From 1969 for the best part of the following 20 years, the poet and novelist, John Lucas drank readily in a back-street pub, the Royal Oak, Beeston, a small town on the edge of Nottingham. The pub played host to a variety of local citizens, women as well as men, many of them employed in local shops and factories, some of them eccentrics, not all of them loveable, but all kept in good order by a succession of landlords who were themselves notable individuals. During those decades the town changed, as did drinking habits, and gradually the pub fell out of favour. It is now closed and awaiting demolition. Closing Time At The Royal Oak tells the story of the pubs decline and fall and of what has become a lost moment in English social history.
“Lucas’s Next Year Will Be Better recalls in astonishing and celebratory details the sounds, tastes and smells of England in the 1950s” – The Guardian
“All of Lucas’s writing has a pungent exactness and sense of detail…” – The Times Literary Supplement
“Only a dedicated sourpuss could fail to be swept along by Lucas’s zest and intelligence” – The Spectator
John Lucas is an award-winning author whose published works include 11 collections of poetry and 7 works of fiction. He is also the author of several works of social history, including studies of whistling, cricket and jazz. Since 1994 he has been publisher of Shoestring Press.
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