Last Hour ! The
Collective | 22 September – 5 November 2017
Do you remember your first Pickled Egg? Page 5
WHEN IS A PUB NOT A PUB? There are 80+ pubs within a mile radius of Calton Hill, from where this newspaper is being edited. When this list was being compiled, there were other drinking establishments that were removed from this list due to their being ‘not a pub’. All pubs are bars but not all bars are pubs. So what does qualify a licensed premises as a ‘public house’, and why advocate for those qualifying establishments over any other kind? Perhaps it’s self-explanatory. The qualities that are denoted by the term ‘public house’ both describe what makes a pub, and at risk of sounding idealistic, it is those same properties wherein the value of a pub lies. That said, the pubs within a mile radius are a diverse cross-section of what could constitute a pub. They represent many different approaches to running pubs, different priorities; real ale, the regulars, football, a cheap pint, tourists, none or several or all of these things, just staying open. The ‘public’-ness and the ‘house’-ness of every pub reflect this in some way. We don’t want to suggest some sort of ideal, but that any pub is a set of values or an ethic that has been made material, put into practice, and that
Are Landlords Artists? Find out - Page 3
Continues on page 2 Humphrey Spender, Mass Observation, The Pub and The People
The more noise you make, the more trouble you give... the more welcome you are - Page 22
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Are Landlords Artists?
When is a pub not a pub? Continued from page 1 we ought to be aware of this. Someone running a pub, through the mediums of furniture and beer, the orchestration of opening hours and last orders, has creative control over the whole scene. Toby Phips Lloyd considers the role of the pub landlord accordingly, in his article Are Landlords Artists? Of course, this isn’t without the input of the drinkers. When considering the ‘public’ of the ‘public house’, it’s worth noting that there’s no such thing as true public space anymore. Whilst once we had ‘commons’, now any piece of land or building that appears public, is always in fact owned by someone. The public might have right of way, ostensibly be allowed to do what they want, but there are always rules; prescribed activities that are acceptable and unacceptable, constantly monitored and surveilled. The pub is not exempt from this. So then, the ‘public’ in ‘public house’, if not a statement of truth might at least be a statement of intent, or an invitation. Whilst admittance is granted through a transaction, and the types of behaviours and social codes that the public are expected to adhere to in a pub are undoubtedly rigorous and deeply embedded, anyone is invited to take part
in this; having bought a drink, adherence to these codes is the only expectation of a pub-goer, regardless of age, gender or class. Moreover “once a man has bought or been bought his glass of beer, he has entered into an environment where he is participator rather than spectator”. This quote is taken from a Mass Observation study carried out in the 1930s, and in phrasing and sentiment is testament to the way that pubs have changed with the times, but have, in a lot of ways stayed the same; in 1938 pubs were an almost exclusively male environment and this is no longer the case but we feel that otherwise the statement holds true. Mass Observation was a pioneering, but flawed, sociological study methodology, carried out by anonymous observers, living and working as participating members of the community. Whilst the Mass Observation project was revived in 1981, what follows is a response to this study in particular, whose editors, even in the 1970 reprint, already look upon the described landscape as a distant past, whose “spittoons were in arcadia”. From a similarly emotionally involved perspective, we aim to think about the pub today and who has agency within it, considering both our-
selves and our readers as participants. The public house then, ought to be a place where anyone can feel at home. The architecture, accordingly, tends to be domestic. There are tables for small groups, very often fireplaces, upholstery and carpets – a focus on comfort and warmth, on the muffling and softening of sounds and of surfaces. Hospitality also plays an important part in this; maybe anywhere can resemble a pub, but sometimes actions speak louder than patterned carpets. Nonetheless, interior design still provides a lot of visual clues for the identification of a pub. Texture is important; wood and brass denote a commitment to tradition, make an appeal to authenticity, heritage. The pub is an old house. Christopher Rountree explores ideas around these things in his text Just a greasy machine Pubs, authenticity and the Uncanny Valley, and something about the nature of authenticity is also inherent to Janelle Shane’s attempts to get a computer to come up with a believable pub name. In this publication, we want to advocate for the pub, but with a caveat. The Last Hour! as a title is intended to be celebratory, but also bears a warning; we wanted
Toby Phips Lloyd asks if running a pub can be considered be a creative act
it to be suggestive of both the atmosphere in a pub before closing time and the grim headlines relating to increasing rates of pub closures in recent years. The story goes that nationally, chain pubs are thriving at the expense of smaller independent pubs, but it’s not really as simple as that. In Sarah Turner’s film Public House, she documents the life of her local pub, The Ivy House, that in 2015 was rescued from being turned into flats through a campaign by its locals, with the help of the Campaign for Real Ale, and the subsequent listing of the pub’s heritage status. Nor is The Ivy House the only instance of a pub being ‘saved’ by a local community. In a time when the minutest details of our social lives are being scrutinised and monetised and shared social spaces are being sold to developers, the pub has the potential to be a site upon which these things can be reclaimed, for values other than profit to be brought to the fore. We believe that whilst the pub isn’t necessarily the solution to all these contemporary problems or that it’s always a good place to be, it offers more solution than many other spaces in which we exist and that sometimes, it’s a utopia.
Joseph Beuys, ‘Alternative Policies and the Work of the Free International University event at RDG, Edinburgh’ (1980)
Mass Observation The Pub and the People, a Mass Observation study from 1938-43 was compiled from reports made by anonymous observers, drinking in pubs and submitting their findings on every aspect of pub life. The reports covered, amongst other things, the types of beer most popular with different kinds of drinkers; social attitudes towards drunkenness; types of pot plants in each drinking establishment and the startled reaction of a bartender to an order of ‘two small ports’. This study was just one carried out by Mass Observation, a social research organisation that ran from 1937 until the early 1950s. Their reports were made up of studies carried out by a team of anonymous observers and the writing of volunteer diarists which, however flawed or subjective, attempted an ‘anthropology of ourselves’; the first project to attempt anything of its kind. The Last Hour! invites you to carry out your own Mass Observation studies of pubs in your area. We would encourage you to try pubs you have never been in before as well as your usual favourites. Join us on 7th October, meeting at Collective on Calton Hill at 3.30pm, for a Mass Observation field trip.
The Last Hour! is a project curated by Timothea Armour for Collective with new artwork and newspaper designed by Lloyd & Wilson www.collectivegallery.net www.lloyd-wilson.co.uk Thanks to: Adam and everyone else at the Jolly Judge, Burlington Bertie’s (R.I.P.), Luke, Iris Priest, Joe Posset, Chris Lloyd, Debbie Lloyd, Derek Wilson and Janice Wilson.
Joseph Beuys stated that, “everyone is an artist.” He believed that we are all creative beings and what we do is our art. He referred to his artwork as social sculpture which could be used to mould and shape the world around us. When challenged what he understood as art, Beuys said that, “everything under the sun is art.” Of course this does not mean that it is all good art. There is plenty of bad art out there, just as there are plenty of bad artists.
oni created an artwork called The Act of Drinking Beer is the Highest Form of Art. This involved building a bar in the corner of his studio and inviting 10 guests every Wednesday to join him for drinks. The guests were asked to follow a set of rules which included:
So how do we decide what is good art and what is bad? Marcel Duchamp, who is best known for signing a urinal and presenting it in a gallery as a ‘readymade’ sculpture, asked us to consider the “two important factors… of the creation of art: the artist on the one hand, and on the other hand the spectator… [T]he creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”
In 1970 the conceptual artist, Tom Mari-
• • •
No drinking from beer bottle except in character No art collectors except in disguise Every guest must have a minimum of two drinks People should sign guest book at the bar Hours 5 to 8 PM, except on special occasions
Many people would label Marioni as a Piss Artist instead of a conceptual artist, but the point of his work is not getting drunk. It was about creating a space where a group of people could come together and share each other’s company. The art is the combination of the environment he constructed, his presence as the host, the rules and the people he invited to drink with him, not the individual elements on their own. Framing it
as an artwork highlights how important this activity is to us. Most publicans would not consider themselves to be artists, and I feel that this is largely down to our limited definition of what art is and what artists do. There is an incredible amount of skill involved in running a good pub and I believe that this should be valued as an art form. There is more to it than opening the doors and serving drinks. Like bad art there are plenty of bad pubs. We have all experienced them and will go back to them because they serve a purpose. We do not drink there out of love but out of convenience, because they are the closest or only place available to us. So what makes a good pub? • • • • • • •
An amazing range of beer A great jukebox A pool table Big screen TV Beer garden Comfortable furniture Dancefloor
This all depends on your taste. A bad pub could have all these things, just as the best pub in the world may have none of the above. A good pub is more than its physical attributes. The way you are greeted as you enter will resonate far beyond the colour of the wall paper and the pictures on the wall. We all know what we would consider a good pub when we see it, but there are those extra special places that have something marking them out above the rest. Often it is hard to express what that magic ingredient is, but whatever it is, it makes us want to return to drink there again and again. The role of the landlord and/or landlady is to make the drinkers comfortable and build a relationship beyond the financial transaction of selling them a drink. To do this they need to be able to move seamlessly between the guise of policeman, therapist, diplomat and friend. There is art to this role and to be able to do this well takes real commitment. It is a vocation in the traditional use of the word or a calling, like joining the clergy. Continues on page 4
Illustration by Esme Armour
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Are Landlords Artists? Continued from page 3 If this seems like an exaggeration (like calling publicans artists) then I think that you underestimate how much work goes into running a pub and the important role public houses play in our society. They are not just a place to get pissed.
The Rabbit and the Pool Table Timothea Armour and Melissa Jarram discuss growing up in a pub In the year 2000, when we were both nine, my friend Melissa moved with her family from a suburban bungalow on the outskirts of Nottingham city centre to The Ropsley Fox, a seventeeth-century coaching inn, in the Lincolnshire village of Ropsley. In the two years since they’d moved over from China, and Melissa had joined my class in year two, our families had become good friends, so in the five years they ran the pub, we spent a lot of time there. We still sort of keep in touch, and walking past a ventilation outlet at the back of a pub, that’s blowing out the smell of old deep fat fryer, always reminds me of that place. This conversation was conducted over Facebook Messenger. We’re probably due a catch up in a pub. Timothea: I wanted to chat to you about what it was like moving from Nottingham to this rural pub, and then growing up in a pub. I’ve got lots of really strong memories of the Ropsley Fox, especially of playing in there when the pub was closed. I remember Richard’s rabbit running about on the pool table. Melissa: Ah! Oh me too, it was pretty magical as a kid wasn’t it? Moving from Nottingham was kind of exciting. I was 9 at the time, and have never lived anywhere rural, so I really didn’t know what to expect and was completely open to change. I remember when my parents first took us to see it - it was after they had purchased the business so my little brother and I really had no say in what was going on - I remember my first thought was “why are these doors so small”. It was really dark inside!
The 1937 Mass Observation study, The Pub and The People states: “It is no more true to say that people go to public houses to drink than it is to say they go to private houses to eat and sleep.” The pub is a place where the normal rules and hierarchies of society do not apply. Somewhere to let off steam, talk to strangers, make friends and speak without fear of judgement. It is a public house in the true sense of the word. Everyone can enter and should be made to feel at home. For the publican, their pub is both the place of work and private home. The divide between the two will be extremely porous or completely non-existent. Imagine turning your front room into a pub and opening the doors every day to serve drinks to strangers. The closest most of us will come to this experience is throwing a party or inviting guests over for dinner. The major difference is that we will know most if not all the people before letting them walk through the door. The aesthetic choices landlord and/or landlady makes, good and bad, will have an effect on the feel of the space and the ambience it creates. They should feel completely comfortable in their pub and it should reflect their personality, the same way your home does. Would you want to live at work? Imagine spending every waking minute in your office? My parents were publicans (they would not consider themselves to be artists, but I do). The decisions they made about their environment contributed to the kind of pub it was and the people who would drink there. • • • • • • •
No smoking (1992) No TV or Music No Pool table No Stella or Fosters (he had Dortmunder and Bitburger lager instead) No chips or fried food (the oil would ruin the beer) Kept the beer well (letting it to settle for up to two weeks) Fine for mobile phones ringing (1990s before smartphones) to encourage people to speak to those who were in the room Rowing memorabilia (my Dad was mad about rowing - but there was a sign behind the bar that stated “Rowing will seriously damage your conversation”)
Some of choices were instinctive; others were deliberatively provocative to gain certain results. Could these choices been seen as an arts practice? Why not, some of them were definitely creative and done for the love of it instead of financial reasons. Hell, making the pub no smoking in 1992 was seen as suicidal at the time. But after 6 quiet months they were the busiest they had ever been.
A Juke Box & a Pickled Egg Joe Posset reminisces on his short career as a bartender
Some publicans just want to run a successful business, somewhere that caters for everybody. Somewhere that serves a purpose. But if you’re going to run a pub it needs to be one that you love. It should be your artwork. There seems little point in running a pub which you don’t like, full of arseholes who you don’t want to drink with.
This pickled egg wasn’t my first pickled egg. Oh no. I’d seen the blind orbs floating in rude brine for years in Jim & Ed’s domestic chippy at the end of the terrace. Of course things changed when Ed left Jim. Salty Jim soldiered on. The establishment was renamed a defiant ‘Jim’s UK Takeaway’. No doubt to honour the lads that flew south to the Malvinas from down Princess Street.
My dad used to say that when the pub was open that was his leisure time. All the activity that happened when the pub was closed was ‘work’. If a landlord calculated how much they were paid by the hour they would either break down in tears at how little they earn or smile at the level satisfaction they receive from their work that is not financial.
But this was the first pickled egg I was about to pop into my gob. To mark the occasion the assembled mob squealed and grunted; literally egging-me-on, as Dunny solemnly fished the rubbery snack out of the jar and placed it, with more than a little ceremony, in a steel egg cup.
Most artists, like publicans, are not in it to make money – there are much easier ways to earn a living. They do it because it is something they care about and it gives them a reason to get out of bed each morning. This is why I believe they deserve to be called artists.
I leant forward – my hand outstretched. “Wait for it...” he warned and slammed a salt cellar down next to this fractured breakfast scene. “Salt it.” He demanded. And reader…I did. The pong of rancid vinegar moistened my eyes but a big brave bite revealed… almost nothing. A faint metallic taste of what I guessed was congealed albumen squished though my teeth to reveal the guilty yellow yolk hiding inside. Now a powdery globe, but no less bloodflavoured, it collapsed against my tongue leaving a faint acid tickle.
In contrast to this, consider the artists who work in their studios thinking about how much money they will make from each artwork they sell. They should be viewed the same way as the landlords and landladies who make decisions on how to run their pubs by how much profit they think they will yield from them. Does this mean that they are bad artists? That is up to you, but for me, if drinking beer with friends is the highest form of art, then I think they will be performing the creative act alone.
The Greatest drunk of them all: Professional wrestler Andre the Giant, 7’5” tall and weighing more than 35 stone, is said to have drank 119 beers in one sitting, before passing out in the hallway of his hotel.
Toby Phips Lloyd was raised in the Free Press Pub, Cambridge. He is an artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne and is one half of Lloyd & Wilson. www.lloyd-wilson.co.uk
All in all? A slight anti-climax...but an important watershed moment in my pub life. I’d proved I could take the egg. The Green Monster (a pint of Snakebite topped with blue Bols Curaçao) was next – to be downed in no more than five gulps. Four big swigs later, Dave slapped my back hard enough to make my teeth rattle, “You’re in son!” I was now a barman. Dave was the pub chef. Willing out chips and pies Monday to Friday and on a Sunday the full roast-beef-and-all-thetrimmings. Ex-military with the tats and tash to prove it.
Dave had ‘seen things’ during his time serving queen and country and had a way of handling his knife that was a little too much like revenge for my liking. The one thing that we had to watch, of course, wasn’t Dave drinking too much, or harping back to his time in Ireland. It was the Jukebox we feared. Our pub was, in the inevitable small-town pecking order, for ‘young ‘uns’. Next door (on the right) was the rock pub. Wall to wall denim and leather, battle vests covered in embroidery patches – Gillan, Rainbow, Whitesnake and the like. A few coves sewed old beer bar towels onto their jeans, so one knee might sport Carlsberg, the other Heineken. Great for soaking up piss, I reckoned. The pool table was always full, the music always loud, and a stale smell of toilets permeated the whole place. It was pretty great. Next door on the other side (on the left) was the pub for ‘townies’. All slickedback wet-look gel, rolled up sleeves and Miami Vice pastel. Espadrilles were all the rage and I remember hearing one copper saying that adopting these European soft shoes dramatically reduced the number of head injuries from late-night kickings. This was the meat market, a cavernous labyrinth dedicated to drinking, fighting and fucking. Never a great pub for a sensitive young chap like myself with waist length hair. Our pub, for the young un’s, catered for the no crowd in particular: no tribe had the upper hand. So the few town goths held court in one corner, the lads from traveller families stared silently at them from another, the YTS lasses from the offices could easily start a conga line only to be snarled at by the students from the Tech. There was tension in the air for sure but real power was perfectly balanced. Of course we were all drawn there for a deeper reason - the teenage desire for cheap oblivion, quick drinks necked quickly. I swear alcopops appeared here a decade Continues on page 6
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The Last Hour! 7 A Pickled Egg and a Juke Box Continued from page 5
Really thick walls and small doors! It was a really old building I never expected to have lived in a really old building, as the only old buildings that I had experienced were historical sites like castles. It did kind of feel like moving into a small castle. I remember being excited by all the small corridors upstairs, and hiding spots! All those dark corners were filled with mystery for both me and my brother, but the first game I remember playing with him was hanging off the stairs and re-enacting that scene from The Lion King when scar throws Mufasa off the cliff Do you remember running around when it was closed in the afternoon, playing hide and seek? It was so good for hide and seek! I remember before that I’d never really thought about people actually living in pubs. The only pub we’d spent that much time in before was the Ferry Boat Inn, mostly in the soft play area... That’s exactly what I was just thinking. drinking cherry panda pops and playing crash bandicoot because neither of us were privileged enough to have a play station oh man. I bet I wondered why the Ropsley Fox didn’t have those 20p machines We did! It had Minstrels in Oh yeah. I honestly think living in that pub really had an awful effect on me nutritionally as a child A lot of J20 Oh my god, and coke and lemonade from the taps and crisps! IT WAS SO BAD FOR MY DIET Your mum used to give me an entire wedge of deep fried camembert with chips as a veggie option. Did she?! I don’t remember that, that’s so fancy! My parents weren’t informed about nutrition, and as children we had a lot of freedom because they were working all the time and couldn’t watch us, so I had an awful, awful diet We tried to walk to Somerby or something to find tadpoles once, and no one knew where we’d gone. Yes!! I remember that so well Desperate to find tadpoles That whole escapade sounds so Enid Blyton or something now
before they caught on elsewhere. The Jukebox catered for everyone and no one: Bunnymen fans, Soul boys and an odd mix of 50’s nostalgia in an incoherent mix that would bubble all night. One group never gained the sonic advantage; the selections would leap genres, tempo and moods like a salmon in a three-song burst. But all the regulars and us bar staff had our ears tuned for one song in particular. Cue the double-speed piano intro, franticly vamping, the red-hot power chords and the unmistakable revving of motor bikes. It’s Bat out of Hell’s bombastic opening seconds... all conversation stopped, fags were speedily stubbed out and all eyes turned to the kitchen door. No one knew why this Steinman/ Meatloaf camp classic sent him into a genuine altered state, (and Dave, a man of few words at the best of times, never offered an explanation). He’d drop whatever he was doing, pans would clatter to the floor, and he’d sweep into the pub mouthing the words, head thrown back in ecstasy miming some demonic guitar part. His moves were violent, eccentric and differed each time. Sometimes he would ape Meatloaf himself, miming the finest detail. Meat’s red silk hankie would be imaginarily conjured up with a flourish to dab spittle from his cheek and sweat from his brow. Other times he would pull back on the throttle and hurtle round the pub, airmotorcycling, barking the words into stunned faces, enacting the tragic video.
Now Bat out of Hell is a long song, even by today’s standards, and the once-fit but now-fat Dave would stagger dangerously around the 7-minute mark - face ketchup red and body drenched in sweat. With a heroic effort (and the one part of this ritual that would never change) he would power slide to the floor, collapsing to the knees during Meat’s dramatically whispered pre-climax to really hammer home the emotional resonance. As the music became slower the tension would rise. Dave’s eyes would roll back in his head and the quiff he sported would wilt in submission. Dave could balance that tantalising pause like a Kabuki master before erupting in a final climax of arms, legs, bikes, speed, personal tragedy and undying love. Newcomers would stare in disbelief, a few brave souls would clap and cheer but most of us behind the bar shrugged it off. It’s Pub Life innit? The shadow world that exists in-between work and home.
Sarah Turner, Public House (96 minutes, 2016) Film Still
A familiar story imagined differently Sarah Turner’s film Public House documents the life of The Ivy House - London’s first cooperatively run pub
Joe Posset is an amateur musician and trainee poet living in Newcastle upon Tyne. Check out his dictaphonix by googling Posset on the Free Music Archive, Soundcloud or Bandcamp. The writing is all on the righteous Radio Free Midwich blog. “Perhaps we could imagine space as a simultaneity of stories-so-far.”1 In April 2012, Enterprise Inns, the owners of the Ivy House pub gave the live-in landlord and the pub’s staff five days’ notice of eviction and closure: the cherished Ivy House had been sold for conversion into flats. This wearingly familiar cultural narrative - the needs of gentrification and capital privileged and the needs of a community sidelined - has been significantly rewritten in the case of the Ivy House. The local community blocked the sale, listed the building, innovatively interpreted new legislation to register the pub as the first Asset of Community Value in the UK, then triumphantly bought it: The Ivy House Community Pub re-opened in August 2013 and in doing so has both rewritten London history and proposed the potential for an alternative social imaginary. This ‘event’ is a historically specific instance in a historically specific moment, which, given the pace of change, the scale
and the scope of London’s assetisation and hence social cleansing, was at once a celebratory moment, and equally apparently, a moment of mourning. However, the story of The Ivy House takeover is - nonetheless - a shifting of the frame: a familiar story imagined differently, where the vision of this community altered the parameters – or re-choreographed the elements - of an over-determined narrative in order to effect a different social contract and imaginary. And that different social contract and imaginary was itself effected through a deep and intuitive understanding of social interdependencies. Ideas of interdependencies have a renewed focus within wider culture, and this is evidenced both in the social sciences and the humanities. For example, in a recent Guardian review of Kate Raworth’s new work: Doughnut Economics: Seven ways to think like a 21st century Economist, George Monbiot discusses how Raworth - of Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute - has “changed the
picture of what the economy is and how it works.”2 The aim of economic activity, she argues, should be “meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet”. Instead of economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, we need economies that “make us thrive, whether or not they grow”. The most crucial anxieties of our age what it means to be local, ideas of insider/outsider, community and participation, home and belonging - are crystallised in our relationship to public spaces such as pubs. And, equally, crucial to Massey’s proposition of ‘a simultaneity of storiesso-far’, they are the pivotal resonances of memory. Filmmaker Sarah Turner is a community shareholder - and regular - of The Ivy House. Her feature length film, Public House, premiered in the documentary competition at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival, and was nominated for the Grierson award. This was a wonderful opportunity for London audiences to see
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The Last Hour! 9 A familiar story imagined differently Continued from page 7
Yes, very idyllic, innocent and old school That was the thing about living in a village pub as a child - it was safe. Everybody in the village knew us because it was a social hub and my parents felt secure in knowing that wherever we wandered, there would be people keeping an eye out on us. I remember one summer when I was 10 or 11, hanging out in the field at the village hall and climbing these big, white, wooden, cricket things and getting told off by some old guy who actually then ended up telling my parents that we were being vandals! I was gonna say that, you would’ve moved there as outsiders but went straight to being at the centre of village life. Everyone knows what everyone’s doing! Yeah, it’s like a very boring hollyoaks We used to get to go on trips to the cash and carry too. The first time I encountered scampi fries... My parents went into that pub and changed it up. They changed it from being merely a “local pub” to a highly commended pub restaurant. The menu was continuously changed throughout the year to keep things interesting, and they added a Chinese takeaway, which you can imagine was very successful, given that it was the only place to get a take out for miles. And the food was good. Again I over ate. Yes! Cash and carry was exciting because we could buy massive boxes of sweets. I actually cashed in on that as a kid and used to sell the sweets at school. Such a family of entrepreneurs! I also remember pulling a picnic table out of the beer garden into the car park, and set up shop to sell dolls and beanie babies and loads of other useless stuff. I think I ended up making something like £30 - which was a lot at the age of 10! Because it was a busy Sunday afternoon, and we had a carvery on. Do you remember how the locals reacted to the changes your parents made? Yes! The locals at the bar were very annoyed because they didn’t like change, and the price went up a little, but they stayed and grew to love it. My parents did a really good job with the pub. It became more inclusive, and more lively. I remember hearing my mum’s laugh from downstairs, often at 3 or 4 am, after having lock-ins with the locals. Continues on page 14
a story featuring a London community in their city. Public House was re-edited and re-mastered in a new version for wider audiences in 2016, and has been touring the UK throughout 2017. She considers the actual space, the building itself, as a projective canvas, a palimpsest of erasures and projections, the people in it both messengers and passengers; buildings are containers for both individual and social narratives and different forms of memory. These traces - both present and absent - are a form of polyphonic haunting, and in order for all these resonances to be felt, the form of the film doesn’t so much tell the story as embodies it. It uses the soundscape to give form to the polyphonic voice and also to move from the I, to the WE, which in many ways is what the Ivy House story represents. In tandem with this movement from the I to the WE, the film also moves - formally - from document, to document which interweaves fantasy and imagination, to fantasy and imagination constructed through document. It is this movement that Turner understands as the allegorical mirroring of the Ivy House takeover: “a familiar story imagined differently,” all the same elements re-choreographed to effect a different social contract, and with that, a different social imaginary. In Elizabeth Cowie’s terms, the film is “a hybrid of the real and the non-real, as an imagining of the actual.”3 These images - actual, fictive and allegorical - are inspired by the increased sense of agency that people felt in that particular space: The Ivy House pub. This partly inspired the activism and longing that made the potential loss more potent. In the opening act of the film, the sequence moves from present day movement out of the pub, discussing the past, an entrance which is also an exit, a beginning which is also an ending - into a poetry reading, then back in time to the abandoned pub interior - insisting on the presence of ghosts, the flickering stage lights that once animated the presence of bands, of performance, and the competing claims of memories of the space, concluding with a time lapsed exterior,
where the sun sets on the community and everyone’s ‘gutted’, as multiple voices recall the moment that the pub’s closure was announced. This sense of being ‘gutted’ has deeply felt multiple resonances as over the abandoned pub interior we’ve heard people describing occasions when they’ve moved the pub furniture to wherever they wanted, lit the pub fire if they felt like it, brought in food to share with their neighbours from their ‘own kitchens’. These stories, these memories, inspired a sense of agency and ownership, a negotiation which is not just a commodified exchange or a payment for the ‘coffee experience’ of Costa Coffee - or as someone else says in the soundscape ‘fucking Starbucks’. This interdependence of elements - human actants - and our interdependency as social and environmental elements, is reduced when space is privatised. Almost uniquely in contemporary life, pubs are social spaces that allow us to connect with others who are often quite different from us - if we think of intergenerational exchange and very different classes coming together in a pub quiz. The encounter with a stranger is at the heart of pub culture, and also - possibly why we value it.
1 - Doreen Massey. For Space. Sage, (2005) 2 - George Monbiot, The Guardian, 12 April 2017 3 - Elizabeth Cowie. Recording Reality, Desiring the Real. University of Minnesota Press, (2011)
This text is adapted from writing by Sarah Turner, in relation to her film, Public House (96 min, 2016). The Last Hour! closes with a screening of Public House, followed by a Q&A with Sarah Turner on 5 November 2017, 3.30pm, at The Cameo cinema, Edinburgh, in partnership with Picturehouse Cinemas.
As both a yoga teacher and pub employee Carolina Ravaioli found it helpful to research and include in her practice specific ways to use yoga to compensate for the physical and emotional labour of working in hospitality. She decided to share this practice in free taster classes for hospitality workers. If you would like to book a free taster yoga session in your pub you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or find more information about her work at www.carolinaravaioli.com
KEY TO SYMBOLS
DID YOU KNOW?... Kevin Doyle, owner of pub empire Caledonian Heritable, and as such at least 5 of the pubs on this map, invested £350,000 in British gun manufacturing in 2014
Fully independent pubs are in the minority in Edinburgh. A more common relationship is that of the independently managed, tied pub. These ties, in which pubs buy their beer and pay their rent to a national chain or ‘PubCo’, are frequently quite hidden, but can often be identified by the selection of beers on offer. For instance, a large selection of brands owned by Heineken ususally means the pub is owned by Star Pubs, who are in turn owned by Heineken. There are also a number of pubs that are independently managed, but rented from a brewery or local property owner who leases a number of pubs.
A lot of pubs in Edinburgh are owned and/or managed in small groups. Sometimes all or some the pubs in a group managed locally by a small-medium enterprise, are in fact tied to a PubCo. Such groups tend to have their own visual identity, and will refer to their ‘sister bars’ whilst the ties remain almost invisible. There are also a few local ‘pub tycoons’ who own a portfolio of freehold pubs and bars locally, and these vary between being leased out and managed independently or being run as group, with some subtle unifying branding.
MOST PREVALENT PUB-CO: Nicholson’s - 7 pubs BIGGEST GROUP IN THIS AREA (management): DM Stewart - 4 pubs
National pub chains or ‘PubCos’ are either centrally managed or rent out their pubs to tenant landlords. The ones that are centrally managed - for instance, Wetherspoons - tend to be heavily branded. Tied pubs run by tenant landlords are often less so; even if some elements appear to be the product of some kind of standardisation, you’ll rarely find the names of companies like Punch or Star Pubs anywhere on show.
NUMBER OF FACELESS ‘PUB TYCOONS’: 4 NUMBER OF PUBS WHOSE OWENERSHIP REMAINS MYSTERIOUS: 14
Whilst once the majority of pubs were owned by local breweries, most now control far less than pub chains do. This is the result of a policy under Margaret Thatcher - the 1989 Beer Orders - that required national brewers to sell off 11,000 pubs between them. This resulted in a restructuring of the industry, from which PubCos emerged and thrived. Meanwhile, many breweries were also absorbed into multi-national brewing conglomerates. However, there are still a few pubs in Edinburgh with direct ties to breweries, especially Belhaven.
12 The Last Hour!
The Last Hour! 13
the pub & the people
Just A Greasy Machine: Pubs, Authenticity and the Uncanny Valley
the loud speaker is the most anti-democratic invention in human history. Before the loud speaker the range between the person with the loudest voice and the person with the quietest voice was within a human boundary. Before the loud speaker almost every word that was ever spoken was spoken by somebody who, if you could hear their words they could hear you speaking back ... and we now live in a world where most of the words we hear within our lifetimes are spoken by people who will never hear anything that we say.
Christopher Rowntree unpicks the time honoured authenticity of British pub culture
dougald hine, Commoning the City (2013)
Christopther Rountree, PcoRC ‘No 162’
I went to a pub on the moon once, didn’t like it much. No atmosphere. Since around the time the word ‘pub’ was first listed in the OED, in 1859, it has occupied a significant place in the British cultural landscape - it’s more than just an alcohol shop and is closer to the nation’s heart than the restaurant has ever been. Pete Brown’s Man Walks into a Pub: a sociable history of beer says of this “bastion of our culture: [a]bout a quarter of British adults still go to the pub at least once a week…We go there for the feeling of the place…”
the pub makes a master of every man. During the day you might be downtrodden and abused by your employer, or co-workers, or family. But in the pub, your self-confidence is restored. You have opinions, you have answers. The pub is where we discuss our dreams and sorrows, our visions and plans. In the pub, we all become experts. tom hodgkinson, How to be Idle (2004)
David Smail believed that psychotherapy only works to the extent to which the therapist becomes a true friend to the client, and recommended both that we ought to take care in life, and of the others with whom we are involved. It seems on the face of it like such a small thing, but I think that it is a political act nonetheless to take care and to be a friend. joanne lee, Nine Rather Disconnected Paragraphs: on mental health, capitalism, creative education and the politics of friendship (2014)
The Pub & The People is a sound collage and publication by artists Toby Lloyd and Andrew Wilson. The sound collage is available on cassette tape, or you listen online at http://www.lloyd-wilson.co.uk/html/the_pub_and_the_people_sound_collage.html
George Orwell wrote explicitly about the magnetism of this ‘feeling’ in his 1946 essay The Moon Under Water: “the thing that appeals to me about the Moon Under Water is what people call its “atmosphere… everything has the solid, comfortable ugliness of the nineteenth century…The barmaids know most of their customers by name and take a personal interest in everyone”. As a generic market offering, the traditional pub carries a weight of associations to be envied by any branding consultant. Sociologists have defined some of the roots of feelings of affinity which inform consumer choices: “pubs are felt to offer things such as tradition and authenticity that are becoming rarer in a world transformed by global commercial pressures”. “Authenticity pervades everyday
consumption in multiple ways, [market offerings] promise an augmented product value above and beyond their surface functional significance. In a leisure context authenticity thrives”. Masahiro Mori examined human’s affinity for applied design in a 1970 article for Japanese technology journal Energy. The Uncanny Valley describes how people can feel some affinity with technology, but that this quickly turns to revulsion when designers attempt to create ever more authentic humanoid replicas. Largely ignored by the industry at the time of publication, Mori’s work has gathered renewed interest in the 21st century. Affinity with time-honoured authenticity is a long-standing element of British pub culture. Within this narrative, more recent recreations or innovations are viewed with suspicion or even revulsion. In The Renaissance of the English Public House (1947), Basil Oliver referred to “the ingrained, healthy and entirely praiseworthy affection of the average Englishman for the antique, and the importance of its honest preservation as opposed to the perpetration of shams and other unjustifiable falsifications.” A quarter of a century later, Christopher Hutt’s polemical rhetoric The Death of the English Pub asked “Has your pub been tarted up in a characterless or gimmicky way …?”In 2002, Ian Bowie commented on British pub culture: “Perhaps the saddest and
most regrettable of all changes has been the introduction of the so called ‘theme pub’. Often forming part of a chain these pubs...[are] Devoid of character, charm or atmosphere, they should be avoided at all cost by the visitor.” ‘Adding a bit of fleshy plumpness’ Mori’s theory examined a phenomenon which arose from the designers of applied technology placing emphasis on how their products functioned aesthetically as well as technically. He notes how “when an industrial robot is switched off, it is just a greasy machine…a robot’s arm may be composed of a metal cylinder with many bolts, but by covering it with skin and adding a bit of fleshy plumpness we can make it look more human.” Entrepreneur Tim Martin started J D Wetherspoon plc with the purchase of a single pub in 1979. The low cost/high volume retail strategy he has employed has grown his company to almost 1,000 branded outlets nationwide. A quote from Sam Walton of international retailing conglomerate Walmart - “We never get tired, we never get depressed” - is displayed in his office. In the flesh, this businessman worth around £200 million is a conundrum for journalists. Media descriptions often begin with affectionate horror at his ‘embarrassing Dad’ appearance – cheap clothes
from Millets and a mullet haircut. One interview likened his straight-talking style to Al Murray’s popular parody of unreconstructed British masculinity, ‘The Pub Landlord’, and summed him up: “This man is the metropolitan elite’s worst nightmare. He’s anti-style.” He talks a laid back ‘common sense’: informed and opinionated on economics, unimpressed by political personalities (Tony Blair? “He’s a real dinner party goer”). Among his hobbies he lists “Beer, 40 units per week”; he prefers to holiday in the UK than abroad. He says “Wealth is not an end in itself. I walk most places” and he intends to leave most of his money to education charities. A vocal campaigner for economic reforms, Tim Martin has for some time taken a vehemently anti-EU stance; he invested £40, 000 in beer mats with an anti-Euro message in 2002 and shared a stage with Nigel Farage in support of the Brexit vote last year. His company has also been a long-standing supporter of Britain’s traditional brewing heritage, stocking beers from local producers in his pubs and funding a New Independent Brewers stand at the Campaign for Real Ale’s Great British Beer Festival. Martin has quoted George Orwell’s essay The Moon Under Water as an early influence on the evolution of the J D Wetherspoon brand. The J D Wetherspoon design strategy replicates forms and surfaces from the history of British pub culture Continues on page 14
14 The Last Hour!
The Last Hour! 15 Just A Greasy Machine Continued from page 13
There was an old guy called Oscar, he looked like a skinny BB king and would always wear a trilby, his drink was a JD on the rocks. He was so funny, and in there most nights. Not in a sad way though, he was always jolly and interacting with people. He got on with my mum really well, and he kind of became a grandfather figure to me. I do sort of remember him now you say, but I had totally forgotten! Do you remember any of the other characters that used to drink in there? Did your parents stay in touch with any of them? The only people we still keep in touch with are The Scotts. Their son Sam went to the same village school as us and became best friends with my brother. As a result, our parents befriended his parents, and the dad Gordon was a huge character - literally the class clown. They would be there at every lock in, and he was the reason why I could hear my mum howling with laughter downstairs at 3 or 4am, through the thick stone walls. I was too young to remember some of the other locals, but there were a few more grumpy men who used to come and drink spirits. My dad would often get on with them. There was a guy who reminded me of Barney from The Simpsons. I reckon there’s one of those in most pubs... It wouldn’t be a pub without it! One of my favourite things about living there though was that my brother and I had so much independence. At 9 I learned how to do my own laundry and wash and iron my own bed sheets. I would make my own breakfast and insisted on making my own school lunches. Best of all, my dad would always put us to bed at 10pm latest but he had to go back downstairs to work, so I would turn the light back on and spend a few hours playing Pokémon on my Gameboy. I got VERY good at Pokemon!! It was so different to going round to stay with anyone else I knew! I felt like we had the run of the place sometimes. But I liked it best in the mornings when the pub was closed. I think that was the height of my pool skills... but we were probably all pretty rubbish. I think I was better at pool then than I am now. It was only 40p per game can you remember? I also remember putting the rabbits on there. We had so much freedom as children, the building allowed our imaginations to go into overdrive.
including the archetypal late 19th century pub. ‘Pinker, as if it had just come out of the bath’ The use of design to deploy associations with nostalgia and authenticity by J D Wetherspoon mines a seam of associations to the traditional British pub, not just in appropriated vernacular design forms, but also by explicitly locating their venues in time and place. Unusually for a large chain, homogeneity is eschewed in favour of sensitivity to locale-specific details. Historical photographs and references to famous former residents of the area or themed design referencing local landmarks are included in each individual interior design. An individual name pertaining to the local history of each outlet is a major part of the JDW design strategy: JDWetherspoon. co.uk gives the etymology of each name, created by an in-house research team. For example, The Watch House, Lewisham, London is named after “Watch House Green… Lewisham’s centuries old village green which now lies under the pedestrianised shopping area between High St
and Lewis grove”. The J D Wetherspoon business model is based on competitively-priced products. In order to propagate the necessarily high turnover, most J D Wetherspoon pubs are considerably bigger than purpose built pubs traditionally were; the largest to date, noted by the Guinness Book of Records as being the largest pub in Britain, is the flagship The Moon Under Water in Deansgate, Manchester. At 820 square meters it can accommodate 1,700 customers. The company often repurposes the cavernous spaces of disused buildings such as cinemas and swimming pools. As a result, spatial arrangement is a major part of the design strategy. Many small spaces within a very big space are characteristic of most J D Wetherspoon pubs. This recalls the use of booths and settles in the archetypal 19th century pub. In this context however, the familiar design elements of the traditional pub experience has the added function of dividing the unusually large floor plans into areas of convivial intimacy.
Media descriptions often begin with affectionate horror at his ‘embarrassing Dad’ appearance – cheap clothes from Millets and a mullet haircut.
The Uncanny Valley describes a graph which documents humans’ level of empathy toward machines. Mori acknowledges
Christopther Rountree, PcoRC ‘No 279’
Christopther Rountree, PcoRC ‘No 1106’
our sensitivity to visual details, noting in relation to one subject “Though similar to a real hand the prosthetic hand’s colour is pinker, as if it had just come out of the bath”. ‘Wearing the hand in a dark place’ Mori further explores his theory of the uncanniness of robotic prosthetics to describe the possibility of an unexpected encounter in a future where such technology became widely used: “Because this myoelectric hand makes movements it could make healthy people feel uneasy. If someone wearing the hand in a dark place shook a woman’s hand with it the woman would assuredly shriek!” Speaking of the economy in late 20th century liberal democracies, Anthony Giddens stated “the capitalist market attacks tradition”. Between 1989 and 2000, 28,700 pubs supplied by regional breweries and run by tenant landlords - ninety per cent of those in existence - ceased trading. In the same period, multisite pubcos - branded chains operated by large parent companies, opened 30,956 outlets. The fact that the alcohol trade seems to have undergone a particularly sudden and acute shift in market dominance from local to national/ multinational busi-
nesses is due in part to specific government legislation. In 1986, under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, the Monopolies and Mergers commission (the body established to curtail monopolies and thereby promote competitive markets) investigated the industry. The resulting report, published on March 21, 1989, was to radically alter the business model of the pub trade that had existed for almost a century: brewers owning more than 2,000 pubs had to dispose of half of the on-licenses in excess of this number or cease brewing before October 31, 1992. While a small minority of pubs changed hands to independent landlords, the timescale imposed on the sell-off meant that very few such small businessmen could establish the required capital. The majority of pubs were bought by large financial institutions as real estate and retail opportunities; many PubCos are arms of multinational conglomerates with other business and property interests (J D Wetherpoon is an anomaly, as it happens, operating only in the catering/ hospitality sector). Few such companies have a sentimental attachment to British pub culture and the highly competitive, free market business model they operated has seen the rest of the industry adopt the same practices to compete or go out of business.
The same period saw the widespread development of policy change in relation to local government which had begun in the 1970s. Legislation propagated speculative business development of a ‘Night Time Economy’ in British city centers. Declining post-industrial urban areas were reinvented as night-time entertainment and leisure destinations. In particular, the law governing alcohol sales licensing was relaxed: the emphasis on need was removed, entrepreneurialism was encouraged. The majority of businesses exploiting this new market were branded outlets of multisite companies. A zombie-horror media narrative has developed around the ‘Night Time Economy’ of a lawless, after dark world of highly gendered identity and excess. However, it has been suggested that, rather than simply high street drinking culture, it is this ‘entrepreneurial governance’ that is the more pernicious influence on British society. Commentators have cited these policies, devolving authority to market forces, as contributing to an erosion of traditional local identity: “Large scale investment by national chains has transformed Britain’s night time high streets into a series of homogenized ‘brandscapes…” (Phil Hadfield, Bar Wars, 2006)
‘He searches among a crowd of mannequins’ In the late 19th century, around the time of that first listing in the OED, the late Victorian pub, of a similar type to the one Orwell described, was a recognisable sight in most British cities. A few, well preserved or authentically restored interiors still remain, often described as repositories for the nostalgic values discussed earlier. However, it is worth considering the history of this design archetype: The late 19th century generation of often self-taught entrepreneurs who built large scale, speculative, residential property developments built pubs as part of these projects. The pub was often the first building to be erected, which then served as temporary site office and workers’ canteen for the duration of the build. These pubs were particularly flamboyant examples of the stylistic eclecticism of the Victorian era often referred to as the ‘Gin Palace Revival’: their gaudiness was derived from the gin palaces of the early 1800s, or rather, from their critics’ lurid descriptions—the décor of pubs from the mid to late 1800s exaggerated many of the sensationally-reported elements of gin palaces which had fueled a hysterical media narrative of working-class excess earlier in the century. The late Victorian Continues on page 16
16 The Last Hour!
The Last Hour! 17 Just A Greasy Machine Continued from page 15
One guy who came to fix the pool table once told us about rescuing a hamster from inside a pool table.
30 Questions about a Pub
I wonder if he was shot in And if it counted as a point Oh man. The rabbit on the pool table was so great because it was like artifical grass! Yeah and we had total control over them
Public House director Sarah Turner shares her documentary interview questions.
I used to find the building quite spooky sometimes.
Public House (dir, Sarah Turner, 96 mins, 2016) tells the story of the Ivy House Pub in Peckham and the local community that triumphantly came together to save the pub from closure. Made in collaboration with some of the many users of the pub, the film features their voices, poems and performances.
I’m glad you brought that up because the restaurant part of the building apparently used to be a morgue. When I found that out as a child!... Well actually both my brother and I convinced ourselves it was haunted! It felt particularly spooky during the afternoon when it was closed as opposed to the night Of course you would! A pub in the daytime is stranger I suppose, more lifeless. Very true! Waitresses used to complain about things moving on their own Do you know how long it had been a pub for? No idea! I’m sure the history is online. I might look into it! It could’ve been an old coaching inn, or it could’ve been a row of cottages that was turned into a pub later. Let’s look it up! I just googled the Ropsley Fox and it was nearly sold to developers to turn into houses in 2014! Yes!!! I heard about that...Actually I know a little about that That’s sort of troubling. *** Going back to your question about how people took the change, like I said there were grumpy locals and a very small handful who actually stopped coming in and instead started frequenting the only other pub in the village, which was purely a bar - they didn’t do food. So the hermits switched caves, and those who stayed loyal to The Fox eventually came round to loving the place that my parents had created.
Christopther Rountree, PcoRC ‘No 42’
pubs also appropriated other spatial arrangements, including partitioned areas and settles, intimate spaces of domestic scale, from older drinking hostelries such as the beer house or inn. By the time the abbreviation pub is recorded as vernacular, the market offering it describes was already a ‘theme’. Masahiro Mori warned that the pursuit of authenticity in robot design was doomed to create a sci-fi dystopia; he imagined an uncanny world where nothing was what it appeared to be: “imagine a craftsman being suddenly awakened in the dead of night. He searches downstairs for something among a crowd of mannequins. If the mannequins started to move it would be like a horror story.” In the final analysis, Mori suggests that designers curtail their ambitions to aim for ‘a safe level of affinity’ by pursuing designs which are more obviously artificial. In an era when 27 British pubs close each week, J D Wetherspoon PLC is in rude health, shrugging off the recession and rocketing towards Tim Martin’s target of 1,500 outlets. Martin has described how he imagines a prospective Wetherspoon’s customer reaction: “they might think, ‘this isn’t perfect’, but they can tell what we’re trying to do…”. This seeming modesty of ambition concurs with the findings of Kent Grayson and Martinec Radan’s Consumer Perceptions of Iconicity and Indexicality and Their Influence on Assessments of Authentic Market Offerings, (Journal of Consumer Research, 31 September 2004):
“consumers purposefully blend fact and fiction to authenticate objects such as the so-called historical residence of a fictional character…In doing so, these consumers actively construct authenticity because they are motivated to realize associated benefits, such as a sense of escape (from the phoniness associated with modern life)… and connection with the past.” Economic and social theorist, Jeremy Rifkin has predicted that “commerce in the future will involve the marketing of a vast array of cultural experiences rather than of traditional industrial-based goods and services... [markets will be based on] the commodification of play — namely the marketing of cultural resources.” By this analysis, the traditional British pub may represent the future of global capitalism.
Christopher Rountree is a writer and independent researcher based in London. This text is based on research conducted with sculptor Rupert Ackroyd, and Rountree and Ackroyd’s co-written chapter ‘More than just a shop that sells beer: JD Wetherspoon and the Pub Authenticity Value Aesthetic’, for the book Biographies of Drink: a Case Study Approach to our Historic Relationship With Alcohol (Mark Hailwood, Deborah Toner, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015.)
1. When did you first visit this pub? What year, and on what occasion? 2. What was the pub like then? Describe the physical space, the look, the feel? Describe the layout – exactly – as you remember it... Walk me through... Describe the sounds, smells, colours, furniture, lighting, feel… who were the kind of people drinking there? 3. Who have you met there (that stands out in your mind)? 4. Tell me about your most memorable evening/moment/performance, etc… Can you recall any lines, anything that was said, any songs that you sang? Sing them... 5. How did you feel when you heard the pub was going to be closed down and converted into flats? Sold off ? What did you do? What would it have meant to lose the pub? Why did you/we/the community want to save it? 6. Who haunts the pub? Which ghosts are you aware of ? How do they make themselves present to you? 7. Do you think that pubs are important in British culture? Why? What do we get from them/in them that we can’t get anywhere else? 8. What do pubs give us permission to do? Or to be? How do we behave differently in pubs (compared to other social situations like work, or being on the bus… or watching a sports match… or… or...)
9. Alcohol’s a big part of it - Alcohol is our cultural staple of altered consciousness, which liberates our need to socially explore lust, longing, fear, desire, etc. How do you think it changes people? How does alcohol help to take the lid off – help people relax, etc. How would you describe that?
17. Imagine if the pub was a person and the pub died, who would attend the pub’s funeral? What music would we play? What hymns would we sing? Can you sing a line from the song or the hymn?
10. Do you go the pub to get drunk? What happens to you when you get drunk? How do you feel? Do you feel more alive? Sexy? Brave? Confident or more connected to others? Do you feel more powerful, or omnipotent or even immortal? Or just more at ease? Can you describe how that happens or what stages it might involve?
19. Do you like hearing music or just hearing chatter in a pub? What do you like about music? About chatter?
11. Have you ever met the love of your life in a pub? 12. What’s the sexiest encounter you’ve had in the pub? What’s the most alienating? When did you get most fired up? When did you feel happiest or the most euphoric in the pub? 13. Have you ever felt completely lost or bereft or thoroughly low or fed up (in the pub)? Have you ever cried there? What happened? Did you feel better or worse? 14. Have you ever split up with anyone in a pub? 15. Have you ever dreamt about the pub? Had a pub dream? How did it feature? What happened? 16. Do you have a dream for our pub? A vision?
18. Why don’t we have pub sing songs any more?
20. Do you go to the pub alone? Do you like being alone with others around you? How/why does that work for you? Is it a way out of yourself ? 21. What’s your favourite pub smell? Does this pub have a particular smell? Describe it... any associations? 22. Is the pub comfortable (physically)? How could it be more comfortable? In your wildest dreams – what would make the most physically comfortable pub? Would you like to lie down in a pub? Do you think that’s a good idea? Dogs are very happy to lie down... dogs spend a lot of time sleeping in the pub? Have you slept in the pub? Was it a nice, deep sleep?
25. What do you love most about our pub? 26. Can we feel love towards a building or a place? Or is it about how we feel in the building/the place? Or is it love towards the people in it? Or the memories that we have of our experience/s with people there? 27. Is it important to you that it’s a local pub? Is it mostly locals drinking in the pub? Are you local? 28. Do you feel like you belong? 29. What do we mean when we say local? It’s something to do with home… How do we think about home? About belonging? (eg, very few of us were born in this area – have family here, etc)? 30. Could the pub be more diverse? In what way (age, race, class, gender, sexuality... etc)?
23. Is it important to you that dogs are so welcome in the pub? What do you love most about dogs? 24. Is it important to you that children are allowed in the pub? Should they be? Do you have views about this? What do you love most about children?
The Last Hour! closes with a screening
of Public House, followed by a Q&A with Sarah Turner on Sunday 5th November, 3.30 pm, at The Cameo cinema, in partnership with Picturehouse Cinemas.
18 The Last Hour!
We started getting a wider demographic of people coming as there were more options food wise. Like I said - the Chinese take away was a huge hit and soon everybody in the village knew who we were. There was a big apprentice-like firing as well. My parents knew exactly what kind of staff they wanted, and got rid of all the lazy, unfriendly staff! The pub became such a lively place, everything seemed to run efficiently and there was very little drama. I think it’s pretty cool that they weren’t afraid of upsetting people. After about two years of running the pub, my parents actually won the best pub in Lincolnshire award. They both worked very hard! On quiet week nights they would manage to get to sleep around 2am, then at the weekend wouldn’t get to sleep until around 5. During the week my dad would also have to get me and my brother up for school, so he would get to sleep around 2am, then get up at 7am to change the barrels and get the kids up and ready for school. Needless to say, both my parents would take a siesta during close time in the afternoon! We only went on holiday once during the whole four and a half years of being there - that was when you and I went to China! This didn’t upset us as kids though because we never found ourselves bored for all the reasons we have already spoken about. The whole village was our playground! And we were fiercely independent. It also felt very safe as my parents were always, always there if we needed them. It felt good not to be watched! The pub was a lease hold so my parents were renting from a company called PUNCH. The reason why they worked so hard and couldn’t afford a manager, was because rent and everything else was so high. They would make a decent amount of money, since every weekend was busy! But everything they made would go on rent and taxes and wages. In the end my parents just ended up totally exhausted and we left the place with next to nothing. In fact we were almost bankrupt after selling the pub! I didn’t know until much later of course because I was only 14 at the time... 4 AUGUST 11:05 Oh man, obviously I never realised it was run by Punch Taverns, but that makes sense now. Companies like that are notorious for offering a terrible deal to landlords and because of that effectively running community pubs into the ground.
The Last Hour! 19
Don’t use a computer to name your next pub Janelle Shane uses a computer neural network to create a list of potential names for a pub. Does anyone fancy a pint in the Grile & Fumthorse?
The King’s Arms. The Bell and Bucket. The Black Bull Inn. The Beggar’s Bridge. A pub’s name is part of its soul, often highly unique, often hundreds of years old, often with a story behind it. A simple computer program couldn’t hope to give a proper name to a pub. But what if it tried? I’ve been training a type of computer program called a neural network to generate names for all kinds of things guinea pigs, craft beers, and paint colors. Neural networks are a bit different from regular computer programs: In the usual kind of computer programming, a human invents rules that a computer has to follow. With neural networks, however, the human only gives the computer some examples to learn from, and the computer invents its own rules about how to make more examples. A list of 1,053 pubs was obtained from Colin Anderson’s database for the North East Regional Campaign for Real Ale, and I fed these names into an opensource neural network framework. After just a little bit of time training, the neural network had made some progress - after all, it starts with no idea of whether it’s supposed to be generating prose or musical notation or Finnish grocery lists. It had to form its own rules about capitalization, and line breaks, and which letters go with which other letters. And these - well, some of these - are already identifiable as possibly inn-like, though at this stage none of them are usable. Euceseeettigwtird Arms, Tea Posh Basei, Innery, Ga iral Ferk, Thod Inn Inn, Darn Funk Inn, Cont, Alan, Ars Swoos Loveles, Noms, Lick Aams Tteat, Armharoh Hams, Olk Ars Hotle, Moveam Treee, Slamlongs Arms, Roll, Brrew, keg Arme Horel, Booge Houne, ReWre Fock Inn, Arse Inn, Tumen Poodes Cavel Coundor Horse, Baak, Hotey Bead Inn, Fl Wlofler Arms, Oleetrar Moor Corore oad Bite & Chuts Wotee Vonehscon Cresks Arms After the neural network has looked
through the list of names about 11 times, it has made a bit more progress. These mostly sound like pub names, though there’s definitely still something off about them. Tostars Inn, Liad Cush House, Blawky Arms, Stons Of Horse, Blaksigth Arms, Whistle Plan Hotel, Bracken of Crovn, Coksarnss Hotel, Vulck fod Lick, Bool House, Many Inn, Horshy Ban, Crownreal Top, Drock of Conshersland, Prickhomidd Arms, Bill Inn, Dhodalgoat Hotel, Facg Manf Hell Hotel By 17 times through the dataset, the neural network still doesn’t quite have the knack for this. Whoneas Grey Hotel Hotel Hotel Trlety Eln’s Arms, Phite, Meathord, Green Head Hotel, Bhickloy, Farp Arms, Wharberb Bark, Hirlamion Crapy, Grile & Fumthorse, Male Dora, Rey Ofe White Bear, Pivsing Jambork Hotel, Cumperlel, Watersy Head, Ox Cadder Inn, Bar of El, Carhey Orb, Boak Hotel Inn, Whee Blinf, Plowde Tree, Bleak Clad, Angely Arms
Fripy Whee Bore Inn, Blowe Horse, Ladside Inn, Hogs Thee Inn, Shur Hiad House Hotel Hotel, Old Ash Ox Horse Inn, Bleak Clab, Bark Inn, Blisksmerd, Shorthood, Rat Horses, Cockleys Hotel, Wheee Travel, Sham, New Shins, Ferp’s Brel, Mhot & Wank of Cheaters Moons, Shite Horse Sheee 40 times through the dataset, and it also has not relented on its odd preference for rude-sounding names. The pubs of northeast England are in general a lot more innocuous than this. F’ing Hotel, The Gland Greene, Old Shits Heads Inn, Old Farders Arms, King Shams, Bliyffinge, The Blande Tree, Blink Bear, Gole Clown Hotel, Hall of Sprong, Bencock, Shite Farms, Firdwock Hotel, Dur & Thimpers, Fisting Tashers, Dorty Hounds, Phage Farm, Ox Kings, Kingfarter Mantle I’m not even trying here. As the neural network progresses in its training, the proportion of terrible pub names only increases.
By 21 times through the dataset, the neural network has shown some signs of improvement, but most of the names still need work.
Bollock Hotel, Flee, Blanding Weed, Willey, Farters Red Hotel, F Kings, Moldy Goine, Pant Cabber, Hell, Castle Stan, Crown & Three Hotel, Oxdick Arms, Grey Trip
Elden Mens, Collick Inn, King Brad Inn, Load Hotel, Torn House Inn, Rob Inn, Thanes of Lampel, Gurn uf Staneton Hell, Garled Blorge, Roods Cocket, Horn Blawde, Inn House Inn, Tivern, Got Blewe, Wot n Arms Hotel, Arm Savers
Finally, now that the neural network has gone through the dataset a hundred times, I can safely conclude: don’t use a computer to name your next pub.
The names eventually get more consistently pronounceable, and very occasionally, even believable. But mostly, they’re a bit substandard. At this stage, the neural network has had 35 tries at the original dataset, and still thinks “Bill” is a pretty good name for a pub. Green Green, Frown Arms, Plucksick, Bill, Horse Long Bog, Lede Lick Hotel, Farter Inn, Ports Bean, Fin Dune, The Wields Willy, The Beelly Gam, Tha Dlee Fark House, Phan House Naw, Old Mess, Now and Inn,
Belle Inn, Crow’s Rest, Mingside Arms, Crown & Fathous, Stonebredde Arms, Old Festerlan, Burn Horse Hotel, Shit, Cooch Inn, Odd Lingwion, Lambles, Loons Hall, Thringeron Arms, Flint Horse, The All House, Dean & Funtling, Old Hell Kick, Jolly Trocks, Doss of Wulling of Stank, Shore’s Castle Crustle Hotel, Blockstits Arm, Wallow Arms, Lick Inn
Janelle Shane is a research scientist, who trains neural networks in her spare time. You can find her blog at www.lewisandquark.tumblr.com
20 The Last Hour!
Do you think you’d ever want to run a pub? How would you feel about the idea based on your experience or the experience your parents had? FRI 13:23 I’ve never actually considered it truthfully, for the reason that I watched my parents work so hard for so little return! It was an amazing place to be as a kid, but the reality of it was that their quality of life wasn’t that great. After we left, another family took over. I think they tried to cut costs by doing things like getting rid of the weekend carvery. They also stopped doing Chinese food and after a year they ran the place into the ground and left. I can’t remember who replaced them, but I went back to what was essentially my childhood home after 3 years, and the place had been completely stripped bare inside. The new owner was actually the son of one of the bar staff we had hired. He had a vision of modernising the place and turning it into a “bistro” pub/ modern restaurant. There was actually a skip outside where he had thrown out all those incredible books and trinkets that lined the inside of the pub. The place was like a museum, and the walls were lined with books - some over 100 years old! There were paintings, stuffed animals, brass decorations, old tumblers... a bubble car, a papier mache giraffe, strange vases, and the weirdest and creepiest thing of them all - that old woman sat in a wheelchair. Can you remember her? He must have sold off what he could and thrown the rest away. It broke my heart - all that history and all those memories just disposed of like that. Since then no one had stayed longer than a year and the building has remained closed now for years, all boarded up. I actually had it in my mind to go there at night and break in a couple of years ago, just to see what it felt like to be there again. Like you said, whoever owned the building had tried to sell it off as a housing development project... Why would anyone want to live there, with one another pub in the village and literally nothing else for miles and miles? The bus service has also deteriorated significantly, so if you can’t afford a car or if you’re a kid, you’re literally stranded in the middle of nowhere. It makes me really sad, but this is 100% the reason why I would never want to run a village pub! What Ropsley is now, is my idea of hell. I would rather be broke and pay way too much rent in London.
The Last Hour! 21
Practical Pub Protection for Beginners Timothea Armour advises what to do if you’re worried about losing your local Here at The Last Hour!, we wanted to provide a round-up of as many of the resources as we could find that are dedicated to the protection of pubs. For most of the looming threats to pubs, from property developers and gentrification to taxation, there’s some sort of campaign taking action against them, or legislation that has the potential to be useful. Here’s a summary of some of them. Mass Observation, The Pub and The People (???)
Protection of pubs from redevelopment and community takeovers of pubs There seems to be a growing movement in favour of the idea that a pub should be run by, or at least in the interests of, the community that uses it. There are different bits of legislation in England and Scotland that whilst not specific to pubs, can be used to protect and promote pubs and their role in a community. It often turns out that a pub which is no longer of interest to, or not profitable enough for the pub chain or brewer from which it is leased, it is still of great interest and great value to the people that drink there. Assets of Community Value, or ACVs (England and Wales) The Campaign for Real Ale, or CAMRA, have been advocating for the protection of pubs since 1971 and have a huge part to play in many of these campaigns. One of their biggest has been a drive to encourage drinkers to have their local pub listed as an Asset of Community Value, or ACV. It’s relatively straightforward to nominate a pub as an ACV – all that’s required is the submission of a form to local councillors, along with 21 signatures of ‘an unincorporated body’. If a nomination is accepted, the pub gains some protection from future changes
of use or demolition and restrictions are placed on what can be done with it. If a change of hands or change of use is on the cards, there is a 6 week period in which the community can decide to place a bid for it. Should they decide to do this, a further 6 month moratorium period begins in which funds can be raised and a business plan developed before the pub goes on the market. As such, some of these listings are a step towards the pub in question being the target of a community buy-out, and subsequently being run by its community. Community Right to Buy (Scotland) Meanwhile, under the Scottish government, the most similar piece of legislation is the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003: Community Right to Buy. It functions in a similar way to ACV nomination, but the process by which a community registers their interest in a property is somewhat more complicated. Before registering interest, they must form a community body, (which can be a company limited by guarantee, a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, or a Community Benefit Society) and gain confirmation from a Scottish minister that their main purpose is ‘furthering the achievement of sustainable development’. If the registration is successful, it becomes ‘active’ only if the owner
of the property decides to dispose of it. Whilst not overly complex, this obviously requires a greater level of initial organisation than collecting 21 signatures in the pub. Consequently, the Community right to Buy seems to have been utilised less in relation to pubs than its English equivalent, which also does not place any obligation on placing a bid on a property and provides protection through planning restrictions from the point of registration. However, a potential strength of the Community Right to Buy compared to ACV nomination is that bidding does not take place on the open market.
intention of promoting the cooperative model internationally, the Plunkett foundation’s activities today are directed towards supporting communities in the setting up of community enterprise co-ops. The projects they support are predominantly in rural areas, where local services and amenities – like pubs and post offices - that would normally provide the locus of a community have disappeared. They support all kinds of projects and initiatives, not just pubs, but pubs, given their historical status as a focus of rural social life, make up a large part of their network of co-operatives.
to buy up pubs, eventually building a new kind of managed pub company. Arguably unlike small independents, they would have the economy of scale and buying power of a larger chain whilst retaining and promoting a community focus as well as benefits for their customers and employees. Set up by a group of professional publicans, they intend to provide an alternative to the faceless private equity corporations under which pubs suffer from high rents and beer prices. They are currently involved in the running of several pubs as a pilot scheme.
The Pub is the Hub is an organisation directed towards similar issues; they offer advice and guidance to rural pubs and licensees on broadening their services to incorporate things like a community garden, shop or post office. They also offer guidance for communities wishing to gain ownership of their local pub.
Improving trading conditions for pubs
CAMRA offer some of the most accessible and broadly pub-focused resources when it comes to ACV nominations and community buy-outs. There are also a number of organisations that can provide support for these pubs and to help them with every stage of the process, from deciding what structure they will be run on, to day-to-day advice. Many of these are geared towards the running of pubs as co-operatives; a democratic business model that means a pub can be owned and run by its community, with profits being used to benefit that community. The Plunkett Foundation was set up in 1919 by Sir Horace Plunkett, with the
Co-operatives UK are a large organisation, who offer support for the setting up and development of co-ops of any size and in any sector. Their website has many resources and guides to help navigate the legal terminology and many different types of cooperative models. The People’s Pub Partnership take a slightly different tact. The self-proclaimed ‘John Lewis of pub chains’, they intend
Any pub, whether community-owned, a freehold or part of a chain is subject to beer duties and business rates, all of which have increased sharply in recent years. Whilst chains might be able to absorb these costs more easily, their impact is felt more keenly by the publicans and drinkers in independent pubs, and in the case of leaseholds from larger companies or ‘tied’ pubs, costs tend to be passed on to the landlord at inflated rates. As well as a campaign, again fronted by CAMRA, to lighten the tax burden on pubs, there is also a movement towards making the situation fairer for the tenants of tied pubs, which currently make up forty percent of pubs in the UK. Again, details differ slightly between
England and Wales and Scotland. The Pubs Code Regulations 2016 (England and Wales) As of last year, the relationship between tenant landlords and companies that own more than 500 pubs is subject to statutory powers intended to make that relationship fairer, and to regulate the behaviour of these ‘pubcos’. Most crucially, rather than putting up with beer prices that have increased four and a half times more than they have for freeholds, tied landlords now have the option to go ‘free of tie’ and pay only the market rent for the building itself. A system like this gives pubs that a better chance of survival, both easing financial pressures and giving landlords more freedom in the way their pub is run and the drinks stocked. The Tied Pubs Bill and proposed Scottish Pubs Code (Scotland) Currently, pubs in Scotland are not similarly protected, although there is a voluntary code to which some large companies have subscribed. Labour Member of Scottish Parliament, Neil Bibby, is fronting a campaign for the introduction of a pubs code in Scotland and a public consultation on this has recently closed, awaiting an outcome from the Scottish government.
More information can be found from these sources: CAMRA - http://www.camra.org.uk/kc2-pub-protection The Scottish Government - http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Rural/rural-land/right-to-buy/Community The ‘Save the Great Scottish Pub’ campaign - http://www.protectourpubs.scot
22 The Last Hour!
The Last Hour! 23
One of my favourite nights in the pub was actually a Halloween party that I instigated. At 10 I was already an events planner I asked my parents if we could throw a party, and then made posters and stuck them up around the village. We decorated the pub with pretty much half the Smiffy’s catalogue, and made a creepy Halloween buffet. Pretty much every kid at my school showed up with their parents, it was a huge success! Looking back, it must have been a really nice thing for families to have had living in such an isolated place. There were a few villages and hamlets surrounding Ropsley, our village became a centre point because of the pub, and the novelty nights my parents would throw like Chinese New Year party, NYE, Caribbean nights, wine tasting etc. Also with it being such a family friendly place, it was super inclusive. We allowed dogs inside, much to my delight as a totally animal obsessed child. As far as I can remember, The Ropsley Fox was the most elaborate example of the kind of antique paraphernalia you often get in pubs. It seems mad that someone would’ve got rid of it. I know! Oh my god, I forgot to tell you about the weed scandal Oh yeah? One of the owners after us got busted for a weed farm in the attic Oh wow. That’s one way of keeping a pub going... I wouldn’t fancy moving to Lincolnshire either way to be fair. Likewise. If I ever had kids though, I would love to provide a childhood like the one we had where they can explore and run around on their own. Community is so important for that You should go to The Ivy House in Nunhead if you’re ever in that part of London. It was going to get turned into flats but was taken over by its locals as a co-op. Ah yes! Have you been there? It’s right next to my friend’s house Ah nice! I’ve not been there, but we’re screening it up here as part of the pub project. Wicked, you should come visit it I know right
A fictional tribute upon the death of the alehouse
“The more noise you make, the more trouble you give, the more good things you call for, the more welcome you are”
Andrew Wilson Obituary: The Pub, 43 – 2017 At half past eleven last Friday night, after the final dregs of last orders had been drained, the nation barely whimpered for the passing of the Public House, fondly known as the Pub. To brace themselves for the impact, a scant number of citizens across the country called emergency meetings at the few remaining boozers. This final hurrah would come to be the last hour of this once-loved cultural institution. In the simplest of terms, the pub can be described as a house where, during certain hours, everyone was free to buy and drink a glass of beer. However if you ever witnessed your local boozer transform into an All Bar One, a Slug and Lettuce or a J D Wetherspoon then you will understand the pub was never really about the beer. “The departure of the round was the
beginning of the end for me,” laments 67-year-old Megan Thomas in the dying hour of the last Friday night. “I can recall writing down a list of drinks across the queen’s face on the back of a £20 note. It was for a large group of people, some I had only just met. It relieved us from several payments and arduous single ordering, but rounds also kept us in the pub much longer.”
“The bar was one of the very few places in England where it was socially acceptable to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger,” says Kate Fox, anthropologist and author of Pubwatching with Desmond Morris. “At the bar, normal rules of privacy and reserve are suspended and friendly conversation with strangers is considered entirely appropriate and normal behaviour.”
There are many factors that have contributed to the untimely demise of the public house, from the many anti-alcohol campaigns or the availability of cheap booze in supermarkets.
“I was proposed to at the bar,” recalls Alice Barrymore, speaking of one of the oldest pubs in Britain, Oxford’s Bear Inn. “I said no, hardly knew the bloke, but then we drank five more pints of strong ale before passing out in a Travelodge.” Call it the Tabernaea, the Tavern, the Ale House or the Inn, the pub has served many a punter throughout its existence. Angles, Saxons, Jutes, International Businessmen, Hooligans, Scandinavian Vikings, Strays and Revolutionaries have all happily crossed its threshold for a frothy pint of beer.
But it was the widespread popularity of the ‘order and pay’ app that struck the killer blow. The app’s trumpeted promise of “no more queuing” kept the pub in line with the cotemporary convenience of self-service checkouts, online shopping and driverless cars. From the outset it seemed like a modest step, useful even. But upon closer inspection ‘order and pay’ dissolved the pub’s central function: the bar encounter.
While tribes across the world have used music, dancing or some other ceremony
to achieve a transitional release from the customary work-life cycle, in Britain it has been the Pub. “The more noise you make, the more trouble you give, the more good things you call for, the more welcome you are,” Dr Samuel Johnson once said of the Pub. Against all odds, this treasured institution mastered the art of swearing and verbal insults without violating even the most tentative of relationships. In Dr Johnson’s time, the many social customs and interactions wove a rich tapestry of friendship and warmth. Alas, it did not last. There has been no other public building quite like it. Beyond the beer, the nuts (both in the bowl and on the bar stools) and the often frivolous conversation, there stood a public institution that welcomed ordinary people on ordinary incomes. Unlike the theatre, the church, the sports arena, or the political rally, the pub never
attempted to arrange your thoughts for you. Rather, you became part of the shared cultural experience. Your thoughts, your opinions, your voice mattered. You were an integral ingredient in this marvellous cultural occurrence. Simply by being present, you were it. Blend this cultural framework with the humour and lightness inherent to the pub and then, democratically speaking, we may have lost the largest and most enjoyable political arena within the history of our small island. “We are now living in a society where inequality is rife and people just do not have the time or desire to stand around a smelly tavern with sticky floors,” says Sam Gibson, senior business analyst, who championed the ‘order and pay’ app. Having lost their battle to be protected as ‘assets of community value’, all pubs across the country are now preparing to be transformed into supermarket chains or international coffee shop franchises. The emergency meetings held by the many local boozers on the last Friday has
been, sadly, far too little and far too late. “The demise of the Pub comes as no surprise to me” says Dr Lou MacCleary of Dunbar who supped his final pint of Guinness last Friday. “We had been warned, from as far back as 1912, when that argumentative charmer Hilaire Belloc demanded that we either change our hearts or we will lose our inns, and if so, we will deserve to have lost them.” The bell has rung, the last orders have been called and the curtains have been drawn for the last time. On Friday evening the few that came raised a glass to the Pub, the pub singer, the barmaid, the barroom philosopher and the hospitality of the publican that tied it all together. Our love affair with beer may endure, but the Pub has had its last hour. Andrew Wilson is an artist, one half of artist duo Lloyd & Wilson, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. His favourate pub was the Black Lion, between 1999-2002, run by Hillary Wheeler, in the village of Hartley, Kent. www.lloyd-wilson.co.uk
Events 7 October - 5 November 2017 For more information and to book tickets please go to: www.collectivegallery.net
Mass Observation Field Trip
When is a pub not a pub?
Usurper: at the Waverley
Saturday 7th October, 3.30pm Meet at Collective, Calton Hill, Edinburgh Free (drinks not included)
Saturday 21st October, 3.30-5pm Collective, Calton Hill, Edinburgh Free
Saturday 21st October, 7:30pm The Waverley Bar, St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh Free
As part of The Last Hour! you are invited to join artists Lloyd & Wilson in carrying out some Mass Observation in Edinburgh’s pubs. After an initial introduction to The Pub and the People and the Mass Observation experiment, observers will receive a set of prompts and questions before splitting off into small groups, each visiting a different set of pubs within a short walk from Calton Hill to make observations and record them. All will then regroup in one of the larger pubs to share their findings, which will also become the basis of a subsequent discussion in the gallery on 21st October.
Artists Lloyd & Wilson and project curator Timothea Armour invite the public to join the discussions surrounding The Last Hour! This event follows on from the previous Mass Observation field trip, and will use the collected observations as prompts. Attendance at both events isn’t necessary for taking part. Topics up for discussion will be the role of the pub, what it means to run a pub, the current state of and potential futures for the pub, and crucially, ‘when is a pub not a pub’?
As part of The Last Hour! Usurper have been invited to create a performance in response to the project, its starting points in pub culture, research findings and the pub soundscape. The performance takes place within the ‘traditional’ surroundings of The Waverley Bar, whose closure and subsequent refurbishment were catalysts for the project.
Usurper are a duo from Edinburgh, Scotland, formed by Ali Robertson, founder of cassette tape label Giant Tank, and cartoonist Malcy Duff in 2003. Since then, the group, and their playful, belligerent electro-acoustic performances that take place with Ali and Malcy sat facing each other at either end of a table, have grown an international following.
(dir. Sarah Turner, 96 minutes, 2016) Sunday 5th November, 3.30pm Cameo Picturehouse, Edinburgh Followed by Q&A with Sarah Turner Public House tells the story of The Ivy House Pub in Peckham and the local community that triumphantly came together to save the pub from closure. Made in collaboration with some of the many users of the pub, the film features their voices, poems and performances, as well as key moments in the community takeover which led The Ivy House to become one of the UK’s first co-operatively owned pubs and the country’s first listed ‘asset of community value’ Through dance, poetry and song the film builds into an exhilarating participatory opera of multi-layered voices telling a tale of social resilience in the face of creeping gentrification. Public House questions what it means to be ‘local’, the importance of pubs as social spaces, and the place of memory and nostalgia in the institution of the public house. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director Sarah Turner.
Sarah Turner, Public House (2016) Film Still
A newspaper designed and edited by Timothea Armour, Toby Lloyd and Andrew Wilson, as part of their collaboration on a project commissioned b...
Published on Jun 29, 2018
A newspaper designed and edited by Timothea Armour, Toby Lloyd and Andrew Wilson, as part of their collaboration on a project commissioned b...