Pub culture lends itself to film-making thanks to its quirks, eye-catching details, and characters.
We’ve been picking up the odd video here and there over the years but hadn’t checked Vimeo for a while. We were lured there this time trying to answer a question about seafood hawkers in pubs which turned up this gem directed by Matthew Daunt:
Then, following the breadcrumbs, we found this recent portrait of the Steve, landlord of Ye Olde Vic in Stockport:
(Of his fists: ‘Let me just tell you that they’re only resting, not retired.’)
This next film, The Regulars, by Grant Hodgeon, is actually eight years old but it’s the first time we’ve come across it. It’s an eccentric piece in some ways, switching styles, stopping and starting, but there’s no denying the charm of the raw footage:
And, finally, another Stockport pub (is everyone there a documentarian?) filmed by Jake Parker in 2013:
You can really smell the booze and the sticky carpets in that one, can’t you?
The similarity in tone of these films and others – wistful, slightly sad – says something about how the pub is viewed in 21st Century Britain. We suppose it’s because it feels fragile or endangered as an institution that people feel motivated to document it, while they still can.
Is it a new artform? The existence of Peter Davis’s 1962 film Pub, available on the BFI DVD of London in the Raw, would suggest not.