diamond geezer

 Saturday, August 02, 2014

"Hey," says BestMate, "it's Friday, we should go to the pub." I turn him down.

I used to say yes on a Friday night when asked, or any evening of the week, more often than not. Pubs can be mighty fine places with the right atmosphere and company, plus the alcoholic beverages they serve slip down a treat too. But five times this year, on each of the five Fridays I've been asked, I've turned that invite to the pub down. Because it's always the same bloody one.

I've been to many excellent pubs this year. Ancient hostelries on the estuarine Thames, sipping ale on the rear wooden decking. Suit-packed saloons in the heart of Covent Garden, stood out front beside the lump of modern art. Chichi gastropubs in the backstreets of Kensington, their decor an expensive imitation of the run-down boozer the place used to be. Riverside taverns where sunburnt geezers arrive by motorboat and geese shelter from the sun beneath the lock gates. Oh yes, I don't mind a good pub. But I've gone off BestMate's favourite somewhat.

His preferred pub is always busy. This can be a good thing, because it means we're more likely to bump into someone we might know. BestMate knows everyone, or so it seems, so for him the more people in a particular location the more random acquaintances he gets to talk to. And I don't mind that, it's good to meet new people, even if at the end of the night you'd be pleased never to have to meet some of them again. But busy can also be bad, and Friday nights doubly so.

The bar is always, always packed. It doesn't matter how early we turn up, there's always a crowd elbow-deep attempting to buy a round for half a dozen friends. I like to at least make eye contact with the bar staff when I approach, but in this pub I can only perch awkwardly at the back of the throng and attempt to get someone's attention. Buying a round is always stressful, not least because I'm rubbish at pushing forward, or rather others are considerably better. Sometimes I can stand waiting for five minutes or more without beer or even acknowledgement, which makes me feel woefully insignificant. And I'm not even after anything complicated, I only want a bottle.

But this particular pub has stopped selling my favourite bottle. I should be grateful - Beck's isn't exactly the highpoint of global lager output, so its absence should nudge me into buying something better. But I take an Aspergers approach to alcohol, I like familiarity of experience. A tried and tested regime keeps me on my feet for longer, especially in a social situation when other people are buying for me, but that's not possible here. So instead I end up drinking lagers I like less, or liquids that incapacitate me quicker, and my social night out inevitably suffers.

Then there's the area set aside for drinking, or lack of it. Time was that everyone stayed inside the pub, summer or winter, in a fog of swirling smoke. Then the pavement space opened up, and those of us who preferred freedom from nicotine stepped outside and enjoyed the air. It wasn't long before legislation banished the smokers too, and soon the pavement was as packed as the interior. This in turn forced the landlord to install barriers to stop punters spilling into the road, or rather to avoid falling foul of the council's licensing requirements. All of which has made the Friday night pub experience more like a cattle market than a street party, and I guess I've fallen out of love.

I should be less intolerant of imperfection and make an effort to attend, rather than always opting out like a reclusive wuss. Equally there will come a Friday when BestMate heads elsewhere, to some alternative drinking establishment that isn't an over-desirable hub "where everyone goes". My diary is poised to accept his invite, when it comes, indeed my Saturday evening contains just such an opportunity. But on Friday night while the world went out and did something more exciting, I merely sat at home with a cup of tea and wrote about my social opt-out. It may be a far cheaper option than frequenting a London pub, but it's not, I fear, the best way to be spending one's life.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream