Conversation should be impossible: How to make a bar truly hellish

DO you frequently wonder why noisy, unpleasant bars need to be quite so horrific? Here Martin Bishop, owner of shite cocktail bar Lorenzo’s of Stevenage, explains his craft.

Abnormally loud music 

Deafening music creates an irresistible vibe. It definitely isn’t just too loud. Basically you should only be able to talk to the person next to you, and then only by shouting at them. Attempting to join in a conversation with two friends should be impossible and make you look like a weirdo hassling strangers by sitting with them uninvited.

No one should ever pull 

The stupidly loud music is your main weapon against flirtation. Try being witty or friendly when you have to spit in someone’s ear. More generally, your bar should look like a fun, sexy place but disappointment should always ensue.

Employ obvious dickheads as bar staff

Sneering dickheads who ignore customers and clearly think they’re doing an incredibly important job are good. But the real opportunities come with a cocktail bar. Now staff can shout at each other, show off with the shakers, dance around annoyingly and wear backwards baseball caps. People love having a row of screaming f**kwits down one side of the room they’re trying to have a drink in.

Be open late 

This means you scoop up drinkers who want to continue the evening’s fun. Instead they find themselves stuck in your joyless trendy bar drinking small bottles of South American beer costing £9 for some reason. By the time they shell out a fortune for a cab, they should just be tired, sober and irritable. It’s the mark of a good night out.

Only play shit music 

Music needs to unpleasantly loud, as explained, but it should also be total shit. Mainstream rap like 50 Cent soon becomes annoying. Or just make it bafflingly random – a bit of Coldplay oddly jumbled up with Salt-N-Pepa and Starship’s We Built This City is an excellent selection. Best of all, hire a wanker DJ who stands in the corner pompously spinning obscure white labels as if he’s performing brain surgery.

Extremely bad toilets

Toilets hidden in a labyrinth of stairs and corridors are good, along with the old classics of piss everywhere and a foul stench. However you can inflict actual physical pain on customers by simply not having enough. The resulting queue of agonised drinkers is like having your own personal version of the Japanese game show Endurance.

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Why every musical decade except the one you grew up with is shit

ARGUING about which decade produced the best music? The answer’s obvious – the one when you were young. The rest were shit. Here’s how to dismiss them all out of hand.

The 60s

Totally overrated. What about toss like Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da? Do it with cheesy synths and it’s a Black Lace novelty reggae tune. There were the more edgy Rolling Stones, but no amount of Gimme Shelters can stop Jagger being King of the Wankers. And that’s before you get onto the terrible one-hit wonders that were the Star Trekkin’s of their time, eg. Tiptoe Through the Tulips by Tiny Tim. 

The 60s also involved a worrying number of musical deaths. Coincidence? No chance. Hendrix probably took all those sleeping pills to avoid listening to Bob Dylan’s ‘singing’. 

The 70s

The decade everyone’s mum liked and a living hell if you didn’t like disco. Too much disco was probably why ABBA all got divorced and didn’t release any music for 40 years. Or there were the Bee Gees. They wouldn’t shut up about doing it with ladies, but imagine shagging one of those hairy-chested, squeaky-voiced, medallion-wearing ponces. Ew.

This decade also produced prog rock, perfect for pretentious twats who like a good mandolin solo, and punk. For the handful of decent tunes by the Pistols and Clash there was a mountain of rubbish. Try listening to a whole album by The Slits. See if you’ve got the stamina.

The 80s

Springsteen, Elvis Costello, The Specials, Blondie – all excellent. Now let’s look at the dark musical underbelly of the 80s. And it wasn’t just Rat Rapping by Roland Rat.

The UK’s best-selling artist of the decade was Shakin’ Stevens. And the charts were always full of cheesy, sexually retarded heavy metal. Motley Crue, Poison and Van Halen, this was your decade too. And that was the cream of the crop – all manner of bad metal thrived, right down to Krokus with songs like Long Stick Goes Boom. 

It was also the decade Michael Jackson exploded. Not literally, that wouldn’t have been a bad thing. Of course the public didn’t know about the paedophilia, but was he actually that good? A few tight, funky pop classics, and a lot of toe-curling crap like Smooth Criminal. 

The 90s

Great for rap fans. And British teenage boys with laughable fantasies about being a gangster in, er, Dorking. But let’s not forget the girl and boy bands. Take That, Westlife, S Club 7 and, of course, the Spice Girls and their ‘Girl Power’ brain rot. Still, the Spices did do 2 Become 1, the only the only Christmas number one about penetrative sex. It was crap, obviously, but it’s an interesting factoid.

For music fans who were old enough to have sex legally, there was Britpop. If you can be arsed to recall the dreary hype and rivalry, you’re clearly a very sad individual, or Noel Gallagher. Britpop now feels like an ancient doomed civilisation, maybe Pompeii. All that remains is CDs, cluttering up parents’ houses until your dad finally gets off his arse and takes Suede by Suede to the tip with that broken ironing board.

The 00s

You can win any argument about the 00s being shit with two words: ‘nu metal’. Although you might want to add ‘emo’ for good measure. It’s actually remarkable mankind didn’t give up on music at this point – switch on the radio and Limp Bizkit would blast out, followed by Toploader and, as a special treat, some Dido or David Gray.

Not to forget all the pop princesses too. Britney Spears was massive, along with Christina Aguilera and to a lesser extent Pink, and to an even lesser extent Anastacia. If you weren’t into that, you could f**k off. The saving grace of the decade was the Black Eyed Peas, who no one could see on TV without thinking: ‘Thank God I’m not as much of a twat as them.’

The 2010s

No one is actually sure what the music of the 2010s was, because downloads had replaced Top of the Pops. Bland or annoying seem to have been the dominant themes. On the annoying side there was Miley Cyrus, whose publicity juggernaut was based mainly on licking things. 

In the ‘bland’ corner was overwrought emotional disaster area Adele, maintaining the tradition of mega-selling weepie tunes popular among women who don’t own much music. And surprisingly successful were Mumford & Sons. Maybe for music listeners it was like finding a glass of piss in the Sahara, and going, ‘Mmm! This tastes GREAT!’

That song by Lorde was alright though. What a time to be alive.