The Pumpkin Publog Urban Regeneration Campaign

The Greenwich Peninsula can collectively suck my dick – what concerns me as we shuffle into the second year of the new Millennium (yes, I said second, you pedantic arsebags) is the large stretches of urban London devoid of a decent drinker. This is a matter of particular interest to me because these stretches seem to like bang on the stopping points of the Oxford Tube bus service, and after crawling down the A40 stuck behind Recliner Man or Loud Mobile Bint the first thing I want to do is walk straight into a nice pub and settle down for a tete-a-tete with the Fat Man or one of his many continental cousins.

But no. Case in point: Marble Arch. Hub of Central London, stopping point of every bus ever, complete wasteland on the pub front. (And on the shopping front incidentally, since HMV got replaced by Surprise Surprise). All sorts of tempting side streets up the Edgeware road prove to be boozer-free: under the tutelage of Mr Hopkins I found some excellent drinking joints in Marylebone but that’s a ten minute walk. In Marble Arch itself you have a mass of hotel bars (which is a whole separate post, really) and the notorious Carpenter’s Arms, pub of the free-to-hire upstairs and godawful downstairs, and not an establishment I’m ever keen to set foot in again.

There is some hope, though – last night my drinking companion and myself were wandering the Marble Arch Void and ended up in the Mason’s Arms, a quick trot up the road from the Carpenter’s. A shabby and endearing pub, serving Holsten Pils, Premium and Export, it has one of those theatre-in-the-round bars which is very pleasant to sit at if you’re not in the line of punter fire. So that was what we did and a good time was had. It also has, jukebox spotters, a Sequential Jukebox, albeit one not updated since 1996, which seems to be the Year The Music Died as far as album renewal is concerned.

The Mason’s would not generally rate much of a mention, pleasant though it is, but its location as the one green shoot in an otherwise bare and stony drinking environment forces its inclusion. Let’s hope it starts a trend – and let’s also throw a spotlight on other areas of town which sorely require governmental pub aid.