Living in Sheffield brings Derby within easy reach, 30 minutes by rail in fact, and it’s a mystery, as the song goes, that it took me nearly a year to make the trip.

The new GBG offers three new Derby pubs, one of which in Spondon you’ve met already. The other two are new micros to the west of town, which fill me with such joy that I almost take a seat at Derby’s piano and play the Kangaroo Air Force Ventilator classic “Oh no not another micro off the A38“.

This is the first time in a decade I’ve been at Derby Station, built to ferry tickers to the Brunswick and Alexandra. What a nice sign.
Trans : “You’ll win nothing with Rooney”

Anyone sensible would have taken the actual bus called “mickleover” to Mickleover, but I wanted to see the mythical western suburbs for myself, and wonder how Derby CAMRA stick these under “Derby” in the Guide when they’re over an hour away, while Huddersfield disowns the Magic Rock Tap, 5 minutes walk from the station, and dumps in Birkby, whatever that is.

If the Station Inn had been open and serving Bass from the jug I probably wouldn’t have made it past Midland Road though.

Mrs RM had a stint working at Derby Royal Infirmary in the 90s, but she’s not responsible for the current state of it.
Statue of Mrs RM implementing Agresso finance software c.1998

There’s some attractive churches as you leave the city centre via Lara Croft Way for California and Ozzy Road. I’m not making these names up.

Some will opt for the old,

but I prefer the new.

But there’s no pubs of note on the 4 miles slog, and I’m relieved to cross the A38 and reach my tick.

Yes, proper opening hours at the Hole in the Wall, Derby Brewing‘s attempt to rival Titanic with a cafe bar-cum-bar for the masses.

It’s neat and friendly, but lacks that lived-in feel you only get by age and experience.

They’re obviously informed of my visit from Sheffield, and play Pulp’s Year 2000. But it’s not quite enough to lift a £2 half of Business as Usual above the usual, even though the barperson raised the bar with an impromptu “Alright m’ duck“.

The next stage of my journey would take another hour, but at least I had the colours of the fall to look forward to.

In 1987, at a Lone Justice gig at the Marquee, Maria McKee said she’d be back in “the Fall”, and I actually thought she was joining Mark E Smith on backing vocals. Why can’t Americans use English properly ?


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