Saturday, April 05, 2008

I do not want what I haven't got

When I first moved to OX4 I tried very hard to love a pub called the Ampney Cottage. It was the closest pub to our flat, so the obvious choice to become our local. I badly wanted a local. I wanted to be able to walk up to a bar and have someone say 'all right, Jo? Usual?'

Sadly, the Ampney Cottage was a shit pub. The late lamented New Inn became our local instead. For a while, the barmen did recognise me, as well they should as I practically lived in there, and I've yet to hang out in a pub with better music.

But fashions change on Cowley Road. Most businesses are chasing the student pound, and the Brookesalikes we co-exist with don't seem to be willing to engage with anything that predates them. They don't want dingy pubs with Formica tables, pinball machines, pints of mild, and brown velour banquettes. No. They want laminate flooring, widescreen R'n'B videos, Bacardi Breezers and patio heaters.

The New Inn has become Corridor. It's all terracotta walls, fairy lights, bad art and extra cold Euro lager. It's not awful, but there's nothing to love about it. The Ampney Cottage is now a Hobgoblin. Possibly thanks to a huge smoking marquee out the back and not enough tables for the floor space, it's usually completely rammed with homogeneous 20-somethings doing shooters, and is, if anything, even more characterless than it was before.

As I was walking past it the other day I saw a board outside saying 'New Menu! Get involved!'

Get *involved*? Get involved in what, exactly? Spending money and getting pissed? Hmm, I sneered to myself, someone round here probably has a degree in marketing.

If you were to walk round the New Building at the moment, you might spot a photo of me taken at my desk. This is also a piece of marketing, one of a series of photos of staff looking like they are engaging with 'Have Your Say'. I have headphones on and am staring intently at the screen while grinning like a lunatic. I was not Having My Say when it was taken. It was lunchtime and I was laughing my ass off at this:

Genius. Unquestionably.




Blogger Ben said...

Totally. Who is he?

4:13 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

The late, great Bill Hicks. Someone (I forget who) played me a video of one of his live shows around the time he died and I have never laughed so much in my life. I'd sort of forgotten all about him till YouTube came along... My favourite sketch is about a man reading a book in a redneck diner: "looks like we got ourselves a reader here...". It's brilliant, all of it. Offensive to nearly everyone somewhere along the line, but brilliant.

9:43 pm  
Anonymous M said...

"the Brookesalikes we co-exist with don't seem to be willing to engage with anything that predates them"

Now re-read with definition 3 below, and enjoy the tantalisingly retributive image it conjures up.

Definitions of predate on the Web:

1. be earlier in time; go back further; "Stone tools precede bronze tools"
2. precede: come before; "Most English adjectives precede the noun they modify"
3. raven: prey on or hunt for; "These mammals predate certain eggs"
4. establish something as being earlier relative to something else

12:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're really lucky in the fact that we have a semi decent local. The music's good, they put the sport on and the beer is moderately priced. For London.

Can't wait 'til I move out to the country and get myself a proper local.

Unable to logon to write a comment because wordpress is being a pain in the arse.

2:58 pm  

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