The Fast Show was arguably responsible for many of the catchphrases heard in pubs and workplaces nationwide in the mid-nineties.
Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse et al had a host of characters who connected with the public such as Ron Manager (jumpers for goalposts) Rowley Birkin (I’m afraid I was very, very drunk) and host of others including my favourite where an awkward Brummie makes inappropriate comments and ends the sketch with “I’ll get me coat.”
The beauty of The Fast Show was everyone knew a character like those portrayed in acerbic terms (Colin Hunt – annoying office joker?) and Bob Fleming was believable.
Well not all aspects of Bob, but that cough and subsequent dispersal of phlegm used to be a staple pub classic, however I’ve not heard it for a while.
However, Coalville likes its pubs to be traditional and I’m pretty sure if Harry and Paul were going to create a pub style version of Bob Fleming then he would be sitting in a ‘spoons…
As if by magic, when I visited 146 – The Monkey Walk LE67 3WD slap bang in the middle of Coalville on the corner of Marlborough Square, a wannabee ‘Bob’ came and found an empty table right behind me!
To be fair to him, there weren’t many options as, for 5.30 on a Thursday, it was busy and bustling and testament to how Wetherspoons caters for the masses.
There were couples in there drinking wine and lager, a group of blokes with Hi-Viz jackets on after clocking off necking a variety of ales and lager, a younger couple on soft drinks but demolishing food and people drinking on their own…like me…and ‘Bob.’
I do like Coalville pubs (apart from the Victoria Bikers see pub 65) as they are always atmospheric but, aside from the Bitter & Twisted, which is a bit more serene they are generally places that ‘keep you on your toes’ and the banter from the boys in yellow jackets was top notch.
Another group of blokes and girls were also raucous and there was a fantastic amount of swearing along with more fruit machines than I’ve seen in any other Wetherspoons ever! Earthy, non-threatening but definitely a place where f**** are commonplace and the norm.
Anyway, I’d been in there for around ten minutes using the free Wi-Fi (always a bonus) and enjoying my very decent pint of Best (Ruddles) at just £1.99 (that price never disappoints) and listening to the general crack when a Bob lookalike approached me and swooped on the empty table behind.
(Hi-Viz jacket reflection is dazzling!)
So far so good, and this ‘Spoons even had beermats for my pint, but the cacophony of spittle soon began.
I put it down to a ‘winter cough’ initially but blimey, it must have gone on for about half a minute with lots of hacking and attempts to get phlegm up! No one else appeared to give two hoots and I wasn’t unduly worried as it reminded me of smokier pubs of old but, after about five minutes of pretty much relentless snot sucking and phlegm movement, I was glad when the noise stopped.
Nonetheless, it was soon replaced by a clattering of coins as it looked like he might be about to buy a pint of IPA, Abbot or Doom with coins of the denomination of 5p and below!
(trying to focus on the beer and not the phlegm)
However, there was plenty going on in this place to keep me occupied and it is probably the busiest pub in Coalville all day every day like many other Wetherspoons nationwide. It also give people such as Bob, or anyone else in their for that matter. a chance to come out and have a drink. As on a serious note, after https://twitter.com/oldmudgie’s recent post on the value of pubs in the community and Theresa May appointing a Minister for loneliness (I expect she nicked the idea from Mudgie’s blog as I hear she’s a regular in the comments column!) http://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/social-phobia.html then places like Coalville needs pubs like The Monkey Walk. So called as in its past the former Co-operative Society building was once a major local landmark. It marked the end of the Monkey Walk, where young people promenaded through the town.
I’m pretty sure that by 11pm young and old people alike will be ‘promenading’ around the fleshpots of Coalville in the modern era and this boozer is definitely one to visit if only to celebrate their limited but well-kept cask range and the ‘banter’ permeating the room.