Thursday, November 11, 2004

Wetherspoons Pubs

It's raining again. But as I walked home from Ilford train station, because the 23:32 was delayed (why, oh why did FIRST lose their GER train license, unless it was because of the perverse ignorance of the Labour Government about Engineering, first demonstrated by their Railtrack fiasco? GER has for almost a year now been owned by ONE, whoever the fuck they are), I consoled myself:

In the globally overheated Sahara, they would be so thankful for this rain, that they would probably fuck camels to show the heavens their gratitude

So in the British winter climate, pub drinking is a survival trait. Which is why I decided to go drinking at the Wetherspoons in Goodmayes.

And dead (spirtitually) as Goodmayes may appear on a Wednesday night, I cannot, on my life, fault Wetherspoons. This chain of English pubs, although it can be criticised for being the MacDonalds of Real Ale pubs, always impresses me on one, insurmountable fact. Where the hell do they manage to get such professional staff? No matter what Wetherspoons you walk into, in England, their staff, for the pittance that they are paid, are saints. If I were Human Resources director at Goldman Sachs, I would insist that all newbies must have slaved through the Wetherspoons vetting and training process. I would place that qualification above any half-rate first class degree from Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, or Bristol.

Wetherspoons, for the first time since its birth (was it in the early 90s or late 80s), is for the first time, reporting slowing profit growth. Their pub philosophy is pure. No music. No Sky sports. Every booze you can want, but most importantly, the guarantee that several real ales will always be available. And drinks prices that try to compete with supermarkets. Sometimes their guest ales are divine: I once had a Snow- something ale in February. It was as good as a Real Ale experience can get. Ever diverse. For real Ales, when you drink them, promise an unending diversity of tastes and effects.

Sadly, the days of rebellion against international monotony and monopoly are waned, or maybe even gone forever. Today, walk into any bar in London, and you will most likely be faced with that most vile of drinks, the one that shames the description, "duck's piss". I mean, Budweiser, the American beer. What are Americans good for, if they dare to sell this rubbish all around the world? Nothing. Budweiser neither offers alcohol nor taste. It is for spotty Puritans who grow up into mullet-wearing Marlboro-smoking non-voting social wastrels.

What's happened to CAMRA? The Campaign for Real Ales, that once raged through every square foot of this island in the Seventies and Eighties? You tell me. Even the Guardian doesn't mention them much. They live on in Devon. They fade away, like the English Apple.

Which brings me to the feature on BBC Newsnight yesterday by George Monbiot on the disappearance of apples. I have never seen him on television, and was surprised at his youth, and his inability to express anger. What a waste of time. Did he teach me any intention that I didn't already have about apples in England? Like where I can buy some real ones in London? I mean, I last picked a real apple from a wild tree on a "wasteland" bank in the Docklands of Beckton. And even at the Audley End English Heritage gardens (gosh, isn't a blog great for reminding you of a summer that seems like it was 500 years ago, even though it was only 3 months ago?) I noted the apple collection.

Enough of my own self-righteousness. George is too academic. The world doesn't need more academics, informed and educated and correct though they may be, to get the message across to the Masses. Instantly, the distance between George Monbiot, and any man-on-the-street who cannot afford to become scientifically absorbed in any single-issue, leaps out from the television and tells you: "This man is living in a world of his own. Yeah, and so when are these apples going to be on sale at Asda?"

So, I pity the English Apple. I think it would have been served better if I had simply spread a rumour like, "Have you heard that Wayne Rooney's Mom walked into his bedroom, and found him stuffing a rare English Apple up his own arse? "

1 comment:

pogo said...

Unfortunately Wetherspoons has long since abandoned the "no Sky" policy. Or at least the Bath & Bristol ones have. But you're right about the staff.