Today is the first post in the great beer blog revival. A rage against the dying of the light of beer bloggery. But what can you do to revive beer bloggery? If you don’t have a beer blog, why not? If your partner doesn’t, why not? What about your kids? Get them into beer bloggery, if you have a beer blog post the link in the comments!
A poetic reminiscence of pub life, of a lifelong love affair with the pub and a surprising confession of being adept at the pub karaoke from arguably one of the greats, possibly greatest, of beer writing and beer bloggery, Adrian Turney-Curly-Wurly, renowned the world over for books about revolutions, beer and death. I haven’t read any of them, preferring books about the No1 ladies detective agency, but if it sounds your cup of tea, why not eh?
An old man shuffles in; the barman wordlessly pours and presents a fresh frothy pint of something brown. The only words spoken are “How you keeping, Mike” I don’t hear the response above even the quiet mumblings of the tables and snugs that surround me. The mumbles of contentment frittering along the air and stroking me like a feather falling from the sky and brushing against my skin. I breathe the air, a slight staleness of old ale, warm and comforting as the gentle embrace of an old lover greeting you as an old friend. Memories, history, good and bad. None of it mattering but all poignant and meaningful in the shaping of who we existentially are. I have never been here before but I have visited this place a million times. Reality, dreams, all have merged into a seamless stream of consciousness. I hear the crunch of a salty snack being consumed with relish in the snug sparking a distant hazy recollection of a savory taste quenched with a refreshing fermented malted beverage in the way that beer, only beautiful lovely beer can do.
Yes beer, that old lover that can still delight, surprise and enrich your journey through life, a partner in good times and bad. In prosperity and penury. In success and failure. In hope and regret. A first youthful adolescent kiss with your heart’s desire, a final kiss as you part at a junction in life’s long road. Never judging, never questioning. Accepting. Accepting who you are, what you have become and how you have come to this place, here and now. The ever present, merging all moments of space and time into this one moment. This one moment no longer than the time of a single breath. Longer than a lifetime, for all moments are here. All moments are now. I have always been here. I have never left, yet this is my first time all over again. I take a sip of my beer. The flavor gentle and familiar, yet new and delighting. Touching every part of mouth and slipping down slowly. A moment savored, relished. A single moment in one day, but every moment of every day condensed into this fleeting whisper of time.
Time, that stealer of life, that precious jewel within which every moment exists here, where all senses are both idle but focused on the moment. But the moment of my reverie breaks, shatters as a new moment begins. The old moment is gone, but it will never really go. It will always remain a part of who I am. D.J. Jeff is about to start up the karaoke, I came second last time. Will I win this time? Time will tell, Time will reveal. In time all of its secrets will impart. An old man grumbles. Sheila takes to the microphone. Air turns sublime as sweet echoes fill the empty spaces, the nooks, the crannies, the secret places that exist here and there, within and without, but only really here. My turn is next. I give my all, all I can be, all I want to be, all of that of which I am capable, the soul laid bare, for this one moment.
A gentle applause. Polite more than enthusiastic. Not the applause Sheila received. Second again. The power of love for this pub, for every pub, for every pub is this pub and this pub every pub. More than walls, a roof and chairs. An externalization of an internal and eternal dream. Sheila is gracious in victory, warm and complementary about my song, but the beer in my mouth becomes like ash, salty tears of regret. Only another pint can exit this moment and create life anew. A new moment to embrace, empower and nurture. A new beginning. But at least I win something in the meat raffle. Pork chops. I like pork chops.
It is all here, everything and nothing. The crunch of a cheese and onion crisp, the delight in a cool refreshing beer. All of human life. All of my life. Here. Only here. Never there. Only here.
Here in the pub.