One of the benefits of being a linguist is the rich wealth of opportunities to travel and to see what the world holds be- yond these green and pleasant lands. Based on my brief travels I will not deny that the food in Italy is better, Germany works smoother and that given the choice between a cold February night in Oxford and sunnier climes… you get the picture. Despite what Nigel Farage may have you believe, there are some things that are better abroad.
This brings us to the subject of this article, my beloved Wetherspoons. Any Brit abroad – from the Hong Kong expat to the trashed lad in Magaluf – will tell you that there is just nothing quite like a good English pub. The decor, the line of ales, the welcoming fire smouldering 11 months of the year… there are no rivals. And while it’s true that The Four Candles may not be to everyone’s taste it certainly does tick the majority of boxes. From the buoyant atmosphere to the cheap beer, sometimes all that will do is a ‘Spoons sesh’, and this Oxford gem will not let you down.
Let me tell you why. Everyone these days is grasping for aconcept, an aspiration to set himself or herself apart from the pack.The trouble with this is that during their desperate efforts to do precisely that they become even more anonymous; through trying to be individual and edgy they become so much blander. How many pubs in Oxford market themselves as older and more historic than- what seems like time itself? How many bombard you with constant invitations to weekly pub quizzes? How many brag about the biggest and best selection of craft beers? Too many is probably the answer to these questions, is it not?
What I’m trying to point out is that Spoons wants nothing to do with this fruitless arms race.
Zilch. Nada. It’s just Spoons. The Four Candles is no different to any of its Spoons brothers, dependent and consistent. That is not to say that it is without its charms. For a start, there is no music. Maybe I’ve become an old man since arriving here but nothing beats conversation, and when you look around the stylishly lit interior I have to say that there are more people pissing themselves laughing than just about any pub I’ve ever been to. The place is big too, meaning there’s always room for a big group and making it the perfect place for a pre crewdate stop-over, or for some Dutch courage before hitting the Park End cheese floor. I’m sure that most people reading this will be aware of the Spoons phenomenon, but sometimes you just have to be reminded of those little things in life. Go show Spoons some love.