Saturday, 10 August 2013

A whiff of intolerance

The recent spell of hot weather has led some people to venture into beer gardens that they may not have visited for six years. And – shock! horror! – they have found them to be populated by smokers. This is obviously an inevitable consequence of the ban on smoking indoors and frankly I have zero sympathy for the complaints. Maybe if you object to smoking in beer gardens you should campaign for the restoration of indoor smoking rooms. It really represents a remarkable cheek to whine about smoking on the ten days each year that the weather is pleasant enough for you to venture outside, while the smokers have to endure whatever it throws at them 365 days a year. It reminds me of this case from five years ago.

Of course pubs are fully entitled to designate part or all of their beer gardens as non-smoking areas, and I can think of one or two that do have separate smoking and non-smoking areas. But, even then, the antismokers are likely to moan “Oh noes! There’s someone smoking in the open air forty feet away! I’m going to DIE!” And the rarity of outdoor non-smoking areas gives a clear indication of how licensees perceive their commercial viability. What on earth is the point if it’s only going to be used on the handful of warm, sunny days we enjoy each year?

Well done to Real Ale Up North for a very sensible blogpost on the subject. And the Daily Mash has, as so often, hit the nail firmly only the head when it reports Non-smokers told to shut up and stop being so utterly pathetic.


  1. Where do you find all these moaning minnies, Curmudgeon? I never hear the kinds of reactions you describe, even though I am a non-smoker who has taken advantage of the weather to sit outside. Or have I missed the point again and this is another fictitious spoof post?

  2. You could start with the first two articles linked to, Nev. Also see this post.

    And, for example, I recall a comment on the local CAMRA e-mail group that a newly refurbished pub did not make any provision in its outside area for non-smokers (by which the poster presumably meant antismokers).

    Although it has to be said much of the whining comes from people who scarcely ever go to pubs anyway.

  3. "Although it has to be said much of the whining comes from people who scarcely ever go to pubs anyway."

    Absolutely right. More generally, I find most negative comments about pubs come from people who don't use them. My colleagues at work used to be amazed that I'd happily go into the town centre at weekends: "Isn't it dangerous?"

    "Not in the slightest," I'd reply.

  4. How do you mean "zero sympathy"?

    If anything, I have hugely negative sympathy ("antipathy"?) towards these people.

  5. Smoking room inside in exchange for a portion of the beer garden sounds fair.

    There's nothing worse than sitting in the fresh air only to have some bloke come sit on the picnic table next to you and cover you in a cloud of filthy smoke.

  6. Many of these beer gardens and outside smoking areas were built as a response to the ban and would not be there if there wasn't a ban.

  7. What Jon said, plus can you have effective seperate sections in most pub beer gardens? Most English ones are small and a slight breeze would blow one section into the other.

  8. And the non-smoking section would be completely unused 90% of the time anyway.

  9. You could separate them with a 5 metre no-mans-land of landmines and barbed wire. That should be enough to let the smoke disperse.

  10. What, and have guard towers at each corner of the smoking area? And big blokes patrolling with leather coats and Alsatians?

  11. The Alsatians should be kept out of the smoking area, that's cruelty to animals, you could be prosecuted.

    Smoking is like masturbating, its fine if you want to do it in public, just don't get any of it on me.

  12. You can use that in one of your opening times columns if you like mudgie.

  13. Fine @pyo just so long as I don't have to catch the stink of your aftershave, the whiff of your wife's perfume or the reek of your fart. Deal?

  14. Don't wear either so yeah that's fine. Its awful women who wear too much perfume, really catches the back of your throat, doesn't it?

    Farting is a good analogy. No-one in their right minds would have the lack of decency to sit and fart near a group of people in a pub beer garden. Most smokers I know take a similar approach to their smoking and are considerate of those around them. Unfortunately, many aren't so thoughtful and just do it right there at the picnic table! Disgusting eh?

  15. You need to master the art of farting silently,pyo. Once you can do that without crapping yourself drop one in a lift and shoot a look of disgust at someone else in the lift. Other occupants will blame that person too, and shoot a look of disgust. Although innocent the accused will likely go red confirming his guilt.

  16. You'll probably find plenty of accomplished farters amongst the ranks of your local beard club, of course.

  17. "Farting is a good analogy. No-one in their right minds would have the lack of decency to sit and fart near a group of people in a pub beer garden" - pyo

    So you have never farted near people in a beer garden?

    Clearly you have not spent a lot of time in or outside of pubs in your life because otherwise it would be biologically and statistically unlikely!

    I would prefer it if eating in pubs was banned and smoking was reintroduced - that way a lot more drinking of beer would occur and there would be a lot less middle aged, toilet obsessed, feeders around.

  18. Of course not Fredrich, what kind of animal do you take me for? If you really need to fart, you walk to an area where no-one is around and do it there.

    Is this even a serious question? If you have such problematic bowels that you are incapable of controlling your noxious emissions, I suggest you keep away from polite company altogether.

  19. pyo,
    Are you saying that that you have never farted in a beer garden in your entire life?
    Hand on heart now!
    As I said, if the answer is no , then clearly you hve spent very little time in pubs. Before the smoking ban I spent pretty much every day of my life in pubs and I have to confess I would be a liar if I were to maintain that I had never farted in them, in the company of polite people or otherwise.
    However, I did smoke all the time with out shame just as I drank all the time without shame.

  20. Not within hearing distance of other people, no, of course not. Its a simple matter of respect isn't it.

    Is this a wind up?

  21. pyo,
    I shall take that as a yes then!


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