Monday 21 January 2013

The Cheltenham Bayshill: thoroughly saved

When I lived in Cheltenham (1978-79), I visited many pubs (although there is nothing special about Cheltenham in this regard). Head and shoulders above them all was The Bayshill, and when I visited last week I was delighted to find that it remains a top-grade drinking hole in the middle of town.

During my brief tenure as regular there was a demolition scare: it being the sort of place that attracts those sort of people, some musically inclined locals immediately founded The Bayshill Rollers (yes, it's a pun) to release Save The Bayshill, which I bought. The B-side is the rarely heard Cheltenham Ladies - the College Ladies were a frequent topic of conversation in the pub. Presumably they still are.

(Actually this is at least partly nonsense. The Rollers had existed for some time under the name Decameron, a Cheltenham Arts College band founded by Dave Bell and Johnny Coppin, still extant in the early 2000s.)

It was splendid to see a copy of the disc mounted on the pub wall. Alongside it was a picture of the public bar mural which had featured a number of well known locals (not me - insufficient length of service). It photographs badly but fourth from the right (bow tie) is Aubrey Lewis, with whom I used to work at GCHQ. He was 60-ish in those days, drank beer prodigiously, and smoked lots of Capstan Full Strength cigarettes: a model for us all.

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