The Short Pub Documentary – A New Artform?

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.

VIDEO: 1975 Covent Garden Beer Exhibition

We’re very grate­ful to Steve AKA @untilnextyear for point­ing this clip out to us. Do any of you CAMRA vet­er­ans recog­nise the par­tic­i­pants, or per­haps even your­self? The hip­ster in the Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty top wouldn’t look out of place at a craft beer fes­ti­val in 2015.

PS. Our long arti­cle about Covent Gar­den ’75 fea­tures in the cur­rent edi­tion of CAMRA’s BEER mag­a­zine which is tech­ni­cal­ly only avail­able to mem­bers but is prob­a­bly also knock­ing about a shelf in your local real ale pub.