DRUNK.
AND THERE WAS SOMEBODY'S JOB TO
GET YOU JUST DRUNK ENOUGH BUT
NOT TOO DRUNK, AND HE WAS THE
SYMPOSIARC, AND THIS BEING
GREECE, HE WAS ACTUALLY ELECTED
BY THE OTHER PEOPLE AT THE
PARTY, AND THEY WOULD THEN ALL
SIT AROUND AND EXCHANGE
WITTICISMS AND DISCUSS POLITICS
AND POETRY AND THIS, IN FACT
SURVIVES AS THE MODERN ACADEMIC
SYMPOSIUM.
THE ACADEMIC SYMPOSIUM, THERE
ARE RULES, YOU CAN'T JUST SAY
TO SOMEONE, THAT'S BULLSHIT,
YOU'RE A LIAR I'M AFRAID,
BECAUSE IN ACADEMICS, IT'S
RATHER LIKE IN POLITICS, THERE
ARE RULES ABOUT YOU KNOW, IT'S
SIMPLY NOT DONE TO SAY THAT.
AND THIS IS ALL A HANGOVER FROM
THE SYMPOSIUM, WHERE YOU HAD
THIS SORT OF FRIENDLY BANTERING
AND COMPETITION WITHIN STRICTLY
DEFINED RULES, AND THAT IS, IN
FACT, WHAT THE GREEKS GAVE US.
WESTERN CULTURE IS ALL BASED ON
ORDERLY COMPETITION, AND THAT'S
WHAT THE GREEKS WERE REALLY
INTO.
THEY LIKED ATHLETICS, IN THE
POLITICAL SPHERE, ORDERLY
COMPETITION IS DEMOCRACY, IN
SCIENCE, ORDERLY COMPETITION IS
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD, YOU HAVE
COMPETITIONS BETWEEN THEORIES,
IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM, IT'S
ORDERLY COMPETITION BETWEEN
ADVOCATES.
AND THE SYMPOSIUM WAS AN
ORDERLY COMPETITION TO SEE WHO
COULD MAKE THE FUNNIEST JOKES
WHILE DRINKING THE WINE.
AND SO THE SYMPOSIUM, THE
XENOPHON SYMPOSIUM THAT'S
PLATO'S SYMPOSIUM.
THESE ARE-- IT'S A FORMAT FOR
PHILOSOPHICAL DIALOGUE, AND IN
FACT THIS IS HOW PLATO TAUGHT,
HE THOUGHT THE SYMPOSIUM WAS
THE BEST WAY TO TEACH THINGS,
AND SOCRATES IS DEPICTED IN
PLATO AS THE IDEAL DRINKER.
HE DRINKS ALL NIGHT, HE MAKES
THE FUNNIEST JOKES AND IN THE
MORNING, EVERYONE ELSE HAS GOT
A HANGOVER BUT HE HASN'T.
AND THAT'S, AS FAR AS THE
GREEKS WERE CONCERNED THAT WAS
THE IDEAL.
SOCRATES WAS PERFECT.
ANYWAY, A FEW OTHER THINGS TO
DO WITH WINE.
WINE WAS SOPHISTICATION.
IT WAS BETTER THAN BEER, AND
THE BEER DRINKERS WERE
BARBARIANS.
WINE IS STILL THE KING OF
DRINKS TODAY, AND THE DRINK OF
KINGS.
WHEN YOU HAVE A STATE BANQUET,
WHAT DO THEY DRINK?
THEY DRINK WINE, AND IT'S
BECAUSE THIS IDEA THAT WINE IS
THE MOST SOPHISTICATED DRINK IS
A HANGOVER FROM WAY, WAY BACK,
400 OR 500 BC.
WINE, LATER ON, WAS ADOPTED BY
THE ROMANS, LIKE SO MANY OTHER
GREEK THINGS, AND IT GAVE THEM
A GREAT MILITARY ADVANTAGE.
AND THEY ISSUED WINE TO ALL THE
SOLDIERS AND THEY MIXED IT WITH
WATER, AND IT PURIFIED THE
WATER.
SO IF YOU WERE BESIEGING A
TOWN, AND YOU HAD WINE AND THEY
DIDN'T, THEN YOU WOULD WIN.
AND CHRIST'S FIRST MIRACLE
INVOLVED WINE, THE TURNING OF
WATER INTO WINE AT CAANAN, AND
IT WAS ALSO HIS LAST DRINK.
IT'S USUALLY TRANSLATED AS
VINEGAR IN THE BIBLE, BUT IN
FACT IT WAS A DISGUSTING KIND
OF WINE, GIVEN TO SOLDIERS,
CALLED POSCA, AND IT WAS WINE
THAT HAD GONE OFF.
AND A SOLDIER DIPPED SOME IN A
SPONGE, AND SOMEONE GAVE IT TO
CHRIST ON THE CROSS.
SO
INTERESTINGLY, OF COURSE, THE
PART OF THE WORLD WHERE WINE
CAME FROM, WHICH THEN WAS THE
SEAT OF ISLAM, WINE WAS THEN
BANNED BECAUSE THE MUSLIMS
DIDN'T APPROVE OF IT.
AND IN PART, WHAT THEY WERE NOT
APPROVING OF WERE THE OLD
NOTIONS OF SOPHISTICATION.
THEY THOUGHT IT WASN'T
IMPORTANT TO BE SOPHISTICATED,
IT WAS IMPORTANT TO BE DEVOUT.
AND THAT'S WHY
THE MUSLIMS DON'T DRINK WINE,
BUT THE CHRISTIANS DO.
ALL RIGHT, NOW, WE'RE ONTO
SPIRITS WHICH IS THE NEXT
DRINK.
THE TROUBLE WITH BEER AND WINE
IS, IF YOU TAKE THEM ALONG ON A
SEA VOYAGE, THEY GO OFF.
AND IF YOU'RE GOING ON LONG SEA
VOYAGES ACROSS THE ATLANTIC,
THIS IS BAD.
SO YOU NEED SOMETHING THAT'S A
BIT MORE HARDY, AND THE THING
THAT WAS HARDIER WAS DISTILLED
SPIRITS.
HANDILY INVENTED BY THE ARABS.
THEY COULDN'T DRINK IT
THEMSELVES, BUT ONCE THE
EUROPEANS FOUNT OUT ABOUT IT BY
TRANSLATING THE ARAB TEXTS,
THEY FIGURED OUT THAT THEY
COULD DO THIS.
SO THEN YOU GET BRANDY, AND
LATER ON YOU GET RUM.
AND THIS LEADS TO ALL KINDS OF
GEOPOLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS.
THE AFRICAN-- THE WEST AFRICAN
SLAVE TRADERS FROM WHOM THE
EUROPEANS STARTED BUYING SLAVES
IN THE 15th CENTURY, DID NOT
HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY OF
DISTILLATION, AND THE THING
THAT THEY WANTED MORE THAN
ANYTHING ELSE, WHEN THEY WERE
SELLING SLAVES, WAS STRONG
ALCOHOL.
AND SO INITIALLY BRANDY WAS
USED AND THEN RUM WAS USED.
AND RUM HAS THIS HELPFUL
PROPERTY, FROM THE POINT OF
VIEW OF SLAVE TRADERS, THAT IT
IS MADE FROM THE LEFTOVERS OF
SUGAR PRODUCTION.
AND THE SLAVES WERE, OF COURSE
BEING TAKEN TO THE WEST INDIES
TO MAKE SUGAR.
SO THE SLAVES GO FROM WEST
AFRICA OUT INTO THE WEST
INDIES.
THE SUGAR THEY'RE FORCED TO
MAKE, GOES TO WESTERN EUROPE,
AND THE LEFTOVERS IS MADE INTO
RUM WHICH THEN GOES BACK TO
AFRICA AND IS USED TO BUY MORE
SLAVES.
SO YOU'VE GOT THESE TWO
TRIANGLES, AND IT'S CALLED THE
TRIANGULAR TRADE.
AND THIS IS ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT HAPPENS DUE TO RUM.
IN FACT, IN BOSTON, THEY USED
TO MAKE SPECIAL EXTRA STRONG
RUMS, BECAUSE THE STRONGER YOU
MADE IT, THE MORE CURRENCY YOU
WERE, IN FACT, SPITTING INTO A
SMALLER SPACE, INTO A BARREL OF
RUM.
AND SO JUST TO GIVE YOU AN
EXAMPLE, IF YOU WERE A SLAVE
TRADER, THIS WAS CALLED BIZEE
OR DASHEE IN THE PIDGIN SPOKEN
ON THE WEST AFRICAN COAST.
AND SO, ACCORDING TO ONE
OBSERVER OF THE AFRICAN SLAVE
TRADE, AFRICAN SLAVE TRADERS
NEVER CARE TO TREAT WITH DRY
LIPS, SO THE FIRST THING YOU
DID WAS GET THEM AS DRUNK AS
YOU COULD, AND THEN YOU'D GET
THE BEST PRICE.
HE THAT INTENDS TO TRADE HERE
MUST HUMOUR THEM.
IN OTHER WORDS, YOU MUST GIVE
THEM HUGE AMOUNTS OF THIS
ALCOHOL.
SO THAT'S ONE OF THE WAYS THAT
RUM CONNECTS WITH HISTORY.
THE OTHERS ARE, THAT ACTUALLY
RUM HAS AS MUCH TO DO WITH
AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE AS TEA
DOES.
ALTHOUGH THE BOSTON TEA PARTY
WAS THE POINT AT WHICH, YOU
KNOW, THE AMERICAN WAR OF
INDEPENDENCE BEGAN, THE DISPUTE
ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT LONDON
COULD TAX THE AMERICAN COLONIES
GOES ALL THE WAY BACK TO
DISPUTES OVER THE TAXING OF
MOLASSES.
AND BECAUSE THE NEW ENGLAND
ECONOMY, 80 percent OF IT WAS MAKING
RUM, THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT'S
PLANS TO TAX THIS DID NOT GO
DOWN TERRIBLY WELL.
AND THAT'S WHEN THE FIRST CRIES
OF NO TAXATION WITHOUT
REPRESENTATION APPEARED.
SO IN FACT LATER ON, AFTER THE
INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED
STATES, JOHN ADAMS SAID, I KNOW
NOT WHY WE SHOULD BLUSH TO
CONFESS THAT MOLASSES WAS AN
ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT IN
AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE, SO THERE
YOU GO.
AND THEN FINALLY THE SMALL
MATTER OF DEFEATING NAPOLEON.
THE BRITISH NAVY WAS VERY KEEN
ON RUM, AND THE TROUBLE WAS
THAT WITH ALL THE SOLDIERS
DRINKING THAT MUCH, THEY GOT
DRUNK AND THEY SORT OF FELL OUT
OF THE RIGGING AND THINGS, SO
THEY CAME UP WITH THIS
BRILLIANT PLAN TO MIX IT WITH
WATER, WHICH OF COURSE, THE
AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL CONSUMED
REMAINS THE SAME, IT JUST TAKES
A LITTLE LONGER TO GET DOWN
YOUR THROAT.
ANYWAY, THEY MIXED THE RUM WITH
WATER, AND THEY ALSO PUT IN A
BIT OF SUGAR AND LIME JUICE TO
MAKE IT A BIT MORE PALATABLE,
AND THE RESULT WAS CALLED GROG,
AND IT WAS ARGUABLY ONE OF THE
FIRST COCKTAILS.
AND IT WAS PRETTY HORRIBLE,
ACTUALLY, BUT NEVER MIND.
AND THE HELPFUL THING ABOUT ALL
THIS, IS THAT THE LIME JUICE,
WHICH IS WHAT GIVES THE BRITISH
SOLDIERS THEIR NICKNAME OF
LIMEY, THE LIME JUICE IS VERY
EFFECTIVE AGAINST SCURVY, AND
THIS MEANT THAT BECAUSE THE
BRITISH NAVY WAS DRINKING THIS
AND THE FRENCH WEREN'T THAT WE
WON AT TRAFALGAR.

[Audience Laughter]

Tom continues IN FACT AFTER RUM WAS MADE--
GROG WAS MADE COMPULSORY IN
1795, BY THE ADMIRALTY, THE
EFFECTIVENESS OF THE BRITISH
NAVY, ACCORDING TO THE CHIEF
SURGEON OF THE BRITISH NAVY,
THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE
BRITISH NAVY DOUBLED, AND THE
FRENCH, THEY HAD BIG PROBLEMS
WITH SCURVY RIGHT UP TO
TRAFALGAR, AND THEY THEN LOST,
AFTER WHICH NAPOLEON WAS ON A
STICKY WICKET AS WE LIKE TO
SAY.
OKAY, NOW WE'RE UP TO THE
CAFFEINATED DRINKS, AND THE
COFFEE HOUSE INTERNET AS I CALL
IT.
COFFEE WAS THE FIRST NON-
ALCOHOLIC ALTERNATIVE TO WATER.
AND IT AND TEA ARRIVED IN
EUROPE AT THE SAME TIME, BUT
COFFEE HADN'T COME QUITE SO
FAR, SO IT'S NOT QUITE SO
EXPENSIVE.
AND THIS WAS AMAZING, BECAUSE
PEOPLE IN EUROPE HAD BEEN
DRINKING ALCOHOL FOR BREAKFAST,
IN FACT ALL DAY, FOR CENTURIES.
AND SO SUDDENLY HERE WAS AN
ALTERNATIVE.
AND THERE WAS A GREAT POEM,
PUBLISHED IN 1674, BY WHICH
TIME COFFEE WAS HUGELY POPULAR
IN LONDON, THERE WERE SO MANY
COFFEE HOUSES, IT LOOKED RATHER
LIKE LONDON DOES TODAY IN FACT.
ACCORDING TO ONE CENSUS, THERE
WERE 3,000 OF THESE THINGS IN
LONDON IN 1700, AT WHICH POINT
THE POPULATION OF LONDON WAS
ABOUT 600,000 SO THAT'S A
COFFEE HOUSE FOR EVERY 200
PEOPLE.
I THINK THAT'S PROBABLY AN
OVERESTIMATE, BUT IT'S VERY
PLAUSIBLE IF YOU LOOK AT LONDON
TODAY.
ANYWAY, WINE WAS DENOUNCED AS
THE SWEET POISON OF THE
TREACHEROUS GRAPE, THAT DROWNS
OUR REASON, AND BEER WAS
CONDEMNED AS FOGGY ALE THAT
BESIEGES OUR BRAINS.
WHEREAS COFFEE WAS A GRAVE AND
WHOLESOME LIQUOR THAT MAKES THE
GENIUS QUICKER.
SO UM, IN OTHER WORDS, EUROPE
WOKE UP.

[Audience Laughter]

Tom continues AND NUMBER OF THINGS FOLLOWED
IMMEDIATELY.
THE COFFEE
THAT WAS SERVED IN COFFEE
HOUSES, IN FACT, IT WAS TAXED
LIKE BEER, IT WAS DISGUSTING.
IT HAD TO BE MIXED UP BY THE
GALLON IN BIG BARRELS AND THEN
IT WOULD BE HEATED UP WHEN YOU
ASKED FOR IT.
AND OF COURSE, THEY DIDN'T WANT
TO HEAT IT UP WHEN YOU ASKED
FOR IT, SO THEY'D KEEP IT ON
THE BOILER ALL THE TIME.
SO YOU KNOW
HOW, IN AN OFFICE, IF SOMEBODY
LEAVES THE COFFEE ON THE COFFEE
POT FOR LIKE, THREE DAYS, AND
THE WHOLE OFFICE STARTS TO
SMELL OF MARMITE, AND THERE'S
THIS KIND OF BROWN SLUDGE, WELL
THAT'S PROBABLY WHAT COFFEE WAS
LIKE IN THE 1650s.
ANYWAY, ALL THE PEOPLE CROWDING
INTO THESE COFFEE HOUSES AND
TALKING ABOUT THINGS, LED TO A
HUGE FLOURISHING OF INNOVATION.
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT CAME OUT
OF IT WAS THE SCIENTIFIC
REVOLUTION.
SCIENTISTS WOULD MEET IN COFFEE
HOUSES AND DISCUSS THEORIES.
THE FINANCIAL REVOLUTION IN
LONDON CAME OUT OF COFFEE
HOUSES, SO THE LONDON STOCK
EXCHANGE BEGAN IN A COFFEE
HOUSE CALLED JONATHANS.
THERE WAS ANOTHER COFFEE HOUSE
CALLED LLOYD'S THAT YOU MIGHT
HAVE HEARD OF, AND THIS IS
WHERE THE SHIP CAPTAINS USED TO
MEET.
AND THEY WOULD SAY WHICH SHIPS
HAD SAILED AND WHICH HAD SUNK
AND WHICH HAD ACTUALLY SHOWED
UP IN ANOTHER PORT ALTOGETHER,
AND THIS IS WHERE THE INSURERS
WOULD GO TO LISTEN OUT WHAT WAS
HAPPENING AND THIS BECAME
LLOYD'S OF LONDON, THE
INSURANCE FIRM.
PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT
THING THAT CAME OUT OF-- WELL
ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE
THINGS THAT CAME OUT OF COFFEE
HOUSES, WAS THE FRENCH
REVOLUTION.

[Audience Laughter]

Tom continues IN PARIS, YOU COULD-- EVEN
THOUGH THE COFFEE HOUSES WERE
PACKED WITH SPIES, PEOPLE WOULD
GO AND TALK REVOLUTIONARY
THOUGHTS, AND IN FACT I'VE GOT
A QUOTE HERE, AND THIS WAS THAT
AN ENGLISH VISITOR TO PARIS IN
JULY 1789, JUST BEFORE THE
REVOLUTION, SAID, "COFFEE
HOUSES ARE NOT ONLY CROWDED
WITHIN, BUT OTHER EXPECTANT
CROWDS ARE AT THE DOORS AND
WINDOWS LISTENING
A GORGE
DEPLOYEE,
AND I DON'T
NEED TO TRANSLATE THAT HERE, TO
CERTAIN ORATORS WHO, FROM
CHAIRS OR TABLES HARANGUED EACH
HIS LITTLE AUDIENCE.
THE EAGERNESS WITH WHICH THEY
WERE HEARD AND THE THUNDER OF
APPLAUSE THEY RECEIVED FOR
EVERY SENTIMENT OF MORE THAN
COMMON HARDNESS OR VIOLENCE
AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, CANNOT
EASILY BE IMAGINED."
SO COFFEE HOUSES WERE, IN
ACADEMIC SPEAK, THEY MEDIATED
BETWEEN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE
SPHERES OF DISCOURSE.

[Audience Laughter]

Tom continues I HAD TO READ A LOT OF
ACADEMICS, IF ONLY MORE
ACADEMICS SPOKE LIKE LAURA,
BECAUSE SO MUCH ACADEMIC SPEAK
IS JUST, LET'S FIND THE LONGEST
WORDS WE POSSIBLY CAN TO SAY
SOMETHING REALLY OBVIOUS.
OKAY, SO COFFEE HOUSES WERE
PUBLIC SPACES BECAUSE ANYONE
COULD GO INTO THEM BUT THEY
WERE KIND OF RESEMBLED A
PRIVATE SPACE SO PEOPLE WERE
LESS GUARDED AND THEY HAD THE
KIND OF PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS
THEY WOULD HAVE.
AND THIS LED TO -- THEY WERE
FAR MORE LIKELY TO HAVE RADICAL
POLITICAL VIEWS AND EXPRESS
THEM, THAN THEY OTHERWISE WOULD
HAVE DONE.
AND SO THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
ACTUALLY STARTS AT THE CAFE DU
FOY, WHEN CAMILLE DESMOULINS
GETS UP ON THE TABLE AND SAYS,
AUX ARMES CITOYENS
AND
OFF THEY GO AND THE BASTILLE
FALLS TWO DAYS LATER.
SO THERE YOU GO.
REVOLUTION IN A CUP.
SIR ISAAC NEWTON WROTE
PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA WHICH
INCLUDES THE THEORY OF
GRAVITATION, TO SETTLE AN
ARGUMENT IN A LONDON COFFEE
HOUSE.
AND THIS WAS BETWEEN HALLE AND
CHRISTOPHER WREN, AND THEY WERE
ARGUING ABOUT THE THEORY OF
GRAVITATION, AND TO SHUT THEM
UP, ISAAC NEWTON WROTE THE
GREATEST BOOK IN THE HISTORY OF
SCIENCE.

[Audience Laughter]

Tom continues SO AS I SAID, LLOYDS OF LONDON,
AND THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE
STARTED AT COFFEE HOUSES, AND
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION AS WELL.
OKAY, TEA, A DRINK THAT I'M
SUPPOSED TO DRINK A LOT OF, AND
ACTUALLY I DON'T REALLY LIKE
VERY MUCH.
WELL I DRINK SOME OF IT IN THE
WINTER, BUT UM, TEA WAS A
VERSION OF COFFEE, IF YOU LIKE,
THAT WAS MORE WIDELY
ACCESSIBLE.
WOMEN WEREN'T ALLOWED IN COFFEE
HOUSES.
THEY WERE PLACES OF COMMERCE,
AND OF COURSE WOMEN WEREN'T
ALLOWED IN COMMERCE EITHER.
BUT THEY WERE ALLOWED TO HAVE
GENTILE TEA PARTIES, LIKE THIS
ONE HERE AT HOME.
AND THEY WERE ALSO ALLOWED TO
GO INTO THE TEA SHOPS THAT
SPRUNG UP NEXT TO THE COFFEE
HOUSES, TO SELL THEM THE TEA.
THEY HAD TO GO AND BUY THE TEA
THEMSELVES, BECAUSE TEA, AT
THIS TIME, WAS SO EXPENSIVE,
THEY COULDN'T RELY ON THEIR
SERVANTS TO BUY IT.
IF THEY SENT THEM AWAY WITH
ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY A WEEK'S
WORTH OF TEA, THAT WOULD BE
MORE THAN THE SERVANT'S ENTIRE
ANNUAL SALARY, AND THEY WOULD
JUST RUN OFF WITH THE MONEY.
AND THIS IS WHY TEA CADDIES
HAVE LOCKS ON THEM, BECAUSE
INITIALLY TEA WAS WORTH IT'S
WEIGHT IN SILVER, SO YOU WOULD
PUT IT AWAY IN A LOCKABLE BOX.
SO ANYWAY, WHICH TEA YOU
SERVED, WHICH BLEND YOU HAD AND
WHICH SHOP YOU GOT IT FROM ALL
BECAME SORT OF FASHION SYMBOLS
AND TEA BECOMES VERY, VERY
POPULAR.
AND ALSO YOU GET THESE TEA
GARDENS, AND NEW WAYS TO SERVE
TEA.
AND THIS EXPLAINS THE UH-- IT
WAS ALL STARTED BY CATHERINE OF
BOUGANSA, THE WIFE OF CHARLES
II, SHE STARTED THE FAD FOR
DRINKING TEA IN LONDON, AND OFF
IT WENT FROM THERE.
AND THIS EXPLAINS WHY THE
BRITISH ARE SO OBSESSED WITH
TEA.
AND IT HAD A NUMBER OF
CONSEQUENCES AS WELL.
THE WORKERS IN THE FACTORIES OF
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION DRANK
TEA TO STAY ALERT.
THEY HAD TO WORK THESE
MACHINES, THEY COULDN'T HAVE
BREAKS.
THEY HAD TO WORK AT THE SPEED
OF THE MACHINE.
THEY WEREN'T LIKE PREVIOUS
CRAFTSMEN WHO COULD WORK AT
THEIR OWN SPEED AND STOP
WHENEVER THEY WANTED TO.
SO THEY NEEDED THE TEA TO STAY
AWAKE.
IT GAVE THEM LOTS OF EMPTY
CALORIES, LOTS OF SUGAR AND
KEPT THEM GOING.
ANOTHER THING IT DID, WAS IT
REDUCED THE INFANT MORTALITY
RATE CONSIDERABLY.
TEA IS THE MOST WIDELY CONSUMED
MEDICINAL PRODUCT IN THE WORLD,
AND IT CONTAINS TANNIC ACIDS
AND PHENOLS AND THINGS LIKE
THAT WHICH HAVE AN
ANTIBACTERIAL EFFECT, EVEN IF
YOU DON'T BOIL THE WATER
PROPERLY, AND THIS GOES INTO
BREAST MILK VERY EASILY, SO IT
LOWERED INFANT MORTALITY AND
GOT RID OF DYSENTERY AND ALL
SORTS OF OTHER THINGS, JUST IN
TIME TO PROVIDE A NICE LARGE
WORKFORCE FOR THE INDUSTRIAL
REVOLUTION.
AS WE KNOW, TEA ALSO LED TO THE
BOSTON TEA PARTY, AND THE
INDEPENDENCE OF THE U.S., AND
RUM HELPED, TOO.
AND TEA LED POLICY ALSO
RESULTED IN OTHER GREAT MOMENTS
IN THE HISTORY OF BRITAIN, SUCH
AS THE OPIUM WAR, WHICH WAS
WHERE THE BRITISH WENT TO WAR
WITH CHINA, SUPPOSEDLY OVER
FREE TRADE, BUT SPECIFICALLY
FOR THE RIGHT TO PAY FOR
CHINESE TEA IN OPIUM INSTEAD OF
SILVER.
BECAUSE THE GREAT THING ABOUT
OPIUM IS THAT YOU CAN GROW AS
MUCH OF IT AS YOU NEED, AND IT
GOES AWAY, UNLIKE SILVER.
SO THIS IS HOW THEY RESOLVED
THE BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
PROBLEM, AND THAT ENDED UP WITH
THE ANNEXATION OF HONG KONG.
SO ALL OF THIS IS TO DO WITH
SATISFYING THE BRITISH CRAZE
FOR TEA.

[Audience Laughter]

Tom continues OKAY, SO NOW
WE'RE GETTING ON TO THE DRINK
OF THE 20th CENTURY, THE RISE
OF AMERICA, GLOBALIZATION, IT
CAN ONLY BE ONE DRINK, COCA
COLA, AND SPECIFICALLY I WANT
TO POINT OUT THIS INTERESTING
WAY THAT COCA COLA WAS SEEN AS
THE EMBODIMENT OF ALL THINGS
AMERICAN.
AND THEREFORE,
IT'S OBVIOUSLY THE ANTITHESIS
OF COMMUNISM.
THE IDEA, AFTER THE SECOND
WORLD WAR, WHICH IS WHAT TOOK
COCA COLA TO EVERY CONTINENT ON
EARTH EXCEPT ANTARCTICA, SO
COCA COLA SORT OF RODE ON THE
COAT TAILS OF THE AMERICAN ARMY
BECAUSE THE COMPANY MADE THE
VERY WISE DECISION THAT IT WAS
GOING TO SUBSIDISE COCA COLA SO
THAT EVERYONE COULD BUY IT
AROUND THE WORLD.
AND SO IT BECAME-- THEY LOBBIED
THE ARMY WHO DECLARED IT AN
ESSENTIAL MORALE BUILDING TOOL,
AND THAT MEANT THAT THE COCA
COLA COMPANY WAS EXEMPTED FROM
THE SUGAR RATIONING THAT WAS
GOING ON DURING THE WAR, UNLIKE
ALL OF ITS RIVALS.
AND SO SURPRISE, SURPRISE, IT
ENDED THE WAR ABSOLUTELY KNOWN
ALL OVER THE WORLD.
PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD WHO
HAD NEVER EXPERIENCED COCA COLA
DID, AND IT HASN'T REALLY
LOOKED BACK SINCE.
THE PROBLEM WAS THAT IT WAS SO
CLOSELY IDENTIFIED WITH
AMERICAN POWER THAT PEOPLE
STARTED TALKING ABOUT COCA
COLONIZATION, AND THE FRENCH
COMMUNISTS IN PARTICULAR WERE
EXTREMELY RUDE ABOUT COCA COLA.
THEY SAID THAT IT MADE YOUR
HAIR FALL OUT, MADE YOU
IMPOTENT, GAVE YOU CANCER.
THE AUSTRIAN COMMUNISTS SAID
THAT THE COCA COLA FACTORIES
COULD ALL BE TRANSFORMED INTO
NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANTS
OVERNIGHT IF NECESSARY.

[Audience Laughter]

Tom continues AND SO ON AND SO ON.
AND TO BE FAIR, THE COCA COLA
COMPANY JUST QUIETLY SAT THERE
AND LET PEOPLE DRINK IT AND TRY
IT FOR THEMSELVES, ALTHOUGH
SOME OF THEIR -- SOME AMERICAN
NEWSPAPERS WERE RATHER MORE
AMUSING, AND THEY POINTED OUT
THAT THE AMERICAN SOLDIERS THAT
HAD LIBERATED EUROPE HAD NOT
HAD ANY PROBLEM AT ALL, WITH
THEIR HAIR FALLING OUT OR
GETTING CANCER, BECAUSE THEY
WERE DRINKING COCA COLA, AND
PERHAPS THE UNGRATEFUL FRENCH
SHOULDN'T HAVE QUITE SO MUCH
POST WAR RECONSTRUCTION AID.

[Audience Laughter]

Tom continues BUT ULTIMATELY WE HAD THE LAST
LAUGH, BECAUSE THE COUNTRY WITH
THE MOST McDONALD'S RESTAURANTS
IN THE WORLD PER CAPITA IS
FRANCE.
WHICH IS SUCH A GREAT
STATISTIC, BECAUSE THEY ARE SO
RUDE ABOUT THE AMERICANS BUT
ACTUALLY THEY LOVE IT REALLY.
SO IT'S GLOBALIZATION IN A
BOTTLE, COCA COLA, THE MOST--
IT'S THE SECOND MOST WIDELY
UNDERSTOOD PHRASE IN THE WORLD
AFTER OKAY.
IT'S SOLD IN MORE COUNTRIES
THAN THE UNITED NATIONS HAS
MEMBERS, IT'S THE WORLD'S MOST
VALUABLE BRAND.
WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT,
THIS IS THE MODERN FACE OF
AMERICA AND OF GLOBALIZATION.
SO THERE YOU GO, THAT' THE KIND
OF THING I'M DOING IN THIS
BOOK.
I'M TRYING TO LINK DRINKS IN
EACH PERIOD TO SORT OF
POLITICAL, GEOPOLITICAL,
COMMERCIAL, TECHNOLOGICAL
TRENDS IN EACH CASE, AND THE
REASON I'M DOING ALL THIS IS I
WANT YOU TO SEE THE PAST IN A
GLASS.
DRINKS HAVE A CLOSER CONNECTION
TO WORLD HISTORY THAN YOU MIGHT
THINK.
ALL OF THESE SIX DRINKS ARE
STILL IN OUR HOMES TODAY.
BEER IS REALLY NOT DOING BADLY,
IT'S BEEN AROUND FOR 10,000
YEARS, AND IT'S STILL IN MY
FRIDGE, ALTHOUGH THAT'S NOT
QUITE THAT OLD.
I HAVE ACTUALLY GOT A SAMPLE OF
WHAT ANCIENT BEER TASTED LIKE,
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED.
BUT THE MAIN THING I WANT YOU
TO DO, EVEN IF YOU DON'T READ
MY BOOK, JUST FROM WHAT I'VE
TOLD YOU TODAY, THE NEXT TIME
YOU DRINK ONE OF THESE DRINKS,
THINK ABOUT IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY.
IT DOESN'T JUST HAVE ALCOHOL OR
CAFFEINE IN IT, IT HAS HISTORY IN IT TOO.

Watch: Tom Standage on "A History of the World in 6 Glasses"