Friday, 12 September 2008

Real Ale, Real People

It is phenomenally easy to mock real ale drinkers. It must be because every halfpenny word-whore who has ever put ham-fist to keyboard has tried it. As deadline looms and they thrash in their paddling pool of inspiration, an accusatory Bic is jabbed in our direction and some apparently withering remarks about brown clothing or a ‘strange goatish smell’ are scratched out. Three minutes later their word limit is reached, the blank space is filled and another part of their soul leaks out. But who cares if each point is relevant as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, as grounded in reality as their last expenses claim or as densely packed with stereotypes as a rolled up copy of the Daily Mail?

Because as every as columnist, copper and paramedic knows ale drinkers aren’t really the ones that deserve these wrist-tossed of volleys of limp-invective. They are harmless individuals; peaceable, passive and shy to the point of autism. They are the blue whales of the public house. They offend no one because their only desire is a nice pint and a little peace and quiet. They don’t throw punches, they don’t throw bottles, and they don’t get themselves thrown out.

Instead the greatest danger to soul of humanity is clearly the thing that goes bump, crash and bleuurgh in the night. The bullish, the boorish and the oafish - The Non-Discerning Drinker. From Blue WKD to piss-yellow lager to green Toilet Duck, the NDD doesn’t care what they pour down their throat, or if they slash someone else’s. More commonly known as ‘the assailant’, they cause perturbation, despair and moralising politicians to increase the tax on beer.

However, since ASBOs aren’t enforced at the dangerous end of a Dalek’s plunger, these abrasive little pissdrips are still allowed to chaff against normal, decent society. So to help you avoid meeting them, we’ve created a handy Crt-C, Ctr-V guide on how to dodge their kind.

Non-Discerning Drinkers consider a good pub to be one from which they aren’t barred, yet. Where atmosphere and alcohol selection matter to the rest of us, the mono-browed, asbestos-livered element doesn’t care what they drink, where they drink or know how much they drink.

Now this could make them very difficult to avoid - except for an unexpected benefit of the smoking ban. Now the puffing line-up outside a pub forms the perfect guide to what goes on inside. So if a row of buttoned-down Ben Sherman shirts has congregated outside, you can happily walk by. Similarly if the overheard flapping of meatholes never ascends beyond which one of Nuts’ Photoshop-smoothed cover-stars they would consider ‘doing’, there is no need to even break your stride.

As mouth-breathing drones, Non-Discerning Drinkers are the foot soldiers of global capitalism. ‘Brand-loyal’ and easily influenced, they are shock troops of those major corporations who currently produce drinks but who would surely diversify into kitten-buggery - if only the EU subsidies were increased. It even says so on their mission statements too, in very fine print.

In fact NDD’s minds are so easily swayed by flashing lights and loud noises that if placed next to a merry-go-round for long enough they could be convinced to remove their own spleen with an ice-cream scoop. They would also consume it raw, so long a badly stuffed cockney bear in a pork pie hat asked them to do it. Or if they were told that Australians wouldn’t do anything else.

Do not mistake those eyes that glisten and flash inside the fleshy, porcine skulls for signs of intelligence. It is actually pure rage. Taunted by the complexities of the modern world - locks, computers and flush toilets - they live in a state of permanent anti-intellectual rage. Any attempt to engage them on conversation beyond the basics of football, Top Gear and ‘that time that they did football with cars on Top Gear’ is akin to sketching out a your own suicide note.

Their language is limited to one simple sound: ‘Dave’. However the length and volume of this sound can communicate many different emotions and situations. From the exuberant greeting of “Dave!” to the plaintive wail of “Daaaaaaaave!” as one of their number is stumbling home with his face clanged open by a bouncer.

At any given point during the day or night, there is a 15% chance that the average NDD will be dressed as Spider-man. Anthropologists are yet to discover quite the reason for this behaviour but seems to be connected to the NDD’s ‘pack mentality’. For often once one of these offalheads has donned this costume there is a good chance that a portly Batman in deeleyboppers will follow soon after. Note: while this behaviour is unacceptable on the public highway, when described by ‘Blowers’ during Test Match Special, it somehow becomes quite charming.

It’s not so much the actual footwear of a NDD itself that marks this group out (Although there is a good chance that they will bear some similarity to a football boot even though the wearer has all the poise of a bin bag full of gruel.). It is more the splattering of piss, blood and bloody-piss across the toe area that will be a giveaway. This veneer is often made all the more noticeable by the wearer’s tendency to repeatedly attempt to insert them into other citizen’s faces.

Britain, considerer yourself warned.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

When The Tied Comes In

Despite many CAMRA members holding Greene King in the same regard as the rancid fluff that escape from Satan’s bellybutton, here is a scintilla of proof that buying a pint of Green King IPA isn’t actually the same as booking yourself into the bridal suite at the Hades B&B. Or not quite.

The Good Beer Guide listed Woolpack in Mildmay Road, Chelmsford are holding a beer festival on the 4th, 5th and 6th of September. Despite being a tied house, Greene King have allowed publicans Dave and Maggie to include twenty of guest ales, to sit alongside nine of their own beers.

Entry is free and all of you scooper/tickers can see a provisional list of beers here.