Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2014

Postcard from Scarborough

The Grand Hotel in Scarborough is a rambling old Victorian pile occupying a dominant position astride St Nicholas' Cliff over-looking the town's South Bay. Originally catering for the wealthy Victorians, many attracted by Scarborough being a spa town, it now does a roaring trade with coach parties and is fair to say that the grey pound is a major source of income. Despite a recent multi-million pound refit, it has an air of faded glory about it.


And so it was, that in search of an Easter break I came to be at the Grand. Scarborough was not my first choice, I have to say, but unable to find anywhere to stay in my preferred locations in either the Lakes or Whitby, I spotted a cracking deal to stay at the Grand.

So, I set off in bright sunshine from Brighouse, the new Elbow CD (very good it is too) on in the car, the traffic was pretty good and in less than 2 hours I was approaching the outskirts of Scarborough. All was good in the world.

And then, the weather suddenly changed from …

Augustines Live, and Uncut

Every month with 'Uncut' magazine you get a free CD featuring tracks from some of the latest albums, which is a great way to pick up on new artists that you might not get to hear on the radio. Indeed, some of my favourite music of the past few years has come from artists I came across via this route - John Grant, Beach House, Besnard Lakes, Jonathan Wilson, Low, the list goes on.

This is also how I first came across New York band, We are Augustines, who, in their new trimmed-back guise as Augustines, I saw last Wednesday at the Manchester Academy 2.
I had previously seen them at the Academy, back in 2012. Not known as well in those days, they were shunted off to Academy 3, a smaller hall, still in the Students Union building, where the previous week I had seen the much-missed Oldham-based indie-punk band, Here Lies Nugget, along with around 50 other family members, friends and aficionados. What a contrast! Crammed in with around 300 people we were treated to an intense, passiona…

A Pint at Teatime....

When I was a lad, my favourite time for a pint was late on of an evening. I would go out anytime after 8 and would quite happily be there at 11 or later.

I am pretty sure I can remember when this changed. I went to work for Family Hampers in Seacroft, Leeds in the late 80's. My boss, Mike, liked a pint, and a few days after I started he invited me to go for an after-work pint with some of the other lads. Keen to be accepted by new colleagues I went along. 

We went to the Dexter, a modern-ish Tetley's pub in Alwoodley. The beer was ok, the food wasn't bad, and just happened to be round the corner from where Mike, and our accountant, Malcolm, lived. It soon became a regular haunt, the teatime pint becoming the norm.

We moved offices to Sweet Street in Leeds, next door to the Commercial, where mine host was Leeds United legend, Peter Lorimer, and where the time from my desk to the bar was less than a minute. After several years the company was sold on and we uprooted and headed …

The Best Thing about the B4116

One of my favourite pubs is in the Midlands, the Griffin at Shustoke, in Warwickshire.

Now Warwickshire may not be the first place us Northerners think of when searching for good pubs, but in my experience from towns like Rugby and Leamington to North Cotswold villages such as Lower Brailes and Shipston-on-Stour there are some gems in the county of the bear and staff.

The Griffin is in the north of the county, in attractive rolling countryside between Atherstone and Coleshill. I first came across it many years ago, when, stuck in slow-moving traffic on the M42, I sought an alternative route to get to the NEC. In those pre-satnav days it was a case of searching on the map and so it was that I spotted a twisting route off the A5 which came out at Coleshill, within a whisker of my destination.

I headed down the A5 for a couple of miles and then headed off up the interestingly-named Boot Hill through the former mining village of Baddesley Ensor, then through Grendon and wooded countryside to…