Mad Lucy’s son said to her, ‘You? The Star? You can’t go to the Star!’
So, much excited by the thought that it was forbidden, there we convened. The pub is a tardis. The front, right on the narrow pavement of the High Street, offers hanging baskets and chipped, pale blue windows. Creak open the door and you enter a cavernous interior, bursting with eccentrically varied pockets of space begging for intimate conversation. Low ceilings, high vaults, blue walls, red walls, a table with human legs. All helped by the fact the huge bar curves around the ancient courtyard, so you have easy access from all areas.
I turned up with Dammit Janet. We ordered pints of Guinness from the lovely bartender who is in fact a jolly famous local musician chap. Dammit Janet fell for his charms instantly. I felt proud that I knew him. He was ace at the Stortford Music Festival, you shoulda seen him. I had a look around. Even though it was only five thirty on a Friday, every table was taken.
Ah, there was Mad Lucy: she had nabbed a spot deep in the darkish back room, where tiny Christmas lights unseasonishly sparkle out of the gloom, clinging to upright wormy beams. Forgotten fake poinsettia are also dotted about. Bizarre, if you notice that sort of thing.
‘Gosh, did you get served by that gorgeous chap?’ gasped Mad Lucy.
‘Yes, I know him, he’s a pop-star,’ I said nonchalantly.
Mad Lucy was suitably wide-eyed. Just Boring and Jet-setting Jen turned up and were like: ‘Bloody Hell, who is that guy behind the bar?’
‘Oh, just a pop-star that I know. You know, he sings that song, ‘Rats! Rats! Don’t come back here!” A thought struck me. ‘No wonder the youf don’t want us in here. They want to keep all the blinkin pop-stars to themselves.’
Tu-Gin-Su arrived. ‘Gosh, that chap behind the bar is gorjuss!’ she said.
‘Oh, he’s just a pop-star we know,’ we chorused.
We all vied to be the one to grasp the kitty and get the drinks in across the wonky floor. It’s definitely downhill on the way to the bar and distinctly uphill away from it so you really can’t tell how drunk you are. After a few trips the popstar himself started delivering the gin and pints of Guinness to our table, what service! He could probably see that, onto our fourth round, the floor was about to claim those pints and our faces.
A sudden influx of dudes and the atmosphere was hotting up. You can see why no one in there can be bothered to take down the Christmas decorations. It’s cos well wacky things are going on in that hub of a pub. It’s awash with bubbling undercurrents of creative energy. Ideas and plans are zinging about. And OK, there are quite a lot of youf in there, but we were certainly not the only mature drinkers. Anyway, we’re getting out there as of now to reclaim the town!
People left so we slid into a beamed alcove with ancient leather chairs and a sinky sofa, behind which three enormous clocks hang, all telling different times. The beams peak high above you.
TOP TIP: if it’s ‘litrally’ POPSTARS you want, check out this chilled, timeless nook every other Wednesday: the wacky-as-fuck Lizard Lounge this week had Jimmy, a wiry, rude and talented rapper, (and his mum, yeah, she’s the best bit!), then The Strangerhood with Dean Austin of the Wacky Hairdo and Chiselled Cheekbones, Ryan Thwaites with his Funky Orange Rhythm Sticks, Tim Webster on his neon-green-stringed bass and Ed Jackman strumming away. You may well ask why these groovy guys are not touring the biggest venues in the land? Let’s face it, we are well lucky that Bishop’s Stortford, our little town, can claim these shit-hot musicians as its own.
TOP TIP number two: the internal courtyard, with its shady green parasols, creepers and the statue missing not only its head but its torso too, is probs the coolest place in town for getting pissed this summer.