There is never a dull moment in Beestonia, which is a shame when all one wants to do is to have a dull moment without leaving Beestonia. I’ve spent a fraught week trying to shift my assembled wares from one abode to another with such incredible stess all I crave is a dull moment. A very long dull moment. Painting a wall and watch it run from wetness to moistness to tackiness to dry. Attempting the Tour De France on a cycling machine with a speed restrictor set at 4 mph. Committing to watcing a series of Britain’s Got Talent. Some mind-numbing, unstimulating, totally procrastinatingly glorious NOTHINGNESS. I long for a zen state, a long deep breathing OHHHMMMMMMMM which leaves me so laid back I’m 85% puddle. Can I get this in Beestonia??? Absolutely no chance.
It sounds like I’m complaining. Don’t be daft, I love it. Its the only reason I can justify keeping this blog alive. If I truly wanted dull witterings about the nothingness of my habitat, I’d move across the river and become ‘West Bridgonian’. I don’t, and I could (provided I find half a million in a suitcase this weekend), because I utterly adore Beeston. And I adore it through the fact I can pop down the pub after an absolutely wonderful evening of Kingfisher spotting down Nature Reserve (try it, its like watching SpringWatch, but in surround sound and 3D), and come away three hours later not just with a belly full of the Best Ale in Notts (official), but a notepad so bulging with stories I’ve had to invent nano-shorthand to cram it all on the pages.
Where to start? With some celebration, naturally.
Beeston pubs are better than your pubs. Again.
And again, its official. The Crown Inn, one of Beeston’s oldest buildings, once again takes the prize of CAMRA Nottinghamshire Pub of the Year, incredibly when pubs are disappearing in the town at a horribly rapid rate. I mention its age because across the road from it stands one of Beeston’s most recent buildings, Tesco, which is one of Beeston’s newest buildings, part of a chain that is doing phenomenally well, yet locally has been boycotted and snubbed to such an extent its in the doldrums and leaking dough here. Draw your own conclusions.
I miss the presentation ceremony, as do every other media outlet. The Post, the BBC, the Beeston Express miss it, but talking to James Brown later I find out why:
“We don’t really need to shout about it. We just run a pub that we’d like to drink in. There isn’t a need for publicity and all of that. We know we’re good, we were good, are good, and will continue to be good and that’s what draws the punters in. Publicity? Nice, but we just run a pub. Try and run it just to be voted Pub of the Year and you’ll collapse’
He’s a pleasantly taciturn fellow, Mr Brown, yet I endorse his laid-back attitude: and the formulae works wonderful. They have a beer festival on right now, running till Sunday. If you are a Beeston-based Beestonian (and I know many of you aren’t, so sorry) get your arses down their PRONTO. In the interests of fairness and balance, I must point out that other pubs in Beeston offer great experiences and lashings of fun. You know, like Wetherspoons.
Beeston and Shit Pubs
Which segues me nicely into my next observation. While down the Crown tonight I bumped into local politicos Cllr.Steve Barber (Labour, Rylands), and Eric Kerry (Conservatives, Attenborough). Now, you’d expect them to be as advertorial in the pub as they are the Council Chamber, but no. They could almost be a double act. I sat opposite them, and was never lest than rapt in their tales of Old Beestonia. Heres a great one.
The Durham Ox is now a Chinese restaurant serving very gorgeous food ( try the Char Sui Bao doughy buns for heaven in a chomp) but beforehand it was a pub, for many many years, and in the mid seventies a regular called Tim would sip ale, play darts and chat to other regulars. Tim was a studying law at the University of Nottingham, yet spurned student bars for more local haunts. It was fun, but he’d frequently tell his fellow drinkers that he could do better.
‘Then do it’ they said; and in 1979 Tim did just that. Purposefully striding to London, he opened his first pub in Colney Hatch, an area in Barnet, North London. Colney Hatch, famous for two things. One, its 19th Century lunatic asylum (as such places were known as of the time), whose name became so synonymous with mental disorder anyplace judged to be a bit full of the desperate; the confused; the mentally needy; was ‘a bit Colney Hatch’. And thus, the first Wetherspoons opened.
I need not tell you how that buisness plan played out. Because I don’t want to bore you with the story of how Beeston was the inspiration for Wetherspoons take over of this country’s pub trade, and how it is now operating over 800 pubs nationwide that suck the love and the life out of community boozing with a spurious promise of cheap food and booze.
Beestonians, I am so proud when I write of the roll call of Beestonia: Einstein, Gandhi, Paul Smith, Bendigo, Richard Beckinsale, Edwin Starr,that woman out of Swing Out Sister.. These great individuals serve to make me realise Beeston is blessed…yet we also breed mulleted idiots who set up shit pub chains.
I walked through Beeston’s much hated precinct today. Its like a horrible micococm of the Broadmarsh Centre, which has long held the accolade ‘Where shops go to die’. I counted only three non-charity shops out of twenty operating. Tesco set themselves up as the saviours of local business. a plethora of shop-space for local entrepreneurs to use. Not a single one has. Tesco itself is suffering from unexpected low takings. Worrying? No. I chatted to a well-informed source at Hallams (fruit,veg, seafood), who claimed that their proximity to the multi-national b ox had benefited their business. I am too ill-informed to wade into this debate now, but will scrutinise footfall and takings, before presenting you with a thoroughly researched, detailed, fact savvy report when I have time. And if you lazy bastards that read this ever wish to rise from your fat arses to help write this, bloody well let me know and do so. Admittedly, I’ll give you all the shitty fact-checking jobs, but hey, it’s Citizen Journalism, innit?
There is loads more to bang on about, but I’m so tired I must investigate the joys of pillow+duvet+BBC World Service =snooze, before I bring you more juicy morsels. Get yourself subscibed to this blog ( push that needy-looking button to your right); follow me on twitter (i’m beeestonia, note the double ‘e’), or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m off to Sussex for a few days, but worry not, a plethora of locally based silliness (and some surprisingly diverse politics) will be washing up on these shores soon…