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Book review: THE EXOTIC BOOZE CLUB by Brian Armstrong

| 26 June 2013 | Reply

Published by Allen & Unwin
February 2013, rrp $26.99
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Exotic Booze Club by Brian Armstrong book

Bendigo boy Brian Armstrong scaled the lofty heights of international documentary film making during a long tenure with National Geographic Channel in the United States.

Whilst making films about camel roundups, peering into active volcanos, shielding colleagues from deadly cobras, chasing tornados and placating armed rebels in South east asian jungles, he also violated his employer’s super-strict no-alcohol policy in fine Aussie form by establishing The Exotic Booze Club.

Soon any colleague filming in faraway lands were bringing back a bottle of something never-before heard of, let alone tasted, and – more importantly – sharing stories of adventure and, sometimes, disaster.

Armstrong collects the most exciting of these tales alongside some of his own story, and ties them up nicely with treatises to the merits (or otherwise) of Burmese Toddy, Russian Vodka, Malagasy Vanilla-Bean Rum and more in an entertaining read, told in his relaxed and affable larrikin style.

Even after all the third world chaos, wild animals and weather and near death experiences, the award for most deserved drink goes to Armstrong’s nightmarish experiences in getting access to the greatest rock n’ roll band in the world – The Rolling Stones. After spending months negotiating with the band to do a documentary on their Rio de Janiero beach concert to 1.2 million fans, the multiple layers of security around the band left the Geo staff uncertain if they could shoot the show, right up until the last moment before the band performed. Armstrong and his team deserved a few Caipirinha’s after that ordeal!

Category: Book Reviews

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