Impressions of The Harrow Upon a Young Man
by Sam (first published in the Harrowing Times)
For many young people The Harrow isn’t the most obvious place to choose as a regular drinking hole. The lack of Bacardi Breezers behind the bar and Ibiza Anthems blaring out vociferously across the pub doesn’t go unnoticed and is enough to draw these strange things away, towards the bright lights of that great metropolis, Petersfield. However for a few of us who enjoy nothing more than a pint of brown and to engage in the lost art of conversation with various cast members of The Last of the Summer Wine, the Harrow does just fine.
I very quickly learnt that, as a young man, there is a strict unwritten code of how to behave in the presence of the ‘Harrow elite’, and it became clear that certain people were less than happy with my youthful foolishness in drinking lager, some sort of evil cousin of the ‘proper beer’ that they so liberally enjoyed. This was swiftly put right after a great deal of abuse concerning this ‘unpleasant habit’, coming in particular from the direction of Mr Wicksteed. It was clear that having your own tankard meant you carried some authoritative weight on the subject, so I buckled and switched to drinking the bitter.
I’ve also established that The Harrow isn’t a great venue for taking girls out. As soon as a young lady friend of mine steps into the bar with me, invariably an unusual silence from the onlookers follows. Which is then followed by compliments about her ‘lovely scarf’ or ‘pretty cardigan’. How can I compete with this charm, with this greater knowledge of the female psychology developed from years of experience? It was clear that I had a lot to learn. This was made known to me after receiving some very strong words about leaving a girl in the bar alone while I went out for a smoke, ‘un-gentlemanly’ apparently.
So, although The Harrow isn’t many young people’s idea of how to spend a Friday night, indeed some of my friends simply can’t understand why I enjoy it at all, I suppose in the same way I don’t see what’s so great about Bacardi Breezer and Ibiza Anthems. For the more refined of us (or is it more boring, I’m never sure) the warm fireplace, the endless flow of Ringwood and the comforting sight of the old sign lit up on a cold and hostile evening leave us safe in the knowledge that there is nowhere else in the world we’d rather waste our youth.