A Paean to Pubs


(I’m a writer, I’m allowed to use Big Words).

Pubs will be one of the last things we get back, perhaps unsurprisingly – they are, after all, enclosed spaces where people mingle, and you can’t really sink pubsa pint with a mask on. Yet pubs are the thing many of us miss the most. (I don’t know who this chap is and I have always hated the song, but here’s a gorgeous little silly video which rather sums it up. OK, maybe someone might want to remind him that it isn’t just men who love their locals, but the sentiment there applies to all pubgoers.)

Some writers prefer their favourite coffee shop as a writing haven, and I send them my kind thoughts as those, too, are inaccessible at the moment. Though I have, mostly, done my recent writing in my chaotic little home office, I have many fond memories of scribbing away at pub tables over the years: flashbacks I can summon fairly easily even now. The first published novel (well, novel-length magazine-format softcover, if you want to be picky) started with a bout of frantic note-making in the back room of the Swan in Deptford, while a live band were on stage, and the first words of the first draft were laid down in some Camden bar while I was waiting for friends to arrive. I even revisited past habits with great delight about a year ago. And, of course, Black Heart featured a pub landlady as the central character.

Last weekend we found out that a pub near us, like several others, is doing takeaway Sunday roasts, so we ordered our dinner and went to collect it (they prefer to save their delivery driver for people unable to leave the house). For the first time in about six weeks, I set foot in a pub, for all of two minutes. The sign on the bar said ‘We miss you’.

We will be back together again. In the meantime, if there’s a pub near you that has a way to take your money, try to put some of it their way if you can.

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