As an aside, I did recently get very drunk and embarrassed myself, letting down myself and, more importantly, our God and His Church, but my, 'I think I'll just lay down here on this pavement and be sick a little bit for a while', escapade did not lead me to being barred from the pub which was immediately opposite my dormant corpus. I guess everyone else had gone to sleep. For this reason, I'm skipping a stag night before my wedding because, after all, I've had it already and I've been to Confession. What's the point in your friends tying you to a lamp-post in your underpants when you can quite easily make an idiot out of yourself on your own initiative, with nobody else around? I guess if you are a prospective employer, its best you look away now.
Still, despite my appalling lack of self-restraint on that occasion, I'm not barred from that particular public house. I am, however, barred from The Windmill Pub, Brighton, where I was sitting with a friend this evening after work. Our little friend, 'Jimmy', came over and I invited him to sit down next to us. My friend was eating a jacket potato with cheese and beans and I was supping a pint. 'Jimmy' asked for a cigarette so I asked if he wanted to join us. Five minutes later the landlord came out and started harassing 'Jimmy', asking him to leave. In the image above, you can see 'Jimmy' and I and the said friend were on the 'peripheries' of the pub on the outside, the bench nearest the road. There was a small group outside. The pub was by no means busy. The landlord came out to tell 'Jimmy' he was 'barred' from the establishment.
|So, let's all get barred from pubs in the cause of right...|
So the landlord comes over and starts harassing 'Jimmy'. Bear in mind, reader, that I've just spent twenty pounds in this pub, in addition to the hundreds of pounds (please, Lord, say its only hundreds) I've probably spent in there over the last decade. I don't even want to do the maths. I've been a regular in this pub for years. I'm on good terms with the landlady and the friendly lesbian who owns a shop down the road and daily props up the bar from 6pm onwards. The pub is home to some of Brighton's most functioning alcoholics and even advertises the fact, your honour, on its Facebook page, wherein you will find this advertisement...
CALLING ALL "OCCASIONAL" ALCOHOLICS! Your services are required URGENTLY at The Windmill tonight!
Not all alcoholics are welcome, however. As it happens, 'Jimmy's' ASBO ran out quite a while ago, the Council having relented. He's been housed for over a year now in the same place and seems to have settled down somewhat. He now has the freedom of the city of Brighton and Hove and he's due to go into rehab in September.
|Okay, these are the droids you are looking for.|
"Hang on, my friend hasn't done anything wrong. He's just sitting down here a while. He's doing no harm".
I said this in a perfectly polite fashion, somewhat scandalised that I had just spent about twenty quid, plus the 'cash back' at the bar, that the landlord replied something like...
"You just stay out of this, this is none of your business. He's barred from this establishment for drinking a can here once in the pub".
Somewhat riled, I said something along the lines of...
"He isn't doing anything wrong. You're criticising him for drinking. I thought this was a pub!"
And on, and on, but whenever I spoke, he high-handedly turned to me with rather steely eyes and told me, quite plainly...
"You just keep quiet, will you, this is none of your business".
Whatever I said, that's what he said. I couldn't help feel that no matter what my friend might have done, or not done, once, in terms of 'once walking into the pub with a can in his hand' ("Oh, the horror! It's a homeless person!") that this was all rather disproportionate and that the landlord just looked at him and considered him to be unworthy citizen for the privilege of sitting outside and smoking a fag while I had a pint and my friend ate his jacket potato at the very periphery of the pub garden near the main road. He really had literally been there about five minutes and never stays anywhere long especially when he wants his chicken balls and curry sauce.
|Still selling whiskey, champagne and vodka though, aren't they?|
Somewhat angered I called the landlord a "typical Brightonian". That might not make any sense to you or to him, but I do get more narked off year by year at the artifice of this city that prides itself on 'diversity' and a 'non-discriminatory' approach to its 'rich' cultural life, while treating the poor and homeless with utter contempt.
In general the city is getting harder and more punitive against the poor, as seen with the inner city's attempts to cleanse Brighton of its street drinking community by putting these stickers on each and every newsagent's shop window just to tell the street homeless where to go.
These newsagents are 'sensible on strength' stickers are everywhere because if you drink Skol Super, you're not sensible, but if you're like me, are middle class, can mix your drinks but then find you can't take it and wake up in a gutter somewhere you remain 'sensible' because you're privileged, valued, monied and thereby contribute to society, but if you are poor, or homeless, or 'unsightly' or in any way make those around you feel uncomfortable, you are not welcome. Not in Sainbury's, not in the Co-op, not in The Windmill and not anywhere, really, because even though you are not a thief, or a threat, because you are a street drinker, you are not really as human as the rest of us and are unentitled to respect. Not only you, but whoever feels like sticking up for you.
Anyway, that's the story of how I got barred from my first pub. Join me in my national campaign to boycott The Windmill, one pub that Pope Francis will most certainly be avoiding!