Saturday, 26 June 2010

Fun Free Zone : a response

OK, I'm in a vaguely mischievous mood today. I read a blog post here about pubs not showing the world cup being smug for not doing so, here's a response...
My pub does not show sport, my pub is not ever going to show sport, the worst thing you could do as a manager of The Rake is put lots of over-testosteroned males in a very small place and make them watch England play tournament football. I would have no bar by the end of it!
I am in somewhat of a quandary though because whilst I support the England team and their quest to win(in my lifetime) the biggest prize in football I'm also acutely aware that my bar has done better without the football being on every day. Personally I like football, I follow it(sort of) and I have a team that I support but I do have an issue with football and pubs sometimes. The issue in Southwark and indeed a lot of other places around Britain, is that it brings the lowest common denominator into your pub, the lowest common denominator being an overtly tribal group of people that don't understand the word no and have to wear gloves to prevent their knuckles being ruined by the ground. Having had one publican assaulted in Borough in the last two days, frankly the world cup can shove itself where the sun don't shine.
There is an argument that I subscribe to, which is, if a pub doesn't show football all year round, why, just because it's a world cup should they 'have' to for one month of the year?
There are reasons that these pubs don't show sport during the rest of the year, usually it's because they 1) run a food led business, 2) have establishments that aren't able to cope with sport being shown, or 3) They have a speciality which doesn't really fit around sport.
We at The Rake are in 2 of those 3 categories, we are too small to show the world cup and we have a speciality that doesn't really fit with the world cup and this area.
There is something very cynical about pubs getting TV's in after losing a bit of money on the first couple of games of the world cup and then deciding to cash in on the spectacle. Some of these places NEVER show sport usually, and you can tell, far from creating an atmosphere that people can enjoy with each other, they don't have a clue how to deal with the crowds and therefore get security staff in who more often than not(whilst not causing the trouble) give an air of 'fuck with me and you're out!'
Someone please tell me WHY I, as a publican, should veer so far away from my normal offer, pissing off my regulars in the process and 'conforming' for the lowest common denominator just to make a few extra cynical quid?
I'm not saying that all pubs should not show the football, when pubs do it well there is an atmosphere that is created in a pub of camaraderie, friendship and most of the time(when it comes to the home nations) shared despair but far from being a 'fun-free zone' The Rake is making new customers, and for the record, YES, whilst England games are on we are deathly quiet, only to be over-run by pissed fuckwits after the game, does anyone want to tell me THAT's worth it? What people need to realise is that diversity is key here, I do not cater for football fans as most of my competitors do in some form or other but not one of my regulars would want me to either. This apparently makes us/me devoid of fun to which I say, fuck you, I know what my 'real' customers want, that's good beer, that's new beer, it is NOT sweaty football louts looking for a fight because England have lost to the Germans on fucking penalties again!
I would not say that we're smug for not showing the football, I would say we're sticking to what we're good at, which is selling beer, good beer and lots of it.
Anyway that's enough of my argumental rant for today, it's time to sit back and watch the footie at home with a couple of good beers and the company of a beautiful woman.


Brew Wales said...

I used to have topless darts on in my high class establishment in Cardiff. Very popular with all the customers.

ATJ said...

One of my locals is showing the English match tomorrow, the other isn’t, both have great beers and great company; I guess it will come down to the free chips at half time and an 11-year-old’s preference.

Cooking Lager said...

Your view of "football louts" is both incorrect and insulting. But you have a right to your opinion. As for why show the world cup. It's an event more than just sport. When the game of interest is on the country stops to watch it. Even those normally uninterested in football.

If you do a good trade with the miserable old sods that hate the fun and enjoyment of others, good luck to you. But I and many others enjoy the football and will watch the games regardless of whether pubs choose to show them. We will watch them elsewhere, enjoy them and not tear up the place.

And just because we played like shite and got knocked out doesn't mean it's over. I'll be watching the rest of the games either at home or in places that welcome me as the civil decent person I am.

HardKnott Dave said...

Cookie, "football louts" do exist. I'm not saying all football fans are louts, but some are. It's a bit like saying lager drinkers are not louts. Most aren't, but louts generally drink lager, the correlation is hard to argue with.

I do not like football and I do not like going into pubs that show football, partly because of the small minority that spoil it. I'm glad The Rake and some others are football free zones and I'm also glad that others positively encourage football supporters, so I can be sure where the football fun is, and ensure I avoid it.

Actually, it's not true to say I don not like football. What I don't like is some of the side effects of the fun, which can be irritating to those of us who don't want to be involved.

I ended up sailing a boat all day when England got stuffed. I didn't dare go into a pub, despite the fact that I was gagging for a pint. I didn't find any that were being smug about not showing the football.

Being on the boat was great, I drank beer and sailed and found out via twitter that I'd not missed anything positive.

What is wrong with a few pubs taking this stance? There are plenty around where you can watch the football.

Bailey said...

Well, Boak's point wasn't that pubs were being smug because they're not showing it, but that they were being smug *about* not showing it. The sign that wound her up was in the same vain as those passive aggressive notices saying "Well Behaved Children Welcome". I.e., maybe best left unsaid.

Christ, football in the Rake would be a nightmare!

Rabidbarfly said...

Arfur - brilliant! where can I get one?
ATJ - hope the company was good and that 11yr old wasn't too disappointed.
Cookie - see first paragraph, my work here is done. That being said, there are 'louts' in Southwark and pubs see them almost every other week when Millwall are playing at home.
Dave - well said, my sentiments without the argumentative generalisations.
Bailey - I didn't take it personally, I was generalising in order to start an argument because I was bored.

Brew Wales said...

Should have said that topless darts was on the short-lived LiveTV - a dreadful channel run by the Daily Mirror that featured the weather in Norwegian and the unforgetable News Bunny. Topless darts was in-depth compared to most of their output.

Rabidbarfly said...

haha I remember that!