On page 309
Bill Lark told me that his whisky business always had to pay for itself out of its own cashflow. He never invested in it nor borrowed for it. It had to pull itself up by its own bootstraps. What to make of that? It only occurred to me after the book was printed that there were alternative explanations and the interview might have concluded thus:
The Larks should not be regarded as a shrewd and resourceful business owners—a claim Bill repeatedly denies, arguing he wasn’t a businessman’s bumhole and this is confirmed by Chris Malcolmwho told me he couldn’t make head nor tail of the Lark’s accounts, but the company was in such a parlous state when he bought it that it might have gone under.
Should they be seen instead as highly cautious, even parsimonious? Because they had nothing to lose: after all, who would have cared—or even been surprised—if a publican and his wife had failedto make whisky in the basement of their house? Because their business owed them nothing, another way of looking at their achievement is this: they never put anything on the line. They risked nothing.