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.


  1. Yeah. I used to frequent my local once or twice a week, now its once or twice a year. The cost has become prohibitive to the point where I have talked about building a still for a while now...

  2. I also love going to a good pub, or bar as we are fond of referring to them on the left side of the pond. But my taste for a decent beer (microbrew or something non-usa) kind of makes the cost prohibitive. I may turn to home brewing like a couple of my buddies, or I may continue to just drink theirs. Because I am both lazy and cheap.

  3. interesting story, sugar. i guess on this side of the pond, or maybe it's just me, the crowds at my favorite places are now far too young/noisy/young/rude/young/drunk/young for me to enjoy a casual evening out amongst them! add to that, the very, very strict (and expensive charges) DUI laws (and rightly so) and the distance from my old favorites to the plantation, well, i guess you figured it out, we don't go downtown very often. but we have a very lovely well stocked bar here, as do our best friends nearby! xoxoxoxo

  4. Would a still be cheaper than buying your booze from a supermarket? Anyway, I'm glad you're not too fussy - I've never met a member of the Campaign for Real Ale, but I suspect that they're crashing bores.

  5. Torggil - Tempting, isn't it? And when society finally crashes, you'd have a source of barter!

    SkylersDad - Now that's a solid plan, and if they complain remind them that you are rewarding their provision of beverages with your company! Tell them it's a good deal. Over and over again.

    Savvy - And what are the opening times of this place?

    GB - Cheaper, yes. Better . . . doubt it. I always like the CamRA pub recommendations, but I'm not sure I'd go whilst they were actually there.

  6. Home brew and a shed are all you need my friend! You can even pull a knife and do some whittling at the same time!

  7. "Shedkeep".

    You made me snort there. Which reminds me, I, too, enjoy a bit of fried pork snack ("crackling"). Pork, fat, salt.



  8. Urbane Warrior - Ooh, tickling my fancy there. Is fancy tickling allowed as well, because if so, win-win!

    Pearl - It's the food snack that harmonises our two nations!

  9. Pardon me for asking... but why is there a finger sticking out the side of that bucket?

  10. Jeaux - It's not a real bucket finger. Just a pale imitation.

  11. As a lad I built a still, we ran it in our little flat and the stuff was so strong it ate through the bottom of a plastic drinking glass overnight...I wondered if you should drink things that strong? (I didn't and stopped making it)
    Your pubs must be way different to Aussie pubs, our pubs are horrid noisy affairs where you just might get away without having your face smashed in. I worked as a pub DJ for six years and pretty much haven't been back since... now I drink alone, out of a brown paper bag, under the bridge..

  12. Tempo - At least you're still drinking, and that's the important thing. I've heard from ex-pats living in Oz that the pub culture's pretty shitty, so everyone goes round to each other's houses for lubrication. Which sounds pretty civilised.

  13. Mmm, pork scratchings, there's nothing better. Years ago now my favourite pub was a place full of character in Brighton. You'd have liked it. Not only was it not full of ponces, but it was affordable, and filled the brim with eccentric old geezers. I once saw a group of connoisseurs in there inspecting their pints through magnifying glasses. And there was always this chap who'd introduce himself as "James Duncan Lynch, son of an Irish Prince" before joining your table uninvited and launching into an attack on religion, politics and pretty much anything that wasn't beer.

  14. I don't drink anymore.
    So this post made me sad.
    But then I saw the pig picture.
    I smiled.
    Then you said pork scratchings, and I was sad again.

  15. Mo - Good stuff. Sounds like they had their priorities well and truly sorted.

    gweenbrick - Yet, pork scratchings are the happiesst things in the world, unless you're a pig or an artery.

  16. Nothing good can really come from the Cloaca.

    Hmm, your blogpost has me thinking I'll venture out tonight to the closest thing we have here in Dallas to a pub, the 'Love and War in Texas' saloon.

  17. Eric - I do love a good American saloon. I went in one once that had jen-yew-ine swingy doors like in a western. I felt so cool I had to keep going in and out making happy "Howdy Pardner!" sounds before ordering a strawberry daquiri. Like a real cowpoke.


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