IN LINE with this column’s esprit communautaire, I sacrificed a lie-in to make an early start at the local pub and bring you news of today’s grand reopening of the London boozers.
If it hadn’t been for Prince Phil’s demise, it’s an event that would have been leading all the bulletins. Pubs are the essence of England, or so we’ve been told in a stream of commentaries from the Phil Spaces of the weekend press.
That raises the question why so many of them had shut down even before Covid struck. Almost 2,500 London pubs closed permanently between 2000 and 2016 and since then the trend has continued.
The Horseshoe, a regular hideaway near London Bridge, is one of the survivors. I’d been visualising a quiet pre-lunch pint in its usually empty back terrace.
Be careful what you wish for!
Who should already be esconced and holding court at a nearby table but right-wing radio shock-jockette harridan Julia Hartley-Brewer? I nearly choked on my Breakspear’s.
For those of you unfamiliar with la Brewer, she’s a professional anti-wokist who latches on to whatever is the reactionary talking point of the moment to stir up her daytime listeners.
That’s all well and good. But what’s she doing in MY pub?
It gets worse. Also in her adoring circle were fellow presenter Mike Graham, self-proclaimed “King of the UnWoke”, and fellow radio hack Kevin O’Sullivan, a Fulham fan!
Mercifully, I missed Toby Young, alt-right twat and General-Secretary of the so-called Free Speech Union. Apparently, Julia had been interviewing him on the upstairs terrace but he must have slithered out early to avoid his round.
Tobes and Jules are both lockdown skeptics, having harangued the rest of us throughout the lockdown as snivelling sheep in thrall to limp-wristed politicians and so-called experts.
Toby had used the Talk Radio slot to “encourage as many people as possible to get out there, go to the pub, go to restaurants, but it’s ridiculous that we still have to sit outside.” Why aren’t these people running the country? Or maybe they are.
A bit of classic Julia came just before Christmas, when she urged listeners to break the seasonal coronavirus rules after blaming Muslims who did the same at Eid for fuelling the pandemic.
As you can no doubt tell, they and their gang almost ruined my first pub pint of 2021. The yard was busier than usual. I’d overlooked the obvious – that D-Day was always likely to attract a lot of part-timers.
Things should have calmed down by the end of the week when the novelty will have worn off. Then I’ll have more tranquillity in which to reflect on the long-term future of the London pub.
I tell you what! I’ll just nip in tomorrow so I can bring you an update from the frontline.