I've spent some of my happiest moments in pubs. But pubs are closing all the time. In the industrial waste lands of St Philips – a sort of edge-lands between the centre and the eastern suburbs – we see this a lot. In 2008 Book Barn closed their Bristol branch in Paint Works. It was a free-for-all, take as many books as you can carry. One of those I took was a long-out-of-print Bristol Pub Guide, revised edition 1982. I've spent many hours comparing the pubs of 35 years ago with those of today. Some remain, but a lot have sadly gone. St Philips seems to have been particularly badly hit.
So, on one cold morning somewhere between Christmas and New Year at 6:30, I left my soundly sleeping wife, put on my running gear and went out to do some white middle class activism. The inception for this work was the Old Market Tavern at the bottom of Feeder Road. A boarded up pub I’ve cycled past everyday for the last 10 years on my commute to work. With the redevelopment of that area, I’m sure it will be knocked down soon. Some of the pubs I’ve celebrated in this work have been demolished to be replaced with something new. Others have just been repurposed. They are however no longer serving an honest pint. Pubs taking part in this piece of public performance art are:
Bunch of Grapes – Sussex Street George Inn – Kingsland Road Coopers Arms – Victoria Road Crown and Anchor – New Kingsley Road Midland Inn – Midland Road Pride of The Forest – Unity Street Printer’s Devil – Broad Plain Swan – Midland Road