Thoughts in a strange pub

So the dust is settling and things are getting back to normal.

For those who are still interested, I finally got the new laptop to run Linux Mint and Windows 8 [with Classic Shell so it looks and acts like Windows 7].

Of course in the background, life carried on, and in the course of the week I had occasion to visit a pub.

Nothing unusual in that, except that it was not my regular haunt.  I was meeting a friend and it was his choice of venue.

The first thing that struck me was how deserted the place was.  There was a large lounge with about ten people sitting huddled at corner tables in the semi-darkness as if they were ashamed to be there.

The second thing to strike me was that there was music playing [stuff from the Seventies – not bad, actually] while televisions were silently showing some fucking football match.

What the fuck is it with pubs and televisions?  That football match was being displayed on about five large screens which were strategically placed to catch my eye wherever I looked.  Much as I dislike the damned game I found myself constantly drawn to the flickering screens even though there was no commentary and the content was as boring as shite, and I noticed that the other few patrons were also glowering at the screens and trying to look away.  I really fucking hate televisions in pubs.

One thing that did catch my eye was an advertisement.  It was for one of those monthly magazines where you build as model, as they send you the parts.  Now this model is of a steam locomotive and seeing as both my friend and I have a passing interest in the subject we got talking about it.  We both agreed that it was an horrendous waste of money, as the subscriptions are usually high.  I actually looked up the cost of building that model and it works out at 130 monthly issues costing €10,99 each which comes to a grand total of €1,429, which is indeed a little steep for a model that you have to build yourself and supply the paint and all?  And they also charge extra for bindings!  Fuck that.

Anyways, back to the pub.

Naturally during the course of the evening I whipped out my baccy, my lighter and my pipe, as one does.  We promptly got turfed out the back amongst the beer barrels, as momentarily I had forgotten about those fucking anti-smoker laws.

It was quite pleasant out there as the evening was warm, and best of all there was no televisions.

As we left to go home I noticed that there were now just two people staring miserably at the flickering screens.

Well, they insist on putting up those televisions, and they insist on enforcing that fucking smoking ban.

I don’t feel in the least bit sorry for them.

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Comments

Thoughts in a strange pub — 15 Comments

  1. “I really fucking hate televisions in pubs.”

    Same as that, GD. The problem, as you say, is that they demand your attention. They are almost impossible to ignore, even with the sound off, and are a gross intrusion on conversation because they distract one so. Still, with the astronomical amounts of money that Sky demand from pubs, with any luck they will all ditch the TVs soon. They must be near broke by now, most of them, having thrown out their best customers. Fools.

    What’s with the new, minimalist comments box then? Basic font; no italics / bold / underline (I used html to italicise the quote, and I don’t even know if it will work); I was able to copy and paste the quote from the blog directly into the comments box instead of going through the “you wanna paste what you just copied? Ok, paste it into this little box here and click ‘ok’, and we’ll paste it into the comments box for you”. Something to do with your new OS?

    • Televisions without sound are like music in a lift, or a very bad itch between the shoulderblades [just where you can't reach] – intensely irritating and not doing any good at all.  I really don't know why they bother.

      Sorry about the editor buttons – the basic WordPress software was updated and it fucked up one of my plugins.  I had disabled it but have now switched it on again.  You now have the buttons but I have nothing on the main editing page!  And your italics did work.  Congratulations!

  2. Agree mostly with all you say. My one reservation as a sports fan with Sky Sport at home for the bigger games, is the arrival of fucking Setanta and the need to visit the pub for some matches now. Mostly I go to the boozer to meet friends and drink or to peacefully read a compulsive book on my own. On those occasions, I hate the telly AND the music. Even my local who do great food and even make their own hooch, seem duty-bound to fill the place with background noise and flickering digital images.
    I have a theory that the younger generation need many things happening simultaneously because they lack both the confidence and the attention-span to actually debate a damned thing past soundbites. Oh, and they can’t shut up during a match either!

    • I can understand televisions being used when there is some major sporting event on, but they should really switch ’em off for the rest of the time.

      As for your last paragraph – agree 100%!

  3. We are surrounded by unwanted TV sets in pubs. Some years ago my local bank installed a TV and I wrote a letter of protest to the manager. His female secretary phoned me and sweetly said the customers would appreciate news about currency fluctuations and other things. I told her that I went to a bank to deposit cheques and withdraw cash and didn’t want distractions. Anyways, on a recent holiday in Ireland I noticed that the television set has been withdrawn. Is it just because the bank wants to save money on TV licences?

    • Why on earth would people in a bank queue want to see currency fluctuations?  If you are queuing to change currencies then watching fluctuations is leaving it a bit late in the day?  It would be like having videos of surgical operations playing in a doctor’s waiting room…..

  4. I very rarely go to bars and when I do they are a stop off on a bike ride. Seeing as I tend to ride in decent weather rather than in the rain as I used to when younger I sit out side where it is calmer. Pubs are just empty shells of what they used to be, at one time I used to look forward to going down the pub necause as likely as not you would strike up a good conversation with someone, but not now. Bars nowadays, it seems to me, attract the most uninteresting people.

    • There was once a time when you would hear the sound of laughter and conversation coming from pubs as you pass them on the street.  There was once a time when you would have to fight your way to the bar to order a drink.  They used to be the hub of the community where people would go to meet friends or have a casual chat with strangers.

      As you say – they are now just empty shells with dead business and dead customers.

  5. I think the decline in the pubs started on new years eve 1999 when they wanted to charge you just to get in the door, even if you were a customer for the whole year up to then.
    It was around this time that people started meeting up in houses to drink, and as for the young ones they get their news and gossip from their phones.

  6. A friend of mine was responsible for tied houses in a major British city. He came up with this rule – they could have a telly in the pub as long as it was placed somewhere where it could not be seen by any member of the staff. From then on they were generally switched off!

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