Saturday, 9 May 2009

Pubs and Rebel Songs

I've just been looking for "The World Turned Upside Down" since we had a meal in a pub by that name and it seems the name was taken from Oliver Cromwell's time when that mean ole thing tried to ban Christmas, there have been a few songs made on that theme, from the song of the same name composed by Gerrard Winstanley in 1649. One of the nicer versions is by Dick Gaughan from his album "Handful of Earth" and here it is on YouTube:

ColdPlay, have done a song along the same lines but modernised, or maybe just from a similar idea, although this one is from a ColdPlay Tribute band, but good all the same:

and Leon Rosselson wrote another in 1975 that Billy Bragg took into the charts in 1985, and this is the one that Chumbawamba put on their album English Rebel Songs 1381-1914, which is here:

Here's the Billy Bragg version:

Which I like.

It seems to be a recurring theme, first in history, and then translated into song.

Good eatery type pubs seem to delight in thus using a theme, there's another in Reading which harks back to the Babylonians and has called itself (and others around the country) by the name: Bell and the Dragon - I wonder if this is becasue Daniel is said to have cooked up cakes of hair and tar and other such niceties and then fed this to the Dragon?

Here's the wiki on Bel and the Dragon - it also has other links to Cyrus, king of the Persians and to Bel a Babylonian god, all fascinating stuff.

But I also know of another great place, not for the food, which is good, but because it used to be a theatre, then a cinema, then it was taken over by JD Wetherspoons and revamped, but they kept the theme of the theatre, and even kept the circle seats - where they put manikins; of a policeman, a maid serving drinks from her tray, a posh couple sit in a box and two rowdies in evening dress sit in another - sometimes I have even seen a Klingon up there, that was a cardboard cut out, but it made me look twice.
It seems that in celebration of its 80th year a party of stellar figures has been created for the private boxes, including The Queen, Mickey Mouse, Prince Charles, Margaret Thatcher, and Clark Gable. There's an article on it in the local Gazette:

I have got to take a look at that this summer. This pub is called - "The Playhouse" and it's a great place, I was even allowed to go upstairs and onto the roof, and I got to do a little filming, back when I had a camera. I can recommend a visit to the place, even if you don't stay for the food,
just take a look - if you're in the Colchester area, but they do a fantastic range of guest beers with weird names like "SneckLifter" and "Witches Broomstick" and other weird and wonderful stuff.

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