My world was rocked this past weekend with the sad news that the Mucky Pup in Islington, by far one of the best pubs in London and my second home for the past 10 years, will be closing down in two weeks’ time.
Naturally anybody who knows me will know that I am particularly fond of the Mucky Pup and have been since I first walked through the doors there all those years ago. If you’ve ever been for a drink with me, chances are it was at the Mucky. So to say that I haven’t taken this particularly well would be a bit of an understatement.
Apparently there will be “a great bunch of guys taking over”. Now this might sound like bitterness on my part, but that sounds to me like codeword for “a bunch of wankers”. If that offends you, tough shit. I’m in the second stage of grief now, I’ve gone through the shock and denial phase and now I’m in the angry, sweary phase. It’s my site anyway so if you don’t like it then go fuck yourself – can’t you see I’m grieving, you insensitive cocksucker?
*Deep breath*. That’s the swearing out of the way (for now). To call these people wankers when I’ve never even met them might be unfair, but I can only judge them on what I know and that is that they are changing the format of the place and dropping the Mucky Pup name. What a “great” bunch of guys they sound like. I shudder to think what they’ll do to the place. I guess that it’ll probably be turned into another pub with stupidly overpriced beer, frequented by privileged trust-fund wankers with ridiculous facial hair and a sense of entitlement, so that they have somewhere to stand around eating olives and sourdough bread. Because London is crying out for those kind of places at the moment.
This is the bit where I stop talking specifically about the Mucky Pup, and branch out to focus on the wider issue. There is a plague sweeping our drinking establishments at the moment – a plague of gentrification. Not just in London – it’s now spread to every major city in the UK. The face of the Great British Pub hasn’t just changed, it’s been assaulted and battered beyond recognition. It’s been mutilated like something from one of those cosmetic-surgery-gone-wrong shows. It is indeed a horror movie far more gruesome than anything that ever graced the screen at one of Josh’s Cigarette Burns nights.
You know the sort of things I’m talking about. The same little annoying quirks that every newly opened or refurbished place is doing and thinking that they’re being so fucking original. It’s selling beers with titles awash with buzzwords like ‘craft’ and ‘artisanal’ (each of which is worth an £2.00 on top of the standard price of a pint in any given area). It’s organic fairtrade cordials and tonic waters made from triple-filtered runoff water from some glacier in fucking Nepal. It’s serving ‘deconstructed’ pub classics on rooftop slate tiles, and putting the salt and pepper into shot glasses. It’s poncy fucking gourmet crisps for 2 quid a packet and wasabi-covered peanuts. But most of all it’s the general wankiness that goes with it all and I’m sick of it. I’m sick to death of scenes like this and this and this and this and fucking this.
I must state for the record, that I have nothing against gastropubs as a concept. But why does every pub have to be a gastropub? It’s killing the traditional quintessentially English binge-drinking experience.
With rent prices in London shooting up faster than a junkie at an all-you-can-eat heroin buffet, the sad reality is that pubs are either becoming generic upmarket twatshacks or flats for said twats that frequent said shacks. One of the major casualties is that of London’s alternative scene, which is down to its last small handful of venues keeping its life support running. The Ben Crouch Tavern, gone. Mean Fiddler, gone. SIN, gone. Astoria, gone. The Old Intrepid Fox, gone. The New Intrepid Fox, gone. The George & Dragon, gone. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I’m not even including the ones that have closed and then re-opened as bastardised shadows of their former selves (notable mention: The Hope & Anchor on Upper Street)
So, while I start preparing for the final piss-up at the Mucky Pup whilst simultaneously looking around for another half-decent pub with a whole new set of bar staff to annoy, and wallowing steadily onwards into the next stage of grief (the appetisingly-named Cycle Of Depression), I shall bid you farewell for now. In my next post I’ll try to focus on something more positive, like maybe sharing some memories of the Mucky or something like that. Maybe that will help me move on and accept what I can’t change, not that that means I have to like it. Jesus Christ forgave the bastards, but I can’t. I hate. I hate what this nation’s becoming and I hate the people responsible for it. I hate gentrification, I hate mulled cider and I hate Thai sweet chilli flavour peanuts. We’d like our Great British boozer back, please.