My impression of Uttoxeter has always been shaped by Fry and Laurie in the eighties and nineties! Peter (Laurie) and John (Fry) two hard-drinking boardroom executives spoke about their angst over absent wife Marjorie and their dream to put “Uttoxeter on the goddamned map once and for all!”
To be fair to Fry and Laurie they took the p*** out of Uttoxeter for a good eight years before they reached full stardom and House beckoned for Hugh Laurie with QI being Steven Fry’s permanent home of residence.
Ostensibly, they thought Uttoxeter was a completely nondescript town and chose to home in on an unrealistic dream of building an enormous health club that ran throughout a few series’ of the hit comedy show.
“Dammit John, I’m talking about the big idea. The dream that you and I shared. The dream of a health club that would put Uttoxeter on the goddamned map once and for all.”
Anyway, as this blog is about pubs, as opposed to Fry and Laurie, I‘d better get to the point Aside from the racecourse, there really isn’t much Uttoxeter is famous for and when I rolled up on a Thursday afternoon it clearly wouldn’t win an award for either most prosperous or most picturesque town in the Midlands.
However, I like a bit of ‘urban beauty’ and having walked through the desolate wasteland/shopping precinct known as The Maltings there was plenty on display.
But, it still has a few boozers and 58 – Ye Olde Talbot – ST14 8HF was a tremendous building that dates back from the 16th century.
I was greeted with a Larry Graysonesque “Shut That Door” as I entered and heard the dulcet tones behind the bar of “You Little S***”
It’s a good job I’m not a sensitive soul or I would have got a complex but all became clear as I spotted Elvis trying to leave the building.
Elvis was a small dog who was going absolutely mental as his owner (landlady) had popped out for a few hours and was jumping in the style of Dalton Grant at his peak to try and get out of the bar door!
For a small dog he was making a lot of noise and the smattering of regulars – average age about 70 – were enjoying the general commotion as was the barmaid who I subsequently found out wasn’t referring to me as a “little s***!”
This was a good old pub that appeared to have a steady thoroughfare of old boys popping in for a pint who were pretty friendly and the main topic of conversation was the aforementioned pooch.
The jukebox was on with “The Power Of Love” from Jenifer Rush blaring out and that sort of summed up the mood of the locals as Elvis appeared to be providing most of the energy and I felt positively youthful once again.
However, if beer is the elixir of life then I was drinking the best potion ever as Draught Bass was on and mighty fine it was too.
Not only did this place have a retro feel to it. But it also had retro beermats…
not seen these since the nineties in Birmingham but it was never going to be my drink of choice ahead of the nectar known as Bass.
A friendly enough place with a decent drop of beer and good to see it ticking along steadily on a Thursday afternoon with comedy value provided by the landlady’s four legged friend.
I can’t see Fry and Laurie popping in for a pint though so their dream of putting Uttoxeter on the goddam map might still be on the backburner!