It was remarkable in that it was one of the few pieces of legislation from a Labour government with which I've completely agreed, and a rare moment of genuine liberalisation from that most authoritarian of parties.
It's also remarkable just how little it changed things. It wasn't the life-changing progressive development we thought and hoped it might be, was it?
The way we wereThing is, there were already places you could go to get a late drink in the early Noughties, of course, and indeed the 90s, when I regularly indulged in such proclivities in some of South London's seediest nightspots.
(Specifically: the Old Fountain/Tooting Gin Palace - long since demolished, the Grove Tavern - now a mini supermarket, Jack Beards - now a well-regarded Antic gastroish pub, and of course the legendary Horse and Groom - also now in Antic's hands having been completely gutted and rebuilt twice over so not a trace of it's dank and dingy former glories remain.)
Thing is, they were usually noisy, they were usually crowded, they often charged admission, and the drinks were fucking rubbish. (Even if the music was occasionally good.)
|Just like swearing, it's big and clever|
Of course, they fucked everything up a couple of years later with the smoking ban. After 11 PM in a pub was just about the only time I wanted to smoke, so if their intention was to make me smoke less, they damn well succeeded, but it was an iron handed punch in the scrotum that cancelled out any previous good.
Sitting in a comfy leather armchair with a late-night pint of cider and an Armagnac, puffing contentedly on a large briar pipe. That's happiness right there.
These days I'm rarely found out drinking after 11 PM anyway, so it's largely academic. Yet, if the smoking ban were to be reversed, I'd make sure I got right out there, firing up a bowl of Bob's Chocolate Flake.
So, yeah, it was basically like a kindly grandparent that got you that scalextric you want for your birthday, but then died before you could thank them, and every time you tried to play scalextric it made you feel sad, so you didn't bother anymore.