My Soul Is Sad. My Liver, Not So Much.

This is going to be relatively short, but I have received terrible news. Actually, tragic. Slak Bar in Cheltenham town is closing. Forever. After 14 years of being, and not many less of helping me fog the misery of existence, on Sunday 26th of August 2012, Slak will open it’s doors for the last time. I don’t know why it’s happening, but it would appear that it definitely is. I found this out only an hour or so ago, through the Facebook channel, as tens of fellow patrons voiced their dismay via status updates. Boo to Slak closing, booooo. Slak’s closing…. WHAT!?!!! NOOOOOOO! Slak!!!!That sort of thing, and I have to say I’m a little sad myself. Not the usual, constant, clinging sadness – that’s still there, whispering away – but now theres an extra duct, weeping 80 proof tears of bereavement.
It’s sad when any little independent bar closes down, because of the choice it takes away from the customer. Me. Every time a smaller place shuts down for good, a few more customers mooch their way towards a Wetherspoons, which has competitive prices on it’s side but little else. Though far from being evil, the chain pubs and clubs offer a completely different atmosphere, a different type of clientele, and a different type of horrible feeling. To me at least. I have of course been to many a high street pub in my time, and will again, but that’s kind of the point. I can go to them whenever, they’ll always be there. And whichever doesn’t really come into it as each of them offer a very similar experience. You know what you’re getting, sure, but what you’re getting is, for the most part, awfully dull.
Like all smaller venues, Slak offered a break from all that. The music was more eclectic, some soul, some funk, some 60s, some 80s, and so on. The staff were excellent, the space well used – small, dark and increasingly warm – but well used, and the entry price was very reasonable. I never encountered the slightest hint of trouble whenever I went there. No fights, no screaming, no nothing. Just happy people having a dance, a drink and a laugh. I’ve had some good times in that tiny, tiny room, sweating like a human waterfall, ‘dancing’ around like some sort of rum filled prick. Good stuff. It stayed open nice and late (or early, depending on how you look at it) as well, things not really kicking off until midnight and keeping the fun going into the smaller hours, but making sure they never felt so small they were worth ignoring.
I like alcohol. You must have picked up on that by now. So it saddens me on that base level. But more so because of the lack of another place to go to, to choose to go to, to meet friends and like minded people in, to get incredibly drunk and warm in, to not have to listen to Radio One-Top 20-Fuck Me This Is Nakedly Dull-Remixed chart bollocks ALL BLOODY NIGHT in. To get phone numbers in. To throw up in the toilet, order some more drinks, have a dance, wander off, get a bit lost and forget what you were doing in. Y’know, to have great times and be totally relaxed in. Like it was your house. Helped by the fact it is only a few times bigger than my front room.

Anyway, you get the picture. Sad face. The only positive that can be gleaned from this, is that there is a bank holiday weekend of drinking to be done, and they shall be open for that. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. And it would be rude, no, stupid, no, strudepid, to not give the old place a bloody good send off. One that won’t be remembered for years to come. One that, one day, you’ll turn to your children’s children to recount, smile with gentle terror and say, “no, I have absolutely no idea what I did over the August bank holiday weekend of 2012, but whatever it was must have been exceptional because I still can’t feel my face”. Who’s up for that? See you there.

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