Blogging and writing

Everything we wrote in June 2020

It felt as if we didn’t get much blogging done in June but, looking back, we managed about as many posts as usual. Which is, of course, partly why we undertake this little stock-taking exercise.

The month began with a bit of philosophical pondering on the important question of which is the best seat in the pub and the degree to which the choice is subjective:

Our next door neighbours gravitate to the opposite corner, near the bar. Mr Priddy, who is in his late eighties, seems to prefer a bench midway along the wall. Some people, inexplicably, choose to sit on the pew near the bins, even when they don’t have to. The rack of CAMRA magazines at the other end of the bench from our favourite seat seems to lure lone drinkers. And Big Bantering Lads generally prefer standing along the centre bench.

The Comet, Hatfield.

Do you know The Comet in Hatfield? It’s a beautiful Art Deco pub particularly beloved of retro bloggers. Here’s our attempt to tell the story of this gorgeous, significant building.

The Drapers Arms, our local, re-opened for takeaway early in the month, to our great delight

Part of the joy of a good pub is being able to dabble in things you might not necessarily fall in love with. You might discover a new gem or, alternatively, it’ll make you enjoy the stuff you really do like a whole lot more… Being presented with limited options in a range chosen by someone else, can be oddly liberating. The agony of choice and all that.

A dog sniffing a glass of stout.
SOURCE: Watney’s/American Radio History.

Reading The Story of Watney’s we came upon a detail in the brewery’s story that had previously escaped us: Nipper, the HMV dog, also advertised Reid’s Stout.

We finally got round to answering a question someone asked a year ago: when did beer mats become ‘a thing’?

Here’s our straight answer: The modern beer mat emerged in Germany in the 1880s, reached Britain in the 1920s, and became common from the 1950s onward.

Barley broth, beggar-maker, hum-cap, pongelow… We’ve been collecting fun bits of historic beer slang and dialect for a few years, throwing them out on Twitter. Now we’ve put them all together into a dictionary.

Not going to the pub has, predictably, made us all the more obsessed with it. Having pondered pub seating, we then moved onto the jukebox, crowdsourcing the above playlist from our readers.

As the big day when pubs re-open draws nearer, we had a nose through the official guidance and posted a few thoughts on what it might mean, with an emphasis on its approach to risk management:

The language is very much should and not must. So although there is talk about apps for ordering and disposable cutlery, these are not mandatory… This is helpful for businesses as it allows flexibility and puts the onus on their risk assessments and their decisions about what is safe… While some people may object to this, it would in practice be impossible to legislate for every leisure and hospitality business. And we think that customers will vote with their feet if they don’t feel businesses are operating safely.

Isn’t it funny how quickly and easily we forget those big brewery takeover events that cause such a fuss at the moment they happen?

A while back, for example, we were corresponding with a journalist about modern bitter brands and he was completely unaware that Marstons had taken over the brewing arm of Charles Wells… More embarrassingly, I momentarily forgot that Magic Rock had been bought out by Lion in March 2019 – and I’ve written about Magic Rock at length on multiple occasions.

We also put together our regular round-ups of news and links:

6 June 2020 | Black Lives Matter

13 June 2020 | Mild, missing pubs, morality

20 June 2020 | Criminality, Cologne, crisps

27 June 2020 | All eyes on 4 July

We posted a lot on Twitter, including this bit of mischief…

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