Saturday, 22 April 2017

Button it!

Mind your Ps & Qs if you want to drink OBB
There might be a general election looming, but one pub chain has banned all blue talk. It is Sam Smith's, probably one of the most eccentric pub chains in the country. They have just issued this instruction to its 200 pubs: "We wish to inform all of our customers that we have introduced a zero tolerance policy against swearing in all of our pubs." I find that to be a curious development, although it won't affect me for two reasons: there are no Sam Smith's pubs in this area, and I don't swear much anyway.

Sam Smith's pubs are different from most others anyway in that they only stock their own branded products, they don't have TV or music, and they are generally very cheap. They haven't allowed live music for about 15 years because the company refused on principle to pay for the new music licences introduced by 'New' Labour in 2003. I wrote in 2009 about the Plough, a large, multi-roomed pub in Whitby where I go every year for the folk festival: I don't understand a principle that turned the Plough from a large pub that was heaving during the 7 days of folk week with music sessions in 3 separate rooms and another in the large back yard, weather permitting, to one that looked almost deserted most of the time. Doesn't Sam Smith's want to make money?

Although those stupid music licences were scrapped in 2012, Sam Smith's still won't let the Plough reintroduce live music, not even unamplified. I bet the licensee looks enviously at the heaving pubs that do allow song and music sessions while he serves his half dozen customers.

As for swearing, I don't take too much notice except when people are loud and repetitive, at which point I find it irritating. I've occasionally heard people in my local, the Guest House, being told to cut it out when they go too far, and I'm quite happy about that level of control. While I find a pub full of swearing drinkers - usually male - off-putting, an outright ban does seem to be going too far.

That's Sam Smith's for you: they'd cut off their own nose to spite their face to make a point.

The BBC report on the swearing ban is here.

4 comments:

  1. Sam Smith's might not pay to advertise but their chairman's pronouncements do seem to keep them in the news regularly, a bit like a certain Scottish brewery one could mention.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hadn't thought of it that way, but you could well be right.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't find swearing irritating so much as boring. Someone loudly uttering the same word every five seconds is boring whether the word is f**k or proantidisestablismentism.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I must admit, I sometimes feel rather uneasy when people talk loudly and swear when when there may be a young family having a meal on the table just behind them. I don't go with the idea children shouldn't be in pubs, as pubs couldn't survive without serving family meals. I suppose one answer would be for pubs to revert to having a "back bar" where drinkers could drink, and swear without offending anyone.

    ReplyDelete

Comments, including disagreements, are welcome.
Abuse and spam are not and will be deleted straight away.