Full text: The alcohol problem

102 THE ALCOHOL PROBLEM 
had difficulty in joining in whatever conversation was 
going on. . He found that the men talked mostly about 
football, cricket, racing, the weather, workmates, 
work, and personalities, or exchanged anecdotes. 
The discussions were rarely about abstract questions 
or on religion. . The bulk of the men came to the public 
house more, if anything, because they sought com- 
panionship than because they wanted to drink. They 
found the atmosphere to be genial, and to afford 
recreation, warmth, light, change, and refreshment. 
In a public house a man usually sought his ““set,”” and 
kept to the same bar or ‘ snug.” As has often been 
said, ““ the ‘ pub’ is the working-man’s club.” To 
quote Selley, “the call for a glass of beer and a friendly 
exchange of greeting is a sight which no one but a 
fanatic can condemn; but the Saturday night swilling 
which goes on in many parts of the country is . . . 
totally unnecessary and inexcusable. . . . The official 
statistics do not account for anything but a small 
proportion of the drunkenness... . Those who 
leave public houses thoroughly full and fuddled 
easily outnumber those who figure in convictions for 
drunkenness.” 
The public house is an established social institution 
which plays an important part in the life of the people, 
and for a long time to come it will be regarded as 
a public necessity. Selley considers that, though there 
is not so much excessive drinking as formerly, there 
is no evidence to show that the number of persons using 
public houses has decreased. With women the number 
is probably greater than before the war. The majority 
of public houses are ‘ drink shops >’ pure and simple. 
A large proportion of them are ‘‘ places where the
	        

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