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An Ode to Bars and Those Who Tend Them – Take 2

Brazen

Yours truly, and Mrs. Truly, on a recent visit to Dublin’s Brazen Head Pub

Not that I’m a lush, but I like bars. Not just the establishments that are known as bars, pubs, or watering holes, but the actual bar itself. I find much comfort in sitting on a comfortable stool – with back if you please – and sipping a cold beer or two, on tap or cold in a bottle while taking in the goings-on. Perhaps engaging in idle chitchat on one side and a more serious conversation on the other. The smooth top, either shiny wood or metallic, is cool and pleasing to the touch. The glasses and bottles sparkle in the lights.

Before too long I’d find myself traipsing through a stranger’s house in stockinged feet in search of a bathroom, hoping against hope that there would not be a lineup. Certainly not my idea of fun.

I recall as a university student having friends who lived out in the suburbs and for whom ‘house parties’ were the socializing mainstay. I was never a big fan. Upon arrival I would seek out a comfortable spot near or even in the kitchen because that’s where the fridge was, the one cooling the beer I brought that very mysteriously seemed to disappear faster than I was consuming them. Before too long I’d find myself traipsing through a total stranger’s house in stockinged feet in search of a bathroom, hoping against hope that there would not be a lineup. Certainly not my idea of fun. Worrying about finding my boots and coat when it – thankfully – came time to leave was yet another annoyance to be borne. (I used to threaten to take the best coat I could find; this usually brought much assistance in securing my coat from the giant pile on the bed.)

For me, as an urbanite right down to the bone, bars were the way to go. Coat safely checked (assuming, of course, you didn’t lose the chit and have to wait until all the coats and jackets were claimed, hoping yours would remain), and a place at the bar and I was set. Back in the day people plunked themselves down at the bar and, much like a tiger peeing in the jungle, set up their turf, they marked their perimeter, by placing their cigarette package, lighter and ashtray within easy reach. With smoking now verboten in public places. the main tool for staking your spot at the bar is the placing of a mobile phone.

Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway statue in La Floridita, Havana

I’m not alone in my preference for bars. Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan were fond of the occasional foray into a cozy barroom to recharge and energize their creativity. Ernest Hemingway spent so much time in La Floridita in Havana that there is a life-sized statue of him standing at the bar.

Now that I’m sixty I rarely find myself in a bar at night, preferring the comfort of home and a bit of telly, maybe even an early night. Yet I’ve not abandoned my ways entirely, I have discovered the pleasure of the afternoon bar session. Devoid of the social jockeying that renders the night bar experience unpleasant after the age of about forty, the atmosphere in the afternoon is a much friendlier one, conducive to conversation.

Releasing teachers and young students from lockdown before allowing bars and pubs to reopen seems a wee bit arse-end foremost to me

When it comes to proprietary rights at a bar, while patrons may have their usual spot, the real ‘owner’ of that bar is the bartender. Regardless of whether that man or woman is, in fact, the legal owner of the establishment or not, when they are behind the bar it’s theirs! I have had the pleasure of knowing several bartenders over the years (lest you think I’m displaying symptoms of dipsomania, rest assured many of them were friends of mine before they became mixologists). In my younger days a good friend of mine explained that while he very much liked having regulars spend the evening sitting at his bar, it was the three of four rows of standees behind them who were his bread and butter. Passing drinks and payment and change over the heads of those seated at the bar was where the money was.

The afternoon bartender not only mixes drinks and pulls pints, but he or she also assumes the role of cruise director or animator. Making introductions where suitable, while directing regulars away from seated customers who are less than a match, smoothly including others in conversations, and leaving to themselves those in search of thoughtful peace, keeping places at the bar for regulars running late, all while remembering regulars’ usual tipple, these are just some of the skills required to be a successful daytime barkeep.

But now this is just a memory. COVID-19 has caused the closure of restaurants and bars. There is a plan to re-open the economy; first, some construction sites will resume building, then certain retail outlets will be allowed to open under strict guidelines to ensure the highest degree of public safety. Finally, elementary schools are scheduled to reopen (although there is significant push-back from many sides on this one).

Releasing teachers and young students from lockdown before allowing bars and pubs to reopen seems a wee bit arse-end foremost to me. But then that’s not based on any science.

 

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Cuba, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, Humor, Montreal, Opinion, Wordpress

An Ode to Bars and Those Who Tend Them

Bar

Not that I’m a lush, but I like bars. Not just the establishments known as bars, pubs or watering holes, but the actual bar itself. I find much comfort in sitting on a comfortable stool – with back if you please – and sipping a cold beer or two, on tap or cold in a bottle while taking in the goings on. Perhaps engaging in idle chitchat on one side and a more serious conversation on the other. The smooth top, either shiny wood or metallic, is cool and pleasing to the touch. The glasses and bottles sparkle in the lights.

Before too long I’d find myself traipsing through a stranger’s house in stockinged feet in search of a bathroom, hoping against hope that there would not be a lineup. Certainly not my idea of fun.

I recall as a university student having friends who lived out in the suburbs and for whom ‘house parties’ were the socializing mainstay. I was never a big fan. Upon arrival I would seek out a comfortable spot near or even in the kitchen, because that’s where the fridge was, the one cooling the beer I brought that very mysteriously seemed to disappear faster than I was consuming them. Before too long I’d find myself traipsing through a total stranger’s house in stockinged feet in search of a bathroom, hoping against hope that there would not be a lineup. Certainly not my idea of fun. Worrying about finding my boots and coat when it – thankfully – came time to leave was yet another annoyance to be borne. (I used to threaten to take the best coat I could find; this usually brought much assistance in securing my coat from the giant pile on the bed.)

For me, as an urbanite right down to the bone, bars were the way to go. Coat safely checked (assuming of course you didn’t lose the chit and have to wait until all the coats and jackets were claimed, hoping yours would remain), and a place at the bar and I was set. Back in the day people plunked themselves down at the bar and, much like a tiger peeing in the jungle, set up their turf, they marked their perimeter, by placing their cigarette package, lighter and ashtray within easy reach. With smoking now verboten in public places. the main tool for staking your spot at the bar is the placing of a mobile phone.

Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway statue in La Floridita, Havana

I’m not alone in my preference for bars. Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan were fond of the occasional foray into a cozy barroom to recharge and energize their creativity. Ernest Hemingway spent so much time in La Floridita in Havana that there is a life-sized statue of him standing at the bar.

Now in my late-fifties I rarely find myself in a bar at night, preferring the comfort of home and a bit of telly, maybe even an early night. Yet I’ve not abandoned my ways entirely, I have discovered the pleasure of the afternoon bar session. Devoid of the social jockeying that renders the night bar experience unpleasant after the age of about forty, the atmosphere in the afternoon is a much friendlier one, conducive to conversation.

I could go on, but frankly I think it’s time for me to conduct a bit of research on my topic. Cheers!

When it comes to proprietary rights at a bar, while patrons may have their usual spot, the real ‘owner’ of that bar is the bartender. Regardless of whether that man or woman is in fact the legal owner of the establishment or not, when they are behind the bar it’s theirs! I have had the pleasure of knowing several bartenders over the years (lest you think I’m displaying symptoms of dipsomania, rest assured many of them were friends of mine before they became mixologists). In my younger days a good friend of mine explained that while he very much liked having regulars spend the evening sitting at his bar, it was the three of four rows of standees behind them that were his bread and butter. Passing drinks and payment and change over the heads of those seated at the bar was were the money was.

The afternoon bartender not only mixes drinks and pulls pints, but he or she also assumes the role of cruise director or animator. Making introductions where suitable, while  directing regulars away from seated customers who are less than a match, smoothly including others in conversations, and leaving to themselves those in search of thoughtful peace, keeping places at the bar for regulars running late, all while remembering regulars’ usual tipple, these are just some of the skills required to be a successful daytime barkeep.

I could go on, but frankly I think it’s time for me to conduct a bit of research on my topic. Cheers!

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Writing Styles: Less is More

Less Is More

Less Is More

Writing styles tend to be very personal; like fingerprints, no two are exactly the same. Tomes have been compiled about the finer details and nuances of various writing styles. For me the concept that best sums up my own style is: “less is more”.

There was an old university freshman exercise where the professor assigned a ten page essay on a particular topic that was due on a specified date. When the students arrived that day and handed in their essays (this was long before email), thereby meeting the deadline requirement, the professor would return them to the students without even looking at them. Instructions were then given to the students to take home their papers and bring them back in one week, reduced by four pages in length but still covering the topic.

Imagine if Moses had met a Public Relations or Advertising professional on the way down Mount Sinai. Each commandment would have had its own PowerPoint slide …

Some students were stunned, they couldn’t imagine how they could possibly edit out that much of their work and still do justice to the assignment. But they usually achieved it.

While I never experienced this exercise myself, I think I would have done well at it. I was one of those students who, upon being told the length of a term paper or assignment, inevitably thought, how will I ever fill that many pages?

When I wrote university papers I always had to struggle to get to the minimum required number of words. I would write on lined loose leaf paper – before begging a family member to type the final document – and I kept a running tally of the word count in the margin. And believe me I counted every single word, including and, if, the, or, but. They are all words, so they were all included.

Shoe_Blue

I also like to read novelists who cut to the chase, Ernest Hemingway and Georges Simenon being among my favorites. If the sky is blue, just say so. No need to go into the precise shade of robin’s egg blue that evokes childhood memories of the character’s aunt’s tea set. And there might be a few clouds. Done. No need to ramble on about just how fluffy and white they were, like the underbelly of an Alaskan sled dog on a cold … blah, blah, blah.

The body of the Declaration of Independence has a total of 1337 words. One page composed of a mere thirteen-hundred words that has been revered for over two-hundred years.

That’s the way I like to write; get to the point and get out. I consider blogging something akin to the old page three column in many newspapers. A few hundred words on a varying wide range of subjects. A little bit of something for everyone.

Consider the Ten Commandments; ten points on two tablets. Five bullets per tablet. Imagine if Moses had met a Public Relations or Advertising professional on the way down Mount Sinai. Each commandment would have had its own PowerPoint slide with four or five subsequent slides to illustrate the evils. Graphs,charts, a bit of multi-media, color handouts and of course an inflated invoice would all have been part of scripture. And in the end, amid all the window dressing: Ten Commandments.

Ten Commandments PowerPoint table of Contents

Ten Commandments PowerPoint table of Contents

The body of the Declaration of Independence (i.e. without signatures and states) has a total of 1337 words. One page composed of a mere thirteen-hundred words that has been revered for over two-hundred years. Can you imagine what the same sort of document would entail today? Countless briefs, presentations and opinions all appended and noted.

DecInd

When it comes to making a point, which is why we write, I’m all in favour of getting right down to business.

Writing styles.

 

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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