Archive for the ‘pubs’ Category

“I’ve got swingin’ doors, a jukebox and a barstool…”

October 12, 2010

part one of a probably-very-occasional series…

Everyone loves a good pub. Probably. From time to time, or indeed when the mood takes me, I’ll be decorating WHTB with tales of favourite  or memorable alehouses I have visited. Here’s a starter for you.

On my first tour with my old band, we made it our mission to go to the metal (or, if you prefer, biker) pub in every town we played.  For this reason, the seven-day jaunt became affectionately known to us as the ‘Full Metal Tour’. The Giffard Arms in Wolverhampton was the week’s clear winner, with its selection of fine ales, red lighting and satanic throne (this is probably the least accurate description of the design, but by far the most appropriate). But i digress.

The Giffard Arms’ ‘Satanic throne’. Note the upside down cross.

Situated next door to Stoke’s sort-of-famous live music venue The SugarmillThe Stage Door is nothing to look at. Indeed, from the outside it looks like an awful, cheap, dirty building with little to recommend about it either way. Before our gig next door, we popped in for a pint (not knowing the area whatsoever) and realised it was the local smellies’ haunt. What? Ok then, ‘moshers’, although they were always known as smellies round these parts. Anyway. 80s metal on the jukebox, three ageing bikers in one corner and four spotty long-haired teens in the one adjacent. Indeed, the clientele was vaguely reminiscent of that of the godawful bar my 6th form used to attend, only without the presence of a large contingent of drunken 16-18 year olds revelling in an establishment stupid, oblivious or unceoncerned enough to serve them.

Just as we’d decided the place was no good, we turned to the bar and noticed the shrine. O, what a sight met our eyes! Lovingly-arranged posters of heavy metal overlords Manowar papered the wall behind the pumps, and in the centre was written, in gothic text, “Grandfather, who were those men?” “Why, they were the true gods of metal, my child.”

At that moment we knew we had found our home for the next couple of hours.

Later I was shouted at by the locals for selecting Rage Against The Machine as one of my jukebox choices.

It was that sort of night.