QUICK ONE: In My Day, 2017 Edition

A smartphone against the backdrop of a pub.

‘Whatever happened to having a conversation, instead of tapping away at screens? That’s what I want to know.’

We’ve been on the receiving end of a version of that heckle twice in the past month. What we did to earn it was, of course, being caught in the pub with one or more smartphones out.

There are all sorts of good reasons for looking at your phone in the pub, even in company. In our case, we’re often taking notes for one project or other, tinkering with a photo of the very pub we’re in for social media, or looking up the answer to an important question that’s come up like, what is the etymology of the word ‘poo’? (Only used to refer to faeces in the UK since the 1960s, apparently.)

In other words, it’s part of the way we make conversation, not an obstruction to it.

And, anyway, we’ve been together for very nearly 20 years so if one of us does want the other to put down their phone, we’re pretty comfortable just saying: ‘Oi! Give me some attention! You’re being boring.’

Both times we’ve received this kind of telling off it’s come from older men and hasn’t felt friendly, or as if was intended as a conversation starter — just like a kind of drive by judgement.

Why do people do insert themselves into other people’s business this way? And does it bother you to see people looking at screens in the pub?


Inside pubs and breweries on Google Street View

Google Street View has been offering desk-bound tourists the chance to wander around their favourite cities for several years now, but, since 2011, has also begun to include panoramic tours of the interiors of selected businesses. A few pubs and breweries have already submitted to being photographed. Below are just a few that we’ve found.

1. The Dove (riverside pub), Hammersmith, London

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Blogging and writing

iPod/iPhone: handy on holiday

We interrupt our series of posts on the breweries of Passau for this announcement.

If you’ve got an iPod Touch or iPhone, we can’t recommend highly enough the excellent foreign language dictionaries available as apps from Ultralingua. The German-English dictionary is very comprehensive and helped us decipher several complicated menus in pubs and restaurants on our recent trip.

The beer specific apps aren’t always the most essential for beer geeks, it turns out.