Andrew (Be Near Me) O'Hagan mourns the loss of British pub culture.
"I've gone from being someone who stopped in at a pub several times a week when I was younger - and practically living there when I was a student - to hating pubs.
Many of the establishments are so pressed for custom that they will do anything to fill their bar - mainly selling toxic drinks in devastating quantities to kids who consider a good night out to be one that ends in copious vomiting.
I grew up knowing very well the dangers of excessive drinking, but most of that was done in private, at home or in the street, while social drinking was a matter for the pub. On Coronation Street, the Rovers Return seemed a perfectly typical hub of community life, where - believe it or not - conversations took place and business was done and views were exchanged.
Young and old used to meet in the pub, as did the differently educated (in Corrie, Ken Barlow would be at one end of the bar reading the London Review of Books while his rival, Mike Baldwin, would be at the other end chatting up the barmaid)."
In times past, the crowd I drank with used to read the London Review of Books and chat up the barmaids.
Posted by David