Monday, 7 January 2008

Screen but not heard

IT SOUNDS like the worst kind of joke. There are these two blokes arguing in a pub. One man, his face growing redder and redder, insists that the proliferation of television screens is destroying the traditional Scottish bar by killing the art of conversation. The other - in the person of Ian Rankin, the Edinburgh crime writer who plots his novels through a glass, darkly - says mildly that his companion is spouting much hot air.

To help advance his view, Rankin has theorised that his companion is possibly a little paranoid. Perhaps, Rankin suggests with a snigger, whenever his red-faced friend walks into a bar, someone switches on a telly just to annoy him: "Or maybe you're just a jinx."

Maybe. But I am that red-faced man and a graduate of the hard-drinking school of journalism. Years of observation and a heavy use of alcohol have convinced me that pubs - to be specific, traditional one-room Scottish bars - are spiralling into decline

A return to my one-man crusade against tellies in pubs, this time in the Sunday Herald. The images shows Ian Rankin pouring a pint and, below, an image of the interior the Oxford Bar, one of around ten on Ian's list of "great traditional Edinburgh pubs which don't have a telly". Keen-eyed readers may observe a television in the back row, second from the left. Read more at: Screen but not heard

You can visit one of Edinburgh's best bars (two tellies notwithstanding) at: Oxford Bar

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