The Frothblower

Photo: © Howard Fitzgerald

The Doom, Gloom and Wailing Press do not like any good news. Yes – binge drinkers do infest High Streets in many towns. These sad souls do not have any interest in cask ales or traditional pubs, who would not want to serve them anyway.

‘There won’t be any pubs soon; they are all closing at the rate of 20 a week’ is the most common moan of the media misinformed. Yes, pubs are closing, but what you are not told is that many of them re-open under new ownership and refurbishment. The danger is if the license is not retained and they pass on to private development.

There is an ongoing battle against this sort of thing with the PUB is the HUB campaign and investment in community pubs. Also heritage and historic protection.

The cask ale revolution does not seem to interest the media, and the fact is that there are now 700 micro-breweries in action.

Great swathes of the oblivious public remain in ignorance and beer festivals up and down the land are not newsworthy. Who wants to report events where happy humans enjoy themselves in large numbers without falling over, fighting, being sick or causing any kind of trouble. How boring is that?

Cask ale drinkers can’t buy draught beer in supermarkets as they have no facilities or expertise for dispensing any such thing.


Gordon Brown waffles on about the essence of being English. We prefer the word British as this means we can still have a United Kingdom.

The answer to what binds us together is staring him in the face if he ever took the trouble to look at an Inn sign.

If he ever ventured inside a pub he would not only find answers, but also what real people thought about him and his policies. He could always scuttle off to the gents to avoid buying a drink for anybody. Once there he could gloat over all the tax raised through licensing laws.

Once upon a time politicians bribed voters with drinks in inns. They have also served as polling stations.

Why the Frothblower?

Well, once upon a time in a Yorkshire village pub I remember a stalwart lad gazing in admiration at the head on his beer. They like a lot of froth in Yorkshire and fit devices called sparklers on their hand pumps, consisting of a restraining screw which restricts the flow and builds up extra froth. In the South we are content with a few bubbles. I have no problem with either. It does not affect the taste.

two drunk men at a tableFor some unknown reason there was a Londoner in the pub; some sort of travelling salesman in a suit and tie. He was being very irritating.

‘Cor – you ain’t arf got a big ‘ead – Wotcher gonna do with that then? Use it to shave with?’ The sturdy lad in shirtsleeves made no reply. He just took a deep breath and blew. WHOOOOSH, the cockney smart arse was dripping in froth. Crestfallen he took the resulting laughter with aplomb and added to it by saying ‘There’s no answer to that’ and went back to sipping his whisky and water.

The splendid Pub Sign was discovered in Salisbury by my recruited friend Howard. I first met Howard at Cambridge. Not in an educational capacity but on a coach trip, when he joined forces and added camera power as I pubologised. He has remained a stalwart ever since and many of his fine shots are in our archives.