I do not want what I haven't got
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: