Archives for posts with tag: fun

Enjoy…turn the volume right up!


The start of the 21st century has seen changes in our social behaviours.

People used to go to their “local” for a pint, a game of snooker and darts.

Nowadays, pubs are more about a meeting place to watch football and rugby…and of course, getting a few drinks.

But that social activity is less personal than before. When the public house is run by a random brewery and the staff is constantly changing, the banter is gone. People still go for a Friday evening beer to unwind after a long week, but the essence and experience is so different.

There are a few family owned pubs. However, the price of a pint is also becoming more and more expensive. In the late 1990s, a pint was around £1.50. In 2014, it is more like £3.25.

With the recessionwhich is still affecting us – pubs are being deserted. There is now a new breed of drinkers – coffee culture has changed our daily habits. Some workers push the door at 8am for a quick cappuccino & croissant – or flat white take-away – others spend their lunch break around a crafted latte with either a slice of cake/and or a light bite.

Coffee shops are truly becoming the space to meet socially and even for professional meetings with laptops and tablets…thanks to the eventual free WiFi, which allows online access and discussions from the viral video of day to graphic design projects for a future new development.

Being connected 24/7/365 is the norm whether at home, work or on the move. Social media has also changed the way we communicate and interact.

internet desktop and mobile infographic

Source infographic

The average price for a coffee is around £2.5o and the same rule applies for a cake. So, a fiver and you have comforting drink and food. In the pub this would well go over the five pound note.

It is certain that there are no fruit machines, but the atmosphere is usually welcoming, warm and friendly.

Some towns and cities have had a real buzz with the growth and expansion of the coffee culture.

A lot of these businesses are independent too. It is a community of passionate craftsmen from the roasters to the baristas. Of course, we can notice a handful of corporations on the High Streets but café connoisseurs are starting to realise that the actual bean quality is way inferior from the local and cosy café around the corner. There is also a direct contact with the owners and the team behind them, and in most cases the barista remembers customers’ names and their daily coffee preferences too…no need to write the client’s name on the take-away cup and yell it when the drink is ready.

Take-away coffee cup with name on it

Drinking coffee – with or without milk – is a constant discovery; it is about flavour and aroma.

The origin of the beans and the way they are roasted will bring something rather new to your taste buds and palate.

There are regular classes called “cupping” – in other words it is like wine tasting session. The aim is to observe and get from the coffee the following key descriptors:

  • body,
  • acidity,
  • sweetness.

Remember when stepping into a coffee shop…there is a skill and knowledge in your cup from the farm where the beans have been picked to the way it is extracted and presented to you.

Going for a coffee” is more than just a hot drink…it is a full experience, which can be compared with that fresh/clean glass of cider/ale/beer brewed with care.

In the 1980s, teenagers would rush to go to their town/city premises dedicated to all these new amusements such as classic arcade games.

This was a real revolution/change from the board games.

However, a real headache for parents, because money was then necessary to play from a few minutes to many hours on Donkey Kong, Space Invaders or Brick Breaker.

Space invaders

You could even buy a miniature arcade game version, to play as long as you wished from the comfort of your own home.

On the Continent, loads of bar, cafe and bistro had at least a couple of such interactive games – rather noisy though if you wanted to have a quiet and relaxing drink. One winner was without a doubt the PacMan table.

Pacman table

Customers/players didn’t have to stand and could then enjoy a drink, a game and converse too.

But, it seems that playing cards and chess boards are coming back into social venues – maybe – to reduce that ongoing background noise.

No wonder that some children are asking to get for this Christmas something almost vintage. Metal toy tractor and other die-cast vehicles as well as quality wooden gifts are on the wish lists. A real positive revival, which will be appreciated by everyone. It is about the durability of the item too, rather than just having an electronic device requiring batteries, constant updates..etc. Let’s make things simple.

Coffee shops are also getting more down-to-earth; reviews, books are usually available and local and national press too. Caffeine magazine is the one standing out from the crowd. There is even an App…yes, indeed. So you can take it everywhere you go.

Caffeine Mag Cover

The most annoying about arcade games (and consoles in general)  is the music which can be – almost – unbearable when sitting close to an avid player, who will be totally focusing on getting the highest score.

It is difficult to actually step into a public space without noise pollution related to mobile phone ringtones or other touchscreen devices receiving alerts, mentions or other messages. If there is no Wi-Fi, “it is not good enough” as some demanding customers would say. There is this continual attitude of expecting permanent connection. How did people cope in the late 1970s when there were no smartphones?!

It – sadly – seems that the norm is to be able to check THAT social media status at anytime and everywhere. Everyone is a VIP these days and the fashion bringing the urban chic into the equation can drive the ego trip even further: “don’t you know who I am?“.

The 21st century has brought us fantastic high-tech devices but also a loss of some values including:

  • politeness,
  • face-to-face communication,
  • courtesy,
  • patience.

It would be great to have a monthly celebration of the past years, where friends and family would just spend evenings after evenings either meeting around a table to socially share their knowledge or try to complete all stages of old skool Star Wars.

Star Wars Arcade

It is too easy to forget the good things and keeping all of it still alive is certainly important for the next generations.

Pencil and cassette tape