We thought we might as well get this out of the way as it’s going to be the world’s briefest round-up.
We didn’t even bother with a monthly email newsletter, having very little to say.
Why the limited output? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Between pandemic, family stuff, work, housing troubles and the Coming of Darkness, it’s been hard to get motivated.
Back in spring, there was at least the motivating power of lockdown mania, but now, the weariness is real.
Don’t think we’re being idle, though.
Jess has knitted five pairs of gloves in the past month, as part of something called ‘Mitten Madness’.
Ray has written a couple of stories like this one, several thousand words of his almost-complete second novel and compered an online event for his writers’ group at the Bristol Festival of Literature.
We’ve also got an idea for how we might motivate ourselves in November – watch this space and so on.
We started October with a big feature piece on Watney’s Birds Nest pubs which were briefly trendy in the 1960s and 70s:
[The] Twickenham Birds Nest has become the “in” inn for young people from all over southern England, would you believe? And packed every night, would you also believe? This came about largely through the ‘rave’ buzz getting around among 18-25 year-olds – inspired by the fun experienced there by early young customers – that ‘The Birds Nest’ scene was really different. Guys and dollies were even making the trip from Chelsea to Twickenham, would you believe, so loud was the buzz of approval.
We wrote about a lost pub, The Cook’s Ferry Inn, the name of which lives on as a road junction and bus stop:
In the inter-war years, it was decided to build a great north circular road to connect newly populous outer London neighbourhoods, open up space for industry and provide jobs. In 1927, the stretch between Angel Road, Edmonton, and Billet Road, Chingford was opened… The rebuilding of the Cook’s Ferry Inn was made necessary by the fact that the new road was higher than the narrow old lane it replaced… In 1928, this was a grand, well-appointed pub – part of Whitbread’s commitment to make pubs bigger, smarter and more respectable.
Pondering why we see such different attitudes to pubs during the pandemic in different contexts, we reflected on the different meanings of pub:
There is no universal understanding of what ‘the pub’ means – no single image that materialises in the mind at the sound of the word… For us, it’s a space with low light, nest-like corners and the murmur of conversation. Though not right now, of course. Together with the world but separate. This is the George Orwell ideal, about contentment more than excitement.
Yesterday, we gave our thoughts on life in Tier 1+ where pubs are open, trading, but… weird:
Humans are terrible at risk assessment, aren’t they? People who were not going out when new cases were at around 20-30 a day and were stable or falling, are now happily visiting pubs with cases at 250 a day and rising. Great British Common Sense in action.
We did, at least, keep up our regular schedule of Saturday morning news and links round-ups:
- 31 October 2020 | Pubs, clubs, festivals
- 24 October 2020 | Existential crisis
- 17 October 2020 | Memory, colonialism, beer styles
- 10 October 2020 | Architecture, yeast culture, the nature of time
- 3 October 2020 | Beer Orders, Bridgnorth, black market sahti
What an amazing volume of fascinating, insightful, entertaining stuff our fellow beer nerds have produced, despite everything.
We did some Tweets, too, like this:
Overheard, a young feller on the phone: “I'll be gutted if there's no pubs left after this. That's my whole gameplan for when I'm old – go pub, play pool, drink beer.”
— Boak and Bailey (@BoakandBailey) October 18, 2020
And, finally, we popped a few bits on Patreon, such as additional notes on Watney’s Birds Nest pubs from our pal Adrian and several sets of ‘Beers of the Weekend’ tasting notes.