Thursday, June 28, 2012

Browns Bar - Coventry, warts and all

Based on the 83k (!) strong Facebook Group and the furore in local (and national) press, Ken Brown of Browns Bar in Coventry must really regret his actions now. It's been revealed that not only was Ken Brown single-handedly responsible for starting both World Wars 1 AND 2 but that he was also the mastermind behind 9/11, the man who encouraged Jedward into the entertainment industry AND the individual responsible for changing the McVities Cheeselet recipe, thus ruining them forever.

Oh wait, hang on, what? He DIDN'T do any of those things? You could have fooled me, based on the amount of foaming anger that has emerged.

And the reason for this anger? On Monday, Browns refused to serve Soldiers in uniform who were at the Cathedral for the day for the sad occasion of burying one of their own.

Pretty shit thing for a bar to do, right? Absolutely. Nobody is disputing that.

A Facebook group ("Boycott Browns in Coventry") was started and has had phenomenal success - with ironically more people boycotting Browns than can have ever been through the doors in the entire places history. Ken had to go in front of the press and apologise for his actions ("Wasn't here, I'm Sorry, la la la, We're right behind the Cathedral and serve a range of delicious foods and guest beers, la la la").

As far as I can recall, Browns has always had a shitty door policy. I've never fallen foul of it myself, but I know of a fair few people who have. But do you know what? I like Browns. The food there is fantastic, and the atmosphere too. It's a regular haunt for a hungover Sunday - but they've always had a reputation for not letting people in for any particular reason, and these soldiers are no exception.

But the fire has been lit now, and it's highlighted a lot of ugliness.

Of course everybody who has ever been refused entrance from Browns have emerged to have their say, and they are Legion. Fair enough.

And then there are those from around the world who have their say due to their love for the Armed Forces and how they shouldn't be discriminated against - absolutely. Couldn't agree more. You're preaching to the converted.

And then there are those who just feel like directly insulting the bar and its clientèle, regardless of the issue at hand. The ones who claim it only serves students, and wouldn't go in there anyway. Perhaps you should look up the word 'Boycott'. It's right there in the dictionary, in the "B" section. ("You're kicking me out? Shit shop anyway")

And then the ones who emerge who claim that Ken is racist - he apparently doesn't allow blacks in, and then it emerges from a mate of a mate who is posting that he didn't let somebody disabled in once, so he must have something against the disabled as well. All of which comes as a huge surprise to me, as Browns is typically filled with a wide range of people, and I've taken disabled kids there myself with no problem.

And then the traditional scum come on to have their poorly spelled say - "I bet thiss wuddunt have happuned if they were musslim or if they were gay" or "They wud have been let in if they were wearing a birka" - The EDL and BNP doing what they best, hijacking and swarming around the issue like racist flies to shit.

A nice level headed response from the EDL regarding the situation. Well done.
And finally the ones calling for physical violence against Ken and his staff or the people who frequent Browns, or the cry to simply burn the place to the ground.

And then a brick is thrown through the window, and the police are called in.

So what was a valid complaint has been blown out of all proportion, but has acted as a valuable insight into how ugly people can be - a minor incident can strike a major backlash that will probably drag on until society reveals another thing for the pitchfork wielding mob to demonise - and yet your NHS is sold from under you, every civil liberty you have is being slowly eroded away and you sit back and let it happen. Let's put all this into a proper perspective, shall we?

But why should we concern ourselves with that when Victor Von Frankenstein is safely in his castle at the top of the hill? Albeit his castle with shitty door policies.

The family have called for peace - they've accepted the apology, and that should surely be enough. Don't claim you're doing this for them when they want a stop to it. If the anger carries on, you're doing it for yourself.

As a good friend of mine wrote more eloquently than I; "Please put the incident into proportion; Corporal Michael Thacker died fighting for democracy and freedom. The bile and vitriol written about the Browns is abhorrent, and not in keeping with the values the armed services fight for on a daily basis."


  1. Absolutely, wonderfully and brilliantly put!

  2. A well presented argument, however in this world you reap what you sow. If you treat enough members of the public badly and have a reputation for being stuck up your own arse then you should have no surprise when large numbers of people jump to stick the knife in. As a serving member of the Armed Forces we do indeed fight on behalf of the elected government for freedom of speech and democratic values. The bile and vitriol written about Browns is very much in keeping with freedom of speech. On the EDL comment Irish Republicans still detest the Army. Maybe he sympathises with the bucket for the wives. Who knows!


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