Fading fast

Over here, Gaw talks about the march of time and the fading of shared experiences. I was thinking about something on a similar theme only this week, as I stood in an excellent pub with my father as he held court with his cronies.

We all know pubs are dying, thats a given, and people of my generation seem to be as upset about it as everyone else. But it's a fact that people of my age group simply don't use the pub as older people do. For men of my father's age, the pub is an automatic destination. Staying the night in a strange town? Sniff out a welcoming looking hostelry and chat with some locals at the bar. This is so instinctively done that I honestly think if you asked him he would say that it's not something he would think about, it's just something you do.

For people of my age group who are uninterested in the binge-drinking townie barns that have infected the nation, pubs seem to have lost their pull. None of my contemporaries would go regularly to a pub on week nights, as they think this would affect their work performance - something that would never occur to a man like my father. They might go on a friday night for a few, but only with friends and never alone, and I can't imagine many of them striking up a conversation at the bar.

We've become so much more insular. We feel no compulsion to reach out to others, no draw in the shared camraderie of some blokes having some pints, playing spoof and setting the world to rights. I feel no special affinity to drinking culture particularly, but I do feel that we are losing a valuable part of a cohesive society, the ability to connect if only for a short period of time, and have to engage in conversation with someone who may be from an entirely different background to yourself. Being able to do this is a valuable tool in life, and it's a shame that our youth may never learn the joy to be had in briefly becoming concious of other lives and cultures, and the exitement of being in a place where the path of the evening becomes random and uncertain, a place where friends can be made, and adventures can happen.


Gaw said...

Well said. God, I lived for pub life for quite a few years and had some of the best times of my life there. It tailed off mostly due to work - just as you describe, not wanting to feel jaded on a weekday.

As much as our parents claim to have worked their tails off, I don't think they worked nearly as hard as we do now, at least not as a couple. This is affecting everything - not just pub life - and not always in a bad way.

Brit said...

We've become so much more insular. We feel no compulsion to reach out to others, no draw in the shared camraderie..

I don't believe that because I'm very suspicious of any claim that a fundamental aspect of human nature has or can change.

Sure the mode can change. What are blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Skype etc if not the above? Also as traditional pubs decline, so cafe bars, casual restaurants, pizzerias etc thrive.

I think with pubs it's largely because we're so much more health-conscious - a night in the pub = at least four pints, crisps, possibly fags etc. We're not prepared to do that to our bodies three or four times a week anymore.

worm said...

I agree with what you're saying about the internet Brit, although the internet does tend to have the effect of channelling you into areas where you only meet like minded people (which is obviously good in one way, but it does tend to remove chance from one's life)