Soaked in Beer



Being the dad of a young musician who started playing pro gigs in bars in grade 9, I spent several years as a roadie/chauffeur getting to know the back doors and often back stairs to bars and clubs and halls, some of them dives and others very swish.

That was nearly ten years ago and these doors opened into something called the Jellyfish Lounge. Who the hell would want to drink in a place called that? Just imagine what might be floating in the cocktails: a siphonophore or a ctenophore or even a box jelly. It was a pretty horrible place, with a preponderance of 18 and 19 year olds, many barely able, or unable, to stand up by midnight, or much past nine. Which answers the question about who would drink in this place – those drunk and young enough not to notice the occasional jelly slipping down the gullet.

The Jellyfish Lounge was all tarted up in white, including cushion covers, carpets, walls, ceilings, “stage”, everything. I think the decorative scheme was tried as some kind of exorcism to rid it of the ghosts from a former life as one of the worst dives in town called The Churchill. I only drank there a couple of times in my own youth – it was a place where you sat with your back to the wall, preferably near the door, and only moved to leave or to dodge a fight.

With a very faint frisson of nostalgia, I noticed the other day that this building has reclaimed The Churchill name.  The exorcism wasn’t working so maybe they have accepted it for what it is; a space with a long history of stabbings, fists, theft, broken pint glasses to the face, broken dreams in the head and a small ocean of vomit. For me it will always be a dark, semi-subterranean, windowless bar with terry towel table cloths, soaked in beer, and indoor/outdoor carpet, soaked in beer, and sleazy customers, soaked in beer.

Good luck with the rebranding/retrobranding guys, I hope it works out this time.






Olympus mjuii, Lomography Colour 800. Film developed commercially, scanned with Epson V700 and edited in Lightroom.





16 thoughts on “Soaked in Beer

  1. I suspect you could tell quite a few tall tales from those years, Ehpem. I played guitar in a band in the late sixties at University – we were a little better behaved than that mostly, but the May Balls at the end of the University Year were raucous and drunken occasions – exams over and time to let one’s hair down.


    • There are quite a few tales from those years, though I can’t claim to come close to being a primary generator of such tales. I was often a spectator, or peripheral player. But, not always, especially at the end of term and I guess during fieldwork. Quite a lot of my field time was conducted hours away from pubs and often the field projects were considered “dry”. On the few occasions we hit town, there was an inclination to catch up on lost time.


    • Hey thanks vfeddema! Did you ever drink in the seedier bars in Prince Rupert by any chance? Or Burns Lake. Or…. Those kinds of bars seem harder to find these days but it may just be that I now know how to avoid them.


  2. OMG….what a what a great write up for a photo. Also made me not feel too bad about my somewhat sheltered upbringing!! Guess I really did not miss too much, eh?


  3. “18 and 19 year olds, many barely able, or unable, to stand up by midnight, or much past nine.”

    This is by far one of the best pieces I’ve ever read!!! … great photo, too!

    My mom used to come to my shows in college, and everyone would wonder who that elderly lady in the crowd was, nodding her head with the (rock) music 🙂 … thanks for bringing back those memories!


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