Pub Memories #6: My ‘Man in a Box’ Years

It is probably not wise to judge an individual by first appearances, but my initial opinion was that he had a kindly face.  Perhaps slightly piggy eyes, if I am being over-critical, but made up for by the bushy white moustache, which added a touch of gravitas.  And anyone who can wear a red-and-white pom-pom hat and lederhosen must have a good sense of humour.

This was the ‘man in a box’.  The distinctive bar-pump icon for Ayingerbrau––later Alpine––Lager.  It was a staple in the Sam Smith pub, which I used to regularly frequent.

Asking for a pint of ‘man in a box’ had an easy familiarity to it; it singled you out as a ‘regular’; an aficionado.  The downstairs bar was very small, so I would take my pint of ‘man in a box’ upstairs to the spacious lounge; at lunchtimes, I could usually guarantee that I would have the room to myself.  I liked the quiet; the escape from the hub-hub outside; a sanctuary, seemingly as far removed from the jostling traffic and bustling streets as a peaceful, alpine meadow; just me and my ‘man in a box’.  The perfect couple.

But all good things come to an end.  My ‘man in a box’ years were ended by the ‘men off the box’.  My quiet, central-London enclave was discovered by the media men; wide-boys from the neighbouring TV production studios; noisy, vulgar poseurs, who would declaim loudly about their own pen-pushing self-importance whilst deriding any ‘creatives’ who had the temerity to upset the pampered indolence of their own money-fixated lives.

There was no place for me amongst these ostentatious interlopers; no place for the ‘man in a box’ either.  We both recognised that the time had come to part.  It was time to say farewell.  We both retreated to pastures new.  Do I still think about him?  Sometimes.  And, I wish him only well; hope that he has found somewhere tranquil to lay down his red-and-white pom-pom hat that he can call home.

© Beery Sue

Beery Sue still holds a candle for the ‘man in a box’.

You might like to check out some of Beery Sue’s other pub memories:

Ring-Pull Frisbees

Guinness Breó

A Kentish Childhood

I’m Only Here for the Beer

The Humour of Skol

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