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22-07-2013, 11:20
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When I review a pub, I like to listen to its soundtrack, to the background mood music of voices as people make their passage through the pub; I note both the dissonance and the melody of their voices, the stories and the gripes, the gossip and the sideswipes, the general chiff-chaff of everyday living in the pub. It’s a rich and satisfying experience — one of the more memorable moments was when I was in Barrels in Hereford and the barman dropped some plastic glasses. One of the old boys enjoying his lunchtime pint immediately shouted ‘Sack the juggler!’ This discovery of fragments of other people’s lives is for me one of the great attractions of a pub. At other times the sound of the pub is ambient and random, humanity’s version of radio traffic. That also has its appeal. Last Friday when I was in the pub later on in the evening I recorded a minute of pub noise: words are scattered about the bar like confetti at a wedding, while voices rise and fall, coming and going like the tide, urgent, measured, quick, understated, all at once. This is a minute in the life of a pub.

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