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.