Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Problem With Pubs

Quotation of the day ~ Samuel Johnson: There is nothing which has been yet contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.

I don't have an alcohol problem -- i drink, i fall asleep, no problem tra la.

But i will confess to being a pub-a-holic.  I love pubs.  I think this goes back to my youth in England.  As an infant, i lived above one. My auntie and uncle ran a pub on Lindisfarne -- the fabulous holy isle -- and for a while my parents shared the living space.  So from a very early age i was accustomed to the aroma of hopped beverages wafting into my nose.

(The same thing happened to me with pizza: when i lived in Toronto i lived, for a while, upstairs from a pizzeria, and at around ten o'clock every morning, the aroma of pepperoni pizzas would soar upwards; it may explain why i now consider pizza to be nature's most perfect food.)

Pubs are not to be confused with bars and hotels -- nasty, dark places and often pretty dirty.  Pubs are bright and friendly and -- if i may quote the theme song from "Cheers," "sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came."  That's what i mean by a pub.

Here's a pic of the very first place i ever considered to be "my" local pub:

The Duke Of Kent at Yonge & Eglinton, in Toronto.  I lived behind it, a minute's walk away, my neighbours went there and most of my few remaining friendships were forged there.  It changed my life in many ways (for there, f'rinstance, it was that i met my ex-wife and if that wasn't life - changing...).

 I now live in Stratford, and there are only two pubs here that i go to: my favourite is Kelsey's, which is close to where i live.  I go there, oh, i dunno, maybe on average, twice a week.  I've been going there since it opened, 12 (?) years ago.  And check my flickr page for views from their smoking area (i.e., outside): The other one is Bentley's, which is close to where i used to live.  I've been going there since it opened, 23 (?) years ago -- but now that i live way a long way away from it, maybe only twice a month.

Anyway, on to the point of this post.

If you go into anywhere regularly, you become friendly with some of the people who work there.  Friend each other on Facebook and exchange email addresses, etc.  But -- people in the "hospitality" industry being notoriously nomadic -- all of a sudden they leave and you never see them again.  Someone you like just simply disappears from your life.  It ... leaves a hole.  (And i have so many holes now you might mistake me   for a Swiss cheese....)

What has brought this post on, is, that i have made many friends at Kelsey's over the years and one of my all-time favourites, Nicole, left, to go back to school.  Yesterday was her last day. I envy her, one of the greatest regrets of my life is that i didn't finish university. Maybe, just maybe, if i had finished, i wouldn't be stuck in such a crap job now, but nevermind that.

Here's Nicole (i'm using this picture with her permission).

Cute, eh?  But also -- and more importantly to me -- someone so full of positive vibes it was a pleasure to be in the same room. If i'd ever had a daughter, i would have liked her to be like Nicole.... I shall miss her, but that's what happens when you go to pubs, and that's why drinking is dangerous.

You lose friends....

And it's another playlist, boys 'n' girls:

Freddie King -- The Very Best Of
Glenn Frey -- No Fun Aloud
Glenn Frey -- The Allnighter
Joan Osborne -- Bring It On Home
The Albion Band -- The Vice Of The People
John Renbourn -- The Guitar Of John Renbourn
Marianne Faithful -- Love In A Mist
OutKast -- Stankonia

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