25 days 21 hours 14 mins to go...
I've got one more song to mix today for my new Jenga Society album and then I’m off to master it. Deadlines loom as usual and I must say they create anxiousness in me I’d prefer not to feel. This album has been three years in the planning, and it has been upsets and delays in the scheduling that has caused that long gestation period.
I began thinking I may have made a mistake of doing a solo album (for reasons I won’t go into at the moment) but I am so pleased with it now, I can’t wait for it to be heard. It is different, and some people will hate it, but I am convinced that it will be a very important album for a lot of people.
Looking back at Licensing Hours, the lyrics are now a bit of an anachronism, to get so angry on how late a bar stays open seems silly in these times. Maybe so, but it has to be viewed in context to understand the motivation for writing this song.
In the Seventies/Eighties in which I grew up, there was no mobiles, no Internet, no Web, no YouTube. The only way to socialise was via landline telephone, parties, occasional gigs and most important of all, meeting up in a pub. Drinks in the pub in those days were cheap, they didn’t even have TV’s showing football in their bars and yet they were well frequented.
This was where our social lives were centred and we lived for that interaction. All the buzz of our social lives was in the real world, nothing online. Catching up with gossip, making plans for going to gigs, getting invited to parties and getting off with people, all played out here. You never knew who would drop in either, because we had no way of updating anyone on a change of mind, so someone who wasn’t planning to come may well appear, and people who said they would come, might fail to, and you’d not know why, for several days or a week, you could give them a ring on their landline but you would probably only get their mum or dad who wouldn’t have clue where they were anyway.
So you would meet in a pub, you would warm to the atmosphere, you would start to have a great time and as ‘time fly’s when you are having fun’, next thing you know, last orders was being called and soon after that you were verbally abused (well, it felt like that) until you drank up and was back out on the street by about 11.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 11pm the rest of the week. So unless you had a party to go to, to lengthen the evening, your weekend was dead at that point. There was a disco in the town where you could extend your night, but it was a drab and desperate affair with a high probability of violence breaking out, so that was out of the question.
Being harangued to drink up and go home was a depressing end to the evening because you had waited all week for the weekend and now, it would be obvious, that there was nothing to do and Monday morning was sliding closer and closer to you. I was constantly anxious about how I was ever going to meet any girls and without a party to go to after closing time there would be no chance. When there was a party, I would end up too scared to talk to any.
The last orders part of the evening was a stressful time for any publican and their customers but it was enshrined in a law that was put into place during the Second World War to prevent the feckless working class from over doing it the night before, and failing to turn up for work to make armaments to throw at the Nazi’s.
By then the Eighties, we felt it was an anachronism and should be changed.
For a lot of people though, the licensing hours encouraged them to drink as much as they could, as quickly as they could, because the evening was so short, and then the end would quickly come with a tinder box of drunken irritability that would so often explode into violence.
Nowadays, there are plenty of late watering holes although the rush to get drunk quickly remains. Most people have had more than enough before the bars close although I admit; this is still not enough for some.
Entertainment now comes in many forms and only money is the barrier on how much you can indulge in.
Now, I hope you understand the anger and the context in ‘Licensing Hours’