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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

More goings on down at the Red Hand

Back to 1955, and there's an element of schoolboy humour behind this post.

The fact that the word 'gay' has changed its meaning over the years is an endless source of amusement to anyone with a juvenile streak. And I sniggered at the headline to this feature before I could stop myself:

But what strikes me about the Bedford - and what makes this worth publishing here - is just how un-gay this newly refurbished pub looks in any sense of the word. Here are the six - count 'em - meanings of the word 'gay' according to Dictionary.com:
1.having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
2.bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments.
3.given to or abounding in social or other pleasures: a gay social season.
4.licentious; dissipated; wanton: The baron is a gay old rogue
5.homosexual.
6.of, indicating, or supporting homosexual interests or issues

The only recognised meaning of the word that applies to these two pictures is the highly contentious one that's not covered by dictionary.com, but is mentioned at www.urbandictionary.com. It's the one I hear mostly in London streets and on the bus in the morning, and while it may have developed as a separate strand, it does nevertheless have its roots in homophobia.

So if you exclude that one, and just go by any of the six definitions above - does this pub look gay to you?

Which ever way you look at it, our ideas about gayness have changed an awful lot over the last 54 years.

7 comments:

Conan the Librarian™ said...

My local British Legion was kitted out much the same when I was a spotty youth, formica topped surfaces, pink and yellow tiled flooring, hard faced harridens behind the bar, usually with fags hanging out their mouths.And nicotine brown signs everywhere; No Standing At The Bar, Drinks Must Be Carried On A Tray, No Credit Will Be Given, Patrons WILL Stand For The National Anthem Or Be BARRED.
A gay time was had by all...

mentaldental said...

There must be a missing definition of "Gay": Totally horrid, without redeeming features.

The Beer Nut said...

And for anyone troubled by the smoking ban, there's the solution: a false ceiling made from perforated hardboard. Oh why didn't you bring this up when the 2006 Health Act was still at the debate stage? Hundreds of pubs, sporting beautiful newly-boarded ceilings, would still be with us.

Jeff Pickthall said...

Plenty of pubs still look like that round here. Best not call them gay though.

BLTP said...

I like this sort of stripped down pub it reminds of the duke in holborn which is one of my faves. Although formica doesn't always wear well.
http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/s/21/21672/Duke_of_York_/Holborn

The Bocking Kellys said...

I must know what the two shields given pride of place were for - your scan cruelly cuts out this crucial info.

Cooking Lager said...

Gay does not mean naff. The kids need to learn the language proper like. Gay ought to mean screaming queen, like it's always done 'cept when it meant 'appy like.