Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1972: I'll think about you till I'm old and grey

Though we hated Little Jimmy Osmond, we demanded our grandma put this on the jukebox for us. And every time we visited, she'd put it on - as long as it was current, of course.

Not she wasn't some Seventies hipster with a Rock-o-La in her games room, she ran a country pub. Well, I say country, it was just where the city meets the country but it may as well have been in the middle of nowhere for all we new.

If mum told us we were going to see grandma, we had two venues to choose from. Her home, or 'the Arms'. Home was fine, but the Arms was really exciting, as it meant the pub. I don't ever remember going during opening hours and of course back then the pub was shut all afternoon, so we'd go just as she'd called last orders.

We loved it. She'd give us fizzy drinks and Animal Bars and always put songs on the jukebox. Even better was that she'd buy the old records from the jukebox man for sixpence a half dozen and split them between us and our two cousins. So from the late Sixties until the pub was sold in 1973 we had hit after hit.

Still got some of them too - the Israelites, Yellow River, Sweet Caroline, Give Me Just A little More Time, Grandad, Devil's Answer, All I Have To Do Is Dream - the list is endless. My cousins got things like Living In The Past and That Same Old Feeling. Between us we had the entire hit parade for years.

I can still smell the pub, it's mix of fag smoke and beer, the spooky frosted glass door of the billiard room which made it look like Autons were playing snooker. I daren't even look at it it was so scary. The names of the regulars like cleaner Blance, who grew prize dahlias, farmer Dickie, his daughter Linda and other various colourful characters.

The pub was owned by a friend of my grandma's, a man who'd been long widowed and then pursued her. She was happy to help out in the pub but she didn't want to go any further. And when he died the year before she stayed on to run it but it was too much for her. It was a pit of secrets, some of which I'm only finding out today. It would make a great novel. But for now it's just a blog entry.

The pub is apparently still there, but I don't think I want to go back. I'll just remember this song echoing round the empty saloon bar.


  1. This is still my favourite post from your old blog...

    And I still have a Spotify playlist of all those songs.

  2. I was speaking to an uncle recently who used to work around Covent Garden pubs - he made a good point that pubs are all the same now. Just one big bar. No Public Bar for the rowdy types or Saloons for courting couples

  3. That hadn't occurred to me Mondo, but you're right. It's all one big room now. No snug, no select, no lounge. Shame.

    They've gone the way of that playlist, Chris.

  4. I'm going to resurrect it tonight and listen to it as I eat chicken and chips out of a basket.

  5. I would have given ANYTHING to be allowed to roam around a pub after closing, as a kid. They were mysterious, intriguing, glamorous, desperate places where you just KNEW all the 'real stuff' was going on. Write that novel.