An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The British Pub will live!

My inspiration to put finger to keyboard, today, comes directly from Mudgie, Dredgie & Tandy. I particularly liked Dredgies post in regard to the death of the British Pub, and can see where he is coming from. Whilst seeing little to disagree with in his perspective I have to disagree with the overall assessment. I do not believe the British pub will die.

A factor I have noticed within my fellow human species is the propensity to assume that the truth is the perspective from which you see the world, and that others see the world as you do. Whilst not relevant to this, I have also noticed the propensity to assume in some that those that see the world from a different perspective are wrong (thus asserting yourself to be right), and assuming that being for something makes you against its opposite. Mudge, Tand & Dredge, articulate well how they use pubs, and what it means to them.

I am happy to admit I don’t have much use for pubs. I do on occasion find myself in one, but by and large they are not my cup of tea. I don’t believe for one moment that the pub is in any danger of death. My opinion is based on the following perspective, my own, and you are free to see the world differently.

I am of the view that pubs are by and large for losers, and there are no shortage of losers in the world. QED, there is a sustainable market for pubs. A number of years back, I did work out that I spent an inordinate amount of my then graduate starting salary in pubs, and that I didn’t much like them. What I liked at the time was a social environment in which I could meet girls. Girls that were interested in getting pissed and copping off with blokes like me. Thus the brightly lit bars and pubs of city centers held a magnetic appeal for myself and mates. Prior to meeting my lovely lady squeeze, I was never what you might call successful with the ladies, but I did have the odd moment. Like a gambler that by and large loses on the horses but occasionally gets a win, and that win sustains a belief that winning is possible and likely and thus sustains the will to have another bet. Most evenings I went home to sleep alone. On rare occasions I bagged one. I remember reading an article in one of the lad’s magazines of the time, that I used to read as they were a socially unembarrassing source of soft pornography, in regard to an interview with the actor Ray Winstone. Ray Winstone is one of my favourite actors. In this article he was asked what he drunk down the pub, to which he replied he didn’t go into pubs as pubs were full of losers. He also answered the question “If we were to get you a gift what would you like?” with “I’ve got everything I want but you can give me meat, I like meat”. If you don’t like the guy after an answer like that, then why not? He’s a geezer.

My admiration of Ray Winstone increases with every part he plays, and I confess that he is a hero of mine. That was not the reason I found myself agreeing with him. It simply was that his assertion of pubs being for losers was self evidently true. If you are one of life’s winners you have little time to go into pubs. You have a life, whatever that life is, and it will keep you busy living it. If you don’t have much of a life, you think going sitting in an establishment that is by and large someone else’s (tatty and run down) living room (a public house) and buying an overpriced drink, and sitting in the company of strangers in the hope that a group of hot looking girls will come in and you and your mates will bag them. They won't so you'll sup up and head into town, to a brighter lit place, where the chicks are. Not the activity of winners.

Now you might assume that I am asserting myself to be a winner here. I am not. I cannot assert myself to be a winner when as much of my life is enjoyable, I remain a wage slave paying a mortgage. I am as much a loser as anyone. Just not enough of a loser to see the need to drink my life away in a pub. I like to go the gym, spend time with the squeeze, and do things that make me happy. Enough people do fall into the loser category. A few years back I did, and you never know I might one day in the future once again. But enough people fall into the category of being life’s losers and those people will be propping up the bar, in your local pub tonight. If you are dumb enough to go in and check them out, you will discover interesting and challenging views on immigration, women and inconsequential football matches. You might even enjoy yourself in their company. That doesn’t make Ray Winstone wrong.


Tandleman said...

Well at least you agree with me about the future of the pub, but for reasons I didn't actually consider.

Still, an ally is an ally, even one who bases his argument on a dodgy Cockney geezer.

Cooking Lager said...

Edited to include a link to your articulate and well put contribution Tand. Get Winstone as a celebrity CAMRA member, and I'll join. Until then I'll stick with pretending to be a CAMRA member and demanding discounts in an obnoxious manner, whenever I find myself in a boozer.

Tandleman said...

It's the way to go. I am practising my obnoxious side as we speak. Can't buck the stereotype you know.

Curmudgeon said...

Neither Dredgie nor myself were suggesting that pubs would become extinct, merely that their appeal was, as Spinal Tap would say, "becoming more selective".

WV = "gagga" ;-)

Cooking Lager said...

Well I could have pointed out that society is becoming more fragmented and less cohesive or even that social mobility has collapsed meaning people are mainly comfortable within their own social class. But that's intelligent analysis of a fragmented market, and I leave that to proper bloggers like you and Tand, Mudge.

I just attempt to wind people up with lame jokes about weak stereotypes. That's my USP.

Barry M said...

Completely unrelated, but is it just me, or are you following a lot more German foodie blogs than you used to? Lot's of pics of meat. I probably approve.

And maybe a bit related: I've no idea how German pubs are really doing, but from my experience the vast majority (excepting the ones I most frequent, of course) are filled with losers. Pretty far from the bucolic image generally perceived by most outside Germany.