EVERYTHING we hold dear is forever under threat.
It's the nature of life on Earth. Nothing lasts. Nothing stays the same.But the new row has been caused by a prestigious guide apparently welcoming the projected closure of 4000 British pubs, precisely because they've stayed the same.
That is to say, they're "stuck in the 1980s", offering uninspiring drinks and rotten food. I report this dispassionately as someone who no longer holds pubs dear and who, on reflection, probably never did.
The Good Pub Guide 2014 believes bad pubs should go out of business, allowing visionary new ones to open.
It quotes one successful landlord thus: "The bad pubs are still being culled, just like lions picking off the slowest of the herd. It makes the pub industry more robust and far better placed for the future."
Beware analogies drawn from the wicked world of nature. Not unnaturally, the GPG's approach has drawn a catty response from other pub enthusiasts.
Roger Protz, editor of the Campaign for Real Ale's 2014 Good Beer Guide, frothed: "How bizarre that a book called the Good Pub Guide should welcome the closure of as many as 4000 pubs. Pubs need to be saved, not thrown on the scrapheap."
He may be correct, but my heart isn't in it. Why do we need pubs at all? They're not "public houses" in the sense of sitting rooms where we sit round like one happy family.
They're not "locals" where everybody knows your name. In nearly 40 years of drinking, I was never in a pub where the staff knew my name or my drink. I never had a favourite seat. I never had a favourite pub, come to think of it.
They're all a disappointment. Think of the agonies you and your friends go through when a night out is suggested and no-one can suggest the perfect pub. It doesn't exist.
Think of all the "legendary" pubs that turned out to be mundane. I recall various journo dens devoid of bon mots or the supposedly couthy island pub that was merely a gassy-aled shrine to outdated Formica.
Another further out in the sticks featured such a hideous collection of hostile weirdos standing at the bar that we turned instinctively and walked out.
A friend recalls sticking it out later, sitting at a table nearby, and recording the only conversation of the evening. Hideous punter one: "Ah ******* hate pineapples." Silence for 10 minutes. Then hideous punter two: "Aye, so dae ah."
The last time I was in a pub - many months ago, in Edinburgh - the barmaid was so rude and unfriendly that I burst out laughing.
Why go out when you can get that in the house? Pubs only exist because you need somewhere in the evening to meet your friends.
But wouldn't it be better if you and your friends could rent or own a little sitting-room of your own, a sort of club up town where you could meet regularly without waiting for house-invitations?
Failing that, couldn't pubs be more imaginative? Why not sell healthy fruit and fancy salads as snacks?
Why not play classical music rather than pappy pop? OK, the fact that I don't drink any more invalidates much of my case. It's like advising Greggs to stock more hummus.
Still, while I hope pubs stay open, if only to save jobs, I'm glad I no longer frequent them. Increasingly, I found them uncomfortable. Couldn't hear, couldn't breathe, couldn't get served for ages.
I didn't even drink that much in them. Most of my drinking would start when I got home after the pub.
I abhor social drinking. To me, drinking was always a private, spiritual experience.
If I took it up again, it would be on the same basis as before: in the privacy of my own home as a means of coping with the angst of human existence. Not as a means of giving me the confidence to dance.
But, for the sake of those who must shimmy or socially shine, I hope the pubs survive.
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