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Let there be pub

Don Airey in Kingston, Canada, February 9, 2012; photo © Nick Soveiko CC-BY-NC-SA

A local paper out of UK, The Hunts Post, reports that Don Airey is spearheading a campaign to save his local pub in Great Gransden, Cambridgeshire, as a live music venue. The pub used to host gigs regularly until 2018, when the new owners moved in. The business didn’t survive the pandemic.

The current landlords have not re-opened The Crown and Cushion, which is a Grade II listed building. It is also situated in an area of conservation and has ‘asset of community value’ status.

An action group of residents called Open the Crown & Cushion, which Don is part of, have appealed to Huntingdon District Council (HDC) to enforce planning law and return their community asset back to the villagers.

In a letter addressed to the action group, HDC’s chief planning officer said: “This remains an active case and we will continue to engage with the occupiers of the pub.”

A spokesperson for the action group said: “The Crown and Cushion is the last pub in the village, where historically, there have been as many as six pubs.

“This makes the survival of pub even more critical. Local residents and the action group continue to fight for the survival of their precious public house.

“It is hoped, eventually, the pub will be able to open with a new landlord and change of ownership, or ownership may be assumed by the village community themselves.”

Mr Airey, added: “There used to be regular Tuesday and Thursday music nights every week, the pub was packed and there were always well-known musicians, eager to play and create a very special atmosphere and great night out.”

[Update Aug 6, 2023]: It looks like efforts to save the pub have been unsuccessful, and the building is now on sale.

Thanks to The Hunts Post, CambridgeshireLive, and Marcus Streets for the info.

21 Comments to “Let there be pub”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    ‘A world renowned rock star’ have to laugh at the media hype. ‘Stadium selling rock giants’, turn it on & there is nothing like a headline grabbing story. Still the ‘only’ pub left in town must surely be able to be saved & reopened, depending on what is the devil in the detail. What condition is it in, are there any noise issues as that has had a big impact globally in many locations regarding rock’n roll venues & nightclubs. I do like heritage listed buildings & most things that go with them. However I am not the one financing any restoration or ongoing maintenance issues etc. Dancing around the heritage or historical listed scenario can be difficult indeed. What you can do & what you cannot do. It is hopefully none of the above & the pub will be returned to it’s former glory perhaps. Cheers.

  2. 2
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Here in the UK, we are at the heart of a big recession which is true and factual but not recognised officially as they like to look good in government by not painting the right picture.
    Pubs needs extra tax breaks so to increase their profit margins.
    Some pubs stopped serving food as they are struggling to find chefs and workers behind the bar are getting 12 pounds an hour which is not sustainable to hire enough on that pay.
    People stopped spending money on eating and drinking out because there is no money left in their pockets like it used to because of the food and energy high prices and the increase in mortgage payment because of high interest rates.
    The only way to save local pubs is by cutting business tax and tax on alcohol so their profit margins increases.
    There is no other way.
    Peace ✌️

  3. 3
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Don’t be so harsh on poor Don, Herr MacGregor, he might have little rock star glam and demeanor, but with albums like Rainbow’s Down To Earth, various platinum Ozzy albums, a platinum Whitesnake album, the likewise platinum Still Got The Blues of Gary Moore and the not-quite-platinum, but very successful Painkiller of Judas Priest under his belt, he’s not just a footnote in rock history. He’s left quite a mark in the heavy genre, more so than Jon perhaps who was a legendary rock star keyboarder in his own right within DP, yes, but did very little hard rock-related keyboard work outside of DP/Whitesnake on a session basis. And as a solo artist, he concentrated on either classical music or less guitar-centric rock:

  4. 4
    MacGregor says:

    @ 2- very good points regarding tax, wages & food prices etc, it is similar here in Australia.
    @ 3 – I wasn’t aiming at Don Airey in any way Uwe, just the headline & as we all are well aware of his career & all that he has achieved, he isn’t a ‘rock star’ at all. So down to earth & humble & a true musicians musician in so many ways. It just sounds funny to read it & think of how the media paint a rock star to be, celebrity & show off etc etc. Anything but Mr Don Airey. Cheers.

  5. 5
    Gregster says:

    @3…+1 here !!!

    Don is one-of-those-players like “Little Feat”s Bill Payne, in that you’ll find his name within the liner-notes of more recordings than you may have thought !

    Peace !

  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Adel @2: Oh, you then mean to actually say that BREXIT perhaps didn’t work out in turning the UK into the expected economic Nirvana?!

    Who’d have thought! It was such a visionary, meticulously researched plan. Separate yourself from your closest market, sheer logic. Take back control and lose your pubs, easy. Along the way though, someone must have lost the weekly £350 million that went to the greedy EU bureaucrats.

  7. 7
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Hi Uwe Horning @6
    BREXIT is a toxic subject and no one knows if it was right or wrong and you need maybe about 10 years to figure out if it was right or wrong.
    The current cycle is nothing to do with BREXIT.
    It’s a boom and bust cycle and if your rewind the clock it’s similar to the early 90s when we had sky Rocket interest rate that caused negative equity and mega scale mortgage defaults and repossessions and we had streets of boarded up houses that is worth nothing and the council was selling them for a pound but with the condition of doing them up and not selling for a min of 5 years.
    The boom cycle started when labour came to power in 96 and if it wasn’t for slashing interest rate to virtually zero in 2008 during the financial crisis we could have started the bust cycle.
    I am not a qualified financial person but common sense should be applied when predicting the future which is likely to be similar to the early 90s.
    Now I predict that as soon as we start the boom cycle that the UK will open its doors to Europe again and we will see the property market booming and people borrowing money on the cheap and the economy will be flooded with cash for businesses to thrive on as the number of people entering the country will grow again.
    But who knows I could be talking rubbish but only time will tell.
    Peace ✌️

  8. 8
    Rascal says:

    Pubs in the UK have been going out of business for the last 25 years.

    Before that almost every village could have 3 or 4 pubs and towns could have dozens. Times change, people change, and tastes change. The smoking ban didnt help, cheaper alcohol at supermarkets, people drink less and socialise less. Soaring price of property prices ensured many pubs were sold with the plots been used to build housing.

    Cant save every pub, regardless of its history.

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I agree with the cycles, Adel, I don’t agree with BREXIT being irrelevant how the impact of a particular cycle is felt. You can always make things even worse. Making cross-border trade and investments more difficult in an already contracting economy takes some messianic fervor undiluted by business administration or economics core truths even a first term student of the fields usually gathers with ease.

  10. 10
    Buttockss says:

    @ 3. And you can throw into the mix of work that Don did was Colosseum 2 with Gary Moore.

  11. 11
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Uwe Hornung @9
    I think BREXIT is a mistake and based on lots of lies. But I respect the vote and respect the wish of the majority.
    I think every country benefits from cheap Labour and the UK was a magnet to hard working Eastern Europeans and it was sad to see them being the heart of the reason for BREXIT when they contributed so much.
    Peace ✌️

  12. 12
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Rascal @8
    So true and no one can dismiss the facts you listed.
    But the government helped the pubs industry during COVID and they can do a lot to help them but they are turning a blind eye now.
    Peace ✌️

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I didn’t mention Don’s work in Colosseum II because it was commercially irrelevant. That sounds mean, but it is not meant to be: Colosseum II was good, but demanding, not very accessible music. It was less accessible than the original Colosseum’s music (always popular in Germany) which featured more vocals, more Blues elements and less technical noodling (there, I said it). Colosseum II’s frontal sonic attack was always only going to appeal to people who also dig Jeff Beck’s jazz rock phase. That was never a significant market.

  14. 14
    Rascal says:

    Adel @12

    Its is true that the pub industry was helped during COVID, however this was at the cost of the taxpayer and we are reaping now what was sowed then.

    You cant force people to go to pubs, subsidize it all you like but the social drinking scene has changed, young people drink less and have found other social outlets and entertainment.

  15. 15
    MacGregor says:

    Colosseum 2, I use to own that Electric Savage record & I played it a lot. Although it was strange the hear Gary Moore in that sort of fusion environment. It sort of worked but it was a little full on at times. I think we talked about this a little while ago. When I first heard the original Colosseum it was so different, more back to the basics. I did listen to a few tracks of both bands only a year or so ago & still enjoyed it. Jon Hiseman what a very good drummer he was. Cheers.

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    It’s true, alcohol consumption is decreasing everywhere in Western Europe and once the drink is out of the equation the traditional watering holes are severely affected (same in Germany). You don’t go there to hang on to a soft drink all night – and if you do, the guy running the pub won’t make any money off you.

    I hardly drink any alcohol at all unless I’m having a warm dinner with it. For me, that just goes together (not all the time, but maybe three times a week). I’ve never had issues with alcohol, but other than that I like the taste of it (= red wine) to warm food, it does little for me. I don’t need it to relax or be joyful (if anything, it makes me melancholic). The last time I was actually drunk on anything was 20 years or more ago. I’d never go to a pub that doesn’t serve warm food to have just a drink.

  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Colosseum had something in spades that Colosseum II dearly lacked: musical warmth. Colosseum II was also very much, just like Herr MacGregor says, “show off your chops!” Yet I do think that the amount of women [and (i) men plus of course (ii) all in between, (iii) both or (iv) neither] that was seduced to the sounds of Colosseum II records is negligible. Not a scratch on Cat Stevens/Yusuf.

    That said, the Steve Morse Band probably didn’t ignite too many romantic relationships either. The one gig I saw was a male-only-populated guitar clinic, unlike the Flying Colors one which for a PROG outfit had a sensible turnout of no, not swimmin’, wimmin’, wiiiimmin’!

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    I cannot say I have ever taken much notice of the different sexes in an audience at the concerts I have attended over the decades. Obviously males most probably thronged together in large proportions at the Iron Maiden gig, Sabbath also however most concerts I attend are civilised events, ha ha ha. It may be different on other parts of the world. I do think the metal crowds could probably represent a similarity to a viking invasion. All that long hair & rough clothing, baying at the masses for a blood curdling ritual of sorts. However out here in Australia we are much more civilised Uwe, very relaxed & easy going. Tea for two etc. Cheers.

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Well, I was at a Hollywood Vampires gig – never seen more wimmin’ at a hard rock music gig, they outnumbered the guys. Bras and other lingerie items defied gravity and flew onto the stage, yes. Johnny Depp, his drawing (or should that be drawers?!) power undiminished, decorated the head stock of his Telecaster with one of them. I will not speculate further, maybe they just all appreciated his fret board technique and, uhum, finger picking skills.

    I hasten to add: While I like JD as an actor (and he’s a fine rhythm guitarist in the Keith Richards mode) plus don’t believe he beats his significant others (unless under duress), I strictly went to see Auntie Alice. And maybe Joe Perry a little, though I’m more a Brad Whitford guy. It’s fun to hear ole Vince sing something different than his own usual greatest hits once in a while.


  20. 20
    Buttockss says:

    Pubs are dying because of Covid and inflation. It so much cheaper with people staying home to get drunk. Have you seen the prices of alcohol its ridiculous.

  21. 21
    Marcus says:

    Latest news.

    The Crown and Cushion is now up for sale:


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