Thursday, 20 August 2009
Like they do in civilised countries
I have extolled the virtues of Stella on this blog before. A fine crisp lager, reassuringly cheap, and flogged for 30p for a 284ml bottle. Around 60p a pint, folks. Pub lovers claim the pub is a responsible and controlled environment, but there is a feature of pub life that takes that argument and flushes it down the toilet. That is pub culture. In British pub culture men drink pints and buy rounds, forcing the slower drinker to keep up with the fastest. It’s why the foreigners can handle strong lager and it turns the town centres of Britain into a vomitorium on a Friday night.
Thus you may want to drink less, but if you are in the company of 4 or 5 “mates”, you will drink 4 or 5 pints. Everyone has to buy a round. Those rounds will invariably be pints. You can try to opt slightly out by going for a bottle of lager. Half a pint for the price of a pint, but bizarrely acceptable to have when just saying “make mine a half”, would have you ridiculed as a “poof” despite being the only one of the lads that lives with a bird and has had sex with a bird that week (the same bird, mind, but a tasty piece if I say so myself). You can opt for a weaker beer without being a poof (probably why piss weak lager has a market in Britain but nowhere else), but god forbid if you ask for a shandy.
Shandy is a lovely drink of beer and lemonade. I will confess that bitter shandy (an ale lemonade mix) is better than a lager shandy but drinking shandy in Britain has you labelled a mega poof. What a mega poof is I don’t know. Do mega poofs look at regular poofs and think “that’s not poofy enough, they are practically straight”. I don’t know. I don’t know enough about gay culture, what with not being a part of it. All I know is what I’ve seen off the telly and what the lady squeezes gay pal tell me. The fact that I grimace my face when he get too detailed in the anatomical description of his latest squeeze encourages him to a greater discretion in my presence, saves my blushes, but ultimately leaves me ignorant and ill informed.
The Krauts don’t have this problem. Drinking radler isn’t a poof’s drink in the land of the hun(radler is German lager shandy named after cyclists who drink it to avoid getting drunk). In Europe drinks are gender neutral. A lass can have a beer and a chap a glass of wine without sexuality assumptions. I can drink a cocktail in Europe. In blighty if I drink a cocktail it is assumed I’m not the lady squeezes chap but that I’m her gay mate. I like cocktails. The ones they drink on Sex and the City. The cocktails are the best bit of that god awful show. Watching such crap is the price of having a lady squeeze and on balance probably worth it as long as I can have the football on.
All of this is one of the reasons I cannot stand pubs. The ridiculous pub culture. I don’t mind standing my round. I’ll buy my mates a drink. But I really don’t want 4 or 5 pints of Stella. I want half a Stella and that’s it. Why can’t we all just sit around, order what we want and settle the bill at the end? I'd have a beer or two, and others can drink quicker and more if they like. Like they do in civilised countries.
I can have half a Stella, lay on my couch, for 30p, throw the bottle in the recycle bin and call it a night. Nice.