Saturday, 21 June 2014

The House of Eccentrics

Bizarre times
A pub I go to tends to attract the unusual.  My guess is that this trend was started by the first manager of the place, who told his staff he hired them on their "personality" rather than manual-perfect customer service skills.  Needless to say, this resulted in some very interesting patron/server interactions.   Last March I sat next to the assistant manager, who, after a particularly, painful breakup, was getting absolutely slaughtered (off duty, I may add).  My guess is that he'd had at least eight by the time I left "It's not the sex I miss," he said "It's just having someone to talk to."  He moved to Nottingham soon after, as you do.  But due to the well-known staff turnover in the licenced trade, the new manager has been slowly replacing  the "oddball" staff with the more well-known phenomenon of the "attractive and personable young lady".  Which will possibly bring in more custom, but isn't half as interesting.

How I will miss the phenomenon of one particular barman who had, well, I'll say euphemistically a "particularly active social life".  Not so much a one-track mind, but a one-rail mind. "You know, if there's one thing women like," I said to him "It's a man will a really large <pause> vocabulary."  And whether he didn't get it or had a particularly sharp sense of bathos, he said "Yes, and they like a massive cock as well."  You just can't buy that kind of thing, even in university towns.

I was told recently that I was probably the one thing that kept this pub going in Spring/Summer 2013.  Whereas I doubt my £60 per week spend would really make that much of difference to the viability of a business, it does make you think when one of the staff say that.  Perhaps I set the tone for the place, sitting there in my bizarre shirt and facial hair, making inappropriate comments about the proclivities of 70s TV stars.  My eccentricity seems to have rubbed off on the pub, and it now attracts all kinds of social outcasts and malcontents using it as a forum to spout their bizarre opinions.  One, a former journalist from Accrington, will stand at the bar drinking pint after pint of cider, occasionally telling jokes that go nowhere and replying to conversations in a general non-sequitur fashion. "I have insomnia. It's terrible", he once said.  If I was as cruel a man as people think, I would have replied "Have you tried recording yourself and listening to the playback?"  But I'm not, so I didn't.  At least until I had Facebook access, anyway.

Despite the encroachment of female-friendly policies, the atypical nature of the pub has remained intact.  Whether this is because of the times I go there (the Monday afternoon drinker is likely to be a more unusual beast than their Friday night counterpart), or because the old clientele hasn't been sufficiently scared away by tealights and soft rock, I don't know.  But in my opinion, there should be a pub for everybody.  Even people like me. The penurious alkies can have their Spoons, the families can have their Marstons diners, the hipsters can have their BrewDogs.  But me, I want my own quiet, small haven of eccentricity in a small corner of a nearby town.


  1. the reason you are single is that shirt.

    1. Really, Cookie? I always thought it was because I'm a basket case with no social skills. Or the dimple mug.

  2. The best pubs have character, and that needs a population of characters. There are times when the old dictum that you'll never know who you'll meet in a pub leads you to the bizarre and downright surreal.

  3. It's ok, you'll always get a job as a Vivian Stanshall lookalike.