Monday 20 April 2020

Not so much waxing lyrical about pubs

I just like this picture
I am prone to wax lyrical about pubs but here are few of the things I recall, either personally, or have been told about, that are not so lyrical. Fun at the time maybe — or maybe not — and I suspect there will be more stories like this. 

The time when a mate of mine was in a North Wales pub and someone was glassed and then bled to death in front of him. He had nothing to do with the fight but was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

The time in a rural pub in Somerset when my wife and I were eating a meal and someone on the same table lit up a gasper and basically turned what was a pleasing meal into something of a smoked ordeal.

The time when a gay friend of mine (as well as me and a then girlfriend) were thrown out of a pub because the landlord (yes it was a man) was mocking a copy of Gay Times that had been left at the bar and my friend said something along the lines of, ‘if your mind is as small as your cock, then you have problems’. As an aside, Sean kindled my interest my lifelong interest and passion in Ulysses.

The evening I spent in the French House in Soho waiting for a girlfriend and talking with another music journalist who had a white chalky line of coke under his nose — I didn’t want to say anything and besides this was Soho in the late 80s. 

The time a mate of mine broke such an evil gust of wind that most of the pub moved to the other end of the bar leaving us two there, obvious culprits. Oddly enough it was the same pub that I recall meeting with a couple of members of the band I was in then and one of them said, ‘have you heard, Ian Curtis has killed himself’. The Elm Tree in Cambridge if you must know.

The pub in Hampstead whose condom machine fell off the wall just after I put the money in and at the same time someone came into the loo. I suspect it was a metaphor for the relationship I was then in anyway.  

The pub in Devon where the landlord (long moved on you’ll be glad to know) told the bar-person to pull the sole cask beer through the taps, ‘as it hadn’t been served for a couple of days’. I sat there with a pint of Sarson’s while our then Jack Russell tried to take on the pub dog. I never went in again even though my mother-in-law, who used to babysit for us then, lived across the road.

And of course the classic: the time my wife asked a landlord in a pub just outside Dolgellau (where I have many members of my family in the ground) if she could have a Bloody Mary, and he replied, ‘you can have anything the bloody well want’. I think he was English, as is my wife. 

We all have joyous and positive experiences of the pub but sometimes it is good to remember when it wasn’t always that way.  

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