Saturday, 31 May 2008

Friday Night

In a comment on a previous article of mine (“A harsh solution”, 27th May), ycc-dubbel said "why not cage everyone who visits horrific town centre bars on a Friday night?"

Well I wouldn’t know, as it’s not my habit to go down the town centre on a Friday night nowadays. Last time I did so, some years ago, I witnessed a scene like something out of the movie “Gangs of New York”. People were urinating in public and aggressive-looking roving gangs were hurling greetings and abuse at each other in the foulest of language at the tops of their voices.
Meanwhile, the “police” (actually, they looked like “specials”) were sitting in their van, which was parked up on the pedestrianised crossroads, no doubt adopting a “softly, softly” approach.
Suddenly a big drunken lad came out of a pub and hurled a bottle high in the air for the pleasure of seeing it shatter on the pavement. Leaping to avoid the shards of glass which exploded in all directions, I banged, red-faced and angry, on the side of the police van.

They rolled the window down and I shouted “aren’t you going to do something?”.
“Yes” one replied “we’ll arrest YOU if you don’t clear off.”
Is this unique to my town or are there similar scenes in other parts of Britain?


YCC - Dubbel said...

I think the question should be rephrased to 'is there any town in Britain where this isn't the scene on a Friday night?'

Mindless yobs, like those mentioned in your post and the braying morons on the London Underground last night, give the anti-drink lobby all the ammunition they need. It's why Darling was able to justify to himself the recent beer tax hike and shrug off the negative knock on effects to decent community pubs everywhere.

Rant over.

Boak said...

Tube craziness last night aside, I don't think it's something you see much in London, at least not right in the centre. It's just too big so the crowds disperse.

I'm not sure this is anything new though. If you listen to many men in the forties and fifties reminiscing about their youth you get the impression a night was not complete without a fight.

I've often wondered whether towns where it is a problem should just set up a ring, a kind of open-air Fight Club, but cordoned off, so that those that want to can indulge without bothering the rest of us?

papastonch said...

Yes, there WERE fights after the pubs closed in my young days (after all, I come from JARROW originally) but these were between individuals, rarely between mobs and were mostly conducted in out-of-the-way places, so the public rarely felt threatened. Also, the police were very much more in evidence and felt no compunction in taking hooligans down to the Police Station and giving them a good hiding. They got stuck in if necessary and didn't sit in their cars or vans watching. Nobody had ever heard of "softly softly" in those days - they still HUNG murderers!!