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    Thursday, 3 April 2008

    Televisions In Pubs


    I don't mind music in pubs so long as it's at a reasonable volume in order that I can hear myself think or my companions speak. Indeed if I'm drinking alone it does provide some company of sorts as a familiar lyric enters my head.

    What I don't understand though is the purpose of televisions. I don't believe people go to the pub to watch EastEnders or such twaddle, nor do they really want to keep up to date with BBC News 24 or some such channel. Sports matches are a real draw but for my mind only serve to fuel a siege mentality, be it between supporters of opposing teams or in the case of a National team, a ridiculous (and fairly short-lived) alcohol fuelled patriotism. Added to this televisions don't lend themselves to being at a sufficient volume for those watching, to hear what's going on anyway.

    For my mind the best form of pub entertainment is a gentle game of cribbage or dominoes; true pub games for true pub goers, none of your modern technology nonsense. Mind you without live news channels and those wonderfully inaccurate live subtitles I would never have discovered yesterday that Bertie Aherne is actually the "Pam Ayres of Ireland". Conjours up a picture of two.

    14 comments:

    brendan said...

    The only tv programming which lends itself to pub enjoyment without annoying the other patrons is baseball. No volume, no problem. Its action is slow paced enough(the writers say pastoral) that you can carry on a conversation or two and still keep tabs on the game. Football (all four kinds) demand constant attention, while boring old baseball is slow enough that they can show replays of even the most pedestrian of plays. Maybe not a huge selling point, but it beats cribbage,which I am convinced my wife invents new rules to regularly.

    Mark said...

    Putting aside football, which is in a whole different class (or lack of!) it's own, the pub is an excellent place to watch sport. I often watch the rugby in a good pub with friends, and you'd perhaps be surprised at how much chat goes on before, during, and after the game. Great atmosphere, and just as valid an excuse to drink and talk in a pub as (ahem) beer.

    Tandleman said...

    Now Maeib you are only allowed one April Fool joke!

    Stonch said...

    Really nice pubs almost never seem to have televisions these days so I see this as a bit of a dead issue, to be honest. It's a bit like complaining about Watney's Red Barrel! ;-)

    David said...

    I often wonder why so many bars in the US have TVs tuned to news programs, with no sound or even closed captioning. Are we really that enamored with the talking heads?

    Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

    I would say Cricket would conform to that, probably even more pastoral.

    The Beer Nut said...

    Just the one e in "Ahern", there.

    I'm intrigued now. In what way is our beloved lame duck Taoiseach Ireland's Pam Ayres? He looks like he's looked after his teeth...

    maeib said...

    tandleman - It is a real issue, TVs do seem pretty irrelevant to the true enjoyment of pub life. I did the piece as I just wanted to let the world know that somehow Prime Minister comes out as Pam Ayres with live subtitling. It's a cheap piece really

    stonch - I never drank Watneys Red barrel, that's a tick I missed. I'm not happy about that at all!!

    Beer Nut - Sorry for the misspelling of your Pam Ayres.

    Actually I agree with the other correspondents; baseball and cricket seem appropriate sports to watch and fall asleep to whilst supping a ton of ale.

    Bailey said...

    I'm with you on this, and think it's a good topic for a post. It's weird how much you hear people complain about music -- that really is an issue that's not worth debating, to my mind, because music in pubs is older than the idea of the pub itself. They just kind of go together.

    But TV in pubs is awful. For one thing, the eye is drawn to the telly even if there's nothing on. The conversation slowly drifts as everyone starts staring into the middle distance. And for another, a big plastic banner advertising Sky Sports could, in most cases, be replaced with one reading: "SHITE BEER SERVED HERE", in my experience. Finally, nothing kills the buzz in a pub like the sound of people whinging on Emmerdale or Eastenders. It's like being in the pub with a big group of loud, boring depressives.

    haddonsman said...

    Back in my student days, the landlord of one our our fave pubs used to let us all watch Blackadder in the snug. It was like being back at the house only with better beer, heating and no pervading smell of last month's kebabs.

    I don't mind telly so much as the pubs with TV I visit are sensible with it; it's either for the rugby or cricket (the latter IMHO being perfect pub sport TV) or its Spoons News 24 with no sound - and as I usually go to our Spoons early at the weekends I have the laptop and free wifi to keep me busy. So, never mind TV in pubs, what about those tossers with laptops who are rating beer ;-)

    Boak said...

    In Spain, almost all bars have the telly on all the time. I don't really understand why -- maybe because the landlord gets bored? -- but I did get used to it.

    Paul Garrard said...

    One of my new favourite pubs has a big screen telly. It's an irritation but it only seems to inflict itself upon you when you go to the bar.

    Tyson said...

    Have to say you're sounding like old farts here. Can't see what the problem is with tv per se. Sports can be a real booster for pubs and whilst some pubs promoting Sky Sports are crap, some actually sell some decent beer. Apart from sports, I find decent pubs usually have the tv off, or the sound turned down. Any pub that has Eastenders etc blaring out is unlikley to be worth visiting regardless of having a tv or not.

    I don't know what it is, but there seems to be a link between those who dislike tv in pubs, but like music. I can see the appeal in the idea of a quiet oasis, but surely mobiles have ruined that anyway?

    David said...

    Tyson,

    Well, I am an old fart. :-)

    Agreed that mobile phones, or their users, are an abomination in pubs.