My most local pub is

like an empty living room in a house that was demolished twenty years ago, it is like a private nursing home long ago victimised by Panorama and it also in certain aspects closely resembles a  pub. It is the kind of place which people who have never visited romanticise as an authentic old mans pub but it is authentically dire and the people in it are quite simply in the very final stages of alcoholism. The only permitted topics of conversation are football and other pubs but it is also ok to bring in £1.20 boxes of fried chicken and chips as long as you pay a corkage charge of 15p and allow your terrible, terrible meal to congeal in front of you as you spend at least twenty minutes staring into space with a kind of deserted longing in your sad and broken eyes. It is the kind of exotic oddity which people who like to visit sad, dismal, forgotten places love to go, the sort of place which people like me crave to find in places like the Ukraine, that we fetishise in books like ’Tea Coffee Cappuccino’, a kind of badly carpeted Bhutan with a gross happiness index rating of less than zero. If it were one inch closer to Hackney  there would be a cynical amateur urban anthropologist sitting in the corner sneering secretly at the place while simultaneously congratulating themselves on having found somewhere so authentically pitiable. Oh wait, no, there is somebody. Gentrification ruins the character of an area, discuss.

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