I recently went out to the pub for a couple of beers and an
hour of shouting. My companions roared at me, I roared back
at them and we paused in our din only to sneak glances at
three good-looking women screaming at each other in the corner.
The music was so damn loud that we all had to blare to be
heard above it and the whole bloody cacophony could have been
used to break the will of hooded insurgents.
It was so loud that two people didn’t hear themselves
getting arrested. People ordered drinks using hand signals,
text messages and coloured flags. Bizarrely, this pub had
television sets on too - but they were muted. So, a good night
out for many would seem to consist of sitting with people
you can’t hear getting deafened by music you don’t
like while looking at a TV set that is turned down.
(Note 1: television did not kill the art of conversation.
It only altered it so that conversation itself was mostly
Somebody at the Scottish Licensed Trade Association clearly
thinks we need loud music on. All the time. Background beats,
hit parade tunes, four to the floor ambience. Well, We Don’t!
(Note 2: television did not kill the art of conversation -
but the SLTA has been putting the boot into it for years.)
I know of only one pub that does not play music. In this pub,
men and women murmur and chat and are able to do so without
the aid of pop music. Much of what they talk about is garbage,
but it is at least audible garbage. A listener can respond.
It’s conversation. Over drinks. It’s lovely.
I’d tell you where this pub is, but I’ve been
asked to keep it quiet.