by Peter WytonThey are the limpets of the licensed trade,
riding each refurbishment of their pub
like a shoal of ungainly surfboarders.
They have stomached every name change
on the creaking sign above the door, from
the Butcher’s Arms to the Gelded Gerbil.
When they first drank beer, it came in eighteen
shades of brown. Now they take the piss out of
a rainbow assortment of alcopops.
When their snug converts to a brasserie
they lounge on new chairs, in their old places,
living monuments to spit and sawdust.
Deaf to all forms of entertainment,
they gossip like fraternal foghorns across singers,
comics and poncey performance poets.
They have tried every new flavour of crisp from
Ready Salted to Skunk ‘n Chicory.
They’re gagging to try vegan pork scratchings.
From the Flood until the Second Coming,
From the early lunchtime hair of the dog,
To the final bellow of last orders,
they will rout the most progressive Mine Host
by shambling up and grossing out
the new barmaid with their unfailing intro,
“I’ll have a pint…of the usual!”
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