A round-up of some things that I’ve read over the last couple of days with seemingly no real link but which I found interesting all the same:

On our summer road trip to the North-East, it was noticeable just how many traditional pubs were either boarded up, turned into restaurants or looking for new owners.

As we sought to avoid motorways for most of the 10 days we passed through countless villages, towns and cities where ye olde pubs used to thrive and were now sadly absent.

The issue of our disappearing pubs reached the House of Commons this week, with a depressing report about the parlous state of the industry presented to the business committee.

Any number of reasons could be behind the demise of the traditional pub.

I like nothing more than sitting in a pub, putting the world to rights, enjoying a couple of drinks and generally relaxing.

But finding this type of pub – without the distraction of food, music, family-friendly lounges, happy hours, theme nights et al – is getting increasingly difficult.

Apparently, half of men lie about their reading habits in order to impress women.

Men do this to appear intellectual or romantic, according to a poll for the National Year of Reading campaign. The men interviewed said they would be most impressed by women who read news websites, Shakespeare or song lyrics.

Interesting stuff. Although I’ve linked to the BBC’s account of this story, I seem to recall first reading about this story in The Economist.

Talking of which, the Economist blog has a little piece about Air New Zealand’s plans to test-fly a Boeing 747-400 on December 30 with one of the four engines powered by a blend of jatropha oil and jetfuel.

Although the jatropha oil experiment is worth watching, the aviation industry’s search for an algae-based biofuel might (or might not) be more significant.

And finally scientists in Japan have have created a device that enables the processing and imaging of thoughts and dreams as experienced in the brain to appear on a computer screen.

For a variety of reasons I would much prefer my dreams to remain secret.


5 responses »

  1. Nick S Donald says:

    As I’ve hurtled through my twenties I’ve spent a great deal of time in pubs, lugubriously bemoaning the loss of things that I’ve loved, all in the name of progress.

    To have to sit in a pub and lugubriously bemoan the loss of the traditional pub is an irony I don’t think I care much for.

  2. Paul Groves says:

    Nick: As a certain Canadian singing miserablist once warbled: “That’s a little too ironic, don’t you think?”

  3. dp says:

    re:reading: perhaps the director of the National Year of Reading campaign has been reading a bit too much – between the lines.

  4. Mikki says:

    There are loads of proper pubs in Worcester. I’m staying put – and of course it’s now my bounden duty to support them….

  5. Paul Groves says:

    Mikki: You have a responsibility to try each and every one of them…and then invite us down to stay so we can join you in the best.

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