Saturday, 24 July 2010

Smoky Drinky - the next generation.

I have a small and somewhat decayed 8'x6' shed with one little window. It's full of junk including a petrol mower I have decided to sell because I only have a small amount of grass left. A cheapo electric can deal with it. Once the petrol mower - and petrol - is gone, I'd be happy to smoke in there. The roof is re-felted so it is at least waterproof. It would be nice to make it a smoky-drinky venue but it would only accommodate small gatherings.

Smoky-drinky in the house is fine but for whoever is hosting it, it's not the same. It's not 'going to a pub night', it's 'hosting a pub night'. With a separate venue we could all enjoy the feeling of not-at-home.

It can't be open to the public but it would at least give the feel of something that isn't 'home' and where nobody has to worry about being the host. In my shed I am not the host, just another smoky-drinker.

It is the next stage in Smoky-Drinky evolution and when these places appear they are likely to resemble the photo here.

Yes, it looks like a frontier saloon or a Middle Ages ale house but that's where the original pub started. The ones we could smoke in. It has character and most importantly, it represents real, free choice. Local solutions by local people, eh, Cameroid? Not quite so keen on this one, are you? You Tefal-headed totalitarian. As for the Clog who is as wooden as his namesake, look up 'liberal' and then delete it from your party's name because you, you suited weasel, are nothing of the kind.

ASH won't like it. CAMRA won't like it. The pubcos won't like it. The Cleggeron Coagulation won't like it. All the more reason to do it. Screw them all. In Smoky Drinky you can smoke, Electrosmoke or not smoke. You can drink booze or tea or water or nothing at all. The one thing you cannot do is demand that anyone else does what you want to do. If you want to make such demands, see that bit of wood with hinges? It's called a door and it's what you use to leave. We smoke inside and outside and if you object, the solution is simple. Go to a 'proper' pub. If there are any left.

Smoky-drinky has rules. We cannot be open to the public and we cannot advertise our places. if we do, we are deemed a public place and we can't smoke in there. We have no membership, no fees, or any kind of formal register of members because if we do, we become a private club and we can't smoke in there. We have no central supply of drink or food, each smoky-drinker brings their own and we pool it all. No money changes hands in Smoky-drinky because if it does, we are a place of business and we can't smoke in there.

These things make Smoky-drinky small and isolated. There are Smoky-drinkies everywhere but we can't find or talk to each other because we are always wary of strangers. That wariness is what makes Leafar's site so difficult to maintain. A great idea but we're paranoid about ASH infiltrators. Smoky-drinky is not illegal as long as we stick to the rules, but there are many who would like to make us illegal and these days they need only the flimsiest of pretexts.

What we need is a flag flying over that shack. One we can recognise and approach, knowing that we are kindred spirits.

The actual flag is in flux but credit must go to the original determinedly anonymous one (a non-smoker) who started the ball rolling. One day, Anon, your name will be carved into the wall of every New Pub. Saint Whassname, the one who showed how to unite the Smoky-drinkers.

Okay, that's enough embarrassment for Anonymous. ASH are probably already hunting for him and they won't get the name from me.

Let's face it, the Old Pub signed their own death warrant when they threw us out. It's a slow and lingering death but they are dying by their own hand. The days of the Old Pub are now numbered by the lowering of drink-drive limits and the hysteria over shandies. Old Pub, your time is up. To paraphrase Videodrome, 'Long Live the New Pub'.

Those frontier shacks are the way forward for smokers and drinkers. The only ones who can't get in are antismokers.

But then, they won't want to. Will they?


Anonymous said...

What about a kind of discreet 'pub' sign, with a name that smokers would recognise (The Burning Leaf or something)?


PT Barnum said...

That lovely shed reminds me very strongly of the drinking dens to be found in areas outside town boundaries in pre-Civil Rights America, where Blacks and whites could drink, dance and carouse away from the thuggery of racist law enforcement and local bigots. "Black folk having fun? Burn it down." As someone wrote recently, smokers are the new N*ggers - despised, villified but still essential to the society. Now there's a history that smokers could plug in to....

Mummylonglegs said...

My mums old boss decided that there was no way he was going to pay pub prices to stand outside in the pissing rain so he converted his garage into a bar. He had all the plastering done, fitted an inside tiolet and had it painted out. Then he sat back and waited. Less than two months later his local closed down. He nipped round with a wad of wonga and bought the bar, the tables, the back bar etc. We held Mums 'after funeral' party there. Every sunday before a bank holiday he hold a smokey drinkey. The last one, over a 100 people turned up and the last ones departed around 4 am. Entrance to the smokey drinkey is by 'bring your own'. That truely is the future. He reckons the August one will be the best yet.

Mummy x

Ted said...

Sounds not unlike the bothans in the Ness area of the Isle of Lewis. Until the 1970s there was no licensed premises in the area. I'm not sure if that was due to lack of demand or difficulty getting a license due to the influence of the "Wee Free" church in the area. There were a few communal meeting places though.

I think the Bothan days are gone now. There is a hotel and a licensed social club attached to the local football club now.

JJ said...

Where would things stand if you had pumps in your smoky-drinky and when a pint was pulled you simply made a donation of £1.50 to the maintenance of the place?

After all you’re not selling alcohol you’re just giving your own away. Wouldn't that get around people having to bring their own?

Mr A said...

In some ways this is the perfect example of Cameron's Big Society. No pub because of State interference? Then the community can take matters into its own hands. Socialising is encouraged, trust is fostered (there is a social contract that you won't turn up with a can of shandy then drink twenty cans of Stella). What happens in the "pub" is decided by those who use and "run" it, democracy and bonds of social acceptability being reinforced. And all at no cost to the taxpayer.

He wouldn't see it like that, of course.

Anonymous said...

The pub is dead, long live the smokey drinky (although I haven't found one yet).
Yesterday was a classic day for me in a English pub. We went to a lovely pub overlooking a harbour and sat outside. Cue the family with 4 screaming hyperactive kids.
End result, twenty people utterly pissed off with the noise, the parents didn't give a shit nor the staff. We moved on.
Next pub, go outside for a ciggy. You are not allowed to stand outside of this pub and smoke, a local Police rule. So the feral spotty slag can walk up and down swilling stella, gobbing and smoking but me and my missus can't smoke because there are no seats left.
Move on. Third pub, no garden, no outside seating just stand in the street next to the stinking garbage bin collecting lorry and watch everybody staring at you because you are so evil. Move on. My missus went home, I tried another one and found a place with tables outside. Sat down and within minutes its full of drunken yobs screaming at each other. Went home.

Stewart Cowan said...

A smokers' flag? That sounds exciting.

I suggest these colours:

BLUE - representing freedom - freedom to enjoy a puff in public locations without fear of reprisal.

RED - representing revolution and the blood that carries the nicotine to the brain!

WHITE - representing peace - peace to smoke while sitting down inside.

YELLOW/GOLD - representing justice.

BROWN - representing the leaves of contention.

Any ideas on design?

Anonymous said...

Top Piece,Smoky Drinky,
I've put you in my Favourites box

Hope you are Northern ,I could come round and split a few tubes.
I have a nice little pub smoking
shed nearby but the waft of soiled
YFronts and tight thongs is giving my snout some gip.

Ps Now recruiting for the
Liberation Army
Officers . Stick 50 Posters per week
NCO's and other ranks
25 per week.

Keep your eyes peeled for further
info when we have found 20 warlords.

Any volunteers

Vandals Cousins

lilith said...

Something like this?

lilith said...

Or this?

Mr A said...

I love the idea of smoky drinkies, I really do.


If it was just a matter of drinking with people I already know I'd just have them round my house (which admittedly, I have done a lot morse since the ban).

But the pub was always about meeting new people (especially girls) and a shed in my garden, whilst somewhat cool and an excellent two-fingers up to the bastards who rule us, is still just a shed. I want the pub, with its big bar, pub fodder, hot chicks and nice beer gardens! And fuck, I wanna smoke in there, or it quite simply isn't a pub. Is a cinema without a screen still a cinema? Same argument re the pub.

Anonymous said...

I like your shebeen concept. But I would be inclined to keep it essentially private, among a group of like-minded friends, and don't encourage strangers. That would leave you open to infiltration by people who want to sabotage your cosy den. And we live in a society which seeks to ban or control everything we ever do.

Might be an idea to buy in one of those pot-bellied stoves that run off calor gas, so you can warm the place up on wintry days.

Also, a chip shop within walking distance will be a boon.

Walking distance. That's significant. If your mates have to drive to get to your shebeen, the prodnoses will use that as a way of attacking you. Blaming you for parking congestion, or drunk driving.

Small, select, local, convivial.

Amusing Bunni said...

That's a very good idea, and a cute pic. I could see many of those nice sheds popping up.
Put a few things in there, and you won't need the pub.
Have fun.

Pat Nurse MA said...

I'd love a smokey drinky near me. I've not heard of any or know of any such gathering near me which is a shame.

One of the things I miss about old pubs was being able to sit there with a pint and a fag and write my way through something difficult. Get home pissed and full of inspiration and get the job done.

Oh, how I'd love the freedom to do that again. Let me know when said flag is ready and count me in for the rebellion!

banned said...

L-I, you have reminded me of a facilty that I enjoyed as a young teenager.
The local CofE church had a large vicarage with an extensive garden, at the back of which was a brick structure with windows; not a shed, not a garage but large enough to accomodate a couple of sofas and some tables.

Doing his bit for da yoof the vicar allowed my 'gang' free use of this building to keep us off the streets and we decked it out with scavenged curtains, sidelamps and bits of carpet. On the understanding that we did not do drugs (which we didn't) he turned a blind eye to us smoking, card gambling and drinking there; dunno if he ever cottoned on to the underage sex but that's another subject.

All in all a prototype Smokey Drinky place where everyone brought their own booze and fags, was not public and no-one got paid anything.

We abandoned it at about 15 years of age when we started to go to proper pubs, where we could smoke!
I have no idea if my own generation was the only one to have this facility or even if it still being so used to this very day.

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