CAMRA takes great pleasure in reminding us that 3 pubs in the UK close every other second, or something. I forget the actual figure, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a pub closed down in either of the towns that I have lived in for the last five years. Where all these pubs are closing I’m not sure, it certainly doesn’t seem to be the suburban South East.
On to the bananas. Finding a decent banana is nigh on fucking impossible. Look in the supermarket and they are the desperate green fingers of a witch gesticulating on a dunking stool. You sigh and buy them anyway, you take them home and chuck them in the fruit bowl. Two days later, yellow has crept into the top and bottom of the banana.
‘Tommorow. Tomorrow you delicious yellow bastard’, you whisper conspiratorially under your breath. ‘Tomorrow you’ll be ready’.
You leave for work the following day, nine hours later, arrive home and open the door, you know already. That warm, estery, juice-at-the-bottom-of-the-rubbish-bin smell affronts your nose. You know before you walk into the kitchen that there are going to be four heavily leopard spotted, sticky, gooey bananas in the fruit bowl with a not inconsiderable haze of fruit flies having a Drosphila Melanogaster-fantastic time banging each other’s brains out all over your fresh produce. You have two choices, make the best of it and make yet another banana bread or, you bin the bananas and move on, only to repeat the cycle next week.
Pubs are the same. You can spend ages hunting round for one. Some look like they might be ok one day. A bit new, a bit young perhaps, things aren’t quite there yet- the beer selection is poor or badly kept, there is awful music or a TV on showing Jeremy Kyle. There are tiny minority that are ‘just right’and, there are the ones that like an overripe banana are brown, sticky, smell bad and are buzzing with fruit flies.
Back to the bananas.
Bananas are in trouble. The problem you see, is that intensive farming methods mean that the Cavendish banana, the one you have always eaten, lacks genetic diversity and as a result is highly susceptible to disease. Some plant biologists predict that the Cavendish banana will be impossible to grow commercially within the next twenty years. The same fate that the Gros Michel befell before it in the 1820’s due to Panama disease.
Now I’m not saying that the pub will cease to exist in the next twenty years, because it simply won’t. It is too much a part of our heritage to disappear. However the fact that we have so many average pubs, doing the same thing, that feel the same inside, punting the same products means that they are more likely to close. They lack the diversity to survive.
As a postscript to this, I’m fully aware there are there are loads of other reasons why pubs are closing. Increasing beer prices, wages not rising in accordance, cheap supermarket booze, greedy, monolithic pubcos who make it impossible to make selling beer profitable etc,etc. I didn’t include those in this post because I couldn’t work out how to liken them to a banana. Sorry.