Saturday, March 24, 2012

Public Domain

I like pubs.
That’s not a hard club to get into really, pubs I like.
My favourite type is probably the older, more individual establishment rather than one owned by a large chain, but I’m not overly fussed if I’m forced to frequent a wine and ponce bar instead.  It’s like voting for your favourite Jolie boob or which is better, sausages with brown sauce or sausages with red onion marmalade.
So although I prefer something a bit old-fashioned, a little personal, with heavy black oak beams, straw carpets and ceilings you can concuss yourself on should alcohol not be doing the trick, the real appeal is . . .
Actually, that’s harder to pinpoint than I first thought.
The booze?
Well yes, because I, and I can’t stress this enough, like it.
A lot.
But I enjoy going to the pub even if I’m driving and thus forced to drink Orange Henrys and something I think is called Cloaca Cola, a brown fizzy concoction that doesn’t cause much cancer anymore after they took out the stuff that makes it taste nice. Tobacco, or benzene maybe.
So it’s not just the alcohol.
The atmosphere?
Also, part of the charm, but I’ve been known to have a good time in a plastic shell with lino on the floor, Chris Tarrant's voice asking questions from quiz machines and 60 inch flat screen TVs blaring out Formula 1 noises and Beyonce noises just metres from my aural canals.
The people?
You can’t beat meeting up with friends or colleagues for a relaxing bitch about people who haven’t turned up, but there’s something enjoyable about having a pint on your own with nothing to do except  peruse  the paper, read a book or throw some birds at green pigs on your phone.
The food?
Very few pubs can survive without offering food as standard these days, but for generations my ancestors have been perfectly happy with a bag of pork scratchings and a pickled egg.
Mmm, pork scratchings. Like pig toenails deep fried by a fat, greasy angel . . .
That's it my pretty, scratch away.
 Excuse me, just went into a little reverie there.
So, none of the above really. Or, more accurately, all of the above, in different  permutations depending on mood and opportunity. Sort of like social synergism.
On reflection, the biggest attraction for me is something personal, although probably common to many people in my position, and it’s the rarity of occurrence.
A visit to a pub, any sort of pub, is so bloody unusual these days that, for me, even the crappest establishment has the advantage of novelty.
And seeing as, when I went to the pub for a rare treat just eight weeks ago (and I can’t believe the last time I went to a pub was two months ago), I was surprised to find I hadn’t got enough cash on me  for more than a couple of pints, so it seems the pub visit will become, like a dodgy French burger, even rarer.
In addition, the government is considering establishing a minimum price per unit of alcohol in the UK, which they assure us will instantly reduce binge drinking and encourage a sense of responsibility around alcohol through enforced temperance, and absolutely definitely completely will not result in low socio-economic status alcoholics committing crimes to fund their suddenly expensive habit.
For my part, as an utterly sensible and extremely productive member of society, I’m starting to think seriously about a still.
Still. Drunk.
 Mine’s a pint of Old Blinder please, Shedkeep.