Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When I'm 89

In the year 2037 I will be 89 years old. If I continue to lead the good, healthy, creditable life I lead now I might just about make it (most of my family tend to stay around for a long time). But do I want to make it past 2039? I ask the question because I discovered today that if pubs in Britain continue closing down at the rate they are currently closing at, the last British pub will call time in 2037. It is a sobering thought - and the last thing a beer lover like me needs is a sobering thought.

It has become Save The British Pub week here on News From Nowhere (it wasn't planned, it just emerged, like the smooth gush of a foaming pint emerging from a polished brass beer pump). Earlier today I had a look at a number of websites devoted to British pubs in order to find one which would somehow give a taste of the delights of a decent inn, pub or tavern to people who have never been able to sample them in person. Perhaps the best designed and best maintained site is, but there are a number of things that I don't understand about the site. In the first place there is a strange reluctance to say who runs (and who funds) the site. Mention is frequently made of how "we" have searched the streets for as many good pubs as possible, but there is no clue to who exactly the "we" is. The other problem I have is that when I used the search facility in order to find a good pub near where I live, the nearest it could come up with was one twenty odd miles away in Derbyshire! I'm all for being discriminating in your choice of good pubs, but that is somewhat ridiculous.

The other day I came across a quote from Toni Morrison on Kim's Mouse Medicine blog : "If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, you must be the one to write it". Perhaps I should start designing the perfect pub website. But that might interfere with my drinking too much and I can't do with that. Whatever happens, I have only 27 years left.

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  1. Anonymous1:39 PM

    Alan, you got me to thinkin' 2037 I'll be 70 ( given my family's history of ills I may or may not make it, then again age is pretty much all over the board as it is... )

    How about a good pub history site instead? Tha' way you can still imbibe and and have time to work the site ( and with a lap-top PC, possibly from your favourite long as the publican is okay with it... )

    Just in idea, sir :)

  2. Hey, you better jump into writing that pubs book, Alan. I can't think of a better person to write it. And, I've gotta plan my pub tour now!

  3. ...oh, and the blog is an excellent idea!

  4. methinks there is the perfect pub book inside you!

    i'm always suspicious of sites that don't provide info on who runs and funds - hmmmm maybe the site is a front for francisco's watercolors - did think they were quite fetching

    as for 2037 - I'll be close behind you age wise, god-willing that is....

  5. You'd be hard-pressed to find a decent pub within 200 miles of my home!
    I've got a fair bit longer to find the good ones than you have (God willing), but I've given up booze for Lent, so there's a bit of a handicap for you.

    I think you'd do a marvelous website, mind you.


  6. Ick. Not a happy thought this morning. Guess I had better get to stepping if I want to do a pub tour of the Britis Isles!

    I would definitely visit a pub history site. I got to visit several wonderful ones in Ireland. I'd love to know more about them (and all the ones I missed!)


  7. Here's to your long healthy life, Alan...and may you outlive the pubs! :)

  8. Noble endeavor, your pub research.

  9. If you led international pub tours, you would:
    1. Save the pubs
    2. Have plenty of time to drink
    3. Get tips to help pay for the drink
    Sounds like win, win, win to me!

  10. Christine H : Strangely enough, I used to have a part-time job running pub tours in London for overseas visitors attending conferences at the University of London. We moved away from London 30 odd years ago and I have not one the tour since. However next week I will be staying in London overnight en route to France and I have promised my companions to take them on the pub tour. It will be interesting to see how things have changed

  11. Had delicious pint of HSB (Horndean Special Bitter) this lunchtime. Have you ever tried it? It's one of my all-time favourites. Strangely, when I worked for a Cornish brewery, they brewed HSD (Hick's Special Draught), which became another all-time favourite. Although the locals called it High Speed Diesel.

  12. Martin : Sadly I have never had HSB (nor indeed, HSD) I remember when I was young having BYB which stood for Bentley's Yorkshire Brewery. It always used to be known as Bugger Your Bowels.

  13. Anonymous7:06 PM

    HA! Alan, that BYB reminded me of the swill we drank in Peru! 'Nuff said on that, heh...come to think of it; I bet swill tastes better!

  14. Anonymous8:19 PM

    I'll be 83 in 2037...Yikes! I agree with the others, you should definetly write a book or do a website. You could do a traveler's review of all the pubs. That way you could still visit them and then write your review.
    Here in the Midwset , we have nothing comparable to a real Pub. We do have a bar called Nine Irish Brothers that is supposed to replicate a pub. It is a fun place and has some great music & good food. Happy Pubbing!

  15. Yeesh... I'm trying to image all of the bars closing in America.

    That would totally suck, and we don't have near the history you do.

    dirtine: adjective: messy, unkempt.

  16. If you only have 27 years......
    As JFK said, "then let's start today"!

  17. I wish I were going on the Pub Tour with your group....I love London! I'm sure I could enjoy a completely different side of the city with you as the guide.

  18. I'd ask you to let me know what 89 is like, but of the two of us . . . you'll be the only one still around. But surely something can be done to save the august institution of the English pub?

  19. Thanks for making me laugh. I love it. I don't think it would be bad for you to set up a few criteria. One a day maybe and see if you can't get it published and followed by all old pub owners and future pub owners in order to stop the down turning trend.


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