Friday, March 11, 2011

Fortuitous Friday: Pubs, Again?

Being new to this whole blogging thing I’m finding some of the ‘side-effects’ a little strange. A natural social-recluse, I’m finding a certain degree of socializing (of a virtual kind) taking place. That, of course, is to be expected because, as I have said, if I didn’t want these interactions I would be writing all this in a diary, never to be seen.

Since I started blogging I have also been listening to a few gaming podcasts: The lads at Kiasa (I’m desperate for number 11!) and Van Hemlock and Jon over at Consoling Gamers. The guys at Consoling do a weekly ‘what we’re playing’ as well as a weekly (gaming) news update. I have been listening to them for a couple weeks now, and I was struck with the degree of familiarity I am starting to feel toward them. It’s to be expected, of course, as I am listening to them chat for two hours a week, and they do have the wonderful ability to make you feel like you are there, just sitting in on their session.

The other day I found myself replying to one of their tweets and it suddenly struck me as a bit weird because although I am beginning to feel that they are familiar to me they, of course, have no idea who I am. It’s a weird sort of (non) relationship when you think about it....Am I a  cyber-voyeur perhaps, looking in on other people lives...or maybe a blog-groupie? Well, regardless there will be absolutely NO shenanigans on the tour bus...unless I'm really, really drunk.

In any case, on to the point of all this (I do take my time don’t I). The other evening I was lying around, relaxing, and  listening to their news show. I was a bit sleepy, and the Sultan of Smart was lying in a heap at my side soaking up a slow petting. Mid-way through the show I was dozing (not a reflection on the show, I was comfortable, warm, and tired) when they mentioned something to the effect that they were popping down to the pub and any listeners were invited.

Now, I have to explain, that I have been to London a few times and while I am not really familiar with it, I don’t think of it as a ‘foreign’ place. It’s simply London, so when a familiar, friendly voice mentioned the pub, in my comfortable state, for just a split second mind you, I thought- Ya, that’s a fabulous idea. I’ll join the lads down at the pub. An image of a few of the fine pubs I have frequented there even popped into my head.

It only took me a second to realize, of course, that this would take considerable effort since I was 6,000 miles away. For that second though, I can tell you that I was extremely pleased with the idea.

The pub is something I really miss since leaving Ireland. I once lived in a very small town in Ireland called Lismore and there were 5 pubs on the main street. This was not unusual. The pub was the centre of Irish life for a long time, and it is a very social place. Of course going to the pub included drinking, but the alcohol wasn’t the focus. It really was about meeting friends, reading the paper, having your lunch, or whatever. It was the social hub, and it wasn’t uncommon to see entire families there, and yes, that includes children. Children weren’t allowed in the pubs after 9pm though (and of course weren’t allowed to drink).

Is it a sign that you frequented a place a bit too often when the owner cries and hugs you when you leave town?

My local had a massive boxer named Choosy who used to sit on the bench beside me like a furry mate waiting for his pint to be brought. I can trace the beginning of my conversion into a ‘dog person’ back to these happy days and may have, once, while very drunk, actually bought him a pint of Guinness. I know, I know, bad, but I likely wasn’t the first. The dog, you see, had free run of the place. On a Saturday night he was guaranteed to get loads of attention, a few packs of crisps, and likely a couple of pints as well. The whole experience was like drinking at a mates house (dogs and all): the definition of a good pub.

Not the actual Choosy but you get the idea. Sadly I didn't have a camera then so my feeble memory and other people's google images are the best I can do.

It is a very different culture here in Saskatchewan (say it fast, five times, I dare you!). People who live in Canada will be thinking 'too right, you bloody hicks' and unfortunately I'll be the first to admit that it is true. We are a very rural population. There are very few proper pubs (as I have moaned about previously), and given the spread of our cities (and winter temperatures) it is often not feasible to walk down to your local. I am lucky in that my town (city of 150k) has a proper pub run by a publican from Galway. The pub is an almost identical re-creation of a pub I used to visit when I lived there, and the owner grew up not far from the town where She Who Will Be Named Later and I were married. The more you travel the more you realize the world is a very, very small place indeed.

I had my 'last meal' there (as a single man)....and maybe one or two pints...memory is a  little hazy...
So the good news is I have finally found a pub which meets my (strict) criteria on what a ‘real pub’ is. It even has local real ale on tap which is still a very new concept here (cheap, mass produced lager still dominates). The bad news is that I still haven’t found a way to transport  the friends I have made in various, far flung corners of the world to it. Tonight I am stopping there after I am done working at The Buffalo Jump, and would just like to say that you are all, of course, welcome to pop down and join me. First rounds on me.

Happy Friday!


  1. Kiasa (I’m desperate for number 11!)

    We invented time travel and put out show eleven just before your post, as a surprise; that's how hard we work for our listeners.

    And we even put a mention of you in the show, just to prove that it was indeed time travel and not just some spooky coincidence.

  2. Nice one!

    Maybe I'll listen to it while I'm in the pub....though that may look a bit odd: (probable) crazy guy in the corner, drinking alone, laughing to himself. Oh well, wouldn't be the first time :)

  3. I hereby give your local pub permission to play our shows so everybody can listen to them. Well it's got to be better than the rubbish local radio I get in my local :)

    Maybe video conferencing and broadcasting the recording of shows into pubs is the way forwards!

  4. It very well might be.... I certainly wouldn't object to your show instead of, say, football, but that might not be the consensus :)