Sunday, 15 May 2011


It's an odd thing, I was complaining in my last post that I hadn't written anything in a while due to being too busy to get any inspiration. Luckily I just read another post that riled me enough to get the creative juices flowing again!
Apparently the old guard haven't died off yet. Apparently if it's new it must be shit. Apparently if you think smoking in pubs is a bad thing then there must be something wrong with you.
To be honest I'm so sick of these 'in my day' spouting old gits that I may have to just punch myself in the face over and over until they go away.
Let's be clear for a second, change is not always a bad thing, change can sometimes be an incredibly good thing. Just because you can't smoke in a pub anymore doesn't mean the atmosphere has been lost. Just because you can't drink and drive anymore doesn't mean the governments are being asshole killjoys(even if they are most of the time).
Seriously! What is the resistance to change that rears it's butt-ugly head every time something someone doesn't like happens. Pubs close every day, and they also open every day too, personally I think the resistance is all about fear, fear that maybe people think they're going to be left behind, fear that they might be right. Fear of the unknown.
It's a shame really because some of the beers on offer in these shit new pubs and bars are really quite exceptional. Wake up crumblies!
*Punches self in face repeatedly*


samhill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rabidbarfly said...

I really don't want to give those sorts of posts airing anymore which is why I didn't post the link.

Rob said...

Not sure which post your referring to but have met plenty of 'in my day' spouting old gits in my time. Good post.

Curmudgeon said...

I suspect it's this. Ah well, if I've rattled your cage, that's a result :-)

Dick Puddlecote said...

So you're completely opposed to choice and property rights? Or do plan to visit all 55,000 pubs in the country sometime soon?

Anonymous said...

My friends and myself must be these 'spouting old gits' that have 'something wrong with them'
As a crowd of professional with the majority being smokers we applaud your offer to punch yourself in the face.
We now have private clubs in and around London that we are welcome to smoke in and the beers and wines are excellent.
So when the new smokefree, sterile 'child friendly' pubs that now reek of baby sick, chips and body odours have closed down, my friends and I shall still enjoy our private clubs that anti smokers such as the author would not be welcome inside.

Anonymous said...

Harry Enfield's Old Gits are my heroes...

prog said...

'What is the resistance to change that rears it's butt-ugly head every time something someone doesn't like happens.'

Well, in the case of the smoking ban, it's resistance to change that's fucked up the social lives of tens of 1000s and destroyed 1000's of businesses and jobs. All because of an incredibly good lie. You're one of those that needs to wake're next on the list.

Anonymous said...

"You're one of those that needs to wake're next on the list."

Yes, the idea of drinkers celebrating the smoking ban is ludicrous. Never heard of Martin Niemoller? You know, "first they came for the smokers, but I wasn't a smoker, so I wasn't concerned"...

Rabidbarfly said...

Not just my cage that appears to have been rattled Mudgie ;-)

Rabidbarfly said...

Prog - you cannot blame the smoking ban on the closures of pubs as there's nowhere near enough evidence to back that up.
I'm next on the list? Do you honestly think beer will be made illegal? Wakey wakey, even the govt weren't stupid enough to ban smoking completely, they make too much money off it, same applies to alcohol.

Rabidbarfly said...

Dick - No, I'm not completely opposed to choice, more choice the better but as someone who runs a bar, I am glad that I can now sit in a pub comfortably and not have to use my inhaler due to second-hand smoke inhalation.

prog said...

'you cannot blame the smoking ban on the closures of pubs as there's nowhere near enough evidence to back that up.'

You have got to be joking. Do you seriously believe that marginalising 60% of the traditional customer base has not had drastic repercussions? What is it now – 7000-8000 since 2007? The trade has been deprived of in excess of £2000pa of my custom since the ban. 100% down to the ban. Added to which, a lot of non smokers has abandoned pubs because the atmosphere has gone. And it has to be said, the average smoker and friend are more fun than the average current pub user. It's a vicious downward spiral.

I didn't say that beer would be made illegal (wakey, wakey).But I agree, they certainly wouldn't ban it, nor tobacco. They'll simply make it increasingly more difficult/expensive to access by introducing draconian controls. Note the word ‘control(s)’. They will wear drinkers down by employing almost exactly the same tactics that have been fine tuned by Tobacco Control. And rip them off in the process. With a resultant further decline of pubs. It’s so predictable.

I see you describe yourself as a ‘Beer Swilling, Cricket Loving Alcoholic Burn-Out’. I think this qualifies you as a target. Not directly because of your love of cricket of course, but that’s not immune. It’ll probably suffer when they ban sports sponsorship by drinks companies (which is already being mooted in case you hadn’t noticed). Besides, the ‘game’ being played by TC certainly isn’t ‘cricket’. Alcohol Control and Tobacco Control are now part the same, corrupt, team. It’s all about trying to persuade, or rather force, us to change our behaviour. Haven’t you noticed this either? And you accuse me of being asleep?

Frankly, I don’t give a monkey’s whether or not pubs survive. I’ve more or less gotten over it; most are no longer fit for purpose. Nevertheless, I’m rather enjoying watching the game unfold. My money’s on them.

Anonymous said...

Rabidbarfly said...
"but as someone who runs a bar, I am glad that I can now sit in a pub comfortably and not have to use my inhaler due to second-hand smoke inhalation."

If you run the bar then prior to the ban you always could've chosen to run a smoke free bar if you so wished. You don't have that choice anymore, it's imposed on you, and everyone else.

Anonymous said...

as a smoker I think the ban in public places is fantastic, it's saved me a fortune! I don't smell like an ashtray when I get home, my throat isn't sore from chain smoking & it's encouraged me to cut down & thousnds of other people to quit. It IS an antisocial habit & deserves to be treated as such, hopefully making so bloody difficult to light up will stop young people from starting in the first place. Keep your private club, I'm starting to regain my tastbuds & so appreciate some of the fantastic beers that are out there!

prog said...

Anon: So you only consider it to be an anti smoking habit since the ban, given that you once chain smoked in the pub?

Do you mean you've stopped smelling like 'an ashtray' all the time...despite being a smoker?

You're starting to regain your taste buds nearly FOUR years down the line, (despite still being a smoker)? The taste bud thing was always a load of crap anyway.

Gordon Bennett, you either smoked 80 day or, more likely, are an anti smoking troll.


Anonymous said...

prog you are funny! I sympathise with you, between getting all upset because someone has a different view to your own & the fags you'll drive yourself into an early grave. You'll probably say something along the lines of "at least I'll enjoy my life while I live it."

why don't you have another little rant or insult someone you don't know who doesn't care? You've certainly been a ray of sunshine on an otherwise dull Monday.

prog said...

Thanks. But I don't smoke fags so you shouldn't worry about my health in that respect.

Honestly, I really don't care about your anonymous opinion, any more than you do about mine. But at least I have bothered to scratch beneath the surface. Maybe you have....I'm guessing not, most people are fairly ignorant and/or gullible re the smoking ban. In other words, I probably know far more about this topic than you, so I don't really expect you to present a reasoned argument. The smoking ban, on the face of it anyway, has absolutely nothing to do with pub customers and how they smelled after a night out. It was based on a lie designed to alienate smokers. If you're happy to unquestioningly buy into that because it happens to suit your agenda, then don't complain when they really start to crackdown on alcohol. And it'll be much easier. For example, have you or do you know anyone who has, ever suffered at the hands of someone under the influence, be it deliberately or accidently? Maybe an innocent non drinking smoker? There's plenty of real proof that this happens all the time. On the other hand, there is virtually none that that clearly shows harm by passive smoking. Even the claimed risks are virtually nil. Nevertheless, the public have been conned into believing it's a major problem. Funny how smoking rates go down and asthma rates go up. Yet they still blame smokers. And they are now starting to blame many so called 'smoking related diseases' on diet and alcohol.

Oh well, 'ignorant is bliss' as they say - and you seem fairly happy.


samhill said...

I don't really want to get into a discussion about the health benefits of the smoking ban seeing as this was not what Glyn's original post was about but I thought I would link to the abstract of this study.

Notably one of the conclusion about barstaff after the ban "There were statistically significant improvements in measured pulmonary function tests"

Ghost Drinker said...

I was SO happy when the smoking ban came in. Finally, I could go to the pub, and not have to wash the horrific stank out of my clothes after having only been there for an hour or so! And for those who've said some pubs are loosing so much money because people can't smoke and enjoy the 'smoky atmosphere' in their pubs must be talking about some pretty crap pubs if the only reason people go there is to smoke! And asked for them making more restrictions on alcohol - there's loads of signs round our area saying "This is a public place, if you do not stop drinking when asked to do so by police you could be facing a £500 fine..." etc... and that's made no difference to our lives!

Ian Cann said...

Have to say I agree completely with Ghostie and Glyn's OP - So much better being able to go out drinking without fearing the all-powerful 'charred sick' smell of smoke, and with pubs now feeling lighter and cleaner in atmosphere.

Indeed, if all these drinkers are so transient in their identification with pub culture that they immediately stay home because they can't have a ciggie with their beer then the pub in question can't have been up to much in the first place.

simcoecitra said...

I can't believe that some people still don't see the smoking ban as a positive thing for pubs.

I was a publican for many years, until I sold my pub last year. The best years, by far, were the ones post smoking ban. All of a sudden my potential clientele was "everyone". All the non-smokers who avoided pubs could now come back and drink beer tasting, as it should, of malt and hops. Not tasting of fags (as it often did on busy smoky evenings). They could chat over a couple of pints and actually see each other clearly, rather than through streaming eyes caused by second hand smoke from the neighbouring table.

Now, every pub in the country has a smoking and non-smoking bit. Non-smoking inside the pub, and the rest of the planet for smoking. This includes any provision the publican made for the smoking punters, smoking shelters, outside furniture etc.

With respect, very many pubs that have closed were struggling to make ends meet anyway. When the ban came into force, some publicans just didn't have the heart to fight to get people through the door. There is a severe lack of business skills in the pub industry. Many people get into it for the wrong reasons, they don't realise that it takes an incredible amount of hard work to make a pub succeed. It needs to be run as a business to survive and succeed. The pubcos shoulder much of the blame, as their flawed business model "the tie", started to unravel. That, however, is another story.

To compare smoking and drinking alcohol as similar is, for want of a better phrase, complete bollocks! Please don't deny that passive smoking is real. The way I used to cough and the way my eyes streamed on busy smoky nights. These are biological reactions to unwanted invasions in my lungs and eyes. When drinkers force alcohol down the throats of non-drinkers in the manner of fois-gras producers, then maybe.

I really must stop now as I could go on and on. Maybe I will start an ANGRY MAN blog :-)

Rabidbarfly said...

Prog says : 'On the other hand, there is virtually none that that clearly shows harm by passive smoking'.
Actually as an asthmatic non smoker in a household where my father used to smoke 60 a day, my health was significantly worse then than it is now. Make of that what you will but I'm still asthmatic and I barely use my inhaler anymore.
Not scientific by any means but I noticed the difference!
What does 'Prog' stand for anyway, not progress, surely?

Rick Furzer said...

Eh? No evidence of the detriment of passive smoking. I'm not going to go into it, I'll just reference the entry in Wikipedia who've done quite a concise job.

Back to Glyn's initial point on moaning about change. It's par for the course if your British.

First of all People don't like change (unless you're instigating it). We experience a whole gamut of emotions trying to deal with change before eventually accepting or rejecting the change (see

Secondly the English have an almost preternatural ability to moan. It's one of our core coping mechanisms and we use it as an alternative to actually doing something about it (see Kate Fox's 'Watching The English').

If people want to smoke in pubs - can I suggest they move to France. The ban is not widely enforced and they have very good food. Also if you really don't like something you can take to the streets and go on strike.

Vive la Révolution! (sorry, don't mean BrewDog ...)

Smoking Hot said...

Fear of change? ... yeah right!

You're welcome to try and change the MC clubhouse l frequent. Smoking is certainly not banned and yet there's no visits from the Tobacco Police :)

"but as someone who runs a bar, I am glad that I can now sit in a pub comfortably and not have to use my inhaler due to second-hand smoke inhalation."

The absurdity of this statement is demonstrated by simply stating it

Shinar's Basket Case said...

The simple fact of the matter is that only a fool, a fool with too much money, would choose to go to a pub when he can buy a 4 pack of reasonably drinkable beer at tescos for less than the price of a packet of smokes and he can sit in the comfort of his own home and smoke. If he needs 'atmosphere' ie the company of other alcoholics, then he can always invite his mates.

Two things have led to the spate of pub closures in the last couple of years and i can count at least 10 that have closed in my area: The smoking ban AND the price of 'off licensed' beer.

prog said...

I take it that the anti smokers here are aware of demands to ban smoking outside,including pub gardens, and in private homes/vehicles. Because, if so, you will realise that these will rely on exactly the same kind of (distorted) science that was used to introduce the current ban. I also take it that you believe the claims of harm by third hand smoking that is now part of TC propaganda. Because if you do, you will be very easy meat for those who want to change certain aspects of YOUR lifestyle. This is NOT simply about smoking. The ban, which relies on huge misrepresentation of risk, is a crucial part of an agenda to force ALL people to tow the line, be it diet/alcohol or exercise related. It now seems that failure to comply might mean withdrawal/restriction of NHS services (you know, the NHS that was intended to provide free health care for all, without prejudice). Ten years or so ago, any suggestion to prohibit smoking in pubs would have been greeted with total disbelief by most normal people. Billions invested in brainwashing, much by pharmaceutical companies (who have made huge profits as a result), has changed that. There is no reason to think smokers are the only target.

I may seem odd to some of you out there, but at least I recognise that my, and your, freedoms are gradually being eroded away. Your blind acceptance of the ban merely accelerates that process.

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments I keep expecting the anti-smoking ban types to start telling me that there is also evidence that aliens exist, Elvis is alive and the moon landings were staged. Doubtless you guys mean well but you come across as paranoid & delusional.

Great blog post though and I heartily agree with the sentiment. I always spent a lot of time in pubs but they are way nicer places post-ban, end of. Good pubs, the ones I frequent given a chance, tend to be busy regardless and guess what: that's because they make an effort, serve good beer and attract people. Those that fare less well are often - though not always - catering for the lowest common denominator. Make the effort and you have a chance. Harder if you are out of a city I know but equally that's no reason not to have drink-driving laws. As for the moany types who have stopped going to pubs post smoking ban, you can kid yourselves that you added wit and joviality to the pub atmosphere but you know what? It's better without you.

Rabidbarfly said...

Crikey, an anon comment that I agree with! It does seem to have been forgotten a wee bit that the original post was me just having a moan about moaners.

prog said...

To summarise:

'These new shit pubs are better without us'.

If you say so...

Tyson said...

It does seem to have been forgotten a wee bit that the original post was me just having a moan about moaners

Firstly, great post. Secondly, the lunatic fringe aren't actually interested in anything you have to say. They just see the words "smoking ban" and the red touch paper is lit.

With the possible exception of my learned friend, the Pub Curmudgeon, they're not interested in pubs per se. It's all just ideology to them.

Can't you see your very freedom is being ripped froom your soul by the big bad state? No? Er, you must be in denial then.

Rabidbarfly said...

Tyson, cheers for the comment. I do see the big bad state doing it's best to rid me of my freedom, I just happen to be so cynical that I've stopped worrying about it now.
As for the lunatic fringe, I'm thinking of a blog coming soon called, Beer, the smoking ban and euthenasia, discuss....

prog said...

'I do see the big bad state doing it's best to rid me of my freedom, I just happen to be so cynical that I've stopped worrying about it now.'

Some of us haven't....and at least we're trying to raise awareness. You simply make it harder by dismissing those with genuine concerns as lunatics. At least I had much more freedom when I was your age. Yes, it's true, but you aren't old enough to make that judgement of course. Progress isn't always for the good.

And euthanasia is nothing to joke about. If things continue to 'progress' as they are doing now, you might well find yourself as a suitable candidate when they decide you're no use to society. Oops, yet another doom and gloom prediction from a lunatic. Sorry, I must be wrong, it'll never happen. Not even discussing it, are they?

Zaphod said...

Very true Prog. What was it last government brought in? 4300 new offences on the statute?

... and only the lunatics care about these continual erosions of freedom? Well, that'll include me then.

Tyson said...

and only the lunatics care about these continual erosions of freedom? Well, that'll include me then.

Well, at least you've admitted it. There is help available for you. Don't be too proud to ask.

Smoking Hot said...

Tyson ... that would involve change which l'm fearful of, remember?

Sheeples dont fear change, they get someone to do it for them and then simply conform and obey.

John Clarke said...

Rabidbarfly - see what you did there? Mention the smoking ban and all the crazies come out to play.

Tandleman did it once and I think he exceeded 105 comments - by the end they just seemed to be arguing amongst themselves and the original posting has long been forgotten.

Rabidbarfly said...

Yep saw that, have to do it more often, might rise in the wikio rankings.... ;-)

James Burr said...

LOL @ using Wikipedia as a source of evidence for the existence of harm caused by passive smoking! Don't you know the likes of ASH have employees trawling all smoking-related entries and changing them back? Don't believe me? Edit an entry on Wikipedia saying something truthful and innocuous, say, something like, "ASH Scotland only receives 0.2% of its funding from public donations, and several million a year from Pharmaceutical companies" (data which can be found on the Charity Commission website) and see how long it lasts. You'll be lucky if it lasts an hour (on a weekday, natch).

And those who can't see a link between the drive against smoking and the drive against drinking are clearly living in cloud cuckoo land. Are they not aware that the likes of Alcohol Concern are using the very same Tobacco Control template? They have even admitted to it! Create a health issue that doesn't exist (drinking rates have been falling since the late 90s (check!). Say there is no "safe level" (see the report a few weeks ago that even a pint can "cause cancer" - check! Add warning labels in an attempt to "denormalise" the product - check! Remove alcohol advertising - check! Increase taxes/pricing disproportionately in the name of "the public good" - check! Deny drinks manufacturers access to consultation on alcohol-related matters - check! Hell, they are even having joint meetings with ASH on how to best approach "the problem" of alcohol and how to sway media and political opinion and have even coined the term "passive drinking" to describe "the harm" caused by booze. This is exactly the same salami-slice template they used with tobacco. Do you think they could have got a smoking ban through in 1990? No, they'd have been laughed out of the door. But slice away little by little, create an acceptance of a problem that needs a solution, start promoting that "public health trumps property rights" and throw in some paid-for fake science and bingo, we'll be where they want us to be in no time at all, except quicker this time as they have the smoking ban as a precedent. I've lost track of the number of alcohol campaigners I've seen who have said of their latest proposal, "Such a move may seem unthinkable, but so was the smoking ban and now that is well-loved by all!"

I'm sorry - having been in the "They'll never ban smoking in pubs" brigade in 2005 I empathise entirely with how you feel now, but if you cannot see the marching minions of puritanism have booze firmly in their sights you are tragically ill-informed.

Mr A said...

I wish people would be less subjective when talking about smoking in pubs. So you love it - great! Bully for you!

But the smoking ban has clearly not been a "good thing" for pubs. Almost to the month, pub closures started to increase in England and Wales, increasing thirtyfold within a year. "Ah but the recession!" you'll undoubtedly say. The exact same pattern happened in Scotland in 2006, some two years before the Credit Crunch. And in Ireland in 2004 when they were still the Celtic Tiger. The same happened in Bavaria and Geneva, and is now happening in Spain since their new Ban came in in January. Spain's economy has been screwed for years - but people suddenly just decided to stop going to bars in January, then, did they? The same happened in Hawaii and in casinos in Nevada, to the point where the solution to falling trade was..... to get rid of the ban. Result? Increased trade. Just look at the figures - every nation that has instituted a smoking ban has seen its pub and bar trade decimated. Spain has lost a third of its trade in 4 months and closures are already starting to accelerate. Hell even in this country, in a brief week-long period when some pubs tried to use a loophole in the law by setting themselves up as "research centres", they saw their trade increase fivefold in the time they allowed smoking.

So as I say, I just wish people would be more aware of the subjectivity of what they say. Great! You prefer pubs now. That is a valid point - good for you. But please don't say something like "It wasn't the smoking ban that closed pubs" because the figures from dozens of countries, at different times and with different economic and social variables at play, all show the same thing. Institute a smoking ban and see a dramatic drop in trade. That much at least, is incontrovertible.

P.S. And the fact that so many people choose to not go to the pubs following the institution of such bans just shows that most do not think it is a positive change. They may not post on blogs or write to their MPs etc. But they do the one thing they can do - they choose not to go. It's really not rocket science. If cinemas only showed Adam Sandler movies and nothing else, would I ever go to one again? Hell no! I'm sure some would say the change was fantastic, though. The fact remains however, that if pubs do not provide what people want then people will not go. And that is exactly what we have seen now that we have 15% fewer pubs than we had four years ago.

Rick Furzer said...

I was referencing Wikipedia as a landing page to review the 170 reference studies/evidence for the dangers of passive smoking. I do not think there's any further value discussing this in the comments section of Glyn's blog.

James/Mr A (I take it you are the same person - you obviously feel passionately about this. Can I suggest you blog about it and anyone who wishes to discuss it further can do so on you blog?

Anonymous said...

Banning smoking is a just like banning rock 'n' roll (for health reasons, of course). Some people hate that music, and some people love it. The people who preferred classical music will approve of banning rock 'n' roll, and say that it's wonderful not to get deafened by it wherever you go. But the people who love rock music are bound to feel aggrieved, and object that the medical claim that rock music causes heart attacks is a fraud.

The problem here is not that some people like rock music and some people like classical music (and some like both). People will always have different preferences. The problem comes when the force of law is used to remove all choice. Once this has been done, a division in society is created that never existed before.

These things aren't trivial. Exactly this happened 500 years ago when Catholicism banned, and Protestantism enforced. The divisions created by that have never gone away.

Anonymous said...

I continue to be amazed as to why this subject provokes such an argument. Smokers do not demand the right to smoke in every pub or cafe in the country and publicans were always at liberty to make their pubs non-smoking. Indeed, just prior to the smoking ban, many already had. Cafes seemed to have reached a state of happy equilibrium. If you wished to smoke (and drink good coffee with classical music in the background), you went to Caffe Nero: otherwise, you visted any of the other well-known chains.
Judging by the comments here, it appears there are now sufficient anti smokers to keep a large number of non smoking pubs open, without the aid of a ban. All we smokers ask is that pubs be permitted to designate themselves either smoking or non smoking. Surely this would be in everyone's interest. One gain for the anti smokers would be nobody smoking outside the pubs they frequent, and fewer people smoking as they walked down the street
Something else to bear in mind is that, as sure as night follows day, the puritans and busybodies will be turning their aim towards alcohol and food. They have got a smoking ban though lies and junk science and statistics. Do we want this to spread to every other area of Government Policy? For this reason alone, smoking bans should be opposed.
Finally, can one of the anti smokers here explain why allowing smoking pubs will force them to breath smoke when they go out drinking? To me, that doesn't make sense. I understand that there are clubs in which a genre of music called "House" is played; yet I can't remember ever being forced to venture into one.
Jonathan Bagley (Real name - makes a change)