That Time I Accidentally Had a Shit in a Wetherspoons Women’s Toilet

This post is literally toilet humour, nothing horribly descriptive but from now on I’m talking shit more than I normally do.

 

 

In the UK, before the advent of “24 hour drinking,” the only place to go for a drink after time had been called at 11pm was to a club.

I hate clubs, I craved a lock-in or to go back to a mates house but it was always insisted, usually be the females in the group or the singles, that we go clubbing it “just for a short while.”

I’m reminded of my time in Bradford, in a club called Maestros, the men’s toilets the cloakroom in, luckily hidden around from the eye-line of the actual bogs but enough so the attendants could keep an eye out for any tampering with the fountain of the fish it contained.

That is almost as irritating as going to the loo only to find some poor soul there waiting with a selection of fragrances and pre-torn hand towels.

For me going to the toilet is a private activity but one I’ve learnt to deal with as not solely being unaccompanied if you are in a public place.

Plus pub toilet banter is almost as funny as pub toilet graffiti.

But that is having a pee and having a pee is fine, for me at least, I still have one shy-peeing/cubicle only mate but horses for courses.

Why bring up clubs? Simply because this was my first introduction to the brassy “don’t worry lads, I’ve seen it all before” type of women who, because the facilities in women’s club loos was so inadequate that the only option was to brave the blokes.

And quite a few did, with the usual complaints about the smell and the general state.  Still, it was another source of toilet banter.

Fast forward my continued attendance at music festivals.  The long queues, or perpetual free-for-all of getting a loo at peak periods.  The fear of what awaits as you open the door of an empty one, or the worry that the next person out of the one you are queuing for will be a boy and not a girl.  Or the bigger worry for me, the fear that when I leave the portaloo it will be a girl waiting to go in after me.

Lucky them, as I leave them in a better state than I find them (within music festival toilet reason) but it is still with due deference you make that fleeting eye contact and sheepish knowing look that we are all in this together.

“Spotless” used to be my boast if I was particularly drunk, the hopefully allay worries, while also realising that this sort of toilet banter isn’t best done in an open field to complete strangers.  Meh.

And so we find ourselves with micro pubs and micro bars and the advent of one, singular shared toilet facility (because as I understand it, to have two or more would require the place to be suitable for disabled access, don’t quote me on that, this blog isn’t about accuracy, just entertainment).

Again; I leave the toilet better than I found it, though it has to be said toilet in micro bars are generally of a better standard that a regular pub, probably because of the far less work required in cleaning just the one, but I still leave the cubicle with the dread of a woman waiting to use it.

However, regardless of sex, if they’ve been the type of person that persistently has tried to open the door when it is clearly locked, then I don’t care.  These are the same people that press both the up and down buttons on a lift and then wonder why they go in the wrong direction when they get in the first one that arrives.

Patience.  All good things to those who wait.

Which brings us to the title of this piece, which must have happened a good decade ago now I think on it.

There is nothing worse than knowing, on a night out, that you need to poo.  In unfamiliar surroundings it is just potty luck, in familiar surroundings it can be worse knowing just how limited your options truly are.

There are times I’ve gone home to use my own loo or, for the price of a drink, borrowed the key to a closer by friend’s house to use theirs.

I’ve gone back to pubs to use better toilets and I’ve gone ahead, leaving drinks behind, in order to get a more comfortable shit somewhere else.

Loo roll is a must.  Then a toilet seat.  Then a door that locks.

In a Wetherspoons I was, or rather thought I was familiar with, I got caught very short and went to use the gents.  In my solitary defence, I was desperate, rather drunk and the entry doors are more or less next to each other.

I flew through the door and briefly acknowledged that the toilet was completely empty as I found a suitable WC.

I was not more than 20 seconds into my ablutions than, very much like the ending of “The Usual Suspects,” all the evidence fell into place.

This place smelt nice.  Did I just walk passed sofas and comfy chairs? And a table with magazines on it?  Wait, where were the urinals?  Why is most of the floor I walked in on still carpeted?  Why were there so many cubicles?  Is that…is that women’s voices I hear?

This would seem like the least stressful way out of this.

I tensed.  Somehow trying to control my releasing of both sound, smell and anything else that could possibly give me up to the new and rightful entrants to the toilets.

Not that shit smells any better out of women but let us not take chances here.

I finished up.  Tidied the toilet to within an inch of its ceramic life and then waited, poised for my escape.

The doors closed.  Silence.  I gave it 5 seconds for the previous occupants to reach minimum safe distance and then I moved.  Quickly ran my hands under the tap in a show of some cleanliness and then just hoped that then next few metres to me and the relative safety and embarrassment free zone of the men’s toilets would not be spoiled by the face of any other person witnessing the horrific mistake I made.

I made it to safety, unseen, unspotted.  Soaped my hands and washing them properly looked at my suddenly very sober self in the mirror.  Dried my hands and rejoined the group.

Somewhere I get the feeling that there is a staff or security member who watched this unfold live.  I also get the feeling this did not go as smoothly as I thought it did and have relayed here.

Still, the past is the past, onwards to being confused by foreign toilet signs.

 

Thanks for reading.

Manchester Foodies Political Intolerance

I was racking my brain for a more punchy title, obviously based around food intolerance, etc. so all ideas are welcome.  This one is certainly less click-bait than the original “The Bigots of the Manchester Craft scene.”

Plus it needs to be said that I have no idea if the title is grammatically correct, meh.

One of my mates is actually an entrepreneur of the burgeoning food scene in Manchester and he too charges astronomical prices for what is a simple product to make and sell and fair play to him.  Fair play to all of them, if you can mug someone off for triple the price and let your confidence trick of more cash must equal better product than have at it, fools and their money.

But as I’ve droned on about before, business and politics don’t mix and said friend in a WhatsApp chat posted this picture…

I wonder if Slowthai will make an appearance?

You just know that all the food and drink available there will be so salty from the tears that Sally Davies would be shutting the event down on the grounds of it being hazardous to health.

And why couldn’t a charity event be held on a weekend, perhaps the rich pickings of the weekend crowd are far too much to give up for the homeless.  Then again Tuesday is a nothing day so I suppose it has less challenges for attention.

As far as I’m aware the #pleaseleavemytown is a reference to this…

 

A typically British confrontation; quietly reserved, passive-aggression met with passive acceptance and droll humour.

“My town” – one bloke with a personal opinion.  Not bubbled seals harping on thinking they speak for everyone.

Still, please leave is quite comparable to “go back to where you came from” and speaking to power is fine, speaking to simple members and voters is just a question of punching in every direction other than up but that is what we’ve become, when simple differences of opinion can see the use of certain words lose all meaning from over use and in completely the wrong context.

More civilised that the way Antifa behave at least…

Still homelessness is worthy enough cause to contribute to, after all its proponents are the first to resist the craft beer wave; why bother paying £10 for a half of an imperial stout or TIPA, when you can mix and match four cans of Kestrel, Skol, Tennent’s and Carlsberg Super Strength for the same price.

 

In other fake news, it turns out both Grub and Indy Man Beer Festival had to issue retractions recently.  Happy they were that rather than the white and middle class turning up to all their events, they finally managed to attract their first paying black and arab customers.

Sadly, on all occasions it turned out to be Justin Trudeau.

 

Thanks for reading.

My Love of Holt’s Pubs

Subtitle: Oh great, if my grammar wasn’t bad enough I’m going to struggle with possessive apostrophes.

Search Holt’s Pubs

Only 12 Holt’s pubs are Cask Marque apparently.  Good, ignoring those chancers is one of my fanciful whimsies I get when I go drinking.

I don’t treat Holt’s pubs the way that some would a Hard Rock Cafe, then again if each pub did their own pin badge then I might consider the pilgrimage to every one, I’ve already got their “bee glass” and my Untappd history seems to suggest I’ve had every beer they’ve done (give or take).  Make it happen Joey.

Now I can’t say I’ve been in a vast range of Holt’s pubs and as my previous post alluded to, the city centre pubs, like The Old Monkey and Ape and Apple just don’t do it for me, not because of the pub itself but because of the location.

If you want a list of my main visitations then it would be:

Tamar (Leigh), Mort Arms (Tyldesley), Atherton Arms (er, Atherton, pronounced a-THE-er-tun), Cart & Horses (Astley), Rosehill Tavern (Daisy Hill), Edington Arms (Hindley), The Crown (Horwich) and a few others more out of the way (i.e. not a simple bus/train ride).

I used to go in The Park in Monton, replete with fish tank and bench seating.  Then they gutted it and made it a mimic of the micro bars that sprung up in “the new Chorlton,” way back when every little enclave just outside of Manchester was “the new Chorlton.”

Now I could bang on about another of my whimsy annoyances which is purely of Holt’s own making and that is their pricing.

They are cheap as chips across the board for all their wares but don’t expect a menu saying 4.5 or 3.0 as a price guide, just some well trained bar monkey going £2.57 or £9.52 all together.

Yep, you’ll be coming home with pockets bulging of coppers to stick in your empty, over sized Bell’s whisky bottle.  Unless you wish to tip the weird amounts “no, you keep the 8p, luv.”

The beer isn’t half bad either but this isn’t about the beer it is about the pubs. “Always a warm and friendly welcome;” carpets, except around the bar area, strategic coat hooks (or full on hangers/stands), bench seating, the right temperature, nice toilets, very well trained staff, TVs at the right volume that can still be easily ignored if need be, cubbyholes, etched glass, etc.

You get the picture.

To conclude this post, I’ll finish with two quotes which sum up with brevity what I’ve drawn out to pass the time; one from Martin:

A TOAST TO SIR HUMPHREY IN THE BLUE BELL

Sam Smiths pubs most easily convey that sense of peace and contentment that justify getting out of your sofa to visit pubs…”

Except at Holt’s you can still use your electronic devices, should you so wish.

The second from my mum:

“If you’re old and can’t afford the heating, just go and sit in the Athy Arms.  You wouldn’t really have to buy anything and you’ll be as alone or as talkative as you want.”

 

Thanks for reading.

Not Tired of Life, Just Tired of Manchester (pubs)

I’ve never liked crowds; or being honest, people in general, the thronging masses of homo sapiens and their need to get wherever they are going and quickly as they can and fuck everyone else. Or the opposite of this, who toddle along or stop and chat on stairs or outside doors and are a general nuisance to everyone trying to get somewhere. Misanthropy can make you view things in extremes but all I see it common sense not being that common.

When I stopped working in Manchester I stopped having to commute through Manchester and I stopped having to go to pubs there to console my time wasted as another train or bus home was late, delayed or cancelled.

I started working and therefore drinking, in earnest, in Manchester some 15 years ago, not long in the scheme of things but a lot has changed in those years and I suspect a lot of people who communicate about beer probably weren’t old enough to drink back then either. For a point of reference it was a time before Port Street Beer House existed, then during, when it opened and became excellent and then further down the line, when it went on to become arrogant and shit.

During the past few weeks I’ve drunk in many towns and cities on extended holidays, especially in London, a place I have also seen change over the past decade or so I’ve made regular trips down there for drinks and the purposes of entertainment and relaxation (get your mind out of the gutter).

I note how the first stop is the Euston Tap and they just seem to be coasting along, resting on their laurels and the captive audience they have but at least that place was deserving of a pedestal at one time, unlike its Manchester Piccadilly counterpart which has always been a hollow shell.

I entertained finally going to the Bermondsey beer mile, if only to indulge my love of Kernel Brewery beers but they don’t open apart from to sell bottles and seeing as very few of the micro (call them craft if you so wish) London breweries are actually much cop (Weird Beard being one rare exception), it wouldn’t be worth my time or money. Full marks to Kernel for not being a slave to trends which now seems to have convinced people that drinking in industrial units under heavy neon lights surrounded by a bit of art is tip-top entertainment. I like Fox’s Biscuits and Heinz Beans but you wouldn’t see me clamouring to get to the a taste of those wares in the factories at Batley and Kitt Green, far better to consume them at home, in the warmth, away from notice-me-wankers (and probably Greg(g) Wallace).

London as a whole has changed, always a heaving metropolis, the description that opens this piece fits it best, though I’ve always respected the seeming fact that London centre pubs are treated as iconic and as necessary furnishments to the economy, something that Manchester, in its clamour to look exactly like London spectacularly loves to ignore and destroy. The personal epiphany though was that all the pubs in London I went in to were havens from the gaggling hordes, something I can’t say for Manchester.

That my opening gambit in every pub and bar I went into was “do you still take cash?” and only once was the answer a “no” still heartens me.

I thought it was just city drinking I was dulled to however not only tolerating but actually enjoying recent trips to Leeds, York, Edinburgh and Sheffield and a whole host of small towns coupled with the London excursion showed that maybe its a case that familiarity breeds contempt and it is well possible because every time I’ve been back to Manchester it has just been a bit meh.

I speak for me, this is my “Rekall moment,” and not to slight the pubs, old and new that are there or the drinks that are on offer.  I am fully aware I’m the factor here.

This piece seems to be acting as a nice intro into another small bit I’m working on called “My Love of Holt’s Pubs” which will be published, when I can be bothered.

 

I’m Linus van Pelt and pubs, except for those in the centre of Manchester are my security blanket.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Oh, of note in London pubs.  Cask beer was significantly improve over recent years (I don’t take my own thermometer though).  Sam Smith’s pubs vary in whether they bother in enforcing their “no mobiles” rule or not.

Woke Siba and the Heretic Hunting Crafties

Last week I went and got the brewery mail and low there was a new copy of the SIBA journal.

I don’t read it, no one reads it here, I doubt many read it who actually get it delivered but then again this blog is probably going to make as many spurious claims as SIBA themselves regularly do.

It stays in it plastic (eco scum) wrap until I take it home and unpack it to put it in the paper recycling, as I like the false feeling of altruism when get when you put anything into recycling.

Numerous thought went through my head on seeing the cover and the first was to “have to check twitter” and the first was confirmed when I noticed they were pushing it to buggery.

And then the good old “we’ve got so many requests, we’re giving it away online”

File under – didn’t happen.  This is SIBA, you have to be slightly idiotic to give money to them in the first place let alone heed or read anything the belch out by many requests they probably mean the people that wrote the articles pushed it too and SIBA’s notifications were lit like never before (and never again).

So, just like those businesses that during Pride month go all rainbow flag crazy only to dump them come the 1st of July it is unsurprising to see another SIBA follow this trend.

My main query is why stick all these stories together into one magazine?

I can imagine the brainstorming session that went into this issue:

SIBA Exec 1: “We’ve got a lot of women, dykes, nignogs and wrong cocks who are getting into beer these days, how can we raise our profile?”

SIBA Exec 2: “How about a special issue in or around that fag pride month they do, we can get some representatives for each relevant tribe to write pieces about there difficulties in beer.”

SIBA Exec 1: “I like the sound of that.  It seems June is the month of the bumders so if we do it for our summer issue we don’t need to cover it again for a whole 12 months.”

SIBA Exec 2: “Great, we wouldn’t want to normalise these kinds of behaviors by having stories crop up in our regular issues,  best just cram them into one place and then the rest of our issues we can devote to proper, normal beer people.”

**High Fives All Round**

What sums up this bullshit best is the intro to this issue:

“When I started writing about beer and pubs back in the mid-1990s I was often struck by how few women, and even fewer people of colour and representatives of the LGBTQ community there were at industry events and gatherings.  I was quite frankly often the only woman in the room, a room that is predominantly filled with middle-aged white British men.”

Census data from 1991 says that 94.1% of Britain was ethnic white.  Etc., etc., et-fucking-cetera.

I see your agenda Caroline, I also see your woke racism and sexism, the good kind of sexism and racism.

In the way that beer twitter moves I was led down the rabbit hole to this tweet…

The replies to this tweet and the original quoted tweet are a joy to behold.  Such progressive thinking.  Such wide and open minds behind the closed fists.

Yes, free speech and free thought do not mean you have a right to an audience but it must be wonderful to be building up those walls of your bubbles so, so high.

And if “TERFS are scum” as everyone’s favourite fat, narcissist cunt claims then it would be interesting to know what Amber and the other plonker that favourited this opinion think of people who plead guilty and are duly convicted of criminal damage and assault are.

Woke scum I suppose, the good kind of scum.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

The Dishonest Opening Times of Micro Pubs

I think most of us have long been aware and made angry comment about the unreliability of micro pub and micro bar opening hours.  I suppose if you’ve planned a crawl or just a visit and find yourself with suddenly two extra hours to mooch about because one micro wasn’t opened at its stated time then it would be annoying.

Indeed, but I suppose you could at least go and drink/eat/wanderlust elsewhere until said new opening time rolls around.

But what about the dray people out there.  The deliverers of the beer.

Those who plan a route and can be doing 100s of miles a day, all of which can only be planned out by stated opening times of the pubs of that days itinerary.

That twattery greeted me today.  It has done a few times in the past, people running late being the main one but I can deal with the odd quarter of an hour provided it is (and usually is) accompanied by an apology.

Said micro that has inspired this rant is a good one, even I will say that, I won’t go as far as the local CAMRA branch who willingly fellate themselves and all concerned with it, but it is a good bar.

It’s Facebook page says it opens at 14.00 on a Thursday.

It’s own website says it opens at 12.00 on a Thursday.

WhatPub splits the difference and says it opens at 13.00 on a Thursday.

So getting there just after 2pm, to be on the safe side and you find yourself with this staring back at you.  Empty casks at your feet expecting to be picked up.

 

It is fantastic that you know you’ve got ever warming cask beer in your van and you now have to drive another round trip of 70+ miles to have to come back when they feel like opening.

Another few hours on to your day driving through the flooded back waters of Cheshire in order to be greeted by the pot smoking and all ready pissed locals of this gaff that are probably angry they aren’t middle class enough to live in Horwich but thankful they don’t live in the shit hole that is Daubhill (that’s pronounced Dob-ull) and are just desperate for a cold drink from the bottle fridge because all the other beer isn’t cold enough.

Enjoy my slightly compromised cask you fuckers.

But it’s all OK, they’ll be voted pub of the year again in the cycle of pubs that local CAMRA branches have when it comes to awards.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*Note: September 9th 2019 – I will not post the comment from the owner of this bar.  This was not meant to identify the owner or the establishment, just a wry aside on the perils that face all in the beer world and i’m well aware of the juggling done in running a business and a family.  There were no hard feelings in writing this and hopefully none are reciprocated.*

Beer People Are…Fans of Assault

Turns out I was wrong and that the guy behind @themadbrewery twitter handle is the guy who “milkshaked” Farage.

It’s amazing how hair loss can change the appearance of a person.

So not only is he now a convicted criminal, unemployed, fat and unnecessarily ugly* he is also losing his hair, and all at 32.  Brian Epstein, Bruce Lee and Mama Cass never achieved this much before they died.

But yeah, political violence…whoo.

When I first saw the news that the guy had pleaded guilty to assault and criminal damage I went in search of his account to find he had locked it again but as per my duff old phone, it allowed me to see all the replies to him and quite a few caught my eye as I recognised their names.

One in particular a Mr. Matthew Curtis

What a total prat.  The kind of bloke, or close approximation*, who hides behind the bully going “yeah!”

Then I noted a fundraiser had been started for the assailant to cover his costs and fines.

Oh…who’s that again…

Now granted you can add any name you want to these things, what is more shocking is the lowly fiver donation, perhaps the beer grift doesn’t pay that well after all, or maybe it is someone pretending to be him (or honestly has the same name).

 

Reading through twitter and the comments on the fund raiser you do have to laugh at the mental gymnastics of it all, especially from the prick that set it up.

How everyone detests Farage so this kind of violence is acceptable.

Detests? Hmmm, a synonym of detests is hate.

And throwing things at people is a crime.

Oh god, these people are justifying a “hate crime.”

 

“He shouldn’t have to face further punishment because he has already lost his job.”

Because only one of either the law courts or an accused employers should be responsible for the sentencing of a criminal.  Shit, if only Ian Huntley was sacked from his job as a caretaker then he needn’t have been convicted of life imprisonment for the murder of two children, really the legal system is all backwards.

It’ll be fun, when part of your future employment is to have your financial transactions combed through.

“Let’s see, it says here Mr. Curtis you like to donate a fair bit to crowd funding sites.”

“Yes, I like to support people within the brewing industry.”

“Can you give us some examples, please?”

“Certainly, apart from my presence as a social media influencer I’ve also donated to getting new equipment for a whole manner of breweries in order that they may expand the out put and also to start ups.”

“Excellent; very commendable, who is this Paul Crowther you’ve donated to, was he the owner of a start up brewery?”

“He was a home brewer who was also convicted of criminal damage and assault.”

“Right.  Thank you for your time.”

 

Lets get this straight.  What anyone does with their own money is up to them but don’t be even so much as questioning someone else’s morals or political persuasions or thought or speech if you’re willing giving your money over to anyone who is a stranger and a criminal.

You may as well donate your money to the Nigerian generals that send you spam requests if that’s your view in life.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*Red Dwarf, Season Five, Episode 1 – Holoship.