I’m not really a fan of heavy metal or MOR Rock but one ‘metal’ band that exuded punk attitude and angst for me were Motorhead.
Ace Of Spades, Bomber, Overkill, Motorhead, We Are The Road Crew and Die You B****** were all part of my youth and arguably the clinching factor in making Lemmy and co acceptable was their appearance on The Young Ones!
Suffice to say that anyone of a certain age will surely agree the 12 episodes of that comedy series were ahead of their time and, in my opinion (discussion topic surely) is the best comedy series ever written,
Most days in the school playground would produce another Young Ones quote and when Lemmy, Phil Taylor and Fast Eddie Clarke appeared on the show belting out Ace Of Spades whilst Rik, Vyv, Mike and Neil run to the train station then you knew it was OK to admit to liking Motorhead!
Why, I hear you ask, am I banging on about a rock and roll group whose lead singer was from Stoke on Trent in a pub blog?
Well, apparently the late great ‘Philthy Animal’ Taylor, erstwhile drummer with Motorhead grew up in Chesterfield but spent a portion of his later life in Wirksworth whilst Moonshine Mick, who used to be Lemmy’s roadie, is also a Derbyshire man and now plays gigs at pubs such as The Smithfield in Derby.
I gleaned all of this info from a chat with a friendly local in a cracking little boozer in Wirksworth, 109 – The Feather Star DE4 4DR.
This is an absolute corker of a bar (it’s full title is The Feather Star Ale House And Record Shop) and both my drinking buddies and I were impressed at this former antiques shop, which is anything but a relic of The Antiques Roadshow.
Yes, I know it’s another Micropub but this isn’t formulaic and there was a proper mix of people in this two storey boozer.
At some stage, we are surely just going to start calling Micropubs ‘pubs’ and accepting the fact they are here to stay in all of their different guises.
Take the party of three who welcomed us to sit by them when some space appeared in this packed out place (on a Wednesday night by the way). There was a font of local knowledge, his missus who also sang the praises of Wirksworth, and tried to claim The Walker Brothers as one of Wirksworth’ s claim to fame (is this true?) and their pal who was a demon with the RIzzlas and appeared to be setting the world speed record for rolling fags (and subsequently smoking them)…a chain roller if you like!
Yes, there were old crumblies there as well but the upstairs was vastly different with a party of nine or ten teenagers/twentysomethings who appeared to be regulars and fully relaxed whilst it had a bigger mix than any other Micropub I’ve been in…sorry, I mean pub, as this was like a pub.
As befits an Ale House and Record Shop there were some top tunes and top beer. I had an excellent pint of Great White Wheat Beer (Hawkshead) and then watched the gaffer put a bit of Johnny The Fox LP by Thin Lizzy on the record player with a good old school needle, crackle and gramophone style machine!
The local sage also told us to visit the Royal Oak, which was a belting pub and about the travails of the Blacks Head pub and was a great source of knowledge and he regaled us with Moonshine Mick’s Motorhead roadie lifestyle. This apparently began after watching Lemmy in Hawkwind previously and Lemmy just turned up at his house in a massive limo and asked him to join him…the rest, as they say, is history.
Urban myths are great in pubs and although we couldn’t quite nail down the validity of the Walker Brothers hailing from Wirksworth story, it was a top class hour in a pub that has only been open 12 months but already has a strong core of locals and has live gigs on offer as well as a record player playing albums and a shed load of beer!
Oh yes, it also has funky Beavertown Beermats and its quirky name, which sounds more like a pub name than a lot of other ‘small pubs’ is related to a Crinoid fossil found locally in the limestone around Wirksworth.
It’s a wet led boozer with bar snacks and must be doing something right as it was heaving and showing no signs of emptying at around 9 as the punters looked set for the long haul.
And what of the late Phil Taylor? I think he would have liked The Feather Star as not only does it play rock music but it also sells strong beer and has all age ranges in there.
I’m not sure it is rock and roll to the point of being drunk and disorderly (Taylor had been arrested for this and also fired from Motorhead for “not getting his act together”) or throwing televisions through hotel windows but, it feels like a proper pub and “that’s the way I like it baby I don’t want to live forever!”