Monday, 30 July 2018

Antisocial co-dependence

Hiya Kids! Welcome to the funfair of despair......

            Obviously, those who know me know that the above is my pet name for work. so its unlikely you will visit said park. Its just that having chosen the title of this amble through ideas I realised it may not sound like a tremendous spasm of fun to read. I mean, its not, but I have tweaked it in my head since meaning to write it four months ago when I first espied the two characters described in the title. On reflection, it no longer seems appropriate to jest....

The above caveat is somewhat undermined by my wanting to describe the couple as the old man who dresses like he is 29 in the seventies and the incredible shitting woman. In fact, its a socially oblivious man in his mid fifties dragging his elderly incontinent and usually incoherent Mother around pubs in Kelham Island until she wants to go home. Usually about ten minutes after they arrive. A chance discussion last week using the ISW descriptor resulted in a comment that made me think about the underlying dark tones of this unusual pub relationship, when someone said it wasn't  her fault, it was her son taking her out in no fit state so he can get drunk. Am afraid that is right. Please bear that in mind whilst reading, lest you think I may be enjoying this description of events. Its really a cautionary tale of what happens when a relationship becomes skewed in one half's favour, and the pub is the only place the stronger feels safe.

I was sat in my second home and a man wandered to the bar with an elderly woman. She was wearing slippers, a woolly pullover and loose fitting jogging bottoms. There was an odour. He was wearing a 1970s baseball cap, a shirt, wide legged trousers hoist over his belly with a tight belt and gola trainers. He ordered his Mother a glass of cordial or a tea, I can't remember which, and himself a pint of Stancill, and sat down in earshot. I took a long swig of my cloudy post 8% hoppy soup. Its like I knew.

A man still at the bar, probably older than the bloke, was on his mobile phone. This prompted our  societal orator to bemoan the reliance on mobile communications by "the young". The switch had now been flipped.  His Mother shifted uncomfortably at the table....

His next treatise was on expensive modern beers, and how the Stancill was expensive at £2.60 a pint, and how the young had no idea what they were doing wit their money. Ripe for an argument, I willed him to ask me how much my drink cost. He didn't. Instead he bemoaned the flavour of Stancill, before ordering a far more traditional pint. Of keg cider. Which he quickly despatched. Two pints down, and we were ten minutes in.

His Mother made a bid for freedom under the guise of heading for the toilets. On her return he berated her about modern life choices and philosophies, particularly those of the young. Jealousy is a very poor character trait,  although, sometimes its obvious where its seeds have been sown. "I want to go ome" his Mother said. "Not yet dear, am just going t get another pint" Do you want another drink? "No". Cue chuntering. And another five minute pint. And another rant about the poor quality flavours in modern beer. If only it were 1956. Instead of him just looking like he was still there....

After another pint, he declared he was getting a further one, and I decided to leave the odd show of social awkwardness and co-dependent ambiguity. It wasn't possible to determine if his Mother was being antisocial I should point out. She was just ungladdened to be out. He was trollied. His espousals were even less considered. He was certainly being antisocial.

Seeking refuge over the road in Bar Stewards I had purchased a can of hoppy soup. To my dismay, the odd coagulation of dystopian relationships shambled in. A strange discourse took place between the young wishing old guy and a member of staff. In the end Colin, as I had called him in my head, had another pint of cider. His Mother had a soft drink, later followed by amoebic dysentery. I had left by this stage.

I saw them twice more in the next month, at Shakespeares once again, no doubt bemoaning the cost of the Stancill, and at the Wellington, no doubt bemoaning the arrival of the 1970s. Colin was definitely in charge, and the trespass against his Mother's needs became ever more apparent. Looking back now I can see this melodrama for what it is. A man struggling to look after his semi continent Mother and longing to get hammered in front of other people, who may see the quagmire of his failures and scoop him and his Mother free of them.

I realise this is only slightly about beer and pubs but I do think that it reflects the role that the pub can play in some people's lives. For half the cost and much less mess he could care for his Mother at their home and get far more hammered at much less cost to her dignity and wellbeing. That his need to display this unequal arrangement of care and his bubbling disquiet in the pub says much about the fact that pubs are simultaneously places to meet and drink with friends, as well as a refuge for people with serious and oft overwhelming needs. A strangely impersonal shoulder to cry on.

I dearly hope that somebody who knows them has reported their concerns to social services, assuming they still exist, and that some action has been taken or support offered to meet both their differing needs without the compulsion to cry for help through the lengthy scenes on this maudlin tapestry of regret.

I haven't seen either of them for three months or more. Deep cleans of all Kelham Island's pub's toilets have taken place. There are still symphonies of nonsense, but none upon which so much hangs. I do hope they have found some respite in the midst of their struggles.


Sunday, 29 July 2018

Bar Stewards turns one year old


      although Al and Charlie have been open to the public for longer, its was a year ago yesterday that they got their full license at Bar Stewards on Gibraltar Street, opposite Shakespeares. To celebrate, a marvelous line up of ales on cask and keg and in bottle and can were amassed, live music was performed, three seasons of weather took place and crowds of thirsty wellwishers drank in the pub and beer garden.

The lads had been busy brewing a couple of special beers, including Solo - a geek story, a 6.6% pale brewed at Blue Bee, and a hazy 6.9% IPA brewed at Lost Industry called Ingenious Bar Stewards. Am not sure I tried that, but arriving at 14.30 I started on the Solo on cask as soon as I arrived. It was a wonderfully hoppy ale, and ticked all the boxes for what I wanted and expected.

Given the mad rain and thunder in the Friday morning the air was cooler and more rain was forecast, so I had to wear a short over my Tee Shirt. In fact, it was already starting to rain when I arrived, and some of the flags in the front window blew down early on, giving some notice of the weird weather that awaited us. Initially I sat inside but once joined by Vikkie and Matt we went outside where the strong sunshine had dried the seating and the number of visitors increased quickly. Although, four older gents came across the road from Shakespeares earlier and were horrified to discover that the weakest of the three casks was 5%. They left. I know they may have been on an all dayer but they could have had halves, silly old fuffers.....

I had half a Deya next, another cloudy golden swig of hops from Cheltenham's finest, before I persuaded Vikkie to buy me a pint of Verdant Even planets twinkle, or similar, a fabulous murky DIPA at 8.5%. It was, unsurprisingly, wonderful. Although I didn't dare look at how much it cost.....

A couple of cans followed, one of which was a Loka Polly DIPA featuring some of my favourite but thus far unremembered hops, and I had another half of the Verdant, and possibly shared a can of Verdant Neal gets things done. Or possibly not. I think the mini beer tasting I had Friday night and three consecutive nights drinking prior to that may have muddled my brain a little, resulting in  a modicum of misrememberance....

A couple of heavy showers fizzed over us, sending some scarpering inside as if made of sugar, but we simply stayed put and got wet, and as the crowds got ever bigger Stumbling Andy played blues guitar, whilst we and others petted his dog. Rich and Kath turned up, as did clan Seaton and Unpro, and there were numerous other well known members of the scene including Pete, and Andy Morton. It seemed as if everyone wanted to wish the Stewards the very best, and Vikkie and Matt even got them a birthday card featuring some of Matt's finger on window handiwork!

According to texts I sent to Tash I was home by half 8 so probably left bout 19.50 after just over five hours supping. Since the Solo at 6.6% was probably the weakest beer I drank all day its hardly surprising that I neither remember getting home, nor cooking and eating my tea. I did though, so there.

New micropubs continue to open in Sheffield with a number since Bar Stewards started out in early 2017. It seems the demand for small independent places to drink free of tie remains unabated, with proposed new venues in Hillsborough and Crookes on the cards. Through dedication, hard work and a genuine love of beer the Bar Stewards have built their reputation and created a reputable and reliable place to drink, meet and chat with similar minded folks.

Heres wishing them many more years of growth and excellence ahead.


Wee Beefy

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Sheffield gets another new bar.....

Hello readers,

     some of you may read into the title of the post. that I don't see any need, maybe any justification, for another new drinking venue in fab sunny Sheffield. That isn't the case at all. In fact, its a little word trap that I have set, and now entirely dismantled. And as you will see, I happen to rather like this new venue.

I say venue because Church, Temple of Fun is not just a bar by any stretch of the imagination. The building itself, on Rutland Road, houses a clothing store called drop dead and the bar features along with a frankly excellent range of bose, a vegan menu from make no bones, and there are retro video games to play, along with quirky seating (too much so for me, I didn't want to have to be rescued, although once I regain some mobility I will try out the hexagonal "tubes" which you can sit in....) The main highlight on my first and thus far only visit was the music.

The Osborn factory, or more likely Osborn woks, have terrifically high ceilings. This affords a cool atmosphere, and some frankly excellent acoustics, and the choice of music played then, mainly dub reggae and a sprinkle of ska, was perfectly suited to the surroundings. When not shopping, dancing or walking around in awe of the vast cathedralesque qualities of the venue, there is a small outside drinking area positioned over the river Don from where one can espy the fabulous Gardeners Rest beer garden.

But what of the bose? I hear you cry....

There are two handpulls, one for cider and one for Dark Star Hophead on my visit, and possibly six keg fonts. selling high quality beers such as Black Iris endless summer session IPA, Highwire Grapefruit, and the first beer I had there, which may have had a name, and been Lervig Tasty Juice. Or not. I looked at the wine list as well and it sounded fantastic, although on this occasion it was strictly a beer visit. The staff recommendation board features Cloudwater in cans, maybe as a collab, so the can and bottle selection is pretty good too. I have been told by friends Helen and Chele and also judging by the pics on their website, that they are rather good at cocktails. As an unreformed death metaller, the idea of putting activated charcoal into a drink to make it black sounds like an excellent idea!

A quick search on Google lead me to an article in the Sheffield Star, whose website I cant access except for in cache. I found out from that the person behind the bar is Sheffield musician Oli Sykes from the band Bring me the Horizon. Yep. Me too. Now am in my dotage I know very little about current Sheffield popular beat combos. There is a link here to the bar's website, and you can find them on Friendache....

I also discovered the name of the architect who designed the original works, William John Hale. There is also a link here to an article about Hale and listing his Sheffield buildings. As a former Crookes resident its interesting to see how I have followed his architecture to near where I live now. Or not.....

I will be returning to Church, a great name for any pub as used by many a person as a euphemism for the pub or club, in August and am looking forward to encountering more excellent music and more wonderful beers. In the meantime I highly recommend a visit.


Wee Beefy

Monday, 16 July 2018

A very wet week in sunny Sheffield


       just an advisory note readers, the following tome contains multiple references to and details of EXCESSIVE consumption of luffly bose. And not just ordinary bose. Naeow. Proppah bose. I digress, of course, but here are some details of what some of my dear friends told me happened during that mad week last month.....

Last month, and the period thereafter, has been hot. So eagle eyed readers will notice what I have done. Its an joge. A play on words if yer like. because the weather....was not wet. Its just that my actions were primarily aqueous.....

It Shakespeares. As, indeed, did everything. When the first wriggling atoms of life splashed free into the furthest pool of life's construction, that, was in Shakespeares. Absurd, admittedly, but you can see where my allegiances lie. Its not my second home for nothing. Its all Earth's lifes second home.

Adam had put on North Brewery Transmission American pale at 6.9% on cask, one of the world's best beers, on. I arrived for my crapulent downfall at 15.07 with S.o.J, soon joined by Helen and Chris and Malc, and had a pint. And then another. Other than the first I paid for none. And still the 568mls of joy came unabated. Carried away on a tide of friends kindness and nobody knowing who the delicious pints were for, I probably had six. Or seven. Or more...

One surprising side effect of this bibulus undertaking is that I became hammered. So much so that I "briefly" nodded off. Indeed, am still hearing about persons who turned up at or around 20.30 whom I have no recollection of seeing. Steve took me to the loo. And I dare not report what WK had to explain away about my trousers as I tried to leave for the taxi.

The next day, having somehow not died, I awoke earlyish to find Matty strimming the lawn in drizzle, and friends and WF started to congregate to board a minibus driven by Paddington. Having been too destroyed to read my Faceache messages I hadn't realised we were meeting on the main road. WF was not impressed. Although, WK offered to drive his car to him, pick him up. drop him at the bus and then drive back, park the car and run back. WF was having none of it. We left 40 minutes late.

Arriving at the Ye Olde Rock Inne at Upper Hulme at 13.00 we soon ordered food and all had fabulous meals and mainly numerous pints of Wincle Sir Phillip. Excellent snap, even if the mobile phone bound lass behind the bar never collected our plates in the hour following our meal. Heading through excellent countryside back to Sheffield, we stopped at Tescos Abbeydale, where me and Davefomtshop walked there for me to buy bose and WF embarked on a tri-millennial dawdle to the loos. We arrived back home late, with WF half asleep, to find that Tash and Matt had done a wonderful job cleaning the house and finishing the garden. Much supping, burgers and music then occurred, til I finally went to bed about 01.30.

The main part of the weeks libations transpired to be my actual birthday, where after a half of Mad Clown in the Rutland we headed to Shakespeares. Here, the Transmission pump was inhabited by a 6.9% Howling Hops IPA, which I had several pints of. Perhaps seven, maybe six. Carlos very kindly drove me home, and having watched me open the gate, clamber down the steps, open the  door and enter the house, I texted him half an hour later, to tell him I was home...

All in all I had a wonderful birthday week, although I have to zay, a wz veh, veh drank.

Your very envious health!

Wee Beefy