Wednesday, 27 February 2013

At the Two Puddings:
an exhibition

Some of you may know that in my pre-YHIL life I wrote a blog called Save the Boozer, celebrating Britain's old-school pubs. It was a style blog of sorts – if you like dodgy jukeboxes, patterned carpet, photos of the Queen Mum pulling a pint...

You can see a few highlights in this post from last year. Possibly not everyone's cup of tea – but what I love most about such establishments is the sense of community, of history – and that, since there isn't just one demographic drinking in there – you're likely to hear some of the juiciest tales from someone's granddad sitting at the bar. Which brings me to this exhibition, all about a now-vanished pub in east London.

The Two Puddings, above, was taken over in 1962 by Eddie Johnson, father of TheThe singer, Matt Johnson – on whose website I read about it (a little too late for the talk by Robert Elms to launch it, alas, but the show runs in London until the end of March, details below).




The Two Puddings held ground-breaking music and dance nights – and claims to be not only to have been London's first disco but also the first venue to have UV lights. Love it.

Matt's publishing company, Fifty First State Press, is putting out his dad's memoir Tales From the Two Puddings, which you can find out more about here. By way of teaser, Matt explains a bit about the pub: "Due to a combination of its cream-tiled walls and the volume of blood spilt, it was also known locally as the ‘Butcher’s Shop’. It became one of London’s busiest and most fashionable pubs of that era, attracting a large, colourful cast of disparate characters including renowned actors, writers, singers, musicians, champion boxers, infamous gangsters, television personalities and World Cup-winning footballers. By the time the Puddings closed its doors for the last time, nearly four decades later, my dad was the longest serving licensee in London." But the best introduction is to watch this video...



You can also read an interview with Eddie at the excellent Spitalfields Life site, which has profiles of several other classic old boozers to enjoy too.

The audio/visual exhibition about the Two Puddings is on until 31 March at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. 

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