DO PUB landlords use jazz as a force field? Is the music known as America’s only original artform actually deployed to keep riff-raff from the bar?
I think it is.
I used to live in Streatham a few years back and there’s a big pub on the high street that used to be, well, a bit spit and sawdust, the kinda place that always had more than a few people boozing in there during the day while most people were working.
It got taken over and the landlord had other ideas about who he wanted his clientele to be.
There’s another pub just opened round the corner from where I live in Forest Hill. It’s opposite another ‘proper boozer’. When I popped in on its second night, three fellas from across the road wandered over. They were dressed, y’know, in Reebok Classics and sports anoraks.
Staring through the window, one said to his mates:
‘Facking ‘ell, they’ve got candles in there!’
They weren’t, I would hazard a guess, the kind of punters the new pub was after.
So, the first pub wanted to clear out the old crowd and the new pub wanted to keep the same type of crew out. And yes, the tactic they both used was jazz.
The landlord of the first told me it was a surefire way of clearing out the regulars so he could start afresh. Once the jazz had seen them off, he would play something else. But in the meantime, it was jazz.
And the new pub, when I went, it was also playing jazz.
So, just as some corner shops have those so-called mosquito devices that emit a high-pitched noise that only teenagers can hear to keep street kids from their door, pubs looking for a less lively crowd use jazz as a kind of musical doorman.
Take five, lads, you’re not coming in.