Monday, 9 April 2012

What does a 'session' really mean?

I've been thinking about this recently and had a couple of conversations with some of our revolutionary friends over the pond about drinking culture in the UK, and I've come to a few conclusions.  Bear with me whilst I blurt my thoughts out onto the page, then you can have your wicked way with them.

There are a number of questions I think that need answering to get to a decent definition, but as with so much about beer, I think essentially, it is a moveable feast.

For the purposes of writing here though, a session is time spent in the pub.  I do not count fancy wine-bars, nightclubs or the local disco as being a place where a session can occur.  A session should involve, friends, bar-snacks (I'm thinking frazzles, scampi fries, dry roasted nuts), lots of great conversation, a bit of piss-taking and either a light snooze, an Open University programme or a repeat of See Hear as a finale (depending on time of end of session).  You will likely be a bit tipsy by the end of a session and may encounter mild double vision, slight staggering, spoonerisms and mild declarations of people being your best mate.

Now, that's out of the way, so, how long is a session?

Right - well, this is where it gets tricky (right at the start), but I think I can draw some conclusions here, the length of your session is defined by some kind of tricky equation involving the following factors:

Being a student/amount of children/time spent married/age/weight/ability to drink/gravity of beer being partaken

If each of these factors is low, the odds are that your 'session' time is going to be longer, so for example, the session for the 18 year old student with no children (unmarried) that weighs 12 stone and can handle his booze is more likely to be able to undertake a long session than the man who is holding down a job (and therefore has limited time for a session), has several children (and therefore has to consider how responsibly he might have to be acting), has a wife (and therefore is statistically more likely to be in IKEA than the pub), weighs 12 stone and can handle his booze.  It's a bit like The Seven Ages of Man really, but with beer.

So, to briefly sum up the nonsense above, let's try and put a label on what a session is for a couple of sectors of society - this is not by any means an exhaustive list and is for illustrative purposes only.

1)  Student
A session is an amount of time defined only by how long the pub is open, what time they managed to get out of bed, and how big their overdraft is.  Potential for 12 hours.

2) Young working professional (20-30)
A session is defined by the fact that they will likely be confined to weekends because they will be too busy being together, being professional and searching for a wife/husband.  A session may still be a decent length of time but is likely to be tempered.  Likely session 8-10 hours (including time for the gym, getting fancy haircuts and going to Habitat).

3) Married professional (30-40)
A session is defined by how much time they can either get away from their other half (or if they are lucky if their other half drinks - how old their children are), whether or not they have made the journey into quality beer products and how high their cholesterol count is at the moment.   The session is likely to be no more than 5-6 hours unless they get lucky.  

Warning, sessions that last longer than this may get you into trouble with your wife (if they weren't present) for such acts as 'weeing in the garden', 'repeating yourself endlessly' and 'falling asleep in front of MOTD'.  You may also end up in IKEA the next day as punishment.

I haven't gotten any further than the third category yet, but I'll be sure to update you all when I do get there.  My kids will be in their teenage years by then, will it go full circle and I'll enter a world where an overdraft is no longer a necessity for a 12 hour session - or will a long session no longer be an attractive idea to me?  If you are older and wiser, feel free to let me know what you think.  I have to go now to mentally prepare myself for IKEA in the morning.



  1. You mean 8-12 hours of DRINKING?! That's madness.

    also, WTF does this mean: "a bit of piss-taking and either a light snooze, an Open University programme or a repeat of See Hear as a finale (depending on time of end of session)."?

    I hope Ding chimes in on this. Did you comment on his blog? You should.

  2. Cheers for commenting @Chad'z Beer Reviews

    Granted 8-12 hours would be a long session, but that's where the low ABV really comes into play. Remember, those are only maximum hours that would be available to that class of drinker, the average normal session is 4-5 hours, but I regularly pulled sessions of 8+ when I was a student, interspersed with the occasional nipping out to the bookies and such. Lock-in's used to be a common occurrence before they relaxed drinking laws here, but you had to be 'in' with the landlord to get into those.

    A quick glossary:

    Piss-taking, I believe your people refer to it as 'joshing'.

    Open University programme - These are often on after closing time at the pub on the BBC and are designed to help people studying their degrees, most of them have presenters who wear a cravat (because they were all made in 1974).

    See Hear - A programme (again late night) designed especially for deaf people which can become strangely interesting when you are trying to concentrate on focussing on the telly.

    Which blog is Ding's blog? I shall go forth and comment.