The Day the Beer Sexism War was Won

A few weeks ago I wrote a small piece about Bolton Beer Festival and its “stand against sexism” and having been this weekend, as I have done annual for many years, I thought I’d reply to my own piece about the battlefield that has now been cleared and of the full and total victory that has now been won.

Sexism in the beer industry has become a hot topic over the last several months, but it has been gratifying to see that a number of our local breweries have taken this on board and rebranded/removed offensive marketing materials.  The war is not yet won, but we have prevailed in numerous battles.

This was the opening gambit in the festival programme and they sold themselves short, clearly not counting on the devastating blow they would strike with their “stand.”

Which was indeed a stand. With lots of nice stickers, so, if I get the intention correctly, women can label themselves…

Label themselves with slogans such as “I drink pints” and “I know about ABV.”

Of course what is offensive varies from person to person but so people think that everyone else can make up their own minds, when really then need others to do it for them.

I was then told that pump clip parade may have had to field a complaint, or at least a query about Siren Craft’s offerings.

 

 

Disgusting sexism.

In fact I mentioned as much to a brewer acquaintance friend about one of his recent cans…

 

Strangely he thought I was joking, so he clearly doesn’t take this issue as seriously as I do.

People are just better off removing women from advertising in general.

After all, CAMRA are removing women based on the clothes they wear.

Of course while at the festival I spoke to many people of the female variety who were aghast that some people were offended by the sight of, drawings, photographs or the very real, presence of a pair of breasts.

These women are suffering from internalised misogyny and aren’t really worth paying attention to when all is said and done.  I mean if they don’t see themselves as perpetual victims living in an oppressive patriarchy then perhaps they best off, much like darts walk on girls and F1’s grid girls, being ignored and ostracised.

 

In a war, generally two sides a fighting.  It must be really annoying when it is just one “side” doing a lot of huffing and puffing and the rest are actual belligerents who just don’t care.

 

The war is won, the battle for wokeness of all continues.

 

Viva la revolution.

 

Thanks for reading.

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Beer: Zealotry, Supersessionism and Schisms

I will start this by admitting self-censorship on this post.

Apart from the fact that this piece has gone through numerous drafts as to its actual nature in my head, the title did originally have the word Putsch in it.  I thought better of it, mainly because was and still am getting pretty sick of Nazi associations.  Where as I like a good hyperbole as much as the next shamelessly needful, clamouring for any form of attention blogger out there I do have to draw a line somewhere.

That said, hate crime and the continual court trials of people for saying rude and apparently nasty things is exceedingly good fascism.

Anyway, this piece is actually going to be rather personal and has become focussed this way purely because of the events of Saturday 21st April 2018.

It was a glorious, sunny but not too hot as to burn my perpetually pallid-ashen privileged white skin, and I’d arranged to meet up with some old work colleges, some I’d not seen since the two and a half years I left my job of over a decade working with them.

Like an old musical group getting back together for the love of music rather than a cheap cash-in, we all clicked and it was like the conversation had never missed a beat.  The faint patters of 2005-onwards, beat out a wonderful rhythm and that this took place in the Marble Arch pub on Rochdale Road in Manchester brought into focus exactly what had gone on in my relationship with “the beer world.”

The fact that a phrase like that exists (world is far better replaced by bubble or echo chamber really) crystallises just what bullshit goes on in the world, the real world, thanks to the advent of social media.

I didn’t join Twitter until 2013, it would also seem that this was the year I also started this blog (I have other blogs that have been going far longer, good luck finding them) and joined CAMRA.

I had though, been drinking in the Marble Arch since 2005 when, on one Friday out of the month, I’d send out an email laced with double entendres that would get me sacked in a heart-beat these days, inviting out anyone who wished to spend a bit of their pay cheque on some beers and food in a few pubs in Manchester centre.

This was back in the day when the brewery was still in the pub, the Smithfield was still a hotel (and very red) and possibly the ceiling to the Crown & Kettle was only just being discovered.

It was the days of original Dobber, lip-stingingly sharp Marble Ginger and Pint, before cans became a chance to generate some fine Brewdog-style, everyone is picking on us, marketing.

It was a time of work mates just drinking, just actual drinking, in pubs, in actual pubs.

7 fucking years before my presence on Twitter.

I’d been going to beer festivals even before 2005.

Rather ironically in the Marble on this 2018 evening I did bump into 2 people I’d encountered on twitter previously.  One guy who runs Beer O’Clock show and I did once rile by claiming (rightly) that the #hopinions segments where getting very desperate.  They were then, who knows what they are like now.  The other bloke I think had just joined BO’C when I removed myself.

I’d asked them where they’d been and what their plans were for the rest of the evening. They’d done a few brew taps (non-existent in 2005, non-existent until about 2013) and that they were thinking of going to the Pilcrow, a soulless place, so desperately in need of a personality that it hadn’t even managed to steal one via osmosis from the “help” of willing slaves that built it from scratch.

I did suggest visits to the Angel, Smithfield and Crown & Kettle (as a route back to their hotel),  I had suggested a quick trip down the hill to Runaway Brewery but that wasn’t really possible given the time.  I do hope they took in those pubs and had a fine time.

They could have been tourists from another country or just unsure where to go next and looking for a pointer or two, instead there were from the beer world, knowledgeable and urbane and these two very nice people meant absolutely nothing to me.

For the five years I put into twitter, yes another odd phrase, I put half a decade of my life “into twitter” – I met and talked to some, nice people.

Not good people.  Good people is an anathema.  They were nice.  Helpful.  Friendly company.

This may be me burning my bridges but that is not the aim.

I left twitter, everyone’s lives moved on.  Next.

And then CAMRA have to do this revitalisation thing and I think I can guess, given the results, or at least THE ONE RESULT, what the reaction is.

It wouldn’t even surprise me if the reaction is very much like Brexit.

Old people.  What do they know?  Head in the sand.  Its OK, they’ll die soon and we can move on.  They don’t represent me.  I’m cancelling my membership.  I’m cutting up my card.  The vote wasn’t fair.  The threshold was too high.  Not enough of a turn-out.  I represent the silent majority.

As far as I’m concerned some would have actually wanted this result, I finally chance to virtue signal about how irrelevant CAMRA is and likewise how very relevant they are. A ha ha ha.

Nuance is dead.  Facts are dead.  It is and always will be us verses them but for some reason we can’t ever be the bigger people, shrug and move on, we have to, just have to move even further to the other side to address some hypothetical imbalance.

 

It is with no small irony that, being an actual active CAMRA member, I was thinking of leaving the organisation last year.  But life got in the way and I didn’t cancel my direct debit.

Why would I leave?  Well it is a nonsense really.  I give my Spoons vouchers to my mates.  I know enough people at all the local beer festivals I volunteer at (to get free beer, like everyone else does) to guess I can continue to volunteer at them (mainly because I’m quick, helpful and not as drunk as most of the other volunteers working behind the bar) and it just seems like a unnecessary folly.  A folly I am at least making use of in actual involvement.

In the Venn-diagram of CAMRA vs craft and everything in between, the bubble peak point because in my time out of it, I drink, I enjoy myself and I’m surrounded by real people free of beer bullshit.

On 21st April 2018 a vote happened.  A few people on social media got upset.  A few people on social media were OK with it.  A few people on social media fell out with each other because of it.

In the real world.  With real drinkers. In real pubs.  Drinking was done and no shits were given.  Let the beer egotists argue amongst themselves.  Whatever fills up your day.

The bubble is inflated by the hot air of elitist, all of which needing their own and their adversaries bullshit in order to justify their own reason for being in the bubble.

Of course this post is part of the bullshit.  Here is hoping it is the one final turd that causes the shit-show to slurry as a giant shit-tide out into the fucking sea.  I somewhat doubt it.

I raise my glass to you all.  It passed the time.

 

Thanks for reading.

A Beer Burka

The Seasonal CAMRA Festival Must-Have

Pirate performer ‘mortified’ after she is told to cover up her cleavage at beer festival

When Wigan CAMRA host their “treat adults like adults” annual beer festival they usually have a theme night where you can get free entry if you are dressed as that year’s festival theme.

Being Wigan, everything is generally related to pies and rather laboured puns.  Puns which would probably turn the stomach of the puritans gleefully filling the pages of pumpclip parade

This year, 2018, it was a PIE-lot.There has been a PIE-King (that’s a pun on Viking, clearly cultural appropriation) and a whole host of other that despite searching for images and being to lazy to walk to my glass cabinet to check the artwork, I can’t be bothered to delve in to only to point out that there was once, of course, a PIE-Rate.

So where as modern feminists leap with joy as young women lose jobs as walk-on girls in darts and grid girls in motor sports, because, you know, women should have choices just not 100% there own, so too it would seem that CAMRA, as they try and “revitalise” and after a few recent to-dos and as they succumb to the inevitable supersessionism that is spreading through the beer world like a virulent yeast infection they have now gone full circle and over to the other side.

A side inhabited by the virtuous, the puritanical, the zealots.  Those against choice or even actual equality.

Whether future CAMRA festivals will feature dress codes for women, remains to be seen.  Perhaps it might depend if the festival is held in a place of worship where alcohol is acceptable but what a woman wears is subject to patrols by their approved modesty police.

Or maybe everyone can take a breath, behave like adults, so trying to feed into an “us vs them” mentality and actual approach life and all its aspects with rationality and clear thinking.

It can happen.

Maybe.

 

Thanks for reading.

Bolton CAMRA Beer Festival – The Wokest of Woke

So after the jollity of the 29th Bent & Bongs beer festival in February and the recently passed 31st Wigan CAMRA beer festival next up will be the Bolton CAMRA beer festival held at the Ukrainian Club (not to be confused with the other Bolton Beer Festival, now held at the Macron Stadium, that was once held at a rugby ground in a giant awing heated by jet engines that caused condensation to drop from the roof into your pint).

I thought I’d quickly search twitter for any news on beers and was greeted by their most confusing of pinned tweets.

More prominent stand against sexism?

I don’t know what that means.

There is a physical stand, the ones made of wood, against sexism where one can view leaflets and other materials?

If this is going to be the case then I’ve never seen a stand dedicated to being against sexism in all the times I’ve gone to this festival so anything, as opposed to nothing, is always going to be more prominent.

Might there be a physical stand, the ones made of flesh legs, where people will protest against sexism?

This, again is not something I’ve witnessed at beer festivals past, so it will definitely be more prominent.  Though if it is this type of stand being taken and it happens while I’m waiting to be served I will be slightly miffed.  If this is the case I hope there are times displayed around the hall to highlight when these stands will take place.

Perhaps there will be a stand with the CAMRA commandments on it?

Again, new so obviously more prominent.  Then again B&B and Wigan managed to pass off (and have do for 3 decades) without the need for this.

I guess people in Bolton and Manchester are more sexist and this is required in this little backwater towns.  Who knows?

And on the food stall at Bolton I’ll trust you can also purchase a word salad to go with your beer?

 

Thanks for reading.

Hey…CAMRA…

Low Strength Beer and wine could increase alcohol consumption

The continued bashing of beer (alcohol) being bad has led to a drop off in pub visits, with pubs shutting constantly, as each new generation drinks less than the one previous.

So my initial message to CAMRA and its revitalisation is, don’t bother.

The beer landscape is changing; less people are drinking, let alone drinking in pubs and those that you may seek to bring aboard with whatever “forward thinking” you may hope to propose will never be enough for people that give no shits whether you exist as is, exist but change, or disappear completely.

Your best bet is just to play it out for another 40 years as you’ve done previously, your membership will naturally fall as members die off but to be fair, there will be few pubs to protect and few people actually drinking by the year 2058 so all of this bullshit, all these talking heads and chatterings and tweets really make no difference.

 

And I’m being optimistic here, thinking that the world will survive till 2058.

 

Fuck Keg, keep on with the cask beer (and cider and perry if you must), keep the Wetherspoons vouchers but maybe treat your festivals as the adult entertainment they are and lose the massive Big Brother messages because the vast majority of people at them at pearl clutching, offense takers.

 

I’m Boozy Procrastinator and this is my manifesto for election to the National Executive.

 

Thanks for reading.

Community vs Council

I am going to try to write this piece without it drifting into the realms of party politics and hopefully non-libelous comments.

 

 

Much has been made recently about a Northern Powerhouse and also devolution of power to the major cities of the North of England and giving more autonomy to county councils.  The general hope being that communities will have greater say and therefore a choice of how they are governed.

The town of Atherton in Greater Manchester falls under the control of Wigan Council.

They have a community centre called The Formby Hall.

This hall was a gift to the town of Atherton back in the early 1900’s.

Two annexes were added to the hall as part of the festival of Britain.

In circa 2011, with a valuation of the hall of about £235,000 Wigan Council sold The Formby Hall (and numerous other community centres under their ‘control’) to a company called Rose Leisure (or Eight Wonder, you know how businesses like to change names and have various subsidiaries).

The sale price, on record, for The Formby Hall was £65,000.

The covenant was that the sale would be made under the proviso that Rose Leisure would maintain all their newly acquired buildings so that they could continue to function as working halls to host a variety of activities.

The Formby Hall, for example, hosts (hosted) NHS Blood Donations, various gigs, charity nights, dance clubs, wedding receptions and probably most well-known The Bent n Bongs Beer Bash

Rose Leisure never really maintained the building, the roof is in a particularly bad way and only with some local people did it get fixed to an adequate level so that the Beer Bash could go ahead in 2015.

In about May of 2015 rumours spread that Rose Leisure were telling people with bookings that they would only fulfill them up until July of 2015 and all events after that would be cancelled.

Due to this “leak” it then forced Rose Leisure and Wigan Council to admit that The Formby Hall had been sold to a company called Hilldale Housing Association.

Hilldale are a bit of an odd company in that they themselves are only a conduit for investors to buy up properties for development.

In June of 2015 Wigan Council spent £2m on terracotta tiles

In August of 2015 South East Lancs CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) successfully had an Asset of Community Value (ACV) put on The Formby Hall under the Localism Act of 2011.

Hilldale had made assurances that the hall could stay open until March of 2016 but the doors were locked and as such no one can use the hall, it can fall into a further state of disrepair and of course it can be claimed that it is not being used and therefore it’s now lack of use by the community does not make it an asset worth saving.

In September of 2015 a notice of demolition was put up outside The Formby Hall, this is because due to a loop-hole an ACV can only protect a pub from demolition and the ACV had forced Hilldale’s hand.

There have been various groups formed and a petition of about 4,500 was handed in to Wigan Council to object to not only the initial sale (primarily to Rose Leisure) but also the demolition of a building that in essence belongs to the town and people of Atherton.

It is sad that said local groups have been butting heads with not only the council but with locally elected councillors and that relationships have soured and become cynical and cold.

This is how modern politics work.  It is not a democracy but an elected dictatorship whereby small outlying towns are ostracised.  It is unsurprising that voters are becoming more disillusioned by the whole process.

The case of Formby Hall is still ongoing and very much up in the air, it is hoped the council will listen, for once, to one of its communities.

There is a petition here if you wish to sign it…

Update: January 2016

Council recommends prior approval to demolish Formby Hall

The above link gives most of the information you need to know, the fate now lies in further planning meetings and a possible intervention by Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government Greg Clark and the constituent MP Chris Green.