So the Coach and Horses, legendary Soho pub where I spent fifteen years, met my wife manhandling a ladder, and learnt many bad habits (which were actually fabulous pleasures- as Larry Hagman says, 'it's not my fault I like bourbon on my cornflakes') has been sold on to the Fullers chain to no doubt stink of sizzling frajitas forever. I hope they will at least sort out the toilets.
Alistair tried, but he was useless and managed to drive all the regulars away with rather simpering bonhomie, he was no Norman Balon. Balon was unique. There's a passage in Jeff Bernard's 'Low Life' where Norman finds him having 'just the one' in The Blue Posts and it's like a gamekeeper catching a fox. Very good mornings and afternoons indeed in the deep end of the Coach, cashing cheques off Norman, doing fuck all with all the others in there who were also intent on doing fuck all. It was quite wonderful, a fabulous piece of urban infrastructure just wot architects would love to make but can't.
Photo by Julie (photo still held hostage in the pub) Ian Hislop in the background.