Inspired by George Orwell, Paul Moody and Robin Turner take a nostalgic road trip around Britain in search of the perfect pub. ‘A deeply satisfying travelogue’ Stuart Maconie
In 1946, George Orwell, a man fond of a pint, wrote about his favourite pub, The Moon Under Water, in his EVENING STANDARD column. But it didn’t actually exist. It was Orwell’s vision of a perfect pub. Today, Wetherspoons have fourteen Moon Under Waters, and the nation is awash with identikit, high-street lounge bars competing for a dwindling clientele.
Paul Moody and Robin Turner’s road trip around Britain, therefore, is not just a search for the perfect pub. It is a deeper investigation into what has happened to British pub culture, once the toast of the world. In fact, it is a search for a kind of life-force kindled by the British public, something the powers-that-be are forever trying to extinguish.
Along the way, such luminaries as Pete Brown (‘the King of Beer’), Tim Martin (Wetherspoon’s boss), Iain Sinclair, James Dean Bradfield and Paul Kingsnorth are consulted – along with a host of micro-brewers, landlords, politicians, bloggers and barroom philosophers. What emerges is a picture of the country as seen through a pint glass, a vision that goes to the heart of what it means to be British.