I was just watching an old episode of Men Behaving Badly and I'd completely forgotten one thing - that a couple of scenes in this episode were filmed in my university's student union bar over at Thames Valley University in lovely, downtown Ealing*. Seeing that familiar surrounding again, I had a sudden rush of warm and hazy memory.
It was the first place that I regularly drank in which truly felt like a local. Many were the days spent sat in one of the corners, drinking cheap watered down pint after cheap watered down pint. I always knew that, whenever I went in, I was pretty much guaranteed to meet someone I knew. Being an ultimately worthless media-style student, my university week was not overly burdened with lectures and tutorials. This left time a-plenty to be wiled away putting the world to rights in The Dog's Bollocks (for such was the name of said bar, named, of course, by the student body with a sort of tedious inevitability).
It was kind of scuzzy and a bit cheap and tacky but it was comforting and familiar. Sure, we used to branch out and drink in other Ealing boozers from time to time but we always ended up back the DB's (well, it was cheaper and we were students). There was a second bar alongside it called Freddy's** but we didn't drink in there as much. Our home was The Dog's Bollocks and that was where we belonged.
I made a brief trip back there not long after we left university to film some bar scenes for a short film we were making at the time but haven't been back there since then (around about a decade ago now, I guess). I'm sure it's not the same place anymore - times change, people and places move on - but, seeing it up there on screen again pretty much exactly the way it used to be, has kept it alive again, if only for an afternoon.
So here's to The Dog's Bollocks - a home away from home and the place where most people knew my name. Cheers.
* Yes, the place what was responsible for films such as The Ladykillers and The Lavender Hill Mob. I actually used to have some of my lectures in Ealing Film Studios and our student radio station was broadcast from there (I used to do a show along with a couple of friends in the afternoons).
** After Freddy Mercury who used to be a student there back when it was a polytechnic