NO HOLDS BARRED WITH YOUR; Pub talk with Iain Hoskins, owner of Ma Boyle's Alehouse & Eatery.
I WAS asked on Radio City's City Talk this week when I was last spat at. The issue of course was the country's hot topic following ex-Liverpool footballer Jamie Carragher's spitting incident at a Man United fan after Sunday's game.
I really struggled to remember - there is, of course, the occasional encounter when you might get a very minor ricochet from someone talking or eating. I had to dig deep but remembered that it was probably when I was about 13 and was having an argument with my younger brother, who, after a certain level of provocation (he would claim), then decided to spit at me. Apologies, if you are reading this while enjoying your Sunday dinner, but to be on the receiving end of someone taking aim and landing you in the face with their spit feels like one of the most awful assaults you can have. I think I'd rather take a punch in the face than be spat at.
In many countries, spitting at someone is legally a form of assault. Needless to say, the childhood exchange with my brother didn't end well.
An ex-footballer spitting at a heckling opposition fan is probably something that, in ordinary circumstances, we would perhaps only raise a disapproving eyebrow at. But I think what made this whole story so divisive and newsworthy was that it was Carragher, an outstanding public figure and unblemished servant of Liverpool FC.
In a straw poll, he would probably be one of the footballers you would expect it from the least. Which gives rise to the theory that either the provocation was far worse than we saw in the video clip, or that he had some issues in his personal life and the taunting was the straw that broke the camel's back.
I also think spitting as a form of attack or retaliation seems such a strange, primitive and, I'm sorry, chavvy thing to do in today's society. I'd also argue that it's only a few degrees away from a similar social 'no-no' which is spitting on the ground or street. There's been many a time I've been walking behind someone who decides to spit in the street, and I've had to make quick manoeuvres to avoid either treading on it or it being blown downwind and hitting me.
We have the ciggie butt police out in force with fines for littering, so I think it's time, like London, we had them too for people spitting on the ground, as I know what I'd rather tread in.