Pub Life: Vapeman Against Humanity

A small pub with dark walls, swirling with psychedelic rock, and swirling also with sweet cherry-scented vapour.

Four men are gathered around the bar, three of them playing ‘Cards Against Humanity’.

They all have the build of nightclub bouncers but one is dressed in heavy metal denim; another like the croupier on a Mississippi gambling boat; the third in tatty biking leathers; and the fourth, disappointingly, in jeans and trainers. The first three have different varieties of ostentatious facial hair; their less showy friend is clean-shaven.

No, his flair is not sartorial; rather, he is generating his own fog with an illuminated sci-fi e-cigarette. Clouds and clouds of it. He is too drunk or too disinterested to join the game, or perhaps just concentrating too hard on his art.

Croupier reads from his card: ‘“What do old people smell like?”’

Bike Leathers slaps his thigh: ‘Oh, I’ve got the winner right here, my friend… “Sneezing and farting at the same time”!’

Everyone cracks with laughter, except the Vaper. Though the Vaper isn’t playing, he is thinking hard about the question, eyes narrowed and pink, fixed on a faraway place, or perhaps a distant time.

Heavy Metal begins his turn: ‘Right — “What do old people smell like?” The answer is obviously, “My balls in–”’

‘Decay!’ declares the Vaper suddenly, and loudly, killing the chatter in the bar. ‘Decay, isn’t it? That’s what they smell of. Decay. Impending death. Like…’ He generates a serving of particularly gothic graveyard mist. ‘Like their bodies are breaking down even though they’re still… Their eyes are still…’

Silence falls. Vapour churns.

‘Another round of these IPAs, lads?’ slurs Croupier, slapping his cards down on the table. ‘Or is it time to move on to that imperial stout?’

Everyone cheers, except the Vaper.

Vaper just vapes, intensely.

Games in the pub

euchre

As we might have mentioned once or twice, Bailey spent some of his childhood in a pub run by his parents in Exeter. One of the things you’d have noticed if you’d walked into that pub would have been the sheer number of games being played — darts, cards, dominoes and  skittles (the West Country variety) were all taken very seriously.

When Bailey’s parents visited recently, they made sure to take cards and darts to the pub, just in case.

Their favourite game is Euchre, a card game invented in America but massively popular in Starkey, Knight and Ford country (Exeter, Tiverton, Bridgwater, and so on). Like Go Johnny Go Go Go Go the game has its own complex language apparently designed to baffle beginners — “Benny, both bowers, ace!” — and there are also cheat signals which they declined to teach us.

When you’ve dealt cards in a pub, though, you begin to realise why beer mats are a good idea.

Beer Tycoon

At last, a computer game for people like us. Bizarre.

I can’t decide whether the brains behind this really understand the beer geek or not. On the one hand it offers the chance to come up with your own recipes and “highly realistic models of real brewing equipment such as Mass (sic) Tun, Copper Kettle, fermenting tanks, open fermenting vats, conditioning tanks, bottling and casking machinery”.

On the other hand, the aim of the game is “to run a high tech industrial scale brewery on a truly massive scale”. Surely the measure of success for any self-respecting beer geek is to get your beer voted in the top ten on RateBeer or something like that..?

Boak