Sacred Text

Before Christmas we wrote a post about The Ring, a London-based drinking society, based on an email from Sue Hart, one of its long-time members.

During our correspondence she agreed to send us copies of some of the original Ring pub crawl sheets. What you see above is the oldest of the set from May 1967. In that original post Sue is quoted as saying of these crawls:

The ones put together by The Deputy took some understanding. He was a real whizz with numbers and often his Ring sheets would contain lots of mathematical riddles, or sometimes references to football teams. He would also try and get a singing spot in the right sort of pub.

Actually seeing the text brings home exactly what she means. It’s a combination of cryptic crossword, puns, in-jokes and nicknames that makes barely any sense in places.

We’re going to let the document speak for itself except for one quick observation: Wot a Lot of Watney’s!

And a footnote: Spurs did beat Chelsea, 2-1.

Tooled Up Froth Blowers, RALF and the Ring

Not the real RALF logo.
Not the real RALF logo…

When we wrote about the Ancient Order of Froth Blowers, we knew they were relatively well known, but didn’t know they’d been immortalised in animation. Our favourite discovery, however, has been that the AOFB was used as a cover by ‘Wild Geese’ mercenaries who turned up to support a 1981 coup in the Seychelles wearing blazers embroidered with the Order’s logo, and with their bags stuffed with guns.

That Froth Blowers post also led a chap called Bert to tip us off to the existence of the militant Real Ale Liberation Front (RALF), founded by pub landlord and CAMRA member Nick Winnington in Weymouth in c.1977, with the aim of carrying out small acts of sabotage against keg beer and the big brewers. There was more than one member, and there were some stickers, but that’s all we know. We’ve emailed Nick (with Bob Arnott’s help) and await more information.

Finally, our new favourite book(s), Green and White’s Evening Standard Guide to London Pubs (1973), gives us this:

Another organization concerned with pubs and beer is ‘the Ring.’ This is a loosely knit group of mature students of the pub scene. They meet once a month for a determined pub crawl, obliged to visit ten or eleven pre-selected pubs. Masonic rituals prevail; you buy drinks in groups of three or four in strict rotation; and when the leader has finished his half pint, he shouts ‘Ring out!’, at which you must drain your glass and leave the pub… Men are known collectively as Hector, and ladies — though not normally accepted — as Morag.

Can anyone confirm the existence of the Ring? Or is this just it’s-a-mad-world journalistic bullshit?