Monday, 1 June 2015


I don't know about you guys but I'm tired of hearing about Britain running out of bees. You can't turn to page 34 of your newspaper without reading about it. But then, no one reads newspapers anymore either. Britain is running out of bees and newspaper readers. What else? Pubs. That's what.

I wrote a blog post about this about five years ago. Since then the situation has got worse. Far worse. Britain is running out of pubs and no one seems to give a shit. I'm talking about actual pubs and here is my definition of an actual pub...

1) I should be able to go into the pub on a Tuesday afternoon and find at least four alcoholics at the bar. They're allowed to talk to each other but they must know each other from no where other than that pub.

2) I want a pool table, dart board or at the very least a quiz machine.

3) If there is a child in that pub I want it to be an eight year old spending his fortnightly Saturday afternoon with his semi absent father by the pool table - NOT A BABY IN A BUGGY.

4) This pub cannot serve hot food. Crisps, pork scratchings and possibly some cheese rolls. NOTHING THAT REQUIRES A KNIFE AND FORK.

5) Women are certainly allowed in this pub but it is still ran primarily as a creche for men.

These pubs are dying out and they are dying out fast. And who's fault is that? YOURS. Why? Cos you love your fucking Sunday roasts so much don't you. But you can't be arsed to make one can you? No. So you trundle down to your local, point at your mouth and say 'where's my fucking dinner?'.

And so we've had what I call the Sundayfication of London (and I suspect, most of the rest of Britain). All pubs now revolve around Sunday. The market gets what the market wants and what the market wants apparently is leg of lamb. Go into a gastro pub on a Tuesday. Not that you would of course because you're still digesting your fucking roast but go on, go in. They'll be some newspapers at the end of the bar next to an unlit candled wine bottle. Pick them up. Not Tuesday's newspapers are they? No. No, they're fucking well not. Every piece of reading will have been part of a Sunday newspaper. If you're lucky there might be a Sunday Times magazine left but most likely you're looking at the scraps - the money section, the 'family' section and the section that best demonstrates the utter uselessness of print newspapers - the TV listings.

The time between Sundays for neighbourhood pubs now is just dead air. They might fill it for an evening with a quiz night but where does that leave Gary and Barry and Terry? They had enough of feeling thick at school, thank you very much.

Look, I love a pub roast and I love a pub quiz but while we're all worrying about the rain forests and the bees something far more important is disappearing. Pubs. There's about four actual pubs left in London now. The rest are just restaurants masquerading as pubs.

Back in the last century it was all about the Campaign For Real Ale. Well, that battle's been won. You've even got your ye olde tankard style jugs back. Congratulations. I for one appreciate it, well the good beer anyway. But if I now have no other option than to drink that beer sat between a child with a colouring book and someone eating mackerel tagine with a diet coke then I'm not sure the battle was worth it.

Right, that's it. I'm writing a book on this.

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