As you’ll know I’m incredibly shy, I really am. But also incredibly stupid, and could never say “No” to anything, particularly if there was a pub at the end of it. Having to explain the inequities of NHS funding to Southend Council in 2011 was a particularly daft thing to volunteer for, but the shopping centre tick was adequate compensation at 9pm.

Back in November I was happy to be interviewed by the estimable Will Hawkes about the Beer Guide completion, on the sole condition I wouldn’t have to hold a pint of beer and go “Cheers !”.

Will’s excellent article has just appeared on the Telegraph’s website so I can tell you about that now.

Actually, let’s not talk about me, let’s talk about Will, a lovely man and a master of his craft, both interviewing and condensing 90 minutes of chat into a 10 minute read.

Will had just wrote* a gorgeous piece about a couple of contrasting pubs in South London; I hope he won’t mind me giving you an extract;

The Nun’s Head’s community is based around progressive values; at The Man of Kent, it’s more a matter of turning up and seeing who’s there to chat to. The fact that they’re so close and yet so far apart, culturally speaking, gives the lie to all the old guff about pubs bringing people together. On the other hand, that they can happily coexist says a lot for modern London

The way some pubs bring folk together, or keep them apart, is one of the fascinating things about pub culture. What really impressed me is that Will talked about pub dynamics, and the appeal of travelling round the country exploring, rather than asking “What’s your favourite beer, then ?“.

I’d picked five places I’d found particularly good for pubs (Stockport, Sheffield, Kirkwall, Douglas and Bath), substituting Bath for Stockton-on-Tees as my list looked scarily “Northern“. Sorry, Wasp’s Nest.

We met in the Shirker’s Rest in New Cross, even though that won’t be in the Beer Guide till 2023,

and I hadn’t even got my completed GBG to hand so the photo is of the current Guide, in case you cry foul.

Hopefully the photos taken by Rii beforehand will be heavily edited (or lost) so you’ll never have to see me attempt to smile for the camera, but I did cheer up when Andy (aka 50% of Deserter) found the brown sauce to go with the Slabs. It was great to see the Shirker so busy on a Wednesday afternoon, and not just with studentz from Goldsmiths.

Anyway, please don’t ask me how you get to read Will’s piece without giving money to the Telegraph; I’m sure you’ll find a way via the dark web.

And I will be around to sign autographs in the Blind Monkey on Christmas Day between 14:15 and 14:25. Form an orderly queue.

*sign up to Will’s London newsletter here.

29 thoughts on “INFAMY AT LAST

  1. Through the luck of the random draw, I was able to read the full article in the Telegraph for free. That Will London is a damn fine journalist, little wonder you were unexpectedly forthcoming. You’ll catch up with my Discourse post once you recover from celebrating….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you got to read it, Caroline.

      Excellent and accurate journalism ? What’s the world coming to ?

      I could have picked Kendal as an example of a great place to visit for a mix of pubs, but I was keen to take the reader off the beaten track !


  2. Nah! Good job you didn’t pick Kendal…. I’d have been overwhelmed by WP ‘updates’ from members of a.n.other branch lambasting us for this year’s choice of GBG entries. So far, only a couple – quite enough to deflate egos about writing new ‘snappy’ descriptions this year… LOL


  3. Tempted to buy/browse the hard copy, there’s some rugby news I need to catch up with too. I’m guessing Jay Rayner and the Observer got the ‘Five places particularly good for Crispy Beef’ scoop, The Sport settling for Si’s ‘Best Station Platform Toilet Stops’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Telegraph subscription is very reasonable. You sign up for the first three months free, then it goes up, you ring them to cancel and you get it for something like £1.99 a month. Obvs it’s incredibly right wing but you take that or leave it, it’s good for sport and you get some good articles, including the one about the madman who ticked all those pubs.


    1. Yes, I’ve got a Telegraph subscription on that basis, which has currently been running for about a year. But you have to remember to cancel at the right time otherwise you will be charged for one month at the full rate 😱

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What a pleasant, positive article. Congratulations Martin, and thank you for passing along the link. ‘Twas a very enjoyable read. Didn’t know you had been an accountant- my sincere condolences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Accountant by qualification, Jim, but rather veered away from the numbers early on into the rather more sinister “management” !

      Yes, it’s a pleasant, positive article, and even the comments I dared look at were rather more cheery than expected.


      1. Thank-you Martin, your link to the “dark-web” worked. It saved me from having to enrich the surviving Barclay twin, any further! A lovely write-up too from Mr Hawkes, who I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting, and one that I believe encapsulates you, perfectly. Interesting to read that Christine introduced you to the delights of beer drinking – what did you imbibe beforehand, or was there a tendency back then, not to bother with pubs, at all?

        13,000+ pubs is a real achievement, and you ought to get some sort of reward, irrespective of whether they were in the Good Beer Guide, or not. Looking at the figures, over 25 years, that’s an approximate trawl of 500 new entries per annum, which does demonstrate that nothing stands sill in the world of the GBG.

        Glad to see Sheffield, Stockport and Bath getting a plug, and the two Stars (Belgravia and Bath), getting a special mention!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess you might see Will at a Beer Writers event at some point ?

        What did I imbibe before ? Caffeine to keep me awake while studying past midnight for Accountancy exams, mainly. And hot chocolate. Ah, the impetuousness of youth.

        I know quite a few people who have been to more pubs than me, often folk who visit all the pubs in a town. Several of us did 10 in Stafford yesterday.

        The challenge of GBG completion is those 400-500 new and re-entries annually, a number which shows that there’s still life in pubs !


  6. Hi Martin, Sorry it has taken me so long to comment on this. It probably says something about me that I was as excited about you visiting The Shirker’s and meeting the Dulwich Raider as I was about the newspaper article. 😉

    When they mentioned you by name on their podcast I felt that rarest of pleasures: when two delightful pub-related worlds collide.

    Thanks as always for sharing all these experiences by way of the blog, and for noting all the amusing details along the way. Here’s to BRAPA getting a similar article written about him in 2057!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mark.

      I was thrilled to visit the Shirkers Rest, too, and meet Andy the Deserter. It seemed appropriate to be visiting a new pub only open 5 months rather than revisiting old classics !

      I only hope I now live long enough to welcome Si to his last pub in 2057.


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