Q & A with Steve Pottinger, writer and performer of our Midlands poem called
‘This is the best pub in the world’
Steve is a poet, author, and workshop facilitator, and a founding member of Wolverhampton arts collective ‘Poets, Prattlers, and Pandemonialists’.
His work has featured in poetry magazines and anthologies and he is a regular contributor to online poetry platforms. He has performed at Ledbury and StAnza poetry festivals and the Edinburgh Free Fringe, and in venues across the country, from Penzance to Orkney.
His sixth volume of poems, ‘thirty-one small acts of love and resistance’ published by Ignite Books, was released last May. He has also written three punk autobiographies, including ‘City Baby’ (the story of Ross Lomas, bassist with Birmingham punk legends GBH for over 30 years).
What do you love about pubs?
I love the variety of pubs. The fact there’s a pub for a quiet afternoon pint, and another pub for a Friday night out; a pub where you can play pool, or listen to music; a pub you’ve never been in before which you promise yourself you’ll have to go back to; a pub to hide from the world, or to sit in and watch it go by.
Why is being involved in this Winter Warmers campaign so important to you?
I’m utterly delighted to be involved in this project celebrating pubs in all their wonder.
This campaign brings together two things I’m passionate about: the arts, and the pub. I’ve always believed that art belongs in the boozer as much as it belongs anywhere else, and being part of a campaign that is creating poetry celebrating pubs and is taking that poetry to publicans across the country and their locals is just wonderful. I’m looking forward to sharing it with my local publicans.
I hope my poem reminds them of everything they love about pubs, and encourages people (when allowed) to pop in for a pint, or a bite to eat, to make themselves comfortable and have a chat, or just enjoy a bit of time to themselves.
What impact do you hope your poem has?
I hope it helps to put a smile on people’s faces, and a spring in their step. I hope it reminds them of everything they love about pubs, and encourages people (when allowed) to pop in for a pint, or a bite to eat, to make themselves comfortable and have a chat, or just enjoy a bit of time to themselves. I hope it reminds them of the good things we’ve spent so much of the past year missing.
What’s your favourite tipple at your local?
Generally, it’ll be a golden, hoppy ale, although I’m also partial to sitting watching rugby with a Guinness or two!
What do enjoy doing down the pub?
Under normal circumstances, our poetry collective run events in a couple of our local pubs (we can’t wait to get back to doing that!). Likewise watching Wolves games on the big screen. And setting the world to rights after a few of those ales I mentioned, of course….
Favourite pub dish?
I’m very partial to a cheese cob. Failing that, after a pint or two of those golden, hoppy ales I am utterly powerless and unable to resist when faced with a bag of crisps. Or three.
What makes pubs so special around Walsall and the West Midlands?
The characters in them, for starters. I’ve had fascinating conversations with people I barely know. I’ve laughed till my sides hurt. I love the pubs here run by small breweries, and by passionate publicans. I love the incredible history and the sense of community.