Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Saving the Pubs.

This weeks sixty-sample madness is to happen one day earlier than expected. That doesn't sound like much but it gives me one whole day less to prepare and since I'm the last-minute sort, it means panic. So it was with some relief that I received a couple of Emails asking me to mention some things. It saves me thinking.

First, this -

I would argue that pubs need customers, but then many of their customers were smokers. Twenty percent of the UK population are smokers but far more than twenty percent of pub regulars were smokers. Pubs have been forced, by law, to effectively exclude a large proportion of their traditional customer base. Those pious ones who said they would go to pubs once the filthy smokers were ejected were lying.

Because, you see, those that are vehemently against smoking are, in large part, also vehemently against drinking. Pub closures suit them. They never intended to go to the pubs. They wanted the pubs to die. Now they are after drinkers too.

There are still pubs that don't get it. There are pubs that don't like Electrofag because 'it looks like smoking' and really, if they cannot be bothered trying to keep our custom in any form, why try to help? Other pubs are happy with Electrofag. Some, like Ma Cameron's in Aberdeen, come highly recommended because they do their best to cater for smokers. The smoking area is on the roof, with seats, parasols with heaters inside, and very nice too. Away from the passing Righteous in the street and although it's too far for me to visit often (last time I was there was for a pint with Kynon and that was quite some time ago), it seems fairly fake-cough free.

Pubs, on the whole, don't want to exclude us but last winter was harsh and this summer has been wet and cold. We are not going outside, we are staying home. It has nothing to do with supermarket prices. We'd rather go to the pub, but we aren't allowed inside.

You can download A3 or A4 posters on this page. I'm not going to hand deliver them. I'll print A4 ones, the biggest I can print, and post them to every pub in the area. Anonymously, but with an explanatory note. A week later I'll have a bit of a wander and call in on those pubs. The ones worth working to save will have the poster up.

Those who don't want us back can stay non-smoking. Their premises, their choice. I don't mind. I just won't go there.

For those who want the choice to allow smokers back inside, I will fight.


subrosa said...

Did you hear the latest on Channel 4 news? Some 'culture' minister says we can't afford libraries any longer, so pubs should become libraries.

We live in a crazy world.

Anonymous said...

I heard that, too, Subrosa. (My local library, which was expensively refurbished just before the election doesn't really look like a library anymore. It has a wall-mounted TV, lots of PCs and hardly any books. When I remarked that there was still space for many,many more books I was told that they couldn't accommodate more because shelving has to be arranged so that people don't bump into others who are also bending down to peer at the titles - elfin safety or right-to- personal-space or some such. It wouldv'e been hilarious if she hadn't been perfectly serious.

I also heard yesterday two talking heads lamenting the stigmatisation of drug addicts and, even as I was musing on the inconsistency of stigmatising smokers, one piped up that it's OK, indeed A Good Thing, that tobacco is stigmatised so that thousands don't die from passive smoking (aren't they clever in always being careful to demonise the product and not the user?)


gladiolys said...

I thought you might find this... amusing and slightly relevant.


Kynon said...

Blimey, fame at last!

Still around, lurking away, disappearing under the tidal wave of Real Life that keeps getting in the way!

Leg-iron said...

Subrosa - in Bankhead, a little to the north of Aberdeen, there is a pub that used to be a library, many years ago. Well, I say pub. It was a favourite of mine when I worked at the Rowett. Now all that's left is the small public bar (which looks as if it's still stuck in the fifties) and the rest of it is a curry house.

I doubt pubs turning into libraries will help. We would soon hear moans about smokers buying their books in Tesco and reading them at home. Because supermarkets are undercutting the libraries, not because of any smoking ban.

Leg-iron said...

Anon- the local library here is full of computers too. All those keyboards and a sign on the wall saying 'quiet please'. Quiet? You can't hear yourself think in there. It sounds like a big bag of marbles spilled down a wooden staircase.

Oh, and of course, 'No Smoking'.

As I said above, I buy my books at the supermarket and read them at home.

Leg-iron said...

Anon- it's interesting that so many are keen to legalise drugs while being vehemently opposed to any relaxation of restrictions on smokers.

Are they going to do the same with the drugs? You can have them, you can pay duty on them, you can pay VAT on the price and on the duty too, but you can't use them anywhere.

If they do, Man with a Van will need a bigger van.

Leg-iron said...

gladiolys - good link. I liked the comment by a moron called uanime5 -

Why are fags criticised more than booze? Because there's passive smoking but not passive binging. No one ever got cirrhosis by being too close to an alcoholic but a lot of people get cancer from getting too close to a smoker.

I've been thumped by a drunk or two. Nobody has ever caught anything from standing next to a smoker.

Just shows how deep the unthinking goes. These people will believe anything.

It can be fun.

Leg-iron said...

Kynon - we should do it again one day but this time, don't bring the car and we'll hit the good stuff.

We might even get Captain Ranty along, although he's out of the country at the moment.

You know, Dirty European Socialist isn't far away either (Hello, DES ;), the tracking thing finds you too).

Now that could be an entertaining evening!

Kynon said...

Leggy, that sounds like a plan.

I now work in a different location, so I take the train into town these days. The car is now just for weekends & special occasions (and times when public transport is unable to get me to where I need to go!)

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