PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, March 04, 2011

From Lawrence, re Philosophy meetings feedback + meet this Sunday

Dear Friends,
First of all, thank you for your support and encouragement following our
eviction from Molly Malone's. I certainly did not expect so much support
and so many replies and comments.
Indeed I promised you that I will send out the replies but till now I've
got about seven pages full of your comments. It might therefore not be
practical to send out such a long text via email.
I was also thinking about this and on second thoughts it might be
prudent that I will keep these comments within the group. So basically
what I'll do is to put them on a private document on Google Doc and if
you wish to read them I'll send you the link or the text itself in an
email. I should have it done by tomorrow evening.
Some of you have personally apologised to me for not having consumed
anything during the meetings. Although I am touched with these apologies
I was not expecting any apologies. However, I am accepting these
apologies on behalf of the group. I personally never stipulated that
people should consume anything although the subject was heavily
discussed in the past.
And moreover I made the assumption, the wrong one as it turns out, that
the bar next door was part of the MM establishment. They are connected,
but as they say in business, they are two independent profit centres.
So lesson number one seems to be, perceptions are deceptive. Or to put
it in a common language, if it swims like a duck, quacks like a duck and
looks like a duck, it might still not be a duck.
The general consensus seems to be that the owners of MM did have a valid
point and were more or less right to stop us from meeting there. Some
pointed out that this situation was foreseeable, others that if
customers were leaving because there were no stools upstairs then there
was only one possible outcome, the present one.
A couple of you also told me that they had similar problems with other
groups they belong to or organised. So now we belong to that exclusive
set of groups that have been evicted from their adopted bar or pub!
A number of you also said that someone from the pub staff should have
come downstairs to take orders. Some even argued that it is the business
of the pub to go and get orders. While others said that one of us should
have taken charge of organising an order and get the drinks from up stairs.
The second lesson seems to be that even with a ready made market,
capitalism still needs to "extractus digitus." Over the years we
averaged between thirty people and more, to about twenty people these
past couple of years. Or to put it in simple language, capitalists
should capitalise, and philosophers should philosophise.
Other comments included that people should have arrived early so they
could get the drinks on time; others pointed out that it took too long
to be served upstairs. But as the manager of the pub pointed out, and I
totally agree, it was the responsibility of those who came to the
meeting to get their drinks. Some of you also reminded me that we had
already discussed this question of consumption in the past, so we knew
what we had to do.
As I pointed out in my email, there was not question of us going back to
MM or to negotiate anything with them. So that option is no longer
available for us even if MM was an ideal place.
The moral of the story is that if you are going to be a puritan, make
sure you have a Mayflower ready.
I purposely have not expressed my opinion on the matter in order not to
prejudge the situation and partly to have time to think about it. After
all, I am not the only one who enjoys the meetings and with out you I
wouldn't have anything to enjoy. Hence your opinion matters.
My fatal mistake, and my ultimate responsibility, was to assume that the
bar next door was part of the MM set up. I was not given any hint or
indication by anyone that this was not the case and the
face-value-evidence all pointed in this direction. I mean staff from the
other bar regularly came down to MM, and vice versa, and the other
comings and goings from the two bars. But then again I never did confirm
my assumption.
I do not hold myself responsible for not telling people to consume. The
main reason is that I hate telling people what to do, we had discussed
this in the past, we're all adults and equally important, we were
averaging, as group, about twenty or so people EVERY Sunday. We are the
philosophers not the business people. QED
This of course does not meant that I am not responsible for what
happened, nor that I am not extremely grateful for the support MM gave
me and gave us over the years. That goes without saying and many of you
expressed these very same thoughts and quite rightly too.
The general consensus seems to be that we should do our best to try and
continue the meetings. The other consensus is that we really have no
choices but to impose a charge/consumption. Indeed, Ignacio proposed a
new name for us: Philomadrid/Philomadrink. I think it's great. So in the
sprit of the new-money-making-age, these names are the intellectual
property of the respective authors and if they are used without
permission, well you know the rest. I will use my proceedings to buy a pub!
Back to business, we really have no choice but to require that we all
consume something. So the issue is not whether we consume something but
how much.
However, I do have some comments to make. I am concerned that someone
might not come to the meetings because they might be having cash flow
issues. In this day and age people do have cash flow issues. More
realistically, the requirement to buy a drink might also put off some
However, I really do not think this is going to be a real problem. And
in any case it can easily be solved.
I will therefore assume that there is still a realistic interest in
continuing to meeting.

The good news is that many of you have offered to help in which ever way
I need help and also suggested places. So far we have the following
Asun suggested Nacha and Circulomulier
Many suggested Cafe Commercial and Carlos offered to make an
introduction to the management there. Mike also offered to come with me
and talk to the mngt at CC.
Encarna suggested James Joyce
Julian suggested Abrasador
Miguel suggested El Círculo Salmantino and gave the name of the manager
Jesus suggested Cafe Agenjo
One thing is for sure, this is going to be one hell of a pub crawl in
the history of philosophy to check all these places out. Maybe we can
start this Sunday with Cafe Commerical, unless Asun has some more info
on her suggestions. see below.
My criteria for a place to meet would be more or less the following:
- A place with enough seating for all,
- A place with minimum interruptions such as piped music, passers by, or
too many on lookers,
- Reasonably priced,
- Quite central.
- My main concern is that we can speak freely within the parameters of
respect for each other and caution with local politics.
Last Sunday many suggested that we should still meet this Sunday and go
for a drink. I suggest we meet at 6:30pm out side Cafe Commerical and
take it from there depending on the situation at the time. And because
it will probably be cold this Sunday we'll wait ten to fifteen minutes
and if you turn up late send me a message -606081813- and I'll let you
know where we are. A message is much better than a call for me.
In the meantime, keep your comments and suggestions coming and if you
want to read the comments let me know.
And finally don't forget that Peter is still looking for a flat mate and
Ignacio still offers the best tertulia in town on Thursday night.

Best and hear from you
From Lawrence, re Philosophy meetings feedback + meet this Sunday

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