Uncorked – and then unplugged (and still unpublished)

Carcrash rubberneckers (and genuine admirers, I suppose) go to Neil Pendock’s “Uncorked” website on the TimesLive website, but we’re met by a blank. A few advert-type allusions to what looks like his final blog (last Thursday) persist on Sunday, but the links lead nowhere, and Uncorked has disappeared from the list of blogs available.

Uncorked becomes Unplugged.

Which will no doubt at least partially cheer Pieter de Waal (now wittily called Pippijoller by Neil), as he waits for something more than this from the craven folks at the Times. The “Slimes”, Neil calls his old host – more brilliantly original wit, while more than hinting at who’s next on the list for vilification as a result of graciously dispensing with Neil’s services.


A picture of rational happiness, from jollier times, borrowed from www.spill.co.za

I haven’t been to Pindick’s new site (Pindick! – ah, there’s a possible explanation for all that manifest insecurity!) but I’m told that the rubberneckers are there too, as words, feverish froth and bile flow – especially words! Non-stop writing – a new post every three-and-a-half minutes, I believe! Do they go to gawp, to learn interesting stuff about wine, to admire the wit (imagine – to call someone a pippijoller – it really makes you larf!)?

No, I don’t intend to keep up this commentary, but am just stretching my legs this once, seeing that my host on this website apparently gave the go-ahead for Nelly Pindick’s name to be mentioned.

It gives me the opportunity to mention Pindick’s last great, but aborted publishing effort. You know – the book intended to definitively put paid to the dreaded Sighted Guide. A display of organoleptic brillaince by Pin and a Portuguese pal of his would achieve this.

Pin cleverly arranged to do it on the cheap – ie, to get others to pay for the organisation, etc. So he lordily demanded of the wine-region PR people that they assemble wines from their producers, so that he and Portopal could arrive and ignorantly whizz through them (of course,  I mean ignorantly of the contents of each bottle). Only the Stellenbosch Wine Route had the gumption to resist the command performance idea and to demand payment for their efforts – which they duly received. And not all regions got more than a modicum of support from the producers – virtually no-one of significance from the Swartland, I believe, wanted to have anything to do with their neighbour.

But all the regions were more than a little miffed when months went by and there was no sign of the famous book. Just a list of the wines to which Pin and Portopal had charmingly awarded five little hearts (though I never saw any producer boast about the award). No word (let alone a bookful of them) from the Great Taster and Writer. Meanwhile the vintages he’d tasted were disappearing fast off the shelves.

A few shreds of gossip leaked out. Pindick’s publisher, it was said, had been so appalled by the qualiity of what had been delivered that he demanded that an editor be employed (at NP’s expense) to clean up the shoddy prose. That editor eventually also gave up the opportunity of working for NP. Net result – no more time, no book.

That’s the story I heard, up here in Gauteng, where, admittedly, the only grapevines are even more dicey than those genetically modified ones still, presumably, being grown in Stellenbosch by the University’s Institute for Wine Biotechnology. Pindick himself has declared that the non-appearance of the text was all the editor’s fault. Apparently she had lost, or run away with, the only existing electronic copy of book! Imagine the tragedy! Perhaps she was in the pay of Platter, or WOSA – both determined to continue wrecking the Cape wine industry. After the text had gone through all those people, not even the author had kept a copy!

It makes one wonder if NP as a naughty little boy might have whimpered: “Please, sir – the dog ate my homework!”

Ah well. The roadcrash scenario proceeds, and the rubberneckers flock and Pindick tweets exultation at how many hits he’s getting on his website. Does he, perhaps, occasionally wonder how sustainable this will be – and, even if it is sustainable, whether producers are still going to be inviting and fawning, and organisations still getting him to judge their wines? Probably not. Apprehending reality is not his strong point.

I myself peer into the misty future and see a malignant, festering blog ranting away about the whole South African wine industry – no, about the whole world’s wine industry, except for Portugal, perhaps – that has abandoned him.

The one drummer in tune bashes away viciously, relentlessly.

[First published under the now deleted “Widow’s Nephew] section on this website]

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