Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Monday 2nd June 2003

I read with amusement that JD Wetherspoon are planning to clamp down on swearing in their pubs, with a 'swear box' contribution demanded for a first offence, followed by a bar if you re-offend (presumably along with being tossed into the street by two gently-spoken bouncers). I've don't really like Wetherspoon's pubs, which are generally too cavernous to have any character and are only worth a visit because of the cheap beer (and even if this is an important factor Samuel Smith pubs are preferable, partly because they're almost vomiting with character). Wetherspoon's currently provide spacious no-smoking areas and have a strict no-games (i.e. snooker, darts) and no-music policy. And now they're looking to outlaw swearing. Perhaps they'll get rid of alcohol next.

Maybe I'm a (fucking) vulgar ruffian. But I like going to the pub and having a good swear. I find that since I gave up smoking swearing gives me something with which to fill my lungs while obscene gestures give me something to do with my hands. If they make me give it all up I might have to resort to smashing pint glasses and throwing chairs through windows, or I may take up smoking again as a substitute and sue Wetherspoon's when I'm dying of cancer.

How is this going to be monitored? How do you define a swearword? If I said "fuck" I'd be barred. But what about "shit"? Is that a swear word? I heard Ricky Gervais say it at 2.55pm on Xfm on Saturday - and under 18s are allowed to listen to the radio. Perhaps Wetherspoon's will decide to put up a list of forbidden words - they could hang them in a lacquered mock-antique frame next to the badly illustrated potted history of the local area that Wetherspoon's punters have to endure while forcing down a microwaved lasagne.

Can I get away with swearing in a different language? And if so, that's a bit unfair, isn't it? If someone can enjoy a pint while loudly telling his ami to retourne enculer les mouches while I have to smile graciously at my friend and tell him meekly to please leave my presence thankyou, surely this isn't right. Everyone should have the right in a pub to swear, in whatever language seems appropriate at the time.

Of course, it would be unreasonable of me to focus purely on the negative effects of this ban. I'm sure "townies" in any university town would enjoy the decline in loudly misquoted lines of Withnail & I interfering with their beer. This in turn would reduce their need to swear, as it has been statistically proven that occurances of the phrase "Fucking students" are most common following Withnail lines. Also, I believe the reasoning behind the pub chain's decision to curb swearing is that swearing is unpleasant for others around and anti-social. Reluctantly, therefore, I applaud the intention. Anti-social behaviour is the bane of many lives - especially Londoners'. For this reason I can vaguely understand why Wetherspoon's pubs have large non-smoking areas: but isn't the anti-social element here to do with health risk, rather than a subjective idea of discomfort, which banning swearing must be based on? And if this is true then there are many anti-social characteristics exhibited by pub-goers which should take precedence over the odd use of colourful language: people who smell, single pub goers or couples who take up a massive table or booth leaving others nowhere to sit, those hideously ingratiating plastic rose sellers, people who piss all over the floor in the gents. I could go on and on before I get to swearers.

I know a lot of people find swearing tedious. For those that don't, like me, this website is enjoyable.

25 - posted at 17:05:05

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