The Continuing Smoky Drinky Bar Saga

Continuing the Smoky Drinky Bar saga:

I was rather exhausted yesterday, and spent a lot less time at the Smoky Drinky Bar than I had the day before. I left at about 8 pm. Apologies to all concerned for unanswered emails, etc. But I at least managed to get a 4-minute video of the proceedings yesterday afternoon around 5 pm (with my microphone muted, for some reason). It shows, from top left clockwise, me, Emily, Kin_free, and John Buck. At one point John Buck presses some button to show a pink Cadillac(?), and towards the end Twenty Rothmans enters the bar.

Brigitte, who arrived at about 6:30 pm, left a comment here at 10:30 pm:

“I only dropped into the online pub for a minute – that was at about 18:30 hours tonight. Just got off for letting my phone charge for a bit – gonna dive right back in. It’s been wonderful to chatting to quite a lot of people tonight!! Great pub! Not going home yet!!!! It’s the good old times back with loads of laughter!!! Thoroughly enjoying it.”

It’s helpful getting such feedback. Brigitte had spent 4 hours in the bar, and was going back!

And Emily emailed me later to say she’d spent 8 hours in the bar, and sent a bunch of screenshots, including one with her, Brigitte, Junican, Gary, and someone (tobacco-chewing Apollyon?) on audio only, sometime around midnight:

There are now something like 10 – 15 members of the Smoky Drinky Bar. Where possible I’ve added people as members more or less as soon as they walked in.

I’ve been wondering how this is likely to develop. I had the thought last night that something like this needs to achieve “escape velocity” if it isn’t going lapse back into being empty all the time. Membership needs to be built up so that, at any one time, there are always at least one or two people in the bar. I think a membership of 100 or so may be required.

But for people to keep coming back, they need to have had a good time. And people do seem to be having a good time. Comment yesterday from Joe L:

I thoroughly enjoyed my brief visit to Smoky Drinky yesterday, Frank! It was a pleasure to finally (virtually) meet you, Nisakiman, GaryK, Kin_Free and Ross.

And GaryK:

The video chat room is a great concept and gives new depth to the idea of ‘social media’. As for me, I found it very pleasant to be associated with such fine folks.

In fact, people have been getting along amazingly well. Maybe that’s because smokers are usually friendly, outgoing people. Or maybe it’s because of the sheer novelty of Americans and Brits and New Zealanders chatting to each other across the planet. Or maybe it’s because us smokers are all outcasts, and so all in the same boat. I’ve been astonished at the ease with which complete strangers have been chatting to each other within seconds of meeting.

I suspect that “regulars” (if we ever get them) will tend to arrive in the bar in their free time. So that’ll mostly mean the evenings, whatever time zone they are in.

And I’m an unlikely pub landlord. I’m the kind of guy who goes to pubs in their quiet times, to drink a beer and smoke a few cigarettes, while just sitting gazing out of the window, or writing equations in a notebook – as I try to figure out: how many regular pub-goers, each of whom visits a pub for half and hour each day, are needed to ensure that there are always a couple of them in there?


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25 Responses to The Continuing Smoky Drinky Bar Saga

  1. Emily Wieja says:

    It was great to meet some people for the first time, and to see others again. I kept staying on and on to see who would show up next, but next time I will have to limit my time so I’m not hogging the room and also not spending all my Sunday sitting in front of my computer! It was a great time, and very unique experience. The unpredictability of it is what really interests me, in that it is really like a bar and not knowing who will show up.

    I also downloaded the app on my iPhone and I appear to have been able to enter different rooms, though when no one was there, so I’ll have to try it on my phone next time when there are patrons. I do think that using earbuds with the phone will be helpful.

  2. mactheknife says:

    I’ve been waiting for this Frank, and I look forward to joining you soon… :)

  3. buckothemoose says:

    The pink Cadillac was the ‘Share Screen’ button which I tried experimenting with. I brought up the picture on my other monitor and then used that button to share it. That might have some fun applications, but the picture of me stood by the car was just something I picked for a test. It was taken in Bolton before an election. Can’t remember which one

    It’s been great to join the bar a couple of times this weekend, particularly on Saturday night when I was actually having a drink. Everyone is really friendly and all seem to enjoy meeting the new people.

    I think we need to get used to it a bit though. There are some rather awkward silences where people are unsure what to say or unsure if someone else is about to say something. It’s more difficult to read the visual cues than it is an a face to face conversation. There’s only one way to solve that though, keep going and keep getting involved.

    Long may the virtual smokey drinkey reign

  4. Rose says:

    That’s very good, I enjoyed seeing everyone talking, but perhaps using your screen name if you have one might save that awkward pause. We’ve been talking to each other for ten years and it’s very strange to be looking at a good friend and not have a clue who they are.
    I used to use my pseudonym all the time in real life, in certain places, it was so much easier than going through that moment of bafflement when I used my own name.

  5. Has anyone tried this on an iPhone?

    • Frank Davis says:

      Gary has been using an iPad successfully, although he says the screen is a bit small.. Why not give it a try sometime? I’m in the bar right now.

      I’ve just been talking to Peter and Brigitte and Barry and Cade and Gary. We had 6 people and were talking about aircraft, for no particular reason.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Emily and Gary have tried their iphones, and they work.

    • Emily Wieja says:

      You do need to download the free app from the App Store. It seemed to work well but I didn’t have my earbuds with me so it was hard to hear, so I’d recommend using some if you can.

      • Joe L. says:

        Did it not work using Apple’s shitty default Safari browser? I only ask because I’ve been connecting just fine on my Android phone using the Chrome browser. I wonder if it would work in the Chrome browser on iOS, as well (for those who aren’t inclined to install a standalone app).

        • Emily Wieja says:

          I thought it forced me to download the app but now I’m not positive! I do use the default Safari browser on my phone. It may have just promoted me with the choice to download the app. That’s a good point, about trying Chrome on iOS, someone should try it out.

        • RdM says:

          Did it not work using Apple’s shitty default Safari browser?

          I can tell you that it doesn’t work on a desktop (mid 2011) iMac running Sierra; I get this:

          But what I’ve recently found on that same iMac, which I did first ever successfully connect with Gary on, on I’m pretty sure Firefox, I downloaded Chrome later, – is that with the most recent Firefox update & perhaps more relevantly the latest Adobe Flash update for Firefox, the camera no longer works in Firefox, but still does in Chrome.

          Can anyone check or reproduce this?

          It’s just that I’d also installed various virtual camera applications, and uninstalled them as well, and I was wondering if remnants had taken over the camera, giving me a blank input

          So if anybody on a latest updated Firefox & Flash can or can’t see the camera at, (on a desktop or laptop etc.) I’d very much like to know! Thanks! ;=})

        • buckothemoose says:

          I use the latest Firefox and Flash on a Win7 PC. It works fine but it made me grant access to the camera before working. It just did it with a prompt box, so without the prompt, I’m not sure how to give it access

        • RdM says:

          I wrote (re OSX Sierra)
          with the most recent Firefox update & perhaps more relevantly the latest Adobe Flash update for Firefox, the camera no longer works in Firefox, but still does in Chrome

          But it’s also so in Windows 10 on a little laptop (this I’m typing from an XP PC no camera).

          Surely someone is using Firefox? Maybe I’ll just have to file a bug report anyway… ;=})

        • RdM says:

          Hey thanks buckthemoose!

          I use the latest Firefox and Flash on a Win7 PC. It works fine but it made me grant access to the camera before working. It just did it with a prompt box, so without the prompt, I’m not sure how to give it access

          Yeah the prompt to allow camera (it’s in default settings to ask) is normal.

          In this instance, granting access just delivers a … or rather a frozen screen on the first grab, no motion thereafter.

          Hmm I have to deliver or have ready for pick-up the iMac tomorrow again, but this same thing is happening on the Win 10 notebook.
          I’m puzzled… but thanks for your input!

        • buckothemoose says:

          No problem

        • RdM says:

          Just to clear up the only other reference;- sorry!
          I’ve now deleted, disestablished, unclaimed that illustrated address.
          It no longer exists.

      • beobrigitte says:

        Emily, just adjust the volume on your phone. Works fine with myPhone.
        Having a rather busy day today so I think I’ll deserve a pint tonight at Frank’s place.

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    Recap of the Reader vote at the Warrington Guardian on the UK pub smoking ban as of June 20, 2017:

    This poll is now closed
    Do you think the smoking ban in restaurants and bars has been a success?
    Yes, much prefer drinking/eating out now 39%
    Not sure 1%
    No, people should have a free choice 60%
    Total Votes: 1352

  7. I called in and said Hi to Gary last night (Melbourne Aus time it was 11pm or sumpin) breakfast time in the US, Gary was having coffee, me: a cheeky Shiraz. He said UK Frank had gone grocery shopping. One wonders what time the bottle-O opens in UK. Such wousers here in OZ…. 10 am! Frank your pub puts the paid to the idea that the sun is over the yardarm somewhere in the world.

  8. Pingback: Smoky Drinky World | Frank Davis

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