Thursday, 23 September 2010

Smokeless and drinkless pubs.

The Ciggie busters debacle continues, with those involved now trying to rewrite history (we didn't attack members of the public even though we are on record claiming that we did) and justifying the theft on the basis of 'it's only smokers'. As others have pointed out to those deaf ears, it doesn't matter that it was only a film. If they had made a film called 'veil rippers' or 'turban tearers', it would have been incitement to violence. Since it's only about attacking smokers, that's just fine.

Please, if you're thinking of commenting along the lines of 'attacking smokers is for their own good', save the wear on your keyboard. It won't work here.

Next week another local pub closes. It wasn't one I ever frequented, it was aimed at a younger clientele with gaudy decor and loud music. It was, however, normally to be found with smokers standing outside it. They aren't even allowed under the large sheltered doorway because it's 'enclosed on three sides'. They have to be out in the rain.

Here, we have experienced none of the alleged global warming. If anything, this has been the coldest and wettest summer I can ever remember with barely a rainless day since mid-June. The most successful thing growing in greenhouses here is mould.

Normally, in summer, smoking outside isn't a bad thing. Most of us would prefer to be outside on a warm summer evening anyway and the non-smokers in the groups would also be out there. Unfortunately the antismoking harridans are out there too. Those who have sat in smug warmth all winter will demand that they have the outside to themselves in summer. We don't have the option to go inside, the only option we have is not to visit the pub. This wet summer, which follows a particularly harsh winter, means an evening outside the pub has been very unattractive indeed for almost a full year now.

This summer I have not visited a single pub. I'm not paying pub prices to smoke in the rain. Smoking shelters offer no protection if there is the slightest wind, and they are deliberately legislated to be unpleasant for no reason other than spite. If your house is hijacked while you're away for a few days, nobody in authority cares. If your dog is microchipped, stolen and the new owner identified, the law cares not a jot. Yet you try setting up an outdoor smoking shelter that actually allows a modicum of comfort and the law will come down on you like a ton of bricks.

So the pubs continue to close, despite ASH insisting they are not. I'd like to support the local pubs, I really would, but I'm too old to shiver in the cold and the wet while paying far more for a whisky than I would at the supermarket. Sure, I could stop smoking, but for me smoking and drinking are linked. If I stopped smoking I'd probably stop drinking too, so that's not going to help the pubs at all.

I have Electrofag but I'm not a 100% committed electrosmoker. I still prefer tobacco. Electrofag is fun, it's a substitute, but I use it mostly at the lab when the weather is lousy because there's no shelter at all outside. When relaxing with a drink I'll go for the baccy first. So, from a smoker's point of view, the pub is an expensive way to get wet and cold. Not an appealing way to spend an evening.

The American Food and Drug Administration are still trying to ban Electrofag, no doubt at the behest of both the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. It seems odd that 'food' and 'drugs' are the remit of a single organisation. I'd have thought they were entirely separate things. But that's beside the point. This same FDA won't tell Americans if they are eating genetically modified foods. It seems they pay far more attention to the interests of big business than to the consumer, which is really no surprise.

Some pubs don't allow Electrofag and that is their choice. Whether they allow smoking or not, well that is not their choice. If they want to exclude certain customers, they have the right to do so. They do not have the right to allow a whole swathe of potential customers even if the landlord and all the staff are smokers. Even if none of their customers were non-smokers, smokers can't smoke in there. So we stay home in the warm and the dry and we set up Smoky-Drinky evenings among ourselves. I've seen those who support the smoking ban comment 'Pfft! I've never heard of such places therefore they don't exist'. You won't hear about them unless you're invited. They can't be open to the public because if they were, they'd be subject to the same smoking ban that closed the pubs we used to frequent. We don't have a sign outside.

We also don't have membership. That would make us a private club and again, the ban would apply. Smoky-Drinky is an informal gathering under no control, with no leader, no agenda and no hierarchical structure. That's why the Righteous can't find us. In their minds, such gatherings simply cannot exist. They are looking for the ringleader and there isn't one.

The smoking ban was supposed to be about health, not a means to shut down pubs. If that is true then why are those outdoor smoking shelters so exposed? Why can they not at least be allowed to provide some actual shelter? Non-smokers would have no interest in going inside anyway so who is being protected? Those ridiculous laws on smoking shelters simply ensure that smokers won't go to pubs at all when the weather is bad.

Now we are to see further restrictions on the drink-drive limit. For no more reason than some Righteous believes it must be done. No facts, no figures, simply an imposition of one man's beliefs on everyone else. It will make no difference to drink-drivers who are well over the current limit anyway. Who will it affect? Only those drivers who visit out-of-town pubs to sample one or two pints of a particular beer.

So the pubs lose one customer, you think. Well, a car has one driver but it can have several passengers and we passengers aren't limited to one or two pints. When the driver no longer wants to visit pubs where he'll be on mineral water all evening, the rest of his non-driving passengers can't go either. The drink-drivers won't be affected in the slightest, well, not until the pub closes.

Public transport? Seriously? Public transport to out-of-the-way places stops entirely by 8 pm and is nonexistent on a Sunday. Many places see no buses at all. If you don't have a car or know someone who does, those places are off the radar. If drivers are to risk their licences on a beer or two, they won't go. Therefore, neither will their passengers.

We can't smoke in the pubs and soon we won't be able to drink in them either. The pubs will respond by becoming cafeterias selling high-priced food to cover their rents and their losses on drink. The local dairy has a cafeteria that I can't smoke or drink in, it sells reasonably priced bacon rolls and I don't need to beg a lift or worry about the last bus to get there. Food sales will not help. The pubs are doomed.

Meanwhile the drink-drivers will get tanked up at home and then drive down to the supermarket for some more.

Health? Health doesn't come into it. Never did. It was always about social engineering and forced conformity. It was always about control. That's why the smoking ban is enforced with vigour while those who take over your house or steal your dog are of no interest to the authorities. Enforcing your property rights won't help them control you. It might even give you the radical idea that the authorities you pay for are there to work for you, and that would never do.

I'd like to help the pubs but the pubs don't seem interested in resisting any of this. They just roll over and blame anything but the obvious.

Smoky-Drinky it is, then.


Anonymous said...

In my travels yesterday I went to Newton Abbott. It was raining, I popped into a pub for a pint. This pub have recently had the heart dragged out of it and had been turned into cafe/bar.
Utterly souless and completely empty of any customers.
One pint, stood outside in the rain for a fag, absolutely no proctection what so ever. Moved onto Paignton where I know of a little gem.
A pub that has table and chairs outside under a solid roof. The pub was heaving, every chair outside taken and everyone talking to each other. This pub always does a roaring trade and it one of the few 'normal' pubs that seem to remain. In fact is was completely unfazed when a huge Wetherspoons opened just yards away selling cheaper booze.
It was right, nobody moved pubs. The trade is there if the pubs would only treat us decently.

Mark Wadsworth said...


Smokeless or smockless?

Chuckles said...

Congratulations brother UBU, you have just rediscovered the Gathered Church.

Longbow said...

I popped in at a local-ish private members club in Birmingham a few weeks ago. It used to be referred to as a Working Mens Club but I don't hear anybody calling them that these days. Anyway, it's an established old place that has been on the same site for decades although now it's at the heart of the immigrant community and as a consequence the police are not interested in patrolling around there at the best of times - strangely enough theres not much crime about either!
Anyway, we walked into the bar and it had a thick fog of ciggy smoke. All of the tables had ash trays and the atmosphere was fantastic. Sad to say it, but just like the old days! Not everybody in there was smoking, but nobody was complaining and everybody was inside. What a great throw back to the 1970s and my young nephew had never seen anything like it but loved the whole thing.
No wonder the popularity of pubs is on the decline when you see what a social club can do with a freedom policy and reasonably priced drinks. The Righteous have got a lot to answer for - the cunts!
I've never been one to enjoy smoking much, but as a man in my late forties I've decided to take it up just to annoy the sort of people who find it annoying and offensive.

Barking Spider said...

I had one of the Ciggy Busters lot reply to a comment on You Tube, (after all this time), to inform me that "Ms Gramegna isn't their teacher" like that in some way exonerates her!?!

I told her that I didn't care what the job title is, the police still felt it was necessary to speak to her.

They haven't come back again..... so far!

English Pensioner said...

I don't smoke, and don't particularly care if others do provided that they do their best to keep the smoke from coming in my direction. I am however very concerned about the ban, as not only is it causing pubs to close, but also because once these zealots have won, they will look for another target which maybe something that I do want to do.

Bucko said...

I worked for a fairly big brewery when the smoking ban came in. They set aside millions to pay for advertising, training and mainly building smoking shelters. The really big breweries spent an absolute fortune on the same.
If they had all just come together and said no to the smoking ban, they would have had enough money to buy the government, but they didn't, they just bent over.
I got out of the trade altogether, shortly after the ban because I saw what was coming. Sure enough I was right. I worked in the managed house sector and they have now sold all their managed houses along with a large chunk of their tennated pubs.
My local also closed so I can't go there. I do still visit the local club quite often and I will continue to do so untill they ban pool and snooker. Unfortunately I can't fit a snooker tabe in my house.
I did make plans for gutting the entire top floor, putting a snoker table in the space and sleeping in the attic.
Mrs Bucko said no.

Leg-iron said...

Mark - well spotted. I tossed a coin to decide which way to correct it.

Leg-iron said...

Longbow - you can now take it up with a nicotine-free Electrofag. Just flavoured steam. Drives the Righteous nuts because it looks like smoking but there's nothing there to 'second-hand' anyone. Or even first-hand.

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