Friday, April 28, 2006

Campaign for Real Pubs

On the journey back to Munich I was reading a very well-written article in the Sunday Times Magazine about the demise of Britain's seaside resorts. It got me thinking about the demise of other things in Britain...and at the top of my list was "the local pub".

Now, before I go any further, I have to say that what follows is an extremely selective view due to the fact that I don't spend that much time in England and what time I do spend is almost exclusively in one small area of Merseyside...but...

My favourite 'local' pub when I am in Liverpool is The Crow's Nest in Crosby...what makes it so good is the presence of some very important factors and the absence of some others.

They have: excellent beers, an open fire in the winter, a convoluted interior design of snug, bar and lounge which is not efficient or easy to navigate especially after a couple of pints but very human, newspapers to borrow and read, the chunner of people conversing, a manager and assistant manager who really run the place and are not marionettes shunted round from pub to pub by a faceless chain management....

They don't have: a jukebox, a DJ, piped music, fruit machines with their incredibly irritating bleeps and bloops and scraps of electronic melody which makes them sound like demented Daleks, pool tables, plasma screens, tacky false beams, or any of that horrible false chain pub paraphenalia...

So does this make me just some grumpy auld git who wants to go back to the fifties? Aye, it probably does BUT if so, then I have always been a grumpy auld git because for a start I have always hated loud music, background music, piped music or any kind of bloody music in pubs (unless of course it was the wonderful Morrisey/Mullen band in what was a live music pub in Finchley).
I remember going to one of the first 'loud music pubs' in Liverpool with my mate Neil in the 70s - the Penny Farthing...a quaint name for a 1000 decibel pub. We sat inside tossed and thrown by a swelling tide of guitars and screaming vocals pouring out of huge black speakers and held a very difficult conversation at the tops of our voices which left me hoarse for days.

I mean, what is the point???

The pub I used to go in with my great drinking and discussing mate Dave was the Great Mogul in Maghull which used to be a rambling, almost country-style pub but which sadly and inevitably has now been redesigned (= destroyed) with fake beams, jukebox...etc.

Anyway, the Crowies' is the only pub in the area in my part of Liverpool which fulfils my needs; the rest all cater for some stratum of the market which requires brain-numbing music video clips and electronic entertainment to protect anyone from the dangers of a conversation..

So can one of you out there in Hingerland reassure me that the 'pub', the good old English pub - which of course is the acronym from public house; a wonderfully cosy concept when you think about it - is not in extremis or will we soon need a companion organisation for CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, such as the Campaign for Real Ale Pubs... or for short CRAP...oh, perhaps not...


lydia said...

I am with you all the way! I am too in germany but am english and i really miss ahving a proper local pub, i miss pint glasses too. Hopefuuly i will get back there soon.

Might have to think of a new name for the campaign tho :)

Neutron said...

Hi lydia!

Thanks for visiting. Whereabouts in Germany are you?