Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Trollied Tuesday: an August Bank Holiday lark

Philip Larkin had it right, you know. How can you eulogise a lost idyll without reference to the the public house? A world of

dark-clothed children at play
Called after kings and queens,
The tin advertisements
For cocoa and twist; and the pubs
Wide open all day. (MCMXIV)

Oh for such an age again, the reader is invited to think. It's worth noting that the restrictive licensing laws in England and Wales were introduced during the Great War as a ghastly expedient to stop munitions workers getting drunk (it could have been worse, I suppose; absinthe was made illegal in France after the troops at the front line over-indulged in the stuff). While life for most people may have improved immeasurably in the latter part of the 20th century, the retention of the licensing laws did not aid this process. (Tony Blair, incidentally, is to be commended for attempting to restore some measure of this ancient liberty).

Of course it lacks the pathos of the 'thousands of marriages lasting a little while longer' , but there is still something pre-lapsarian of the old world, an other Eden if you like, of freedom to drink as and when one pleases.

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