Manchester Foodies Political Intolerance

I was racking my brain for a more punchy title, obviously based around food intolerance, etc. so all ideas are welcome.  This one is certainly less click-bait than the original “The Bigots of the Manchester Craft scene.”

Plus it needs to be said that I have no idea if the title is grammatically correct, meh.

One of my mates is actually an entrepreneur of the burgeoning food scene in Manchester and he too charges astronomical prices for what is a simple product to make and sell and fair play to him.  Fair play to all of them, if you can mug someone off for triple the price and let your confidence trick of more cash must equal better product than have at it, fools and their money.

But as I’ve droned on about before, business and politics don’t mix and said friend in a WhatsApp chat posted this picture…

I wonder if Slowthai will make an appearance?

You just know that all the food and drink available there will be so salty from the tears that Sally Davies would be shutting the event down on the grounds of it being hazardous to health.

And why couldn’t a charity event be held on a weekend, perhaps the rich pickings of the weekend crowd are far too much to give up for the homeless.  Then again Tuesday is a nothing day so I suppose it has less challenges for attention.

As far as I’m aware the #pleaseleavemytown is a reference to this…

 

A typically British confrontation; quietly reserved, passive-aggression met with passive acceptance and droll humour.

“My town” – one bloke with a personal opinion.  Not bubbled seals harping on thinking they speak for everyone.

Still, please leave is quite comparable to “go back to where you came from” and speaking to power is fine, speaking to simple members and voters is just a question of punching in every direction other than up but that is what we’ve become, when simple differences of opinion can see the use of certain words lose all meaning from over use and in completely the wrong context.

More civilised that the way Antifa behave at least…

Still homelessness is worthy enough cause to contribute to, after all its proponents are the first to resist the craft beer wave; why bother paying £10 for a half of an imperial stout or TIPA, when you can mix and match four cans of Kestrel, Skol, Tennent’s and Carlsberg Super Strength for the same price.

 

In other fake news, it turns out both Grub and Indy Man Beer Festival had to issue retractions recently.  Happy they were that rather than the white and middle class turning up to all their events, they finally managed to attract their first paying black and arab customers.

Sadly, on all occasions it turned out to be Justin Trudeau.

 

Thanks for reading.

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My Love of Holt’s Pubs

Subtitle: Oh great, if my grammar wasn’t bad enough I’m going to struggle with possessive apostrophes.

Search Holt’s Pubs

Only 12 Holt’s pubs are Cask Marque apparently.  Good, ignoring those chancers is one of my fanciful whimsies I get when I go drinking.

I don’t treat Holt’s pubs the way that some would a Hard Rock Cafe, then again if each pub did their own pin badge then I might consider the pilgrimage to every one, I’ve already got their “bee glass” and my Untappd history seems to suggest I’ve had every beer they’ve done (give or take).  Make it happen Joey.

Now I can’t say I’ve been in a vast range of Holt’s pubs and as my previous post alluded to, the city centre pubs, like The Old Monkey and Ape and Apple just don’t do it for me, not because of the pub itself but because of the location.

If you want a list of my main visitations then it would be:

Tamar (Leigh), Mort Arms (Tyldesley), Atherton Arms (er, Atherton, pronounced a-THE-er-tun), Cart & Horses (Astley), Rosehill Tavern (Daisy Hill), Edington Arms (Hindley), The Crown (Horwich) and a few others more out of the way (i.e. not a simple bus/train ride).

I used to go in The Park in Monton, replete with fish tank and bench seating.  Then they gutted it and made it a mimic of the micro bars that sprung up in “the new Chorlton,” way back when every little enclave just outside of Manchester was “the new Chorlton.”

Now I could bang on about another of my whimsy annoyances which is purely of Holt’s own making and that is their pricing.

They are cheap as chips across the board for all their wares but don’t expect a menu saying 4.5 or 3.0 as a price guide, just some well trained bar monkey going £2.57 or £9.52 all together.

Yep, you’ll be coming home with pockets bulging of coppers to stick in your empty, over sized Bell’s whisky bottle.  Unless you wish to tip the weird amounts “no, you keep the 8p, luv.”

The beer isn’t half bad either but this isn’t about the beer it is about the pubs. “Always a warm and friendly welcome;” carpets, except around the bar area, strategic coat hooks (or full on hangers/stands), bench seating, the right temperature, nice toilets, very well trained staff, TVs at the right volume that can still be easily ignored if need be, cubbyholes, etched glass, etc.

You get the picture.

To conclude this post, I’ll finish with two quotes which sum up with brevity what I’ve drawn out to pass the time; one from Martin:

A TOAST TO SIR HUMPHREY IN THE BLUE BELL

Sam Smiths pubs most easily convey that sense of peace and contentment that justify getting out of your sofa to visit pubs…”

Except at Holt’s you can still use your electronic devices, should you so wish.

The second from my mum:

“If you’re old and can’t afford the heating, just go and sit in the Athy Arms.  You wouldn’t really have to buy anything and you’ll be as alone or as talkative as you want.”

 

Thanks for reading.

Not Tired of Life, Just Tired of Manchester (pubs)

I’ve never liked crowds; or being honest, people in general, the thronging masses of homo sapiens and their need to get wherever they are going and quickly as they can and fuck everyone else. Or the opposite of this, who toddle along or stop and chat on stairs or outside doors and are a general nuisance to everyone trying to get somewhere. Misanthropy can make you view things in extremes but all I see it common sense not being that common.

When I stopped working in Manchester I stopped having to commute through Manchester and I stopped having to go to pubs there to console my time wasted as another train or bus home was late, delayed or cancelled.

I started working and therefore drinking, in earnest, in Manchester some 15 years ago, not long in the scheme of things but a lot has changed in those years and I suspect a lot of people who communicate about beer probably weren’t old enough to drink back then either. For a point of reference it was a time before Port Street Beer House existed, then during, when it opened and became excellent and then further down the line, when it went on to become arrogant and shit.

During the past few weeks I’ve drunk in many towns and cities on extended holidays, especially in London, a place I have also seen change over the past decade or so I’ve made regular trips down there for drinks and the purposes of entertainment and relaxation (get your mind out of the gutter).

I note how the first stop is the Euston Tap and they just seem to be coasting along, resting on their laurels and the captive audience they have but at least that place was deserving of a pedestal at one time, unlike its Manchester Piccadilly counterpart which has always been a hollow shell.

I entertained finally going to the Bermondsey beer mile, if only to indulge my love of Kernel Brewery beers but they don’t open apart from to sell bottles and seeing as very few of the micro (call them craft if you so wish) London breweries are actually much cop (Weird Beard being one rare exception), it wouldn’t be worth my time or money. Full marks to Kernel for not being a slave to trends which now seems to have convinced people that drinking in industrial units under heavy neon lights surrounded by a bit of art is tip-top entertainment. I like Fox’s Biscuits and Heinz Beans but you wouldn’t see me clamouring to get to the a taste of those wares in the factories at Batley and Kitt Green, far better to consume them at home, in the warmth, away from notice-me-wankers (and probably Greg(g) Wallace).

London as a whole has changed, always a heaving metropolis, the description that opens this piece fits it best, though I’ve always respected the seeming fact that London centre pubs are treated as iconic and as necessary furnishments to the economy, something that Manchester, in its clamour to look exactly like London spectacularly loves to ignore and destroy. The personal epiphany though was that all the pubs in London I went in to were havens from the gaggling hordes, something I can’t say for Manchester.

That my opening gambit in every pub and bar I went into was “do you still take cash?” and only once was the answer a “no” still heartens me.

I thought it was just city drinking I was dulled to however not only tolerating but actually enjoying recent trips to Leeds, York, Edinburgh and Sheffield and a whole host of small towns coupled with the London excursion showed that maybe its a case that familiarity breeds contempt and it is well possible because every time I’ve been back to Manchester it has just been a bit meh.

I speak for me, this is my “Rekall moment,” and not to slight the pubs, old and new that are there or the drinks that are on offer.  I am fully aware I’m the factor here.

This piece seems to be acting as a nice intro into another small bit I’m working on called “My Love of Holt’s Pubs” which will be published, when I can be bothered.

 

I’m Linus van Pelt and pubs, except for those in the centre of Manchester are my security blanket.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Oh, of note in London pubs.  Cask beer was significantly improve over recent years (I don’t take my own thermometer though).  Sam Smith’s pubs vary in whether they bother in enforcing their “no mobiles” rule or not.

Woke Siba and the Heretic Hunting Crafties

Last week I went and got the brewery mail and low there was a new copy of the SIBA journal.

I don’t read it, no one reads it here, I doubt many read it who actually get it delivered but then again this blog is probably going to make as many spurious claims as SIBA themselves regularly do.

It stays in it plastic (eco scum) wrap until I take it home and unpack it to put it in the paper recycling, as I like the false feeling of altruism when get when you put anything into recycling.

Numerous thought went through my head on seeing the cover and the first was to “have to check twitter” and the first was confirmed when I noticed they were pushing it to buggery.

And then the good old “we’ve got so many requests, we’re giving it away online”

File under – didn’t happen.  This is SIBA, you have to be slightly idiotic to give money to them in the first place let alone heed or read anything the belch out by many requests they probably mean the people that wrote the articles pushed it too and SIBA’s notifications were lit like never before (and never again).

So, just like those businesses that during Pride month go all rainbow flag crazy only to dump them come the 1st of July it is unsurprising to see another SIBA follow this trend.

My main query is why stick all these stories together into one magazine?

I can imagine the brainstorming session that went into this issue:

SIBA Exec 1: “We’ve got a lot of women, dykes, nignogs and wrong cocks who are getting into beer these days, how can we raise our profile?”

SIBA Exec 2: “How about a special issue in or around that fag pride month they do, we can get some representatives for each relevant tribe to write pieces about there difficulties in beer.”

SIBA Exec 1: “I like the sound of that.  It seems June is the month of the bumders so if we do it for our summer issue we don’t need to cover it again for a whole 12 months.”

SIBA Exec 2: “Great, we wouldn’t want to normalise these kinds of behaviors by having stories crop up in our regular issues,  best just cram them into one place and then the rest of our issues we can devote to proper, normal beer people.”

**High Fives All Round**

What sums up this bullshit best is the intro to this issue:

“When I started writing about beer and pubs back in the mid-1990s I was often struck by how few women, and even fewer people of colour and representatives of the LGBTQ community there were at industry events and gatherings.  I was quite frankly often the only woman in the room, a room that is predominantly filled with middle-aged white British men.”

Census data from 1991 says that 94.1% of Britain was ethnic white.  Etc., etc., et-fucking-cetera.

I see your agenda Caroline, I also see your woke racism and sexism, the good kind of sexism and racism.

In the way that beer twitter moves I was led down the rabbit hole to this tweet…

The replies to this tweet and the original quoted tweet are a joy to behold.  Such progressive thinking.  Such wide and open minds behind the closed fists.

Yes, free speech and free thought do not mean you have a right to an audience but it must be wonderful to be building up those walls of your bubbles so, so high.

And if “TERFS are scum” as everyone’s favourite fat, narcissist cunt claims then it would be interesting to know what Amber and the other plonker that favourited this opinion think of people who plead guilty and are duly convicted of criminal damage and assault are.

Woke scum I suppose, the good kind of scum.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

The Dishonest Opening Times of Micro Pubs

I think most of us have long been aware and made angry comment about the unreliability of micro pub and micro bar opening hours.  I suppose if you’ve planned a crawl or just a visit and find yourself with suddenly two extra hours to mooch about because one micro wasn’t opened at its stated time then it would be annoying.

Indeed, but I suppose you could at least go and drink/eat/wanderlust elsewhere until said new opening time rolls around.

But what about the dray people out there.  The deliverers of the beer.

Those who plan a route and can be doing 100s of miles a day, all of which can only be planned out by stated opening times of the pubs of that days itinerary.

That twattery greeted me today.  It has done a few times in the past, people running late being the main one but I can deal with the odd quarter of an hour provided it is (and usually is) accompanied by an apology.

Said micro that has inspired this rant is a good one, even I will say that, I won’t go as far as the local CAMRA branch who willingly fellate themselves and all concerned with it, but it is a good bar.

It’s Facebook page says it opens at 14.00 on a Thursday.

It’s own website says it opens at 12.00 on a Thursday.

WhatPub splits the difference and says it opens at 13.00 on a Thursday.

So getting there just after 2pm, to be on the safe side and you find yourself with this staring back at you.  Empty casks at your feet expecting to be picked up.

 

It is fantastic that you know you’ve got ever warming cask beer in your van and you now have to drive another round trip of 70+ miles to have to come back when they feel like opening.

Another few hours on to your day driving through the flooded back waters of Cheshire in order to be greeted by the pot smoking and all ready pissed locals of this gaff that are probably angry they aren’t middle class enough to live in Horwich but thankful they don’t live in the shit hole that is Daubhill (that’s pronounced Dob-ull) and are just desperate for a cold drink from the bottle fridge because all the other beer isn’t cold enough.

Enjoy my slightly compromised cask you fuckers.

But it’s all OK, they’ll be voted pub of the year again in the cycle of pubs that local CAMRA branches have when it comes to awards.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*Note: September 9th 2019 – I will not post the comment from the owner of this bar.  This was not meant to identify the owner or the establishment, just a wry aside on the perils that face all in the beer world and i’m well aware of the juggling done in running a business and a family.  There were no hard feelings in writing this and hopefully none are reciprocated.*

My Trip to Chernobyl – in 2009

In all this time I had this blog (from 2013), I never thought once to put up my photos I took when I went to Chernobyl and Pripyat back in March of 2009 but I suppose the seeming popularity of the recent HBO miniseries has caused my just to add to the hive of information that is out there.

Prologue

If you are still reading this and haven’t skipped to the pictures already then I’ll just give a bit of personal background.

There was something about growing up in the 80’s that to a child it seemed to be a decade full of disasters.  The Cold War didn’t impact on me in the slightest, I was too young to understand that, but the stuff that disrupted my favourite TV programmes being shown, now that always hit home hard.

The capsizing of the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry outside of Zeebrugge in 1987, the Marchioness disaster is 1989, Hillsborough, Challenger exploding in 1986.  The impact of sudden deaths out of the blue had a big effect on me, it was a feeling that had replaced my fear of earthquakes and volcanoes; once the realisation that the UK isn’t exactly on fault lines or a hot-bed of volcanic activity and it was a paranoia that was eventually supplanted by the hysteria of mad cow disease in the early 90’s.

But one disaster held me in more awe and grim fascination that all others and that was the one that happened in reactor number 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in then Soviet Ukraine on the 26th of April 1986.

Fast forward close to 23 years and, having heard money was going to be spent on covering the disaster site more securely than the initial sarcophagus that was hastily constructed just after the disaster, I made it a mission to get out there and get some photos while I still could.

Photos

By all means share these photos, though I would like a credit if you would be so kind, any questions about my time there will be happily answered below.

This may extend to a few more posts as there are quite a few pictures.

A few “whhhaaattt” things that always got me.  Because of the energy deficiency that was met with the loss of reactor 4, I’m pretty sure I was told that the other reactors continued to operate “as normal” during the whole time period after the fall out.

And that; I think to this day, the French deny that any of the radioactivity from the disaster went anywhere near French soil.

First off I think we should all remember the immense sacrifice the liquidators (or bio robots), or just the ordinary firefighters who risked and gave their lives to clean up the site so the rest of the world would not have to suffer as much.

This tested us for radiation before and after our visit.

The road inside the exclusion zone and towards Chernobyl, with the site in the distance.

The decidedly small amount of background radiation outside the disaster site.

The school and associated playground.

It is about this time when you realise that even though it is still an active military site with exclusion zones, urban explorers can still get in.  Vandals get in there is graffiti everywhere and obviously tourists, so you do sometimes wonder just how “posed” some of the scenery is and just how things were left following the evacuation of Pripyat.

The recreation centre and the hotel I think.

Bits and pieces.

The fairground, may have been permanent may have been for the planned May Day celebrations.

The flora and fauna was radio active and we were advised not to step on any grass or moss or leaves where possible.

The tower blocks and housing with the reactor in the distance.

The nuclear research centre.

The “Red Forest” where the radioactivity detector went mental for the brief period it was held out of the van window.

Finally (maybe) is what I believe is called Chernobly-2, or “The Russian Woodpecker” – a huge radar array that was officially discovered following the accident.  With the size of this thing and the fragility of the never maintained original sarcophagus over reactor 4, it was suggested that if this thing collapsed the resulting ground tremor could have shaken and caused the collapse of the sarcophagus leading to the radioactivity still in the old reactor core being released all over again.

Makes you think.

Forward to Fukushima.

 

Thanks for reading.

Beer People Are…Fans of Assault

Turns out I was wrong and that the guy behind @themadbrewery twitter handle is the guy who “milkshaked” Farage.

It’s amazing how hair loss can change the appearance of a person.

So not only is he now a convicted criminal, unemployed, fat and unnecessarily ugly* he is also losing his hair, and all at 32.  Brian Epstein, Bruce Lee and Mama Cass never achieved this much before they died.

But yeah, political violence…whoo.

When I first saw the news that the guy had pleaded guilty to assault and criminal damage I went in search of his account to find he had locked it again but as per my duff old phone, it allowed me to see all the replies to him and quite a few caught my eye as I recognised their names.

One in particular a Mr. Matthew Curtis

What a total prat.  The kind of bloke, or close approximation*, who hides behind the bully going “yeah!”

Then I noted a fundraiser had been started for the assailant to cover his costs and fines.

Oh…who’s that again…

Now granted you can add any name you want to these things, what is more shocking is the lowly fiver donation, perhaps the beer grift doesn’t pay that well after all, or maybe it is someone pretending to be him (or honestly has the same name).

 

Reading through twitter and the comments on the fund raiser you do have to laugh at the mental gymnastics of it all, especially from the prick that set it up.

How everyone detests Farage so this kind of violence is acceptable.

Detests? Hmmm, a synonym of detests is hate.

And throwing things at people is a crime.

Oh god, these people are justifying a “hate crime.”

 

“He shouldn’t have to face further punishment because he has already lost his job.”

Because only one of either the law courts or an accused employers should be responsible for the sentencing of a criminal.  Shit, if only Ian Huntley was sacked from his job as a caretaker then he needn’t have been convicted of life imprisonment for the murder of two children, really the legal system is all backwards.

It’ll be fun, when part of your future employment is to have your financial transactions combed through.

“Let’s see, it says here Mr. Curtis you like to donate a fair bit to crowd funding sites.”

“Yes, I like to support people within the brewing industry.”

“Can you give us some examples, please?”

“Certainly, apart from my presence as a social media influencer I’ve also donated to getting new equipment for a whole manner of breweries in order that they may expand the out put and also to start ups.”

“Excellent; very commendable, who is this Paul Crowther you’ve donated to, was he the owner of a start up brewery?”

“He was a home brewer who was also convicted of criminal damage and assault.”

“Right.  Thank you for your time.”

 

Lets get this straight.  What anyone does with their own money is up to them but don’t be even so much as questioning someone else’s morals or political persuasions or thought or speech if you’re willing giving your money over to anyone who is a stranger and a criminal.

You may as well donate your money to the Nigerian generals that send you spam requests if that’s your view in life.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*Red Dwarf, Season Five, Episode 1 – Holoship.