Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Coach & Horses, Soho

The Coach & Horses in Soho. It’s former Landlord was Norman Balon who prided himself on being “London’s rudest landlord”. So proud of the fact that he had it printed on the pub matchboxes. He also published his memoirs entitled “You’re barred, you bastard – The memoirs of a Soho publican”

I once spent a lazy afternoon in the Coach and Horses enjoying a cheese sandwich, a cold Guinness and a fresh, crisp copy of the Guardian. I looked up from my newspaper and Norman nodded at me. No words, just a nod of acknowledgment. It was like being accepted into a secret sect. Now he is no longer the landlord a bit of me wishes he had shouted “your barred, you bastard” and included me in his memoirs.

This interior was recreated on stage for Keith Waterhouse’s “Jeffery Bernard is unwell”. The play’s title refers to Jeffery Bernard’s habit of missing deadlines for his “Low Life” column in The Spectator. The single line apology “Jeffery Bernard is unwell” was printed when he was too drunk to write.

It is also the venue for a fortnightly Private Eye lunch at which the great and the good are wined and dined and share a few secrets.

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