PLAYLIST: 20th Century Pub

When we’re writing anything substantial we often find it useful to put together a soundtrack. Here’s the one we made for our new book, 20th Century Pub, which is due back from the printers anytime.… now.

It’s a fun­ny old bunch of songs, some cho­sen because we like them, oth­ers because they evoke a mood or peri­od. We could eas­i­ly have includ­ed 50 songs from the 1920s to the 1940s that we lis­tened to end­less­ly while work­ing on the ear­li­er por­tions of the book.

You’ll find the full playlist on Spo­ti­fy here:

And below there are notes on each track along with YouTube videos where we could find decent ones for those of you averse to Spo­ti­fy for what­ev­er rea­son.

The book should be ship­ping in the next week or so despite an offi­cial pub­li­ca­tion date of 15 Sep­tem­ber. You can order it via Ama­zon UK or ask in your local book­shop.

In the mean­time, have a lis­ten to the playlist by way of a trail­er, per­haps as an accom­pa­ni­ment to The Pubs of Bog­gle­ton.

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News, Nuggets & Longreads 15 April 2017 – Metal, Myrcene, Milk Stout

Here’s everything that grabbed our attention in the world of beer and pubs in the last week, from heavy metal to heavy hops.

For Noisey, the music sec­tion of Vice, Sam­my Maine has writ­ten what she calls ‘A Love Let­ter to British Met­al Pubs’, high­light­ing the threat to this par­tic­u­lar type of pub:

Anoth­er blow is the case of Bris­tol’s The Stag and Hounds—a metal/rock pub focused on the pro­mo­tion of local and DIY shows—which will be clos­ing next month. Announc­ing the news on their web­site, the team explained that ‘through a series of events and cir­cum­stances (some out of our con­trol) we have looked at the books and it’s not viable for us to car­ry on to see the con­tract out.’ This kind of state­ment is becom­ing a bro­ken record when it comes to fans of met­al pubs—their pres­ence tum­bling thanks to var­i­ous issues like tax hikes, the per­sis­tent demand for lux­u­ry flats and the feel­ing that they sim­ply don’t feel huge­ly rel­e­vant or cru­cial any­more when met­al can often feel more like a genre you pass through, rather than one you com­mit to.

(This is actu­al­ly from a cou­ple of weeks ago but we only noticed it the oth­er day.)


Wild hops, Richmond, London.

Emma at Cre­ma’s Beer Odyssey has shared a long, detailed post on the sci­ence of hops, based on research for a talk to a South Lon­don home brew­ing club. It is tech­ni­cal with­out being remote and typ­i­cal­ly forth­right, act­ing (per­haps inci­den­tal­ly) as a rebuke to us and oth­ers who have failed to get on board the drink fresh train:

There are always peo­ple who say, ‘oh but I pre­fer my IPA with some age on it’ or sim­i­lar. If you look around online it’s quite easy to find evi­dence of peo­ple drink­ing IPA or DIPA when it’s months or even years old and insist­ing it’s still great. It’s nice that they enjoy old beer but that’s not what the brew­er intend­ed. Of course, depend­ing on the size of the brew­ery, there are steps which can be tak­en to give their beer as long a shelf life as pos­si­ble (fil­ter­ing and cold chain dis­tri­b­u­tion, for exam­ple). For small­er brew­eries there is a much sim­pler option: advise your cus­tomers to drink fresh by apply­ing a short best before date to your hop-for­ward beers, e.g. three or four months.

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Modern Pubmanship 6: Jukeboxes

This is the sixth in an occa­sion­al series of guest posts by eti­quette expert R.M. Banks.

Not all public houses are enhanced by the addition of a jukebox. Some do quite well with the gentle avant-garde percussion provided by a burning log or two in the grate; others lack the acoustic qualities so that the addition of recorded music brings to mind someone falling downstairs while carrying a tin bath full of squeaky dog toys.

On the whole, though, I am per­son­al­ly all for them. Oh, yes, you can count me as a fee-pay­ing mem­ber of the Juke Box Appre­ci­a­tion Soci­ety. I am always hap­py to kick in a quid for the plea­sure of hear­ing five of the gramo­phone industry’s finest efforts, or two quid the dozen for that mat­ter. A well hus­band­ed juke-box, stuffed to the coin-slots with the right stuff, brings joie de vivre where once glum silence lay heavy as suet pud­ding; it lifts as it bright­ens as it shines!

Of course there are pit­falls.

First, there is the mat­ter of good taste. If you were to flip through my record cab­i­net you would like­ly scoff, per­haps mock, or even come to look up on the very basis of our friend­ship with jaun­diced eye. And the reverse would like­ly be true. Con­sid­er, then, a pub­lic bar con­tain­ing, let us say, 30 peo­ple – what are the chances that all will be equal­ly enthused upon hear­ing, to pick an exam­ple quite at ran­dom, the surg­ing of the Ham­mond organ at the com­mence­ment of ‘Stop in the Name of Love’? Up to a point, this can­not be helped: a juke­box con­tain­ing only songs that no one dis­likes would be like a hos­pi­tal meal of steamed fish and boiled pota­toes. The sound­est advice is to avoid the deep end of the pool – songs con­tain­ing full-throat­ed Scan­di­na­vian met­al scream­ing, dischord intend­ed to evoke mans inhu­man­i­ty to man, treat­ed piano, lax­a­tive basslines, children’s choirs, and so on. Juke­box songs ought to elic­it a tap­ping of the foot, per­haps a gay whis­tle, but ought­n’t inter­fere with the con­ver­sa­tion.

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MUSIC: Pub Crawling Blues

We were tipped off to this by a documentary about British blues music Lenny Henry made for Sky Arts.

It’s from a 1969 LP called Black Lon­don Blues which is pret­ty great from start to fin­ish and is avail­able on Spo­ti­fy, iTunes, and to buy on CD.

And, yes, that is Ram John Hold­er as in Pork Pie from the 1990s sit­com Desmond’s, who turns out to be a very inter­est­ing bloke.

I had ten pints of bit­ter at the vol­un­teer of Glouces­ter Place.
I’m pub crawl­ing… I’m the Ram.
I’m pub crawl­ing… I’m your man.

Who Drank My Beer? (1952)

We heard this song by Dave Bartholomew on a com­pi­la­tion of blues and R&B songs about booze that Bai­ley’s Dad was lis­ten­ing to over the week­end. It’s a sad tale of a bloke who goes (we think) to the bog and, when he comes back, finds that some­one has fin­ished his pint:

Who drank my beer while I was in the rear?
Who drank my beer while I was in the rear?
Point out that low-down moocher –
I’ll dis­lo­cate his future!