My work collegue Dino discovered that the Dubliners were playing in Breda last night, and since I've not had a chance to take in any shows since I arrived here it seemed like a chance to get out and have a good evening.
I must admit I was well aware of the Dubliners music, since I basically love all kinds of music when played by proper musicians but was unaware of the fact that front man Ronnie Drew (he of the huge beard and gravel voice) had not only long since left the band, but had as recently as 6 weeks ago passed away.
So there was an air of tranquility and reflection in the concert that I hadn't really expected. But all the same, it was nice to see these grand old men of the Irish music scene doing their thing. I've attached a pic, but am sorry its so crap, I've just discovered my new phone does not have a zoom function...bah!!
Dino, Karena his g/f, and I then decided to have a few drinks to finish the evening and in what we thought was poetic reasoning decided to head to O' Mearas, the Irish bar in town. They planned on having a few Guiness's and as that is the only place I can get my usual pint tipple (cider) off we went.
But far from being awash with rowdy Irish music fans braving the drizzle after the concert, it was apparently full of ....smokers....yes SMOKERS...This was a shock considering that in Holland, smoking was banned a few months ago in public places.
Disheartened, but thirsty we decided to buy a drink and see how it felt,but our lungs having been smoke free for quite some time, were not too happy with the blue smog that surrounded us.
A conversation with the bar manager, herself puffing away happily at the bar, revealed that a number of the bars in the area had decided to club together and produce a kitty in the event that they get fined for breaking this rule and therefore felt they could protest enmasse against what they saw as an unfair restriction on their trade.
Personally as an ex smoker I've never really been one of those evangelist anti smokers, I quite like the scent of tobacco smoke in small doses (perhaps it reminds me of my youth :) )
But being enclosed in a small pub, the doors and windows closed to keep out the damp night air (or the city officials who police the no smoking ban??), was more than a little too much.
Counting around there seemed to be about 6-10 smokers in a pub filled with 70+ people......
So basically to satisfy a minority of miserable bastards (and I assume the manager) who couldn't be arsed to go outside the majority were having to suffer, though in typical Dutch, don't rock the boat, mindeset they were letting it slide.
Selfish gits...I hope the inspectors come soon...I know I will be making a point to find out where I should complain about it...I want to drink my cider in a smoke free environment.
We left our drinks and sought out a smoke free bar in town. The policy designed to attract more smokers to the bar had in fact turned away 3 thirsty non smokers, their loss!
We ended up at Dante's in the town square, a nice quiet cafe bar/art gallery place where despite the lack of cider a good night of drink and craic ended around 2am and I managed to cycle back home to await the inevitable hangover. I won't post pictures of how I look this morning...lets just say I'm a little fragile...and smell of fags.