December 13, 2008

Fancy a Bevy?

I watched the Money Programme about the state of British pubs. Intersting stuff. When I was at art college I worked in a great pub in Birmingham when lager was under a pound a pint. These were probably some of the best days of my life although like most students I didn't know my ass from my elbow.

I remember the introduction of Pub co's and a dramatic hike in the price of beer over a few years. I moved to London and noticed pubs starting to close. As I had started squatting I found this an advantage. Once you were in, the owners of these closed pubs often left you there until they needed it. Better to have people looking after the place.

I didn't care about Pub co's. The misery of these managers didn't affect me. I have only gone into these big, cheap, "successful" chain pubs with friends who were alchoholics. Inside, they are full of alcholholics. They are seriously sad places. Some of the best parties I have ever been to have been in squatted pubs. I am glad of the conclusion this documentary points to. The only happiness, and the only genuine pub atmosphere, which I thought long gone exists still in free holds and pub co ops. It seems that if you want a good pub you have to buy one with your mates. If you like pubs, take notice, and buy one before there are none left.

Money Programme: Last Orders: Calling Time on Pubs on the iPlayer here



La Sirena said...

Interesting -- I'll have to listen to the podcast later.

I was a bartender for a number of years and really always believed it was the staff that made the place (but I also don't go into chain places).

We're having some of the same issues here in the US. For example, only about half the liquor licenses available in Chicago are in use and it's harder and harder to find a place with any character... or maybe my definition of character has changed as I've matured or gotten older and bitchier or whatever. And then again, people don't drink as much as they used to. You could lose your job for consuming a liquid lunch (a common practice 30+ years ago) -- and frankly, I couldn't even handle a liquid lunch.

I do prefer parties to bars -- squatting isn't as easily done in the US. For one thing, some crazy MFs will legally shoot you if you are on their property without permission and for another the police are more invested in protecting property than preserving peace.

I've always been jealous of the whole British squatting thing. I'm probabaly romanticizing it, but still...

DAVE BONES said...

We had some moments but ten years of it almost killed me. It would definately have driven me crazy had I carried on. I couldn't stand running anymore.