Monday 1 August 2011

Hanging Wiv Da Yoof

After a July which was the busiest ever for this blog, August may prove to be the most sparse.

This is partly because some mind-bending effort expended back in the Spring has potentially brought in a lot of work for Puddlecote Inc, but also due to a general increase in real life stuff getting in the way (and when that's not going on, there's cricket and some tangible summer-esque weather too).

The weekend did offer an interesting observation or two, though. It's been a messy one for your host after two heavy male-orientated nights on the town. Saturday was particularly eye-opening after a night spent in a town centre nightclub of the 'drinking barn' variety. I can't remember the last time I was attendant at one of those ... till 3am!

Of course, I had no knowledge prior to this weekend how such venues coped with the smoking ban. The one concerned was a multi-level meat shop (great, ahem, scenery) with no outdoor balcony, or any other area to speak of.

Which of course meant hundreds of people on the pavement out front for the duration (so wish I'd had the wherewithal to take a pic).

The club handled it very well but still required three front of house hired muscle just to make sure everything was OK (sneaking in without paying the entry would be quite simple without them there). There being just the one way in, this meant every single person entering the club was to do so by passing the smoking area. All those young people seeing smoking going on must have - according to anti-smoker logic - added another 20 or 30 new smokers to the ranks. Obviously.

What's more, there were three such clubs within close proximity. Two on one side of a one way street, and another opposite. To a passing pedestrian, smoking has never been more visible.

Anti-smokers like to talk of the 'externalities' of tobacco use, but their lauded ban has externalised the act of smoking to such an extent that it now appears more normal and sociable than ever before. All the while clubbers were inside the venue, external noise was not such an issue and the many local authority-paid 'street wardens' were pretty redundant unless someone was thrown out by bouncers. More staff are now needed too, which I'll bet club owners are right chuffed with ASH for.

One wonders how much this talk of "you can see the drunkenness on any city street every Friday night" is down to the fact that, yes, you now very much do see these people where you didn't before as they were inside until kicking out time.

There was an upside, though. While outside, it was a hell of a lot easier to strike up conversations with attractive strangers, plus when one runs out of tabs it's simple to pop over the road and buy more when before - in my more frequent clubbing days - if you exited the venue you were taking a gamble on being allowed back in at all.

You'll doubtless be pleased to know that I admirably survived this trial by £5.50 a shot Peronis, was a thoroughly good boy (stop that sniggering), and arrived home in one piece. Sadly, my computer chair can't boast the same after a friend leaned back in it too much as the sun came up at 5:30am, leaving the 7 year old stalwart in two irreparable pieces.

Until the new one arrives, that's just one more obstacle to my composing 'tabloid' guff, I'm afraid. But then again, I've said such things before so you never know.


Pat Nurse MA said...

Aww - hope you're not away too long. I'll miss you :@)

Anonymous said...

I know where you were -- a city centre everywhere in Britain.
How did you cope with the noise and the crowds?

subrosa said...

I always blame such things on friends too. Much easier. :)

Anonymous said...

I sometimes think that towns almost deliberately put all of these big drinking dens close together in one area, so that at closing time there’ll be lots and lots more people spilling out, drunk, onto the street, with the inevitable chaos and trouble that very large boozy crowds often lead to, so that they can shore up their image of the “binge drinking” epidemic. And of course it’s all been a lot worse since the smoking ban, with people often all over the street during the evening as well as at the end of it. A self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps? Certainly when there were more pubs but they were all smaller, independent outlets and they were more spread out throughout town centres there didn’t seem to be such a huge mass of people pouring out at closing time. It was busy, yes, but the crowds weren’t anywhere near so massive or so concentrated into one area. Often, there was a greater concentration of people coming out of the cinema than out of all the pubs at the same time ….

Dick the Prick said...

£5.50 Peronis??? Whhhaaaaaaaattt? Think they could employ Fluffers for that. Gadzooks!

Twenty_Rothmans said...

I was in Sydney in March. I was at a pub with a (non-smoking) friend, and not overdoing things.

To smoke, you had to go outside - which I did thrice at hourly intervals, until a bouncer told me at 1am that I could not re-enter - because I'd 'been drinking'.

I had - I'd had four (Australian - smaller than a pint).

A superb example of how chipping away at freedom works.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Precisely, TR