7 March 2017

Misanthropic Gaucheness

Feeling somewhat gauche and ever fearful of leaving the balminess and familiarity of one’s home abode one did make the gargantuan effort last week to venture out into the public spotlight of Whitstable’s fiercely intense and forgivable social focus.

‘Twas a good chums birthday celebrations down a local drinking hole freshly opened and still suffering from the honeymoon of newness and the still growing, if perhaps temporary, support of the glittering Whitstablerati who infested every nook and cranny of said establishment quaffing at what can only be described as full volume and, at times, exhibiting a somewhat over the top bonhomie that only English people can do as they cram their full social life into a sparse two days of a very short weekend, some vast quantities of expensive ales of the beery variety and cocktails of gin based sozzledness. Oh, the God of alcohol worshiped with unashamed impunity now by ex-clubbers who reject the investment of precious time, harassment and expense once indulged to procure other perhaps more engrossing or challenging means to exercise ones weekend mind. The drinkers penchant of pulling funny faces and adopting a silly wave well in evident as the front door is, eventually, opened to the guffawing sound of “if you ain’t on the list you ain’t coming in” ringing in my ears...

The first impression one has after spending weeks of a deep dark winter squirrelled away surrounded by the love of ones closest allies,  tog 15 duvets, a central heating system greedily set several degrees above what my parsimonious father would of thought of as a somewhat self-indulgently luxuriousness and, how dare you, Sky sports, Sky cinema and Amazon Prime, paid up fully to the end of March and a full list of all Oscar nominees downloaded from PirateBay in full 1080p definition just waiting to be soaked up and consumed and talked about and dissected in intense detail over TV snacks and expensive gin cocktails. Smiles and warmth the only outcome of collective agreement of the particular merits or shortcomings of said films. With the addition of a dodgy Netflix subscription and several full orders from various supermarkets home delivered life parcels of mercy the winter wonderland and cornucopia of holed up excellence was indeed complete. I shall see you in April when the sun shines once again with a warmth that benefits actually leaving sofa confines and the daring rush of venturing outside once again fills the space once previously held by the occasional winter walk on the beach not several hundred metres from the front door of the house. If you know it’s there you very rarely visit. Just knowing it’s there is enough?

So, no actually. In order to show due acknowledgement of my loyalty, deep affection and dear love for my friend one must venture out into the cold heart of oh so middle class darkness know as Whitstable ‘down’ town central; a world designed to attract DFL tourists and DFL residents is now so fraught with so many dangers not only from the local indigenous population (Indigenous People usually have their own language, cultures, and traditions influenced by living relationships with their ancestral homelands. Us DFL’s, of course, trample all over this with impunity) high, as ever, on the very first few hours of ‘le weekend’ and celebrating another indulgence of homogenous British cultural nefariousness which I shall endeavour not to you bore with but with DFL-baiters, sexual predators, packs of amiable teenagers on “pub-coke” looking for a fight, diners with coupons and codes, middle aged men still on the sniff and pub circuit and still no clue what to do now they’re out of their 20’s, 30’s and now 40’s but to carry on doing what they’ve always done, wage slaves finishing the week off with a few quick ones before heading home to watch TV, good old fashioned music fans searching for half decent real musicians and the ever growing band of fans of that quaint, Kent originating, micro-pub phenomenon. Sitting in pokey, cramped (fans would say “cosy” or “homely”) un-ventilated rooms (“none of that bloody air conditioned nonsense”) that stink of beer (“super trendy hipster drink du jour; real ale”) with no music (“none of that bloody racket in here thank you!”). Dems da rules see?

It is to one of the latter mentioned establishments that my friend has decided is a suitable venue to celebrate her birthday drinks in. Not only is this room fulfilling of all micro-pub clich├ęs the worst of which for me is “no lager”. In a true micro pub. No fruit machines.  No bar. No spirits. “You cannot even say the word lager - if you say that word, then you are expected to put something (20p or more) in the charity jar in the pub (if you need to mention this drink, a few polite people might say 'the L word'. But the vast majority, the realistic and truthful people, describe it accurately and use the term 'cold, fizzy urine')”. This of course pours prejudiced and undeserving scorn on the rich history of lager brewing through the centuries.

Luckily at The Twelve Taps they say a resounding no to this “traditional” micro-brewery fascism and have Prosecco on draft and 12 self-indulgent gin-based cocktails as well as 12 beers. And music albeit very low volume and completely incapable of drowning out the incessant and somewhat deafening shouting echoing around the room that is the natural state of said pub at 7.30pm on a Friday evening. This merely propels my own dreams to new realms of reality; which is to open a micro-pub next door to the 12 Taps that sells only lager. Yes, you heard me right; only lager.

The meets, greets, hugs, kisses back and arm rubs and enquiries as to the general wellbeing of people one hasn’t seen for a while over it’s time to procure said beverage of gin and tonic for a round of four and pay for it via contactless payment. Didn’t work. Try again. Pay via contactless payment. Didn’t work again. “’Sa’bad connection in ‘ere” says the overworked bar steward. “Pay by cash or card?” I’ll pay by card. The good old fashioned way. Just like it should be.

Happy birthday Kate! Cheers! I’m glad I came out.

But, at 10pm it’s now time to go home. It’s the season finale of “Taboo” and the winter is still not quite over yet.