April 21, 2010
Buoyed by a tutorial full of lovely praise and encouragement, I had a splendid time at the Rochester Castle for M.’s birthday last night. The bell rang for closing time, and we cheerfully ignored it, as we always do. There were a contingent of Irish traveller folk in the pub, having a wake for one of their number. The atmosphere was fairly sombre, quiet chat and one lass was singing mournful songs. And the next thing we see is five police officers walking into the pub, to remove the travellers. I’ve been at the Rochester Castle several times at closing time and no police officer has ever asked me to leave, and in fact, was there last night and still wasn’t asked to leave – in fact, the police officers seemed apologetic that they were there, shame about the travellers ruining closing time for us nice, respectable folk.
I understand that removing forty travellers when you only have five bar staff is a bit daunting, and I’m not so naive as to think there is no reason to suppose there might have been bother, but the elision between ‘might be trouble’ and ‘treat them as if they’re trouble, even if there hasn’t been any trouble’ perpetuates the state of affairs, and makes change impossible.
March 19, 2010
Fashionable young person’s recreational substance ‘meow meow’ being sold as plant food to evade licensing has a historical precedent, as I discovered in my reading yesterday:
[on the 1729 banning the sale of gin without a licence] “They responded by inventing a vending machine that was fondly known as ‘puss and mew’. It worked like this: a customer approached the machine and said, ‘Puss’. Behind the machine was concealed a vendor who responded with, ‘Mew’. Out came a drawer and into it the customer deposited a few coins. No sooner was this done that the vendor snapped back the drawer, only to push it forward a few moments later, this time with a dram of gin.” Craze: Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason, Jessica Warner