Pub Psychology with Rab C Nesbitt

The Thinker

Via Wikipedia

Many have no understanding that the British Public House was once a cornerstone of our society. The Pub is the hub of a community and until recent years, was so much more than just a retail outlet where you went to get off your head. It’s also the perfect venue for the ‘Thinker‘…

People who just sit throwing booze down their neck Ad infinitum and chewing the fat of celebrity gossipreality TV shite or football, are actually missing out. In many ways, the humble pub is the perfect learning environment. A seat of scholarly excellence, a place where you can learn so much about so many things. The inherent traits, ills, habits and ethics of various human (inhuman) elements of our society are all on display. In many ways a pub is like a social sciences lecture from a Psychology Professor, only a little less intense.

“The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best”. Paul Valery

You might be surprised but, sometimes you can actually participate in academically sound conversations and learn stuff you didn’t know previously, always assuming you haven’t imbibed to excess on the falling down water before hand. Leaving it too late in the evening simply means that; you’ll be talking similar crap to the socially and academically inept alcopops fuelled muppets. If you’re lucky, you might find yourself on a slightly higher philosophical plane but there comes a point when, whatever the subject, it’s likely you’ll be talking your own particular brand of shite.

It is said that alcohol loosens the tongue and, has a tendency to facilitate more liberal expression, it allows the true you to shine through so to speak. Working in a pub (sober) and observing the aftermath of booze soaked conversations, also allows me to cite much evidence to support that observation.

One of my drinking buddies is the archetypal Scot; a solid man, hard but honest talking, a drinking man with a wry sense of humour but social values as solid as his appearance. He is the kind of bloke (like me) who doesn’t suffer fools easily and one (possibly unlike me), who you would sooner have on your side rather than the other. Due mainly to his outward appearance (tattoos, earings), his broad straight talking nature, he is also one of those people many wouldn’t befriend, at least not on a first impression. It just goes to show how, forming opinion on social stereotypes, can actually place distance between you and interesting people with a valuable opinion or point of view. One that you can also learn from.

Rab C Nesbitt

The other day over a pint with my friend (we’ll call him ‘Rab’) I said, whilst discussing management and the public sector etc, “it’s like courting opinion from the thinking man’s Rab C Nesbitt.” Luckily, because he’s a friend and generally open to the views of others, he didn’t take offence or batter me. He could easily have done, he boxed for the Army and is still very handy. I did receive a friendly verbal rebuff of “getifa ya cheeky bassa” however but all in best Big Yin style of course.

To be fair to Rab, the analogy was somewhat rhetorical, he is not an idle waster or constantly bladdered. He has worked hard all his life, contributed to society and the community he lives and in short, he has made something of himself, unlike Mr Nesbitt. The main similarity, apart from the Scottish connection and beer, is the often satirical but always verbose and descriptive, observations on life and humanity!

There has always been something about this type of Scotsman (or indeed any other person for that matter) that I admire. I suppose it’s that basic quality of ‘saying it how it is’, not dressing things up or uttering stuff you don’t actually believe, just because you think that’s what others want to hear. In a word a ‘genuine’ person, one of those that (unfortunately) are often a rare commodity today.

I suppose that in many ways, my friendship and affinity with Rab was a socially and psychologically destined certainty. We are of a similar age, we come from similar social backgrounds, we both have lengthy military experience, we both had parents with similar social values or ethics and, despite our mutual shaky formative years, we both grew to understand and value degree level study as mature students and, in our opinions, turned out to be reasonably worthwhile members of our society.

I say the friendship was a ‘certainty’ as from a psychology point of view; humans tend to gravitate towards those who have similar traits to their own. The human race (generally) abhors conflict, we like to ‘belong’ within a group who posses similar values and outlooks to ours. It is far easier for us to coexist in any group where conflict is absent. Our ideas and methods are accepted without question by our peers, those who aspire to our peer group also tend to accept our methodology and thought process. After all, anyone who wants to join ‘your gang’ is unlikely to rock the boat for fear of non acceptance.

During discussions Rab and I arrived at the following academic conclusion… The above social factor has one of the most pronounced and detrimental impacts upon organisational management. Non more so than in the public sector, a place where high levels of management ineptitude abounds. A place where inefficient managers are shored up by their peers, where mistakes and failings are hastily swept under the carpet. Organisations where aspirational managers constantly follow the party line, simply to curry favour and acceptance from the Chief Executives. I can also confirm that; this trait is no more prevalent in any public sector agency than within the police service, a factor I (and others) have previously alluded to on several occasions.

Now back to the social observations and another ‘wee swally’, it’s all done in the interest of academic research and achievement you understand!

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About Dave Hasney

National Coordinator for UK SMART Recovery - Previously a Recovery Worker and prior to that a Management Consultant and H&S Practitioner - Kept sane by Angling, Good Food, Real Ale & Wine - Cynical thoughts sometimes developed from others.

Posted on 03-01-2011, in Leadership & Management, Police, Public Service Babble, Society Babble and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. We have been running Pub Psychology meetings every Tuesday for last 3 years in The Antelope pub near Sloane Square in London 🙂

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  2. This chap seems to be a good egg maybe he should recieve an invite to “office hours”. He would probably blush at the positve comments made about him in the post if he were to read it.

    Anyroad the pub as a seat of learning is no new thing, “back in the day” all forms of wisdom were dispensed from there particularly on a Friday night, from advice on how to deal with “Wummen” through football cars to the erstwhile “personal stuff” advice. And whilst enjoyable to listen to and have a laugh at

    My advice(sic) is always listen seldom act. No office hours for me this week as on my travels to Gods country. (another point for a debate) Oh no we already been there.
    Slainte.
    Tam

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