The second of my Pride of Preston posts (their TIC should use that one) revisits a real hero(ine), and an iconic pub.
But first, Preston. As lovely as ever, even if we never actually found the retirement flats Mrs RM had been exploring on-line.
The fairy lights along Fishergate looked new, and of course there’s a micropub now, but elsewhere all is the same, as it should be. Some heating in the Starbucks would push it into the big league.
Three days at £35 a night in a Premier Inn, whose key cards somehow never work and whose staff are scarily cheerful.
Two minutes walk to Mick’s Hut for the famed family mixed grill (4,500 calories worth of meat for £7.20), five minutes to Avenham Park, and ten minutes to the (New) Continental alongside the Ribble. One of the great riverside pubs.
This is the city’s premier music pub, and until recently the premier craft beer place as well. Mrs RM fondly recalled an evening here with interesting food and 8% evil keg IPAs The keg this week looked a bit dull by Stockport standards, but the cask line-up was certainly up to scratch. You can’t go wrong with West Yorkshire beers, and middle-aged folkies have a predilection for Mallinsons, it seems.
The lack of cutting-edge craft taps was explained by the Beer Board. This move from tap to can I’m also seeing in Spoons and Greene King makes perfect sense, and makes the bar look a bit simpler, but you lose the impact of the shiny keg fonts.
While no architectural gem with opened-out bar and conservatory, the Continental is a smart venue packed with smartly-dressed young pros (not pro drinkers) that would be at home in Chorlton. The gig-goers heading into the side room for Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker were (even) older than us, Mrs RM was pleased to note.
My good wife found me a Wheeltappers & Shunters style table right next to the stage, bless her. You don’t get this close to the stage at the 02, you know. In return I brought her pints of Calypso Cascade and Polaris at regular intervals (NBSS 3/3.5).
You’ll remember Josienne and Ben from my 2016 highlights package;
Well her voice is even better in the flesh than on record, and while she compares her saxophone playing as being closer to Ron Coltrane than his errant brother, I was slightly entranced.
Sax solo apart, this was an hour of melancholia aimed at those of us who think “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” the pinnacle of modern song, though it’s a set closer to “Fotheringay” in feel.
Josienne’s self-deprecating banter is a bit of an art-work in itself, and she also displayed an impressive empathy, checking on a chap whose sudden illness caused an ambulance to be called late on. I hope he’s OK.
We were locked-in the pub for a while as the ambulance used the entrance, giving us a new song about a gig in Chicago where no-one turned up. It was the highlight of the night.
NB My post title today comes from this classic(but then Dave knew that). I have to warn you, this may convert you to Prog Rock.