Time for a Tiger

The author of this article, Ross Scarano, is right when he states that ‘nothing can keep a writer from trying for free booze — nothing’. This is an undeniable truth. All the same, Burgess claims that in point of fact he was after a clock rather than beer. See p401 of ‘Little Wilson and Big God’: ‘In the Chinese kedais of Malaya there was a rather handsome wooden clock with the [Time for a Tiger] slogan displayed on it. I wanted one of those clocks and wrote to Fraser and Neave [the brewer of Tiger] to say that I was about to advertise their product in the title of a novel, and would they perhaps be willing to show gratitude by letting me have one. Their reply was cautious: they wanted to read the manuscript of the novel first. Stung, I inserted in the text a line of dialogue: ‘Not Tiger, not Anchor. Make it Carlsberg. It costs a bit more, but it’s a better beer.’ When the novel appeared in 1956, I was presented with a two-dozen case of quart bottles of Carlsberg lager. Fraser and Neave did nothing. Not until 1970, when I was revisiting Singapore, did they write to me saying that I ‘and your lady wife’ were at liberty to drink freely and gratis of any of their brews while we were in the territory. But it was too late: I had become wholly a gin man.’
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