Writing under the influence

Dalwood Estate, Hunter Valley, New South Wales

The background to Max's hugely original new book about Australian grog. See Tam's enthusiastic review of Intoxicating.

Connections was a ground-breaking television documentary series in the late 1970s that explored the web of interrelated historical events and technological breakthroughs that – often by chance – helped to create the modern world.

As a kid, watching TV in London, I was glued to the show. It was mind-expanding to watch presenter, science historian James Burke, trace a line in one episode from the Dukes of Burgundy and their soldiers, through the invention of food preservation to maintain Napoleon’s armies, to...