bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

A Binliner Full Of Thighs

Dear Rachel

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a meat raffle. If you are unfamiliar, a meat raffle is a lovely old Sunday afternoon pub tradition where a local butcher supplies a carrier bag full of, I dunno, stomachs and offers it as the main prize in a draw, splitting the proceeds with the landlord. At the Printer’s Devil public house, Stoke Road, Slough, the landlord was, for quite a while, me. I tidied the meat raffle up a bit by insisting that the contents of the bag should at least be recognisably bovine, or porcine, or sheepine, as otherwise I might as well have slung a cloak and bowler hat in among the whole ghastly jamboree and auctioned it off as Jack the Ripper’s overnight bag.

Anyway. As a result of me adding a touch of sophistication to proceedings, the Printer’s Devil ‘Win A Bag Of Legs’ raffle, in which a lucky drinker could go home with a selection of miscellaneous shins, was born. I would further entice participants with the promise that it was ‘All hooves – no paws’ to get around the fact that at first glance it appeared to be a binliner full of thighs. To compete with the Grapes, which had a big screen for the footie, we had a disco and music quiz as well. Sunday afternoon was party afternoon down Stoke Road way, I can tell you. One of my many golden memories of the Win A Bag Of Legs raffle is of a delirious and clearly hammered Mr Singh – rotund local carpet vendor of distinction, whose unlikely catchphrase was ‘A pint of John Smith’s, you fucking bastard’ – dancing around a Tesco bag full of animal legs to ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves.

[Hitting Read More now will reveal further horrors, I should think]

I suppose that with the benefit of hindsight – and, come to think of it, hind legs – it was strange to combine a meat raffle with a disco. However, Slough in the 90s was I imagine exactly what San Francisco was like in the mid 60s, and we were, as you hardly need telling, very much the beautiful people, intent on opening the window, throwing the rule book out of it, and, being houseproud, closing the window again afterwards. I dunno what we used to offer as runners’ up prizes. Boxes of crisps and general stuff we had purloined from the brewery, I think. Stacks of ashtrays, that sort of thing. It was pretty much like any other raffle really, except that all the prizes were either slightly horrific or hatefully poor.

These days, little remains of Slough’s premier boozerama, and no one has won a bag of animal remains for years. I do, however, still have the sign that says ‘Paul Smith – Licensee and Publican’ from above the door, and it in turn still has the words ‘and tosser’ written underneath in green marker pen by Pete Crosby. Happy days.

Photards – Top: Soft skinned and physically weak East Yard Camden Lock regular and excellent Duke of Wellington drinking pal Chris. Chris is so blond and pale that taking flash photography of his whole face is like looking directly at the sun, so this is the most we were able to fit in.

Middle: Soup kitchen for the Jewish poof, next to the Duke of Wellington pub. They get one each, apparantly.

Bottom: Greenwich Market manager Patricia (with clipboard) advising unpopular traders that they are to be taken outside and drowned.

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