Holiday In CAMRAbodia

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As Duncan recently delivered a top class Sham 69 title on his blog I thought I would try to follow suit with a Dead Kennedys ditty here…

Anyway, back to the current day and CAMRA are feeling the squeeze at present with their revitalisation project causing consternation amongst the masses.

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Whilst the campaign for real ale is arguably about to embrace keg and become more ‘mainstream’ there is still one constant you can pretty much bank on.

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Their choice of boozers regards quality of ale is remarkably consistent and seeing a sign that 190 -The Smithfield Ale House DE1 2BH is Derby’s 2018 Pub of the year on the approach to this eye catching building was a good sign.

As the two-man stag do (see previous post) was in full flow by now then this was the boozer we stayed the longest in all day by a considerable distance.

A Thursday afternoon wasn’t raucous by any stretch of the imagination and there were only around four or five other people in but, the young buck and I had a cracking two hours.

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A little bit of something for everyone.  I had a top bit of crafy keg…

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A pint of the old favourite…

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A pool table…

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A darts board…

(a X10 and a X6 finish in a thrilling 1-1 draw so the standard is clearly rising!)

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A bit of bench seating

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And of course a juke box which had some of the best punk tunes on I’ve heard in a while.

“Holiday In Cambodia” by The Dead Kennedys would arguably get into my all-time top 20 songs and there is something quite decadent about Jello Biafra snarling out lyrics whilst playing darts with a couple of other people reading books in the background.

I wonder whether Jello would be a member of CAMRA?  It would be easy to dismiss it and say the man who sang such classics as “Too drunk Too F***” “California Uber Alles” “Kill The Poor” “Chemical Warfare” “Religious Vomit” and “Nazi Punks F*** Off” wouldn’t be seen dead near CAMRA.

(A nice scoop of Keg with a proper double decker bus in the background!)

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However, CAMRA, in its current guise, is anything but mainstream.  I’m not a member but one of its appealing features is that it clearly doesn’t reflect society and operates under the radar.  Pub life always differs from the bourgeoisie view and I reckon Biafra would celebrate that.

Anything that might upset the apple cart would be right up his street and CAMRA/Pub life reflects that as in an era when it is increasingly unfashionable to have a pint, there is something deeply satisfying about sticking two fingers up to the health police and big corporations.

So maybe Biafra would be a fully paid up CAMRA Member!

Anyway, he would definitely have approved of a playlist on the jukebox that incorporated Sex Pistols, Clash and the Ramones until the stag let the side down by opting for Westlife (really!!!!) just to show that pubs encompass all tastes…

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A fantastic pub that is opposite the bus depot (not the bus station) and a short walk past the River Derwent from the centre but well worth the extra few yards.

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Derby CAMRA are spoilt as they have a tremendous selection of boozers but  when they get it so right as they have with this pub then it makes you wonder what all the fuss is about?

This is a must visit pub as you can create your own atmosphere and I reckon come matchday this place will be a totally different animal but it is an ale/craft paradise.

More tales of Derby looming as the worlds’ most bijoux stag do continues…


Colston Crawford, Derby Evening Telegraph’s legendary ‘Beerhunter’ columnist also waxes lyrical about this place…



22 thoughts on “Holiday In CAMRAbodia

  1. LOVe the image of darts n dead Kennedy singing as old codgers sit in background!

    You got me thinking too much on Jello Biafra’s CAMRA views (yes that is how dull the No 4 in Winsford is) and I am now imagining if punk felt the need for revitalisation in about 1982 and embraced all that electro nu-wave stuff and diluted itself. Did that kind of happen anyway? Are Human League the Cloudwater of their day? Are UK Subs the Draught Bass? Luckily I have a bus to catch so can stop thinking these scary thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I reckon UK Subs are definitely the Bass of the punk world! Charlie Harper probably drinks it…maybe the revitalisation started with ska.. perhaps the specials are the brewdog of the punk era..brash in your face a bit different and some of the population like them more….you’re not selling Winsford to me!! Generation X are definitely the Doom Bar of the breakaway section of punk CAMRA 😉


  2. “Pub life always differs from the bourgeoisie view and I reckon Biafra would celebrate that.”

    Makes sense to me. 🙂

    “there is something deeply satisfying about sticking two fingers up to the health police and big corporations.”

    Can’t argue with that! (especially the older I get) (LOL)

    “by opting for Westlife (really!!!!) ”

    I don’t know what to say to that. 😉

    “Derby CAMRA are spoilt as they have a tremendous selection of boozers ”

    Which is proven by your posts. Oh, and those of Colston (thanks for the link).


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Without overstating things, this post outlines why CAMRA needs to move forward. I also think it is a portent that the local branch have voted it as POTY; a good choice of well kept cask and keg beers. Sadly there are some Dinosaurs out there who think that embracing all quality beers means ‘all keg beers’ and hence we would be promoting John Simth’s smooth and the like. Think again (mind you, having said that we are promoting shit cask beers, irregardless, so maybe that’s where their thinking processes begin?).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Been in a signal free zone for a few days (aka Wales) so just catching up on posts. Great post and title. Remember going to see UK Subs. Charlie Harper must be getting on a bit now as he wasn’t (or didn’t look) Young even in those days.

    Liked by 1 person

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