Review: Soho in the Eighties by Christopher Howse – The Times

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The vodka-fuelled bad behaviour of a lost era is lovingly recreated, says Robbie Millen

Jeffrey Bernard, Spectator columnist and barroom fixtureDAVID MONTGOMERY/GETTY IMAGES

Service in pubs isn’t what it used to be. No one cheerily cries out, “Hello, c***” when you walk into your local these days. This was the regular greeting of the “monstrous” Ian Board to his patrons at the Colony Room Club. “Open your bead-bag, miss” was his kindlier enjoinder for customers to cough up for another round. A fan of the TV programme Prisoner: Cell Block H, Board would shout at tardy drinkers: “F*** off home. It’s time for Lesbians.” Woe betide someone who asked for a slice of lemon in their G&T — “It’s f***ing disgusting. Dirty, stinking rotten fruit bobbing around. I won’t have it in the house.”

This camp, angry, stool-chucking man had an idiosyncratic approach to hospitality. Board would scatter…

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