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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Last Lament Of The Pub...

Not so long ago, in a pub, any pub, anywhere, there used to be a song in every Man's heart, a smile and a hearty slap that said come and join us in a drink, the females were sat at the tables smiles aplenty.  The Landlord and bar staff, the orchestrator's and subjects of jocular remarks selling single malt whiskies to those that wink and know best.  The lad at the bar staring at the barmaid's breasts.  The clunk of dart hitting board and the Ooo's and whoops of success that one width of a wire would bring.  Happy one and all.  A night finished and a wander home of echoed laughter down the street, shhh's to remind us not to wake the sleeping...

Trust me, she looked good after a couple of pints...

Well...That's what I remember, it was where and how I served my apprenticeship of a small part of life. Learning to drink. It is where I learnt to respect old Ted and his mates.  They told me stories that would leave me open mouthed in shock and wonder at their escapades during the war.  A couple more single malts and they would tell stories of loose ladies, a couple more and they would tell ghost stories that would shut the pub down for ten minutes during the telling of it.


It was in a time, that from the outset the Landlord knew you were maybe six or eight months from legally being able to drink at all, but the nod from your betters and elders told the Landlord that now is the time for your apprenticeship to begin.  A pint was put in your hand, gone in minutes, another, then another, yet another still...The walk home was broken with retches of your stomach trying to empty till nothing came, a silent scream your tummy was making, letting you know it doesn't like to be filled that quickly with alcohol and hops.


The apprenticeship continued.  The old fellas tut tutted and you were told to apologise to the Landlord, they silently knew they orchestrated your retch filled walk home the night before.  Advice to pace and not to mix your drinks came from the man that smelled of whisky and pipe smoke that had the aroma of sweets, he told you that if you want to die, do it slowly like the jaundiced quiet man who's liver is all but leather sitting alone and silent at the end of the bar.  But, for most, the apprenticed learnt to drink and respect anyone older than you by a trio of decades or more.


I know a lot about drinking, I know that in 2011 getting drunk is a target that must be reached quickly and by all means possible.  A drug deal in the toilet, or a little bit of something your trendy mate is bringing around will help the transition from sober to shit-faced, soon...very soon.  Combine it with a case of discounted cheap beers from your local supermercado, you are indeed drunk before you hit your favourite slut or cock pulling ex bank that's licenced to sell alcohol.


The little girl who's barely over eighteen who is happily serving you into a near coma, isn't going to give any advice to stop or slow down the newly apprenticed drinker.  The trendy preening fuckwit barman with skinny jeans and a peekaboo highlighted hairdo isn't going to tut tut you into slowing down either, they don't care if you are about to be smashed out of your head.  The Landlord has gone corporate, he sits in his worsted suit in an office that's quite possibly hundreds or even thousands of miles away.


Follow a "procedure" and you will get a licence to sell alcohol and be legally able to slam anyone into oblivion.  Responsible drinking isn't just your responsibility, it WAS all our responsibilities, it WAS the social order of things that went way down the line into the midsts of time.  We are now losing thirty pubs a week in this country, all mostly Victorian, some older.  Nobody builds pubs anymore to learn or apprentice in.  They turn shops, banks and warehouses into bars.  Nobody builds pubs.


ANY newly created drunk in the last fifteen to twenty years aren't role models of fuck all anymore.  Where have all the happy drunks gone? They have been long buried, long cremated in neat little rows of stones at your local cemetery.  Up the line in time, drunks are becoming vicious, uncontrollable and soon to be a burden on the National Health service that was created by the cemetried masses of our recent past.


Do I have time for any pitiful whining when a drunk gets into my cab? No, but they will complain they've drunk too much yet again and wont have learnt anything from their last spew ending binge. Most will have that smug gormless look though, after all, they think at the very least they deserve a medal for their gallant attempt to get smashed out of their heads.


If you get in a cab and your immediate thought is, this driver is a miserable bastard, it may be because he wants you out of his cab asap. He doesn't like the smell of sick breath and a dying liver. He doesn't like listening out for the sound of vomit making its way up from a bloated stomach so he has time to pull over and save his cab from a soaking of bile and piss.  I know unfortunately myself and my fellow cabbies from other daddies will have to smell it again next week and the week after... until one day we are picking up their relatives from a hospital because their liver and other organs finally gave up...