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.