As England prepares for a new lockdown, another round of tough new restrictions is being introduced. Given the elite’s ‘fear of the mob’, it’s no surprise that pub closures are among the latest measures.
For me, life never gets better than having a beer in a pub with a large group of friends, all shouting to be heard above the jukebox and the other customers, who are all doing the same thing.
I’ve loved pub life since I was a little girl and used to watch my mum put on her best clothes and carefully apply her lippy in the mirror, wondering what this magical place was where adults went looking like film stars and came back happy and smelling of sweet lager and lime on their breath.
I have always thought of the pub, or Miners’ Welfare and Working Men’s clubs, as fantastical working-class spaces of glamour and gossip, of sexual encounters and of memories that keep you going for another week.
Throughout the Covid crisis, pubs, and other places of fun, hedonism, alcohol and dancing, have been under attack like no other. And they have been getting it from all sides.READ MOREBoris Johnson announces new 4-week England lockdown – all pubs, restaurants & ‘non-essential’ shops to shut down
Pubs were among the last places to open in the summer after the initial lockdown, and when they did it was under very strict conditions – there was no singing, no dancing, no sitting at the bar gossiping and flirting.
Now, of course, they’re about to shut again, after England’s tiered system was abandoned in favour of a national lockdown. Until then, my home town Nottingham is in tier 3, which means we are not allowed to meet friends even in a socially distanced pub or outside in a beer garden. Shops and supermarkets cannot sell alcohol after 9pm.
It seems the good folks of Nottingham cannot be trusted with a drink into the wee hours.
But there’s nothing new here in the moral panic over alcohol and disorder. One of Nottingham’s most famous sons William Booth was born in Notintone Place not far from where I live. Booth was born in 1829 and saw the abject poverty in which the working class lived. But he also noted how they coped with such a miserable existence with the help of a pint or two in local public houses.