Slightly later than I intended but I can’t let the fact Pete Shelley passed away go without a mention. Considering The Buzzcocks never had a hit single (back in the day when the Top 40 mattered) that charted higher than number 12, their influence is massive.
(picture c/o BBC)
My elder sister always liked Manchester’s finest punk/pop band and I would sneak into her bedroom and ‘borrow’ Singles Going Steady to play repeatedly on my record player.
The crackle as the needle hit the vinyl is a sound that still can’t be beat and as Shelley launched into Orgasm Addict with Diggle, Garvey and Maher smashing out the rhythm section, it was punk pop at its finest with some classic tunes that made an indelible imprint on my youth.
Little did I know that around 38 years later I’d be sitting in a boozer off the classic A514 (Russ’ favourite route from Swadlincote to Derby) road, having a post-work pint with a colleague chewing the fat about the Buzzcocks.
My work pal is only 28 so has no idea about either the Buzzcocks or the Fine Young Cannibals and their cover version of “Ever Fallen In Love” so it was an educational session for ten minutes!
However, he does know a fair bit around beer and boozers and his comment that “this place could be an absolute gem,” is spot on.
321 – Crewe And Harpur DE73 7JA is situated on the famous Swarkestone Bridge between the Derby suburbs of Chellaston and Melbourne (they’d probably prefer to be called villages) and doesn’t have many chimney pots in close proximity.
However, with the River Trent overlooking the beer garden, it is the sort of boozer Pete might visit on his canal boat from Brum…
This stretch of the A514 is a busy stretch so there is plenty of passing trade and, in the modern era, this pub reflects its position.
It’s under the Marston’s Rotisserie guise and is ostensibly a big restaurant style boozer (with a small area for drinkers) and has some accommodation attached in the old stables.
You can drive past this place in the summer and the beer garden is packed and it is, apparently, a Grade II listed coaching house that dates back to the 18th Century.
It’s a behemoth of a building but if you look at the website I reckon the fact it is advertising its rooms so you can “stay with us and explore the glorious Peak District,” is a line Alistair Campbell would be proud of bearing in mind it close to Burton than Belper.
Nonetheless, it’s a picturesque setting but when we ventured in at around 4.30 on a Tuesday there weren’t many in.
That’s not unusual but I know what my drinking pal meant as it just felt very ‘chain pub.’ The barman was very friendly and I had an excellent pint of Pedigree (Marston’s) whilst he had a top notch Hobgoblin (Wychwood) so the beer is clearly well kept.
But, my pal is also like many other under 30 punters and would like one craft option and I have to agree. Two cask ales are fine in a boozer like this but one craft option would also work and I reckon boozers are missing a trick if they don’t.
However, this place is primarily food based nowadays and must be ticking over nicely as it is surviving and probably banking on another glorious summer with one of Derbyshire’s best beer gardens.
So, a good 40 minutes post work chatting about Buzzcocks, football and cricket – can there be any better combination? The beer was good, the staff were friendly and there is a lot to like about this place.
But, you just feel it would be better if It wasn’t quite so ‘chain pub.’