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Training goes bottoms up

Going to the pub has become pretty sobering stuff these days. I hear one London borough now sends round dance prevention officers to make sure no landlord is allowing their customers to move rythmically without an entertainment licence having been obtained.

Admittedly, there's no chance of yours truly falling foul of the law on that score.

If this isn't enough to kill people's fun, there are the restrictions on smoking (for admittedly obvious reasons), eating al-fresco (the council inspectors keep an eye on that too) and live music (which also needs permission from the town hall).

If all this isn't enough to sober you up, the lifelong learning sector has its own way of making the whole business of a night on the tiles seem that little bit more serious.

Raise a glass to the British Institute of Innkeeping which sent ablurb which arrived in my pigeon hole this week. In it the BII announced the launch of "the most prestigious award in the licensed trade".

Have these people ever been in a pub in London? If so, I can only imagine they stick to the alcopops.

The BII exists, it says, to "promote high standards of professionalism throughout the licensed retail sector".

This, of course, assumes such such standards exist - which seems unlikely - with people who are capable of pouring a pint of bitter being rather thin on the ground these days.

Apart from the entertainment value of actually being served by a white South African, there isn't much evidence that the experience of being in a pub has been improved by BII or anyone else - not least because the chances of someone who was trained in Britain actually working in a London pub are pretty remote.

In the meantime, I suggest those of us unfortunate enough to need to resort to drinking in London speed up the improvement process by refusing to drink anywhere other that the Jerusalem Tavern, an oasis of calm and brown beer in Farringdon, until things have been sorted out.

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