I'm at Wetherspoons full-year results, where founder-chairman Tim Martin is reporting the company's first ever loss, of £105m.

It should come as no surprise that he is not wearing a mask, although we ARE socially distanced and the venue has been moved to accommodate that.
He is telling a story about drinking with a journalist, who I won't name because apparently he was "always pie-eyed".
Now he is quoting @cjsnowdon, who I imagine will be delighted, saying that anyone suggesting an alternative to lockdown is treated as if they're proposing genocide.
And now he is quoting my esteemed colleague Larry Elliott. At length.
Here's the point of these quotes:-

"I'm anxious not to be painted as a wild outlier but maybe I will be."
“I’m not on social media so it’s quite shocking to read some of the comments.”

"People seem to believe our pubs are not clean."

Says Spoons is top of the league tables for cleanliness.
Now addressing criticism of conditions for staff.

"We've consistently paid about half of our profits to staff in bonuses."
Regarding social media criticism, which he seems to have seen for the first time:-

"I thought 'Fuck that', that's what I thought. I thought 'Fuck you'."
He's coughing quite a lot. Probably unrelated.
We're back on Covid-19 restrictions.

"Trust the ice-cool Swedes, who kept their heads" and stuck to social distancing and hand washing.
Here's the science bit...concentrate!

"If you go out with 19 people who have Covid and social distance you'll be fine. If you go out in a group of six and think you're safe and start hugging everyone, you'll get the virus."
Saying Spoons paid the government £8m a week in taxes last year so the furlough isn't so much government support but a tax break.
Now quoting Shakespeare from Macbeth:-

"Nothing is, but what is not."

"And I often thought, what the bloody hell is Shakespeare going on about?"
On staff Covid-19 cases.

429 employees have tested positive since 4 July, 1% of headcount. Approx the same as the nationwide number.

"607 pubs have had no positive pubs. 116 have had 1. So you’d think that if it was ripping through the pub world, it would be more."
"The truth is you certainly can catch Covid in a pub but it's not the centre of transmissions."
*positive cases
"If you go to the loo (in the pub) you've got to wear a face mask. I don't think there's any science to back that up."

No health advantage from table service, he claims.
OK this is a line from The Thick of It Surely. Spoons has two sayings apparently.

EDOV - Everything depends on the virus.
ADOG - Also depends on government.
Tim Martin on Boris, with whom he was photographed in July last year and essentially endorsed for PM.

"I haven't spoken to him since. You’ve got to learn fast. What’s disappointed me is that I wasn’t in favour of a lockdown but I completely went along with it..."
"But actions in the last couple of months appear to be jumping wildly from pillar to post without a strategy, based possibly on pollster views as to what the public might like rather than on a proper long-term strategy that people and business can live with...
Then he mangles a quote from Bob Dylan: “You’d better start changing or sink like a stone, times they are a changing.”
This is interesting. Overall trading was down 26% in July but up 5% in August, thanks to Eat Out To Help Out.
He then compares himself to Nelson Mandela (as the spokesman for a freedom movement, in this case Brexit) but asks me not to stitch him up because he was only joking.
Still supports no-deal Brexit but admits it "will be an inconvenience in some respects".
Worst trading has been in Central London, airports (where they've shut venues).

Big city centres outside London are variable. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff down quite a bit.

But smaller cities that aren't commuter cities (eg Exeter) have been OK.
Not long left for questions and I've exhausted mine. Any suggestions?

Keep a civil tongue in your heads...
That's all she wrote, folks. As ever, a struggle ahead to fit it all into a story.

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