Hamish Champ: The 'pub versus the front room' debate

By Hamish Champ

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Living room

Let's face it, there's no time like Christmas to highlight the 'socialising in a pub versus the living room' debate. Locked with the extended family...

Let's face it, there's no time like Christmas to highlight the 'socialising in a pub versus the living room' debate.

Locked with the extended family for several hours at a dining table groaning under the weight of enough food to keep the population of Dafur in carbohydrates for a year, the urge to dive into the nearest boozer, however overwhelming the decorations of such an establishment might be, is very strong.

Nevertheless we soldier on for the sake of some aged aunt or other, dreaming of the moment when we can escape to a local hostelry, where the enjoyment is bound to be pure and unbridled.

Thus was my 'Noel'. But with Christmas Day well out of the way I managed to catch up with an old school friend in a familiar South East London pub, with only the names changed to protect the guilty.

My mate and I settled in for what we hoped would be a few hours of drinking and chattermongering, but our conversation was curtailed by the appearance of a group of lads about whom the late, great songsmith Ian Drury once sang so profoundly. Yes, ladies and gennel'men, the chaps of which I speak were Blockheads.

Standing a few feet away from us, and merely inches away from each other, these larger-than-life and louder-than-Deep Purple types proceeded to shout at each other as if they were standing by the speakers at a concert featuring the aforementioned combo instead of the middle of a pub in Blackheath Village.

While their shirts doggedly refused to remain tucked into their trousers, I couldn't tell exactly whether the gentlemen in question were wearing shoes that looked "like dead fings noses", or whether they drove cars whose "soft top's got roll bars".

But boy, they were LOUD. Uttered words merged, took on new forms, their meaning lost with the downing of ever more quantities of over-priced lager.

Sure, it was interesting to observe for a minute or two. But three hours? I suppose we could have gone somewhere else. But we stayed put. It was bitterly cold outside after all.

OK, many's the time I've been loud 'n' rowdy in a pub. C'mon, we all have. And with this in mind it's important to remember - as Mr Dury sings at the end of his wonderful song about such people - that we can all be Blockheads too.

However what these sons of honest toil out for a enjoyable evening confirmed for me is that occasionally - just occasionally​ - a Sat'erdy night in the pub is not always the best place to have a life catch-up. Sometimes one's 'parlour' will do the trick, especially when all the relations have gone home.

But I'll be back. Blockheads or not…

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