Nice obscure Canadian post-rock reference there for Russ and any other Canucks reading this.

We pick up the story as the train from Perth arrives at a Dundee station bursting with pre-AGM anticipation.

The Newport of the North

I headed straight to Caird Hall to pick up my CAMRA Members’ Weekend goody bag, my first since the Isle of Man in “Icelandic Ash Cloud” 2010.

If you recognise yourself in the queue I’ll buy you a pint of Doom Bar in a Spoons of your choice. The bloke behind me was from Stockport, of course. He wasn’t a Robinson’s fan.

Great man bag

I’ll show you the contents of the goody bag later.  For now, here’s the obligatory kilt shot.

Nice kilt, weird Herefordshire sacks

Lovely team of volunteers, great setting, no doubt loads of rare beers on the bar.

Beers you’ve never heard of

But I came for the pubs, superbly detailed in the Members Guide.  So I phoned Stafford Paul, who I’d been expecting to meet at the Members Bar.

He was walking to the pub when he answered his phone.  Striding purposefully up the hill to the Speedwell.

Paul did it in 15
Proper Pub

Obviously not my first trip to “Mennies“, but you can’t come to Dundee and not do any heritage pubs.

Unwelcome modernity

Particularly one with “a part-glazed screen and has a magnificent mahogany gantry and counter, dado panelled walls and an anaglypta Jacobean ceiling.”   Whatever that means.


It’s packed, with a really mixed late afternoon crowd. but Paul has found a window seat where he’s chatting pubs with a couple I assume are also from Staffordshire but aren’t.  Paul will talk to anyone.

Not my Erdinger

Like Aberdeen’s Queen Vic, a smart but not posh boozer, with great staff and fresh flowers, and a few touches to modernity like the 71 Brewing keg fonts.

As also seen at the V & A

I had a decent if not stellar Jarl (NBSS 3), suddenly feeling jealous of Paul’s Deuchars, and chatted about everything except beer for half an hour. Perhaps we discussed our favourite Godspeed You! Black Emperor track (“East Hastings“), perhaps not.

I bet the Speedwell had a good weekend when CAMRA came to town.

Sadly, we were so trapped I couldn’t even get to the famous toilets, but that’s what Wetherspoons for.




  1. It was the length of the queue for the goodie bags that, with no time to lose, got me walking up to the Speedwell.
    Did you suggest to the man with the rucksack that he invested in a larger sporran ?
    Yes, “Paul will talk to anyone”.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Such a lovely one. When I see that sort of decorative work on the ceiling and so forth I start thinking it would have been an “upper class/upper middle class” pub back when it was first opened. Then again, I wonder if the upper class even bothered with pubs– maybe the whole category was beneath them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting point. There were clear class divisions in pubs back then, as Boak and Bailey explore so well in 20th Century Pub, but I always assume the upper classes stuck to port in London private clubs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Many of the most elaborate Victorian and Edwardian “gin palaces” were actually built for a working-class clientele, such as the three famous Holts pubs in Eccles (sadly now only two).

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I proposed under Standing Order 3.1a that conference proceeds to next business but that wasn’t accepted.
      Twenty-five minutes later I voted against the motion.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Normal service resumed – opened last Thursday with the excellent Sue & Roger (long time Sam’s managers and relief managers) running it for the next 6 months or until a new permanent management couple are found.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Richard,
        Yes. that’s not the first time I’ve heard it suggested that CAMRA is rapidly becoming irrelevant.
        I thought that so few motions for debate this year was significant and of six of us on a Buxton pub crawl eight days ago two, yes a third, had let their membership lapse during the past three years.


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