Once upon a time we had a bar in our town nicknamed The Zoo. It was so called not only because of the plate glass window along the front of the bar where habitual drinkers sat and stared out moodily at passers-by, but also because of the behaviour of the clientele.
A constant row seemed always to be taking place in that vandalised and smoke-blackened bar-room. People hurled insults at each other across the room in the ripest of language, although the arguments, no matter how endless and fierce, never progressed beyond verbal combat.
It was good to go there and quietly enjoy the spectacle. Alternatively, if you felt like letting off steam, it was equally good to join in. Leaping to your feet you could roar across the crowded hubbub;
"YOU, you f**king bastard, shut your f**king hole!", or some such pleasantry.
Yes, it was a wonderfully refreshing experience and one left feeling light as the air, having gotten all the aggression and rage out of one's system. Far better, and cheaper, than a visit to the psychiatrist.
But now the owners have spoiled it all. Recently the premises was closed for a fortnight and was fully refurbished. Gone are all the old slashed sofas and greasy tables and the place gleams with new paintwork. No-one feels at home there any more. The creatures of The Zoo have been scattered to the four winds and the old place is as quiet as the grave.
I went in there yesterday and heard no swearing and not even a single cross word.
What a let-down! I left feeling all bottled-up and frustrated. There was no relief to be found.