The Good Old British Pub

 

Trendy

Working behind a bar gives you an entirely different perspective on life in general, that goes without saying, but the last few years has seen the view change beyond all recognition .Pulling pints and listening to the same old conversations can give you lots of time to contemplate the passing social trends and fashions .Pubs and bars tend to be the arena that new ways of thinking and acting can best be observed, amongst the trendy of the day .

Coronation Street

For a snap shot of British social history during any era then the study of the Pub should be high on the list of reference sources .Look at any old TV soap and the bar or pub that is depicted at the time .From the Likely Lads, supping their Newcastle Brown Ales, and sprinkling salt from a little blue wrapper on to their crisps, to Annie Walker in Coronation Street,pulling pints of half and half, for a young Ken Barlow, the pub seems to speak for the times .

The Fifties

Years ago back in the Fifties when men were men, and we had never had it so good, according to Harold Macmillan, the choice of beer in a pub was often only mild or bitter, and the public bar was strictly men only .The lounge or snug was for nice ladies, who drank port and lemon and who never went to the pub unless escorted by a gentleman .Limited opening times ruthlessly observed by the landlord and implemented by patrolling police, who would enter a pub at any time strolling around, showing their authority and looking for any licence infringements, meant that most drinkers where safe home tucked up in bed by 11 o’clock .

Babycham

“Time gentle men please,”meant just that .No stay behinds then or late bars .

The one constant that can be observed over the years is the defined roles of males and females within the pub .Women would never dream of going to the bar to get served, it was a social gaff .No ,if a woman wanted a Babycham or CherryB then the male would have to for fill his role as hunter gatherer and do the honours, or at the very least press the little button that used to summon the waitress, yes waitress, for the order .

No swearing

Dress code was strictly observed in yesterdays pub .The bar was the realm of the working man and as such you could get away with anything .Boiler suits,overalls whatever you had on .The lounge,snug or parlour was “best cloths”only .Men wore smart suits, sports coats, always collar and tie .Women dressed quite formally, dresses, high heels, long coats and quite often hats as well .No swearing was the order of the day except in the public bar, and then it was censored by the landlord .

All in all, a very different world .

What about these days?

Local flavour

The modern twenty first century pub has come a long way,some would say not for the better .For a start the age of the local brewery owned local has all but gone .Any idea of sampling the delights of pubs from other regions, is a waste of time .Go into any bar in the UK and you will see the same selection of branded beer, that you can see anywhere else .Other than the odd local micro brewery real ale hand pull, sitting forlornly on the counter surrounded by extra cold this and that, that is it for “local flavour .”Certainly the range of beers , noticeably lagers is truly staggering . It is hard to imagine what Albert Tatlock, from Coronation Street, would make of it all .

Liberated

In other ways too, our locals have changed .The public bar has in most cases disappeared in favour of single price, “spaces”.Carpets have replaced linoleum, fruit machines, juke boxes and cash machines have replaced more traditional facilities .The best lounge is now a sports bar or restaurant .Longer opening hours and a child friendly pub culture, ensure the whole family can enjoy the pub scene .Women are just as likely to frequent a bar as men .Liberated and enjoying a life free of any social stigma attached to drinking whatever and whenever they want, women are now targeted by all the key players in the drinks industry .

Pub quiz’s

The landlords role has changed immensely they are now an entertainments manager and marketing director as well .The landlord can no longer sit back and wait for business to walk through the door, he has to generate it .Pub quizes, Sky TV, promotions and food, are just some of the tools at their disposal .Pubs are not so much local as global these days .

And what about the modern pub customer .They are more discerning, more fashion conscious, and certainly more demanding .

Forever adapting

Soaps, such as East Enders and Coronation Street still depict pubs as hubs of the local community .Is that still the case ? The Vic and The Rovers Return are characterised in a rather old fashioned quaint stereotypical way, a bit like the way we choose to remember our old friends or past happy times .Is this a true reflection of the modern pub ?The fact is that pubs are like ourselves, forever adapting and coming to terms with a changing world .

Star Trek

Somehow I think that pubs will be around for a long time yet to come, but in the famous words of Bones from Star Trek, “They are pubs Jim, but not as we know them .”

                                www.innworld.co.uk/good%20ole%20days.php

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The Cold War is back,in pubs that is…..

Go into any pub these days and you will find the bar covered in a huge array of dripping beer dispensers covered in condensation. The Extra Cold taps, the latest gimmick of the Brewers are like stranded icebergs somehow marooned in our bars. You could be mistaken for thinking that even our humble boozer was falling victim to global warming and that these mysterious icy towers were in rapid melt down.

These days everything has to be cold or rather sub zero. There is at the moment an “ice war” being waged between the different brewers, each trying to out do the other, in the race for the ultimate cold beer. Extra Cold Carling, goes head to head with Blisteringly Cold Carlsberg, Frostbite Fosters challenges Ice Station Stella. The Brewery Generals take this “ice war” very seriously indeed. They watch the enemy very closely; it is a war of brinkmanship was the stakes are high. If Carling develops a new ice product then Carlsberg will do the same only even colder. There was an expression back in the days of the real cold war, Mutual Assured Destruction, or M.A.D., as it was known. The idea being what ever you do to us we will do to you. Well it seems the Cold War is back in earnest.

Where will it end? Perhaps when the first casualties of this chilly campaign start suing the brewers for injuries sustained during the drinking of these icy brews. Brewers will have to be seen to show due diligence to their customers by providing thermal gloves and safety warnings, in order to prevent frostbitten hands and frozen lips.

Well, as with all things, what goes round comes round, and as for me well I’m waiting for the return of the good old pint of warm beer.

www.innworld.co.uk/thecoldwarisback.php

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Theory of Beige

The Theory of Beige

It is impossible these days not to become preoccupied with our future. Gone are the certain horizons of what we hoped would be our last mellow years as workers. The slow wind down to retirement, cherished by our paternal companies. The certainty of a good pension and the farewell do, with promises to keep in touch. The gold watch and golden handshake have been supplanted by the two-fingered gesture and the boot out the door. Still, we who are about to depart salute are “Masters” with our own unique one fingered gesture,” Sit on this, Guys.”

With retirement beckoning, us “Baby Boomers “are not quite like our old Mums and Dads. We are the generation who wanted to die before we got old, but forgot to put theory into practice. And talking of theories, I have one of my own which I have formulated over many years, it is called ”The Theory Of Beige”.

As with all great human insights mine occurred to me one day whilst doing a service call in sunny Llandudno, a well-known hot spot of pensioner activity. Llandudno was keeping its promise of sunshine, as I rounded the corner onto the main promenade. My flabber was completely gasted as I caught site of what looked like the scene in The Mummy, where the bandaged one, summons up the sands of the desert into a huge monster.There bearing down on me were tribes of old people forming onto one conglomerate cloud of beige. Over coming my shock and raising myself from beneath a nearby camel, large dog actually, it struck me there and then, that particularly with the male pensioner, a metamorphosis must take place once you reach the age of retirement.

I submit to you dear reader, that as the clock strikes twelve on your sixty-fifth birthday and you lay in bed lamenting your lack of a gold watch, you will be transformed like a caterpillar into a vision of beigial delight. You will awake with an entire ensemble of glorious beige. Shoes, socks trousers, shirt and special pensioner anorak, will declare to all the world you have come out and are proud to wear the badge of old geezer

So there we are, I present my theory for your consideration. As to why it happens I know not. Like the great mystery of the pyramids or the enigma of nasal hair, perhaps one day we will understand the full meaning of the” The Theory of Beige.”

By the by,my theory was formulated back in 2003,long before the famous Mr Terry wogan,of BBC fame got hold of it.So there!

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