Watching a coronary
I went for a few pints on Saturday.
Normally I wouldn’t mention such a mundane thing, but this was different.
The difference was that I wasn’t drinking down in the pub. I was in a different place, that I wouldn’t class as a pub at all. It was a hell hole of a drinking emporium that almost had me screaming to sign The Pledge just to get out of it.
The pub in the village is a nice quiet spot. It is a place of quiet chat and conviviality where the locals go for a few pints, a smoke and maybe a game of cards. The only sounds to be heard there are the murmur of conversation, the clink of the glasses and occasionally the soft thump of Spanner passing out off his stool. It is an oasis of calm in a hectic life where we set the world to rights and have a laugh.
The place I was in on Saturday was different.
It was one of those modern places, and the first thing that struck me when I walked in was the noise. There was fucking music blaring out of speakers that seemed to be everywhere. Where there wasn’t a loudspeaker, there was a television. This place was like the television section of Power City as there were fucking screens everywhere, and they were all showing football. Of course everyone was shouting at each other over the background noise and the overall experience was one of sensory overload.
I sat down in the quietest corner I could find, under one of the television screens. For some reason, all the televisions were on without sound, so it was a little quieter there.
I hadn’t been there long when this bloke came in with his girlfriend and sat down near me. She was pleasant enough on the eye, so that was something for me to ogle. All he was interested in though was the football on the screen. He started shouting at the muted figures and got really worked up over the match. At one stage, someone obviously nearly scored a goal and Wanker nearly had a heart attack. He roared at the screen and waved his fists in the air while his poor girlfriend tried to concentrate on the crossword she was doing. At this stage, I hoped someone would score a goal, as it would be interesting to watch someone having a coronary.
Unfortunately, the blokes I was waiting on arrived so I had to leave Wanker and his girlfriend to it. We went out the back to the beer garden, where it was cold, but at least it was quiet and there was no nauseating stench of stale perfume and farts.
A while later, as we left, I had a look to see if Wanker was still there but he wasn’t.
Apparently someone had scored a goal.
The ambulance was just leaving as we stepped outside into the night air.
Oh fuck, pubs like that .. don’t get me started.
However, the noise issue is a ubiquitous feature of just about any public space in Ireland – pubs, restaurants, coffee shops etc.
I was in this place a week or two back on a Saturday morning – nice and quiet, no need for noise, and the next thing the person behind the counter put on some music and yanked the volume up to a completely unnecessary level … why?
I think it’s a collective inability to be quiet and slow down that’s at fault – compare with how the French and others eat and enjoy their food/company and so on.
Also, I’m wondering that, as our collective attention spans deteriorate, whether the art of conversation is also deteriorating, and being replaced by one-liners and sound bites, and the background noise has the useful function of “filling in the gaps”.
First, you need to get a “TV-B-Gone”, a tiny, concealable, key-sized remote that knows the “switch-off” signal for every TV known to man. A must-have.
But the over-loud music? The only solution to that is to leave, in my experience. I’ve found in most city pubs that the volume is increased a notch every hour of the evening. You see it all the time. A group arrives early-ish, and happily chat over the table. Then, without realising it, they’re all leaning forward with slightly raised voices. Just as subtly, they end up only able to talk, and then shout, to the person beside them, before finally it’s down to gesturing. Miserable places. My current theory is that they think sensory overload of one sense (noise) masks the sensory overload of another (farts)…
Tony – This Nanny State loves bringing in stupid useless laws just to piss us off. Why can’t they introduce a decent one that bans anything with a loudspeaker from pubs – radios, sound systems, televisions, slot machines, mobile phones…..?? I hate noise in pubs, of any sort, apart from the lost art of quiet conversation.
Welcome, Andrew!! I normally carry a remote with me, but I forgot it the other night. It was a great pity, as I could have caused Wanker’s coronary a lot earlier. I cannot understand the obsession with muzak everywhere. I know it is supposed to relax us and make us spend more, but that is a load of bollox in a crowded pub. I think the publicans are just trying to make the places as inhospitable as possible.
I’ve been meaning to post about the noise level everywhere for a while: this drives me nuts. When we go out, every shop and restaurant and everywhere has a radio or some noise on, and not too quietly.
Are they afraid we might converse, or think something, if left to ourselves? I take Panadol every time I leave the house, knowing what’s coming.
Shame you can’t photoshop the TVs out, a la Radgery many moons hence.
unfortunately and maybe unbelievably, and certainly very sadly, whatever you hear/see in pubs is there because its what todays punters demand. A Saturday morning for any pub employee is now a nightmare trying to accommodate rugby/soccer/horse racing etc. and groups of people aged from 18 to 30 (and older if they are skangers) demand a constant supply of crap pop music, at as loud a level as possible. But there are still good real pubs out there, seek them out!
Susan – We live in the age of noise. You only have to look at the number of people who have their life support machines [I think they’re called iPods?] plugged into their ears all the time. I shudder to think of the hearing problems that are going to abound in a couple of decades time.
Radge – Heh! I tried to find the original Photoshop files of that, but couldn’t. I’ll find it for the next rant.
SAm – That is very sad. As I just said, the 18 to 30 group seem to find life unlivable unless they have about 120 decibels blasting in their ears all the time. Have they never listened to the soft rustle of the wind in the trees or a blackbird singing his head off? I cherish my silent pub and so do the others there.