Friday, September 12, 2008

Brave New World

The elderly huddle outside, cradling cigarettes in their gnarled hands as the rain sweeps under the awning. Inside the atmosphere has been drained, the winking and trilling fruit machine a forlorn paean to conviviality. Instead of a tobacco fug the air is redolent with efflatus and neat cleaning fluid.

The perfect public house has never existed: Orwell's The Moon Under Water was fictional, and even if it had existed would only have appealed to reactionary old men wearing tweed jackets with leather elbow patches. Everyone probably has their own ideal; ranging from bright modernist 'spaces' where elaborate cocktails are shaken by antipodean barmen to troglodyte taverns with booths suited to louche conspiracies.

Each to their own.

Apparently pubs are closing in record numbers, caught in the pincer movement of the smoking ban and alcohol taxes. I'm convinced that the smoking ban is the principal cause, removing the pub smell that obliterated the malodorous vapours emanating from the regulars. My nostrils can achieve a similar workout standing in a bus shelter, so why pay huge sums of money for beer at a hostelry?

Stuff is bad for us, so the legislators must legislate against stuff. Sometimes I think they're trying to force us into a clean white prison where mortality is illegal. Drop some Prozac and do your aerobics dear; you'll be healthier, fitter, happier, and you may get to live a bit longer on your meagre pension.

In Scotland they are planning to ban the display of cigarettes in newsagents. Under the counter items are illicit, and hence desirable. This should see sales soar.

We are governed by geniuses.


MJ said...

Plenty of faux British-style pubs over here, trying in vain to recreate an air of authenticity.

The Disneyfication of pubs, in other words.

garfer said...

Or the Irish variety, which is probably worse.

MJ said...

Worse indeed, all plastered with shamrocks and shillelaghs and an endless loop of diddly-dee tunes over a shit sound system.

garfer said...

And pictures of Wilde, Yeats, and Beckett as exemplars of Irish genius. Unfortunately they weren't Oirish, they were Anglo Irish, and Protestants with it.

KAZ said...

'The Moon Under Water' is a Wetherspoons in Manchester.

One day soon they'll ban the drinking of alcohol in pubs. We'll have to sit outside and freeze under the gazebo.

FirstNations said...

*living in a blessed corner of the world where non-twatty brewpubs flourish and lovingly handcrafted beers flow like the very rivers through paradise*

gosh, thats too bad.

Sniffy said...

We are governed by idiots who can't help but interfere and not trust us to make our own decisions and live our own lives.

I bet the NuLabour government would love it if we all followed religion blindly - imagine the control they could have over us then.


garfer said...


Yes, but I bet your 'Moon Under Water' doesn't serve liver sausage sandwiches.


You live in Utopia. I bet your brewpubs serve Swiss steak.


Indeed. We must obey matron.

Never Mind The Bollix said...

See me? Monday to Friday I'm a sawdust on the floor, straight pint glasses, beer mats on tables kinda guy.

If they ever opened a theme pub in Clydebank it would be burned to the ground before the first fake plastic shamrock had been draped over the plastic shillelaghs.

vincent1 said...

Enjoyed your blog garfer thank you, this has just been posted in a campaign site I am in, I am sure you will like it. You are right about alcohol will be next too.

The drunken crocodile
Gian Turci
12th September 2008.

garfer said...


Clydebank boozers have nae windaes, and the chances of being chibbed are rather high for my liking.


I'll either get a placard and a megaphone or emigrate to Bulgaria.

Puppy and Hippo said...

My granny and granda lived in Clydebank a long time ago - the 70's, if I remember correctly.

Possil Park, to be precise.

Fucking horrid place.

I vividly remember dangling my cousin - Jimmy Somerville as he was to become known - from the 8th storey window of their flat in a tower block... after he ate the entire contents of a box of icing sugar and left me to take the blame.

I was fast asleep.

After eating it, he then sprinkled some of it on my face and left the box under my end of the bed (we were topping and tailing), so that I got the blame.

I should have let the cunt drop.

garfer said...

How traumatic.

You need counselling.

Never Mind The Bollix said...

Possil Park is the one remaining place in Glesga that has yet to be demolished and refurbed. It is still a no go area, and the truth is.. no fucker want's to go in there anyway.

Possil is famous for spewing out two of the biggest god bothering cunts known to man... The Proclaimers. They had one big hit and turned to god for guidance.

Possil is also infamous for breeding some of the hardest NEDS in Glesga, and having the largest array of chibs known to man.

Even the boys from Maryhill stay away from Possil.

crazyrivergirl said...

Of course the smoking ban's responsible for the closure of so many pubs..all the interesting smokers can't be bothered huddling outside so now they all get together in arty apartments where they eat, drink, dance and smoke and laugh at the bourgeoisie.

garfer said...


I believe that average life expectancy in Maryhill is 12 years.

I was in Clydebank once, but I was too scared to get out of the car.


The bourgeoisie are very anti smoking. Only the upper and working classes defend the noble art of chuffing.

Never Mind The Bollix said...

So YOU'RE the guy who had a car in Clydebank. I'd heard rumours, but never dreamed it was actually true.

Anonymous said...

Bit of a dilemma for me - I can't stand this cultural obsession with keeping everybody alive (stop eating this stop smoking that don't drink the other)but I enjoy not having the stinging pink eye and reeking of ash when I sit in a bar.

garfer said...

Fair point. It just sticks in my craw that working mens clubs and backstreet boozers, the vast bulk of whose customers smoke, have to force people out into the cold and rain to indulge in what remains (for how long?) a perfectly legal activity.