Monday, October 22, 2007

The Westbourne...

One of the comments on another post provides a link to an "interesting" pub in Nottingham with an "interesting" line in clientele entertainment - we had one of those in Otley for a while once.

The Westbourne was a large roadhouse stylee pub of the sort known better as "an estate pub" in that its main purpose was to serve its local housing estate - but the Westbourne landlord had bigger ambitions.

The main room in the pub was big, big enough to have supported a dance floor at some time in its history but the days when people went to their local pub for a dance were long gone by the time we got to hear of The Westbourne in 1977.

Instead they had a DJ on a Friday and Sunday night, a DJ who played lots of loud rock music, lots of Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and the like, interspersed with, shall we say "competitions" free beer as prizes for those brave enough to enter without first knowing what the competition was that week.

Eating competitions were always popular - four small round tables on stage containing the items to be eaten but covered by a cloth until the competition started - and four idiots from the audience who had drunk enough beer not to care what was under the cloth.

St Davids day revealed a bunch of daffodils on each table, not really too bad actually, I've eaten a daff before, the leaves taste like perfumed lettuce but stragely none of them would touch the plants and the competition was cancelled that week.

The week that the cloths were pulled back to reveal a two pound block of lard on each table was a bit more succesfull, three of them dropped out after on ebite but one big fat lad ploughed on, cheered on by the audience who cringed on every bite but mainly driven by the prize of three pints if he finshed all of the lard, unfortunately he threw up all over the stage just before he got to the end and rather than re-eat the lard again he retired.

After that the landlord warned the DJ not to pull any more stupid stunts during his eating competitions and so for a couple of weeks we got the very staid "eat four Jacobs Cream Crackers without a drink" sort of thing until he pulled the master stroke that got him the sack - a fishcake eating competition.

The week of the fishcake eating competition was pre-announced so that the entrants knew exactly what was underneath the table cloths, or at least they thought they did.

There was no shortage of entrants, they were queueing to eat the fishcakes but four lucky lads were chosen, the drunkest in the queue were chosen, along with the big fat lad who had puked during the lard eating competition, they each took up their position behind the covered tables and at the signal pulled back the cloths to reveal..four fishcakes.

That is, four breadcakes in which was placed a full, dead, uncooked fish.

That was it, the landlord threw them all off stage, especially the fat one who almost had the "fishcake" in his mouth and he gave the DJ five monutes to pack his stuff and clear off.

The following week was a different DJ - with strippers.

How childish did the eating competitions seem now as three females slowly removed every piece of clothing right there in front of us, EVERY piece of clothing, mind none of them were in the first flush of youth (unlike us), and a couple of them bore what looked suspiciously like hysterectomy scars, the third we couldn't tell because the numerous folds of flesh around her midriff would have covered the evidence, still, strippers eh, whoah-ho !

They came on for the second act together, undressing each other and then finishing off with a fire eating act which left behind a faint whiff of burnt pubes when they'd finished, still it wasn't bad entertainment for a Friday night, especially for free.

This continued for several months until one evening we arrived and from the car park noticed that the main room looked suspiciously empty, on entering the bar our attention was drawn to a large poster advertising an appalling local showband called "The Poole Family".

Those who were around in the early 1970's may remember a Sunday evening religious programme presented by a white haired old chap called Jess Yates, or "The Bishop" as he was known in showbiz circles. The Bishop played the organ and "sang your favourite hymns" in a condescending voice that left you in no doubt that he was probably only one step behind Jesus in the stairway to heaven pecking order, that is until he was revealed in a sunday newspaper as a philandering adulterer - his other and later claim to fame was that he was Paula Yates (dead wife of Bob Geldof) father and in a hilarious twist of fate was revealed after his death as not the father of Paula Yates as his wife had also been a philandering adulterer and had been shagging Hughie Green for some considerable time before Paula was born.


The Poole family were a sugar-sweet, sickly, vomit inducing, hymn singing self righteous family from Leeds who appeared on Jess Yates' religious programme - everyone hated them, even more than they hated Jess Yates and the one they hated the most was the small bespectacled kid stood at the front who sang "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam" every week - Glynn Poole.

So we walked in the Westbourne this Friday night to find the place empty and a poster of The Poole Family on the wall..."Fook me" we all cried in unison, "who put that poster of the fookin Poole Family on the wall ?"...

...and then in a classic double take we all looked towards the bar, and then back to the poster, and then back to the bar again...

"Fook me" we all cried in unison again, "its the fooking Poole Family - behind the fookin bar"

And there they all stood, in formation, just like on the poster, a few years older than on the poster, but t was The Poole Family none the less, and there in the middle was the hated Glynn Poole.

"Hello lads" Father Poole greeted us "...and welcome to our public house, we're the new landlords"

"Fook me" we all cried in unison, again.

"Oh by the way lads there's no more bad language in our pub" Father Poole warned, "we run a christian house"

"Fook me" we all cried in unison, again

"You're all barred" Father Poole said.

By the look of the place he had barred all of the clientele that should by now be crowding out the place, so we left, and as we left another group of regulars arrived in expectation of a Friday night full of strippers and burnt pubes, as the door closed behind us we heard them all cry out in unison...

"Fook me, who put that fookin poster of the fookin Poole Family on the wall ?"


Dan said...

As a foolish student i once entered one of those eating competition.

It wasn't worth the free Strongbow T-shirt I can tell you.

Anonymous said...

Yrs ago, my parents used to go to 'Blackpool'and always came back with "Billies Weekly Liar" does anyone know where it went?

Gary said...

Do you mean this ...'s_paper_chase

Anonymous said...

Seems they are Long Gone, shame I didn't save them :(
Thank you!

Whit said...

Sounds fun while it lasted.