Pipes & Ales

Remember kids, drinking and smoking isn't cool.  

Except for two days a year on the mammoth pub crawl 'Pipes & Ales' and its AGM... in which case it most certainly is. 

I don't actually smoke, and neither do most of the gents who do the annual pub crawl that is Pipes & Ales. It's a damn fool thing to do. But there is something so gloriously dignified about smoking a pipe, yes, dignified and silly, that for a few hours we make an exception for the tasty tamped tobacco weed. Once a year we trawl the pubs of Cardiff on a dangerously extended pub crawl and puff away at our pipes (outside, usually in the rain) before retiring to the nearest indie and / or rock club. And once a year we meet up and operate a post-mortem on the last year's affair, before drawing up the drinking itinery and arcane rules for the next event. Proceedings usually degenerate into a Stalinist show-trial denouncing those who were caught drinking half pints or turning up late. The punishments are both cruel, and unusual - and frequently involve the word 'horse'. Oh, and there's an overly long anthem too, each verse punctuated by the chant of 'Stoke my briar'.

None of this has anything to do with photography, except the animated and inebriated faces of my good pipe smoking friends make for good candid portrait fodder. And so, in arguably the least glamorous photo blog entry in the internet's history, I present the good and worthy members of the annual Pipes & Ales General Meeting...

Misguided attempt at a paper pipe, and not actually a giant spliff. Honest! 

Good lord! *choke* The working class! 

At this point in proceedings, a prank phone call is childishly sent to a certain party member's father. This childish act is made acceptable however due to the recipient being a local politician. Last year's attempt was to convince said official that Obama was coming to visit his small, Yorkshire village. It nearly worked, damnitt!

*Chortle! Tee hee!* 

Above quietly guffaws the founding figure of Pipes & Ales. He actually flies in from his teaching job in Cairo to participate in this. Good lord.

Meeting adjourned (as ever inconclusively) we hit the tiles...

Myself, trying to influence friend to turn camera portrait. To no effect. 

"How dare you!" - "Shut UP!"

Look, I'm sorry - okay? We can't all hang out with young winsome ladies shot by contra-light on the West coast.  THIS IS WALES.