It’s January, and that means it’s time to break a brand new calendar out of the cellophane and start scribbling in the year’s important plans. But what calendar to choose…?
Anyone who follows Brighton Beer Blog knows I am a HUGE fan of Brighton and Hove’s pubs. So when we spotted a beautifully illustrated Brighton pubs calendar by the The Paper Inn I had to get in touch.
We meet the person behind the illustrations and find out why they wanted to celebrate pubs in such an artful way. We also got an exclusive code for our readers, free postage on every purchase in January, read on pub fans…
You’re clearly a talented artist. So what drew you to pubs as the focus?
I am from Belgium, which has a big pub culture of its own. That might go some way to explaining it, as I would often go to a bar after school or join my dad when he played cards or watched the football on Sundays. When I emigrated to London, the pub was a definite remedy against homesickness. Nothing compares to simply popping into your local for a few, on your own or with friends, and have a chat with regulars.
As far as drawing pubs is concerned, I randomly found myself making a paper model of The Pineapple in Kentish Town one day and posted it on Instagram. This gained quite a few positive reactions and I just kept at it. There are now a few guvnors in Islington or further afield with a model of their own pub in their office or at home.
Ultimately, I didn’t want the computer drawings to sit unused on a hard-drive, and I thought “why note make a calendar with them?”. A good friend who works in the printing industry helped us knock up our first edition, which was the “12 Pubs of North London” 2019 calendar. I have made a different calendar every year since, sometimes even two (I also made a St Albans calendar this year for instance, where I now live).
Do you like being in pubs as much as you like drawing the outsides?
Definitely! I wouldn’t be drawing them if that weren’t the case. They are really important to me and my partner, who does a lot of the writing and photos on the Instagram account. I just feel at ease in them, and they play a massive community role, at a time where the world can feel a bit impersonal. I would definitely be better off if I didn’t go to pubs, but I don’t think I would find as much happiness without them.
You had to whittle Brighton’s 300+ pub scene to 12 for the calendar, how on earth did you manage that?
That was quite the undertaking I have to say! I think we sort of focused on pubs we’d been in before and that already meant something to us. We have been regular visitors to Brighton for years, so we had quite a rough idea of what we wanted, but some where complete random encounters, like the Bedford Tavern, which we went in to shelter from the wind. We ended up laughing so much with the lady behind the bar that we couldn’t not include it!
Love that. So was the decision more about the pubs themselves being great, Or is it also about how it looks on paper?
There is a bit of both at play here, we try to just offer as much variety as possible so it can appeal to everyone. I think it helps that there are two of us and we each have our own taste. I have a background in architecture and design, so I am attracted to buildings with a lot of details or with a bit of grandeur about them. My boyfriend likes no-nonsense pubs, carpeted and with crisps as the sole food offering for example. But the main thing is the people.
Of course, I want to have a great drawing, but if we’ve spent a good time in a pub, it’ll most likely make the cut. I enjoy leaving staff and punters with a little memento of their cherished local and it’s always such a buzz when they say they love it.
Were there any pubs that almost made the cut but didn’t?
For once it was rather straightforward, as mentioned above. There are a couple I might have liked to include, like the Three Jolly Butchers or the Robin Hood. Maybe next time? I’m always keen on hearing what pubs people would have liked to see in there too.
Do you have a favourite Brighton pub? Please tell us why?
I naturally have a few! Without wanting to make anyone jealous, I love The Basketmakers with its mix of coziness and liveliness, and their Sunday roast! The Heart and Hand is great for a tipple after shopping in the Laines. We had one of the loveliest conversations in there a few months ago with a couple of blokes working for a local charity. I had a few calendars in my bag, and they plied us with drink in exchange for a copy. We also never get the train home without popping into The Evening Star first. The Edinburgh is a favourite too, I love its façade and you can feel Harriet runs it so well. It was actually one of the first pubs we used when outdoors drinking was allowed again in lockdown. It was just such a great day, and these things tend to stick.
My partner and his friends now even use it as a pre-match base when their football team plays away against Brighton. Right, that’s four now. You can see where this is going… 😀
So where can people get your calendar and how much are they?
We have secured a limited reprint after our initial batch sold out and you can order from our website thepaperinn.bigcartel.com , along with other bits like post cards, prints or models.
We have free delivery throughout the rest January too if you pop in the following code at checkout: BRIGHTONBEERBLOG