—Situationist Manifesto, 17 May 1960
The Bliss as ludic tendency.
The Bliss as authentic game of total participation.
The Bliss as true artistic activity.
The Bliss as necessary criminality; semi-clandestine and scandalous.
Okay, as mentioned in the last post, the event you didn't know you couldn't live without (and thus were staggering zombie-like through life until now, mind abuzz with between-stations cacophonies) has been scheduled for Satyrday, November 3rd. The venue has been chosen. Registration is now open; more about which below. But first, a little background information, a maniblissto as it were, for you cave-dwellers out there, some of it new, some of it lifted from the past 'cause it was just so damn well-put then:
The history of all hitherto existing cycling events is the history of competitive struggles.1 Not so with the Bliss.
The Bootlegger's Bliss is a social event, designed to bring together people who share (or are simply curious about) two seemingly disparate passions: homebrewing and mountain biking.
The Bliss is not a race. It does not suffer elitist competition. There are no medals, no podiums, no bragging rights, no prizes. No one's "in it to win it," as the dreadful cliché goes. No one trains for the Bliss. There are no "winners." Or—more precisely—everyone is a winner.
The Bliss is not a drinking contest. It does not suffer wanton drunkenness. It is a tasting, and if you don't know the difference between a tasting and a drinking contest, the Bliss is not for you.
The Bliss is all about fun for fun's sake. It is the arrowhead forged in the smithy of the soul2, honed in secret, dipped in curare, then trained on the heart of the ogre Boordumb. The lifeblood of the Bliss is participation. There are no spectators; everyone is equally a "criminal" and delites in it. Everyone rides, everyone tastes. Participants are encouraged to front their very best brew, in keeping with the concept of the potlatch3, whereby prestige is gained not by amassing coveted property like some plutocratic pig, but by giving it away.
Leave your money at home. The Bliss is not about commerce—quite the opposite, actually. Aside from the homebrew and food you're asked to bring and share, the Bliss is a free event, generously and officially sponsored by Absolutely No One®. That's the point. From a philosophical perspective, the Bliss was conceived as a small step outside of commerce4—a tick in the matted hide of mass-production—and as an appreciation of highly personal craftwork against the backdrop of some sweet singletrack. It's a celebration of use value, that immeasurable quality that fills the soul with a sort of natural, ineffable satisfaction too seldom felt in the cold void, the funereal absence, the blanched banality that clings to exchange value like stench to carrion.
As Raoul Vaneigem put it, "We have a world of pleasures to win, and nothing to lose but boredom." May the ax and the keg never again meet in anger.
Okay, end of propaganda. Now, on to registration. If you'd like to participate (now pay close attention; here's where it gets tricky), send an email to BBpotlatch@gmail.com. I will reply shortly thereafter with specific details regarding the event. Please keep in mind that:
- this event is for homebrewing mountain bikers (or mountain biking homebrewers), and not the general public;
- the "price of admission" is one six-pack or equivalent of homebrew that you brewed, either at home or at a brewing facility.
- while the event is limited to homebrewers, each brewer may bring one guest who does not brew, provided the brewer brings two six-packs or equivalent of homebrew. Guests are encouraged to at least witness the brewing process before attending. Please note in your email whether you plan to bring a guest.
- everyone participating in the beer tasting—including guests—must bring and ride a bike suitable for off-road use. This is a mountain biking event.
- non-participating family members are always welcome.
"Under a bad cloak there is often a good drinker."
— Cervantes, Don Quixote, 1605-15
“Boredom is always counter-revolutionary. Always.”
— Guy Debord
Again, without being a total shill, if you are in the area and have developed a nasty little habit of snorting Prozac because you can't seem to find homebrew supplies anywhere, I suggest heading over to myLHBS and chatting with Derek. Derek knows about the Bliss and will set you up quite nicely.
1 With apologies to Mssrs. Marx and Engels.
2 "...smithy of the soul..." is a phrase shamelessly purloined from Joyce. See A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
3 The idea for the Bliss is loosely based on Marcel Mauss' research into the potlatch and the importance of gift exchange in various societies, as expressed in his book The Gift.
4 "... step outside of commerce..." is a phrase proudly pinched from the faux live album Destination: Love Live! At Cold Rice by The Make-Up.