Quite a few years ago my best friend and I were always out around town having a drink and partying as hard as we could (Which wasn’t very hard) The two of us would hit the same pubs, sampling cider and lager alternatively as we weaved our way to the bottom of town where the Spread Eagle took pride of place. Unfortunately, it’s closed down now and boarded up, reportedly awaiting a complete revamp. It was one of the oldest pubs in the area and the history and character oozed out of the old, dark wooden walls. It was friendly, comfortable and welcoming and had an old Victorian fireplace in the ‘Best’ room, which blazed through the winter months. We loved it as did all of the other locals who walked through the doors every Friday and Saturday night without fail.
Saturday night was Karaoke night and by the time myself and Stu arrived at the pub, it was pretty full and the songs were belting out from the mic standing in the corner of the largest room. Stu started going into the Spread a few years before I did, so he knew most of the people in there.
We were usually nicely drunk when we arrived at the pub but still in control of our facilities so we were able to pass comical judgement on the singers. After weeks of trying to persuade me to have a go at this singing malarkey, I gave in to him on the condition he would sing with me. I think the first song we murdered together was the Tom Jones classic, The Green Green Grass of Home. As far as I can remember it went down quite well with the punters because we received a ripple of applause from an old couple who were sat in the corner nursing a pint of stout each.
Our new fans (The old couple) gave us the confidence to get up again and again and again, despite the bleeding eardrums of the people in the pub.
We knew the landlord and landlady from a time when they managed a previous pub in town centre so when we walked into the pub, the landlord, Derek, would wait for us to have a couple of pints before calling “Stuart and John” up to the mic to give them a song.
Eventually, we actually received a genuine round of applause and even though the locals were as drunk as us, it was nice to hear.
I remember one old lady would get up and sing her rendition of “Crazy” by Tammy Wynette and she was always warmly received. Another guy would get up and sing. Myself and Stu nicknamed him Frank and he would inevitably sing “My Way”. He was very good.
The nights we spent in the Spread Eagle are amongst some of our happiest memories as friends. Even now, which isn’t very often, when the mood takes us and the chance is there, we’ll get up on a karaoke and belt out a song for old times sake. Happy days.