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Home > Culture and Society

Hats Off

13 January 2006

In any war there is always a certain amount of collateral damage, a certain number of innocent victims caught up in the crossfire of bombs or sanctions or over-reaching legislation. And as 64-year-old Colin Osborne learned this week, the Labour Party's war on anti-social behaviour is no exception. Osborne fell foul of the pandemic erosion of civil liberties sweeping across this once proud nation when, in a pub in Hereford, he was ordered to remove his trilby.

We know, we know. We were shocked too.

Essentially, Osborne was left hatless after a directive from Greene King pubs insisted that, in this desperate age of yobs and shoe bombers, hats are a very definite security risk and must - under no circumstances - be worn on the premises of their drinking establishments. The underlying logic goes like this: crimes are occasionally committed by people concealing their identity within a hoodie, therefore, obviously, the hoodie has to go. But if the hoodie has to go, what about those fishing hats that you can tie around the front of the face? Not to mention the balaclava? Tell you what, just to be on the safe side, let's ban all hats. That's the logic.

When it was explained to Osborne that he had to remove his hat so that his face could be clearly picked out on the pub's CCTV cameras, at first he was nonplussed. Then his emotions just went wild. 'I was annoyed, I was put out and I was surprised,' he told the BBC, 'I couldn't understand why my poor old trilby should offend anyone.' The editor of The Hat Magazine told the Sun that ban was 'ridiculous', whereas the editor of Hoodie Times told them that if they didn't get out of his face, he was going to cut them. Meanwhile, rather suspiciously, neither Jack 'The Hat' McVitie nor the Cat in the Hat were available for comment. Probably out somewhere together spitting at old ladies.

Adam Collett is the director of Greene King's marketing, and the man responsible for trying to make this story not sound as ridiculous as it patently is. 'CCTV is sensible and welcomed by customers, residents and licensing authorities alike,' he began. 'To make it useful we do have to ask all customers to remove their hats.' We're certain that this is absolute garbage, but really it needs to be put to the test, so please, if you happen to be, or know, or be able to impersonate any of the following types of head-dressed people, we beseech you to do so and then to go into your nearest Greene King pub and ask to be served...

....

* Old lady in a woolly hat

* Old lady in a headscarf

* Rastafarian

* Orthodox Jew

* Sikh

* Arab

* Whippet-owning Northerner

* Court jester

* The Queen

* The Lone Ranger

* The Phantom of the Opera

* A person with a fully bandaged face and sunglasses, quite
possibly The Invisible Man

* Andy McNab

* One of the millions of people in every pub on St Patrick's Day
poncing about in a naff Guinness hat

* Someone wearing a hat of meat


If you manage to get served, it is your duty to write to Greene King breweries and insist in the strongest possible terms that they stop playing silly beggars and grow the fuck up.


More potential yobs.

Still more.



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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