The last twenty years has seen a notable decline of local pubs in Great Britain. Whether it be to property developers, corporate pub chains or anyone else desperate to make money out of these sacred places, the local boozer is dying.
There’s certain inevitability about this trend. The demise of communities, the arrival of more personal forms of entertainment and a society moving towards brand labels, all contribute to a decline in sociability. For example, The Kings Head, probably now The Frog and Radiator, wants the passing trade of students and office workers to form the clientele. The friends that have been drinking there for years, look behind the bar and don’t know who the sulky youngsters in matching polo shirts are anymore.
Things move forward and things change, there’s no stopping progress and there never has been, that’s not the problem. The problem arises when the need to make money starts to influence progress in a manner detrimental to our communities. It’s not just about pubs being decorated or the serving of food, all that progress is more than understandable. It’s about seeing those places central to our culture being changed to suit profit, and if those changes are culturally or socially exclusive, then we have reason to worry.
This is too big a theme to tackle here, so over the next week or so I’ll be writing some articles about pubs, what they mean to us, where they’re going and who’s taking them away. Chain pubs, theme pubs, gastro pubs, the bass player from Dire Straits and that twat Jamie Oliver will all be in for a verbal thrashing.