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Pubs in decline

ET 23 Feb 03 - 09:42 AM
Willie-O 23 Feb 03 - 09:51 AM
Steve Benbows protege 23 Feb 03 - 09:52 AM
harvey andrews 23 Feb 03 - 10:03 AM
Fran 23 Feb 03 - 10:24 AM
Steve Benbows protege 23 Feb 03 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Taliesn 23 Feb 03 - 10:40 AM
Steve Benbows protege 23 Feb 03 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,Taliesn 23 Feb 03 - 11:16 AM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 03 - 12:13 PM
lady penelope 23 Feb 03 - 12:51 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 03 - 01:02 PM
Zany Mouse 23 Feb 03 - 01:07 PM
Gareth 23 Feb 03 - 04:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Feb 03 - 05:10 PM
breezy 23 Feb 03 - 05:23 PM
Bill D 23 Feb 03 - 05:28 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Feb 03 - 05:50 PM
The Shambles 23 Feb 03 - 06:43 PM
The Shambles 23 Feb 03 - 06:49 PM
Bill D 23 Feb 03 - 06:56 PM
GUEST 24 Feb 03 - 07:41 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Feb 03 - 08:24 AM
Essex Girl 24 Feb 03 - 08:41 AM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Feb 03 - 08:47 AM
JudeL 24 Feb 03 - 09:09 AM
wilco 24 Feb 03 - 11:06 AM
IanC 24 Feb 03 - 11:30 AM
Alba 24 Feb 03 - 11:38 AM
harvey andrews 24 Feb 03 - 11:47 AM
IanC 24 Feb 03 - 11:56 AM
harvey andrews 24 Feb 03 - 01:29 PM
The Shambles 24 Feb 03 - 01:42 PM
JudeL 24 Feb 03 - 01:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Feb 03 - 02:06 PM
JudeL 24 Feb 03 - 02:16 PM
Dave Bryant 25 Feb 03 - 06:29 AM
GUEST,steve benbows protege 25 Feb 03 - 08:10 AM
DG&D Dave 25 Feb 03 - 11:18 AM
Steve Benbows protege 25 Feb 03 - 12:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 03 - 12:19 PM
Nigel Parsons 25 Feb 03 - 01:02 PM
GUEST,Ed 25 Feb 03 - 05:12 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 25 Feb 03 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,Ed 25 Feb 03 - 05:51 PM
Folkiedave 25 Feb 03 - 06:52 PM
Nemesis 25 Feb 03 - 06:56 PM
Snuffy 25 Feb 03 - 07:10 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Feb 03 - 07:18 PM
Wolfgang 26 Feb 03 - 04:58 AM
IanC 26 Feb 03 - 05:06 AM
Wolfgang 26 Feb 03 - 05:33 AM
IanC 26 Feb 03 - 05:52 AM
JudeL 26 Feb 03 - 06:01 AM
Wolfgang 26 Feb 03 - 06:59 AM
IanC 26 Feb 03 - 07:13 AM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Feb 03 - 08:26 AM
HuwG 26 Feb 03 - 08:53 AM
Folkiedave 26 Feb 03 - 12:10 PM
HuwG 26 Feb 03 - 12:50 PM
Folkiedave 26 Feb 03 - 02:28 PM
Folkiedave 26 Feb 03 - 02:39 PM
HuwG 05 Mar 03 - 08:41 AM
Frankham 05 Mar 03 - 05:50 PM
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Subject: Pubs in decline
From: ET
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 09:42 AM

On the news a few minutes ago was a report that CAMRA described as a disaster - pubs are closing in the uk at the rate of 20 per week on average and thousands of villiages no longer have a pub.

The reason - changing drinking habits - one in 4 no longer goes to the local but goes on boose cruises and drinks at home (disaster for the exchequer).

The pubs that thrive - those that diversify to attract - by food, entertinment etc.

Interesting. No doubt will be greatly helped by the Licensing Bill requiring big increases in fees and regulations all the way!


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Willie-O
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 09:51 AM

I can't figure this out. Or maybe I can. British-style pubs seem to be OPENING at a rate of 20 a week in Canada. That's where you're losin' em to.

It's the New British Invasion. And it's OK by me.

W-O


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Steve Benbows protege
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 09:52 AM

That what you get for alcohol being sold in every bloody shop you go into. Supermarkets selling crates and crates of booze. Now got to the stage where it's cheaper to buy in cans than in good old fashioned pints.( IN GLASSES NOT PLASTIC!) I am only 22yrs old but I have noticed the rapid closure of pubs and the excessive consumption of alcohol ALL DAY. you only have to walk down a street and someone will walk pass with a can or bottle in their hand. Why then go to the pub and be ripped off?
I am tee-total and it pisses me off that I get ripped off every time I go out? Nearly two quid for a pint of coke! that's nearly three bottles in the supermarket? I can understand it but it is a great English institution that we should not be loosing!


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: harvey andrews
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 10:03 AM

Exactly, it's the greed of the big brewers and the Exchequer. If a round of drinks for five is the same as the price of a cd..what's the choice? And you can't even have a decent conversation anymore in most pubs for the noise of the TV/Jukebox etc. It's just not worth the money for what isn't a very pleasant experience, particularly if you're not young, out on the hunt, or teetotal. (soft drinks cost more than petrol by the litre)


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Fran
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 10:24 AM

I agree totally, I do not drink or smoke and I find pubs smelly, smoky, noisy, and sometimes dirty, My clothes stink when I get home, I only go if there is a reason ie singer or folk club.

I find Folk clubs and concerts in village halls are much nicer and the soft drinks are cheaper at village hall bars:-)


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Steve Benbows protege
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 10:40 AM

Harvey, once again it is a privilege! Thank you both for agreeing. As a non-smoker, non-drinker ( AND YES I DID USED TO DO BOTH IN EXCESS!) i now find pubs a very anti- intellectual place to go. Ther are exceptions to this but they are very far and few between. Pubs these days are aimed at the prats of my age who are more concerned about getting drunk then spending quality time with friends etc at weekends.
I say I am privileged in having the Brewery Tap where my guv. Steve Benbow gigs Fridays and Sundays and is a quaint musicians pub.
Must shoot tea is being served!!


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: GUEST,Taliesn
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 10:40 AM

I have to agree with Fran about genuine folk ( & jazz ) club venues along with village hall concerts.
Pubs go hand in pants along with hooliganism. If folks are chooin' their boozin' at home then so be it. isn't that how trsaditional pubs began? Those with larger homes to accomodate friends & guests created a cordial gathering.

If Pubs ae closing in the UK due to lack of patronage why is this seen a bad thing ? Yeah some of us were all brought up on the myths & legends of of the Rock pubs that were the primordial brew for groups like The Who at Sheppard's Bush.
Gee, then ,wasn't Keith Moon dead in his 30's from his boozin' depleted body.
Russian rampant alcoholism's fallout not enough of a mascot for the Eurasian culture?


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Steve Benbows protege
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 11:05 AM

I do agree with Fran but for us poor buggers who live in London? Village halls. I don't drive.........
Closest thing I have got to the price of one of those is my working mens clubs or the Legion club. Both of which are smoke dens and the bands they have on in there these days you could start another thread on how crap they are!! Might be different up north but the bands that I have seen are certainly rubbish! And I am liberal in my approach to music!


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: GUEST,Taliesn
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 11:16 AM

(quote)
"Might be different up north but the bands that I have seen are certainly rubbish!"
Well Squire Benbows ,perhaps you've just defined the principal reason for the pub decline. Serves the yobos right for supporting such crap , but then alcoholic culture breeds its own decline.
Again, I site the Russian model.

Your witness counselor ;-)


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 12:13 PM

Greed of the landlords too, when it comes to soft drinks. What you'd expect is that the profit margin would be set at the same level for a pint of been or a pint of lemonade or cola, but instead they up the proice of the soft drink till it costs the same as a pint of beer.

It sounds to me as if Taliesn has only been in yoof pubs, which are enough to put anyone off pubs.

The trouble about the whole things starting off again, with people openig their own houses for drinking companions to crowd in, is that these days we've got the law breathing down our necks to stop that kind of thing, so it's got to be done on the QT, and people daren't risk being a public house.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: lady penelope
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 12:51 PM

I live in walthamstow and the main reason I don't go to pubs anymore is because all the local pubs have big screen sports on most days of the week. The pubs that don't are few and tend to be pubs like Wetherspoons who tend to sell drinks on a bargin basis. This in turn tends to lead to these pubs being used "filing stations" before people go off for the evening. Nowhere near me is there a pub where you can sit and have a quiet pint in a convivial atmosphere.
I don't mind the evenings at the end of the week being noisy, but when you have a choice of big screen sports or videos or people drinking as large a quantity of alcohol possible in the shortest possible time for most of the week, you end up with people , like me, who can't be bothered to go to the pub at all.
Actually the cost in a pub and the drinks available are secondary in my choice of going to a pub.
Like many other people, I now only go when there is a specific reason like a gig.
Much as I love the idea of the public house and would hate to see it end as an institution, publicans have only themselves to blame if they choose to appeal to the lowest common denomenator in order to boost their sales.

TTFN M'Lady P.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 01:02 PM

Our Wetherspoons in Harlow is actually quite civilised - the bars up one end with the smokey atmosphere and the shouting, but up the other end there's a big fire and a wall full of books (some of them fascinating, all higgledy piggledy) and a chance to read or talk in peace. It's in what used to be the Employment Exchange.

And round the back of the building there's the office of the local project for helping alcoholics, which strikes me as a neat bit of serendipitous planning.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Zany Mouse
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 01:07 PM

I think what put me off the most is the smoke. If I go to a good session my voice only survives for a couple of hours. Soon after that it becomes as croaky as a 60-a-day-smoker!

Eeek


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Gareth
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 04:41 PM

It's the greed of the Brewers. Lets kill the myth that it is high Excise Duty (TAX) and VAt that is the responsibility for high beer prices.

The Excise duty on an average strength pint of beer - say Sheppard Neames ordinary Bitter, or Bass Hancocks HB is about 26p per pint.

Price range in South Wales in a Pub - between £2.10 and £1.60. That is a large spread 0.50p. The publican will buy it in at about, dependant on contact, volumn etc at between 0.80 and 0.90 a pint, duduct ullage and apply his margins, paying for staff rent etc, and there is not a great deal.

Now the question I ask is why it is possible to go down to the supermarket and buy the beer retail and in cans, for less than our local publican has to pay the brewers ????

And as for London, or Cardiff center prices !!!!!!!

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 05:10 PM

That's another handy thing about Wetherspoons, a pint of decent beer (Sheoherd Neame's Spitfire) there is £1.35.

And up in Whitby in the Plough during the festival it was £1.25.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: breezy
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 05:23 PM

witherspoons have a no live music policy so why you going there?
As their beer is cheap its undercutting the pubs that want to diversify and taking away their trade which could be invested in things like paying for live music
You want something for nothing again
I support pubs that put on live music, and so what if they put it on the drinks,they have to have the finances from the punters somehow, thats business.
Mine charges 75p a pint for orange squash, £2 a pint of coke and they pay the band that entertains you.
Coffee £1.25 surely thats not a lot to pay for an evening entertainment.
Bet you only go to freebees , no wonder you dont get gigs, bet you dont go to many folk clubs either to see and hear good artistes.
I even have a meal at the ones that support me.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 05:28 PM

I have this song by Miles Wooten echoing in my head as I read this. I surely hope that I get a chance to see ONE traditional English pub before I die...ah, the stories I have heard!


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 05:50 PM

I'm glad the noise of the omnipresent MUZAk was at least mentioned, but it doesn't seem to be number one on anyone's list except Harvey's. Well add me to THAT list. Does ANYONE actually WANT piped in music? Did they start doing it because surveys said they SHOULD?

At first I found it really annoying and as the years rolled by and I watched people just shout louder and and louder over the music, I developed some VERRRY negative thoughts about the intellect of said people. Not fair....but the result of it driving me nuts!

So as I asked before, does anyone actually LIKE Pub Muzak?

Rick


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 06:43 PM

WHAT? YOU WILL HAVE TO SPEAK UP, I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE (bag) PIPED MUSIC!

See also this thread, where there are a number of views from West country licensees.

Further dangers with PELs


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 06:49 PM

The Publican.

http://www.thepublican.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=8590&d=32&h=24&f=23&dateformat=%o%20%B%20%Y


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Feb 03 - 06:56 PM

if there were any justice, loud, disruptive pubs could be fined and quiet ones could be left alone, but that would make too much sense.

They don't make drivers with good driving records pay the same fees and fines as those who drink, speed, etc...do they?


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 07:41 AM

Breezy who is your statement aimed at?


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 08:24 AM

"You want something for nothing again"

Well, I'm quite inclined to giving something for nothing, in the shape of music sessions.

If we can get some kind of exemptions for unamplified music or people playin for their own enjoyment into the act, tackling Wetherspoons is a good next. Given that they've been highly critical of the Licensing Act they could well be receptive. And at least none of the ones I've seen have giant TV screens.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Essex Girl
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 08:41 AM

In a lot of cases it is neither the Brewer or the publican who are greedy but the big 'pub companies' that have taken over many oubs. I know of several pubs who although they have a good turnover cannot make a living because of the high rents charged by these companies. In some cases they are working for 12 hours a day, seven days a week as they cannot afford to pay staff. In others they give up and the pub gets sold off as a restaurant or private housing. There is nothing more I enjoy than going to a good pub with real ale and good live folk music, but they are getting rare, especially in London. There are still plenty in Kent, although a lot of them are way off public transport routes.(defeats the object really unless you get a crowd together and share a cab or nominate a tee totaller driver for the night)


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 08:47 AM

High beer prices are one thing, you're paying for the ambiance, and for the pleasure if drinking in a non-crowded pub, but jacking up the profit margin on soft drinks by matching the price per pint to beer prices strikes me as dishonest and irresponsible- and short sighted.

The only way country pubs are going to survive, what with more stringent drink driving limits planned, which will mean you can't have more than a pint of beer, will be if the pubs ease the way to drinking non-alcoholic drinks.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: JudeL
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 09:09 AM

If (within walking distance) the only alternative to the Weatherspoons is "bars" that deafen you with "muzak" then personally I'd rather have the Weatherspoons and quiet. Even some of the supposedly folk venues I have been to have had the amp cranked up so much it's no longer music it's just an uncomfortable row. Weatherspoons specifically cater for those people who don't want music or football or anything other than the company of friends   & maybe a bit of food.

All the ones I've been in have also had reasonably high ceilings and effective air conditioning systems which help minimise the smoke so at least I can breath, which for me most of the time has to be a major consideration.

They are NOT competing with pubs that cater for music live or pre-recorded. The idea that pubs who charge more are doing so to cover the cost of music is ludicrous as is the implication that by patronising a weatherspoons you are somehow being a skinflint who is killing off live music in pubs. There is room for both types.

What there is not room for is the big companies profiteering by charging £2.60 for a pint of soda and lime which is 20p more than the same pub charges for a pint of beer! A lot of people are put off going to pubs because in order to find one that's not a smoke filled, ear-blasting, larger bar full of kiddies they have to drive because the inadequate and costly public transport system stops running well before the pubs shut (and in some cases before many bands have even started to play ). If when they get there they are made to pay extortionate amounts for non alcoholic drinks is it any wonder that many people decide not to bother and stay home.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: wilco
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:06 AM

As a non-UK person, looking in from outside the society, I have a few questions.
    1. What does the consumption of alcohol have to do with music?
    2. What prevents people, with similiar tastes in music, from
       playing and performing in places other than pubs?
    3. In east Tennesse, people play everywhere, in a semi-
       organized fashion. Many have regularly scheduled jams
       at homes, community centers, churches, civic club halls, etc.
    4. Smoke-free and alcohol-free settings are the norm now,
       not the exception. Who would willingly go in places where
       the air smells and you are exposed to drunks?


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: IanC
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:30 AM

Since English pubs began in the 7th Century, we've been having sessions in pubs. It's the basis of English vernacular musical culture, and therefore very important to us.

I'm not sure I'm too happy with the apparent puritan streak in this thread. Pubs - and especially village pubs, the centre of most English rural life - are (sadly) closing because :-

(a) Perfectly reasonable drink/drive laws mean that people can't go out to drink in the same way they use to.

(b) The availability of very cheap alcohol from other sources means that it is relatively expensive to drink in pubs.

(c) A well intentioned but silly law passed 10-15 years ago limited the number of pubs a brewery could own, leading (unexpectedly) to mass sell-offs of "tied" houses and their concomitant closure and conversion to private dwellings.


All this has been going on for 20 years or more now (in fact the evidence is that it's beginning to slow down).

The salt of the earth in English village society continue to meet in pubs (though they go there less often and for less of the time). As I see it (and as I practise it) our folk sessions are usually held in these places beause - actually - we want our folk activities to be community activities rather than just the preserve of a few people who are "interested".

It's much less a matter of choosing to do your music in a nice clean smoke and drink free environment than doing it where it should be done - in the centre of your community.

:-(


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Alba
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:38 AM

I love sessions in "pubs". I lived on the West coast of Ireland for a long time and it was great to pick up my guitar and walk into the village and go into ANY of the bars there and find a session. Pubs as meeting places, it,s the hub of village life in Ireland. Scotland too in some places, though no so much in the big cities. I wouldn't trade some of the sessions I have played in pubs for anything and I mourn the fact that there are no "pubs" like this where I live now here in the US. Bars are not the same as I found out when I first came here and arrived one evening in the local "Bar" guitar in hand, only to be started at as I entered, then asked "where I was playing" by the barman:>) Big change from "give us a old tune there now won't ya girl". I discovered that Bars are not really the same as Pubs!
As for being exposed to smoke and drunks....well I am willing to endure if it means playing tunes with the likes of Jackie Daly or Charlie Piggot of a night.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: harvey andrews
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:47 AM

I think Wilco was making a perfectly rasonable point. UK society has a big problem with alcohol Wilco, particularly with young people. I did a concert this week in an arts centre with no licence, no drink and ice creams in the interval. It was great!


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: IanC
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 11:56 AM

Fine, Harvey. I've got nothing against concerts in smoke free environments and with a variety of refreshments.

I was just pointing out (not only for Wilco's benefit) why we play music in pubs in England, since there were one or two people who apparently can't understand why we should. Are you suggesting we give it up?

By the way, my village's pubs are relatively smoke free and there's plenty of non-alcoholic refreshment with very little drunkenness. I don't think "The English" need all be tarred with the same brush as regards our "alcohol problem".

:-|


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: harvey andrews
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 01:29 PM

No Ian agreed, I did say "the Young". However I think one of our prolblems in England is that if you take away the pub there are no real public meeting places such as I find in abundance when I'm touring other countries. As has been said, the pub is the hub of community life and the job of the pub is to sell alcohol. If the pubs are closed, where does the community go then?


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 01:42 PM

If our Government have their way, they won't ever close. Well those that are left. They will sadly be the big noisy ones.............


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: JudeL
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 01:54 PM

Just for the record , although I do enjoy my beer ( & wine etc, when not driving) I support the laws prohibiting drink driving. However I am opposed to being charged more for a non alcoholic drink than I am for a pint of beer, especially when the cost to the pub of a pint of draft cola, fizzy orange etc is a matter of pence. The point I was trying to make is that unless you are lucky enough to live in a village with a thriving pub, or have a back street pub that has not been turned into a kiddies theme bar or a druggies paradise, then you need to drive and that means you want non alcoholic drinks at reasonable prices.

I also support the move towards cleaner air where people are singing or playing instuments. How many more people like Roy Castle, do we need to die before society is prepared to admit that secondary smoking kills. And if that is puritanical, then I guess in that regard I'm puritanical.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 02:06 PM

Well, I don't know if you've been following the PEL threads at all, wilco, but they are relevant to the questions you raise.

Back in 1964 the government brought in new laws tightening up on music venues. What they did was make it illegal to have public performances without a licence being in place. I imagine they had it in mind to reduce the danger of things happening like those two recent disasters in the USA, in Chicago and Rhode Island - but of course they overdid it.

However they introduced an exemption which made it legal for up to two people to perform in any pub. The exemption didn't extend to coffee bars and so forth. This means that if people wanted to get together to have a bit of live music, pubs have been the place to go, bending the law a lot of the time. Well pub have always been the place, and there are a lot more of them scattered all over the place anyway. But the law did put the lid in effect on any kind of coffee house folk scene.

Now the new licensing law is aiming to get rid of the exemption, and make it illegal having making music in public in pubs as well, unless there is a licence covering it, with the two-in-a-bar exemption being abolished.

In East Tennessee maybe going to places where they sell beer may be a bit deviant and suspect. It isn't in the UK for sure. Or indeed in most places in Europe. Having a drink goes along well with music, the same way it goes along with most types of social discourse. But it would be nice to be able to have a bit of live music sometimes in a coffee bar or whatever.

But I'd much sooner we didn't have tobacco smoke in pubs, and I think so would most people. There was a thread recently about the possibility that because of a recent court case, pubs in Ireland are going to have to become non-smoking. I think most smokers still don't quite appreciate th fact that they really do literally get up the nose of the rest of us, but we're too polite to make a fuss about it.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: JudeL
Date: 24 Feb 03 - 02:16 PM

Some of us Kevin are rapidly getting more willing to make a fuss given the number of times we've had to leave places because of the lvel of smoke.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 06:29 AM

I enjoy singing in pubs - I find the atmosphere the most conducive for folk song and music. I also enjoy a pint (or quart if I've got my tankard with me) of good real ale with it. I don't drink for dutch courage - no-one who knows me would accuse me of needing it. I do find that beer seems to lubricate my throat better than water or other liquids.

I agree with the comments about excessive smoke and try to avoid pubs where this is the norm. Essex Girl and I have noticed the way that the right publican can make such a difference to a pub. We've seen things go both ways, a good pub go right downhill on a change of of management, but also (sadly rarer) the success stories where a new imaginative incumbent has revived a pub which was almost on the point of closing. One Pub which we often sing at, was an Indian Restaurant for quite some years, but is now a lovely pub again, with wonderful (Harvey's) draught beer - all on gravity feed.

One of the problems is that many new landlords decide that the quick way to make money is to try and attract the "young" trade. This usually entails stripping out most of the fittings which make it comfortable and repainting it in a minimalist fashion. This works all right for a while, but often there are problems with under-age drinking and drugs as well as complaints from neighbours. Young drinkers tend to be fickle and soon another establishment becomes more fashionable, leaving a pub which because of it's state and reputation, no-one wants to drink in. I can think of at least half a dozen such pubs which are now McDonalds, Wine Warehouses, Restaurants, Offices or just empty eyesores.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: GUEST,steve benbows protege
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 08:10 AM

well said Dave I agree totally with you. Also the young trade includes the twenty something yupies where the pubs turn into would be wine bars. Did that with the "Turks Head" in st. Margarets. That was a famous music pub now sadly dead to the world of yuppism. Many of the local clans drank in there and now we all drink as far away as possible.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: DG&D Dave
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 11:18 AM

That's why you'll always find us in the Anchor at Sidmouth,
That's why you'll always find us in the Anchor at Sidmouth.

Tune to follow!


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Steve Benbows protege
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 12:00 PM

I always used to use the bedford with Len Davies. Haven't been to Sidmouth for four years now. Might be going and helping my old friend Leadfingers out this year! Well Might meet up with you in the Anchor DG&D Dave, always nice to put faces to names!


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 12:19 PM

I've only come across one pub with a definite anti-yoof policy - the Crown in Old Harlow, where there's a sign in the window saying "No admission to anyone under 25 unless they are with their parents." That's the way! One of the few pubs I know where they had a major refurbishment which actually improved the place. And they like the odd bit of live music too.

Pub can survive the kind of thing Daev mentioned - the old George and Dragon in Epping got taken over by a new chain who gutted it and called the the Firkin and Forest or something like that, and yoofed it up. But now it's gone back to being the George and Dragon, and abandoned the quest to pull in people who aren't old enough to legally drink, and it's not a bad place now.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 01:02 PM

DG&D Dave:
presumably the tune to follow (still awaited) is "You'll always find me in the kitchen at parties" by Jona Lewie (1980)

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 05:12 PM

I'd like to make a defence for the publican regarding soft drink prices.

If you're a beer drinker and spend your whole evening in a pub, you may well drink 4,5,6 or more pints of beer.

If you are drinking soft drinks over the same period, you are very unlikely to drink more than a couple of pints of lemonade/lime and soda, or whatever. You are however making equal use of the premises, taking up a seat, using the toilets etc.

The publican isn't a charity. S/he has a business to run. Having a clientele who wish to sit all night with 2 glasses of reasonably priced orangeade will be a sure way to bankruptcy for the publican.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 05:33 PM

ED - on the contrary, I will drink more if I am on soft drinks.

McGrath - Well the Crown is one pub I'll avoid then. Both my daughters sing, one also plays fiddle and both are under 25. If he doesn't want their custom then my money gets spent somewhere else.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 05:51 PM

Really, Peter?

You've drunk 10 pints of coke of an evening???


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Folkiedave
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 06:52 PM

My local is a Punch Tavern.

They also own different businesses one of which is a nearby competitor a "Mr. Q" student-orientated or yoof market boozer. The Mr Q outlet is currently selling Draught Guinness (Ugh!) at £1.50 per pint. (Eat your heart out southerners!) He cannot buy it for that price.

Punch Taverns own about 5,000 pubs.

He is an excellent landlord.............(has camapaigned against the current bill and in favour of live music) sells great real ale......quality food...........and is thinking of leaving the trade.

There is only one thing worse than bad taste........brewery and pub accountants' bad taste.

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk
www.holmfirthfestival.com


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Nemesis
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 06:56 PM

DG&D Dave, altho' the beer in the Middle Bar, Anchor this weekend was by and large disgusting (as was the Guiness :( (The Tinners just about passed muster apparently).


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Snuffy
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 07:10 PM

I had to drink eight pints of the Tinners to keep my voice in condition. Wouldn't have done it otherwise, of course!


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Feb 03 - 07:18 PM

I suspect that anyone playing a fiddle or singing folk songs would be assumed to be over 25, Peter. There are two other pubs in the street and if you poked your head in there you'd see why the Crown has that policy. Anyone much over 25 would be liable to feel out of place in the others.

I suspect you're way out in your estimate of drinking habits, Ed. If I'm driving there's no way I'm going to drink four or five pints. But if it's a thirsty night after I've drunk my beer I'll still be feeling like drinking a few more pints of something, if I'm sticking around for the music or whatever - and I'd sooner a lemonade than alcohol free beer, which is revolting. Or preferably dandelion and burdock, which has a bit of a flavour.

It maybe that publicans do think that way though - but if so I think they misunderstand their public. And I'm sure that there are people who faced with the choice between lemonade and beer at the same price per pint, jib at being ripped off like that, and buy another beer instead, and risk their driving licence or worse. And even from a money point of view, that's a lost customer.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Wolfgang
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 04:58 AM

I love to read this thread. I guees it's similar over here but that's just an impression without backup by data.

One bit, however, has surprised me. Is what the Crown in Old Harlow does, namely excluding customers below a certain age, legal in Britain? It would be completely illegal over here and the landlord would risk his license displaying such a sign.

We had a time when there were signs reading 'No...allowed' all over our country, even long after the war, when signs were disallowing coloured GIs to enter German pubs. Meanwhile, the general consensus (and a demand by a law) is that no landlord (same for hotels, shops,...) has any right to exclude any group of customers except according to what the law prescribes (no minors).

So any sign excluding any group which is legally allowed to enter a pub would be illegal. I have never heard or read of discrimination on basis of age in Germany, like e.g. no person above 65 allowed, but the cases we read of over here in the last couple of years are signs (or admission policies without explicit signs) of the type 'No turks allowed' or 'wheelchairs unwelcome'.

Of course, that doesn't prevent any landlord from dissuading some unwelcome groups by choosing opening times, loudness of music, late serving, pricing of drinks, interior style accoring to the tastes of subgroups catered for. So, you easily get a feeling whether you are too old or too young or whatever for a pub. But explicit discrimination is not allowed.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: IanC
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 05:06 AM

Wolfgang

It's an interesting part of the law in England and Wales that a pub landlord can exclude anyone from a pub without even needing to give any reason at all. Though it's called a "Public House" it's actually a private house where the landlord allows people in at his discretion. Our private schools are also called "Public Schools" by the way ... it's the English way of confusing "foreigners" I think!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Wolfgang
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 05:33 AM

Thanks, Ian. I understand that even an outright racist sign or a 'men only' sign would be allowed then. I'm sure some laws in my country will seem puzzling to people in other countries as well.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: IanC
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 05:52 AM

Well, Wolfgang, it would be OK to exclude people on racist grounds (so long as you don't say so) but there are specific laws against racial discrimination so that overt displays like signs would be illegal. Sexism is frowned upon enough that there are no longer Mens Bars anywhere really (30 yeas ago they wer quite common in the North of England). Publicans would be frightened of losing their licenses.

Ageism isn't actually illegal, though, and not really very frowned upon either. After all, under 18s aren't allowed to buy drink and under 14s aren't allowed in.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: JudeL
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 06:01 AM

Landlords can display limitations on those entering the pub provided they do not break other laws such as those which prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race or sex. Thus a landlord may have a dress code that excludes anyone wearing jeans and trainers but is not allowed to post a sign saying e.g. no Irish.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Wolfgang
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 06:59 AM

[Let's make it 'No Roman Catholics' then (grin).]

Sorry, I didn't intend to start a new line of discussion with off topic posts, for the discussion you had was and is still very interesting to me.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: IanC
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 07:13 AM

Wolfgang

Religious discrimination is also illegal under the discrimination laws (perhaps we should get back to pubs).

:-)


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 08:26 AM

"No travellers" were quite common at one time, but I haven't seen them recently round our way. There were arguments as to whether it got round discrimination by saying "travellers" instead of gypsies, which is what it meant - because there are non-gypsy new agre travellers as well.

A notice up saying not under 25s might not be legal, or it might be. There's a lot to be said for raising the age of drinking to 25 anyway. And maybe 30 for driving...

Lower age limits are on odd kind of discrimination, because it is time limited - you move from one category to the other in the course of your life, which doesn't happen with racism and sexism etc.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: HuwG
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 08:53 AM

One or two of the pubs in Attercliffe and Brightside in Sheffield, which practically backed onto steelworks, had prominent notices which said, "No working clothes". The idea was to keep out some of the furnace charge-wheelers and so on, whose overalls would shower a cascade of rust, filings, turnings, clinker, soot and so forth, wherever they walked or sat.

Needless to say, the accountants were told that they could not come in unless they removed their ties and pinstripes.

This situation was unlikely to arise; if I remember, there was a crowded pub, the "Duke of Wellington" at the back of Forgemasters, which did a roaring trade with thirsty foundry floor workers. The carpets were about 50% cigarette burn marks, and sometimes you did need a hard hat to be safe while ordering a drink. Then there was a more genteel establishment, the "Carbury Hall" out the front, which had oak panelling, waitress service and all the trimmings, for the gaffers. I was once treated to dinner there after I bodged some of Forgemasters' scrap inventory software; I felt very out of place.


The "No Trainers" rule more often applies to nightclubs than pubs.


Pubs can say, "No dogs"; this is not a reference to less-than-attractive ladies. (Badly controlled dogs can be a nuisance). However, the words "No pets" on advertisements for property to rent or let, are usually a thinly disguised code for, "No coloureds"


As IanC says, a landlord can bar anybody, without needing to give any reason. Paul Merton once became involved in an argument with an elderly bigot of a landlord who objected to his style of humour on the TV. The landlord told him, "You're barred, for life". Paul Merton replied, "Whose lifetime ? Yours or mine ?"


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 12:10 PM

[snip] the "Carbury Hall" out the front, which had oak panelling, [/snip]

I wonder if you mean the "Carbrooke Hall". An interesting boozer even now because the inside is in fact 17th century and the oak panelling referred to is in fact genuine and dates from that time as does one of the fireplaces within the place.

If it were in the Cotswolds it would be a real treasure and people would travel miles to see it. Since it is in (what was) the steelworks end of Sheffield few people bother. If you are travelling up the M1 and this sort of thing interests you then it is not far off the Meadowhell turn off. (Spelling deliberate)

Which reminds me that when I was a rep for a food company many years ago the landlord of the Plumpers - right next to the M1 - told me he wasn't bothered about doing food - he had no passing trade.

In fact.........I wonder how much the decline in pubs is due to the idiots in charge of some of them. I remember ringing up one pub to ask if it was OK to bring a couple of Morris teams up to dance in the car park........

"I don't know" said the landlady, "they'll be wanting drinks and things and I'll have to put on extra staff - then there'll be all them extra glasses to wash............." I did say as I put the phone down I was trying very hard to put some money in her till........put we would do it elsewhere....

Dave


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: HuwG
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 12:50 PM

Folkiedave, I did indeed mean the "Carbrooke Hall". It's a shame what time and abuse does to one's memory.

I lived in Tinsley (before MeadowHole was built), and remember the "Plumpers" well; it used to have some nice music twenty years ago. Mostly fifties and sixties covers bands, but one nice bunch of C-and-W'ers, the "Pete Jones Outfit". I recall driving past it not long ago, and the pub appeared to have been replaced by a golfing accessories shop; say it ain't so.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 02:28 PM

No problem. I can easily check since my daughter goes past every day. Although I live in Sheffield it is only rarely that I go around there - preferring to keep away from Meadowhell and all its works.

I'll ask though....(as a memory of the Plumpers it used to be the training pub for Stones (RIP) and they had a glass bottomed beer barrel with a light shining through to show how easy it was to stir up the shit in the bottom of a barrel).

I saw landlordism in a new light........so to speak.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Folkiedave
Date: 26 Feb 03 - 02:39 PM

I checked.....hold you seat.........what was the Plumpers is indeed a golf accessory shop!

Pubs in decline?................cities in decline more like.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: HuwG
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 08:41 AM

Woe, woe, and thrice woe !


Yes, indeed, it's more than a shame that such a lively pub is no more. Tinsley boasts, or boasted, only two other pubs; and neither was anything to boast about, if you get my meaning. (The "Fox and Duck" was a large and rather delapidated building, the "Pike and Heron" was plastic and fizzy-pop).

It may or may not be a sign of the times, but the last time I drove past Tinsley, the newest and best-kept building was the Mosque.




I have happy memories of Tinsley, mainly associated with a girlfriend there. On days when the Pete Jones Outfit played at the "Florence Nightingale" in Rotherham, we used to take the bus to Rotherham Centre and walk the rest of the way, up more than a mile of very long and steep hill. How's that for dedication ? Of course, we were young, fit and very poor then.


I also recall jam sessions and other events in the "Travellers' Rest", not far from Rotherham town centre. I doubt if that place is still there; they seemed to be tearing down the entire area before I left.


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Subject: RE: Pubs in decline
From: Frankham
Date: 05 Mar 03 - 05:50 PM

I can't but see this as a positive thing in a way. When we visited Ireland, we really love the music and wanted to hear it but most of what was accessible to us at the time was in pubs. We apparently couldn't get to the Fleadhs but we did fortunately come upon a dance for the "old folks" with a great Irish band.

We would love to visit Ireland again. We met such wonderful people and they were very kind to us. We dropped in on the Comhaltas in Monkstown and enjoyed every bit of it. We took in the Siamsa in Tralee and loved it. Our main regret is that most of the music was in the pubs. We feel the same way Fran does. We felt that we couldn't go into them.

I used to play in smoky bars. It wrecked havoc on my lungs and I never smoked. I love jazz and in the fifties and early sixties, that's where you had to go to hear or play it.

I realize that the pub has the same nostalgic meaning for many as the American jazz club and understand the feelings that the people who frequent them must have about their disappearance but I think that it's time to adapt to a new healthy environment, now, and let the music be accessible to all and not limited to those who smoke. Alcohol consumption is a matter of personal choice as long as it's under control by the user. That doesn't affect my lungs.

I think there might be a non-smoking and/or maybe a non-alcoholic pub that could do good business in the British Isles and if they were playing good music I know that on holiday, we would be there supporting it.

Frank Hamilton


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