These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LAST ORDERS FOR MIKI HALL

The passing of the legendary landlord Miki Hall is a poignant reminder of just what sort of special person it takes to run a community pub. Miki was the right person, in the right place at the right time when he took over the New Kensingston in Brighton’s North Laine. Brighton's protest scene was about to explode against the Criminal Justice Act and the Kenny became the drunken wing of the Anarchist weekly news-sheet SchNEWS and its main distribution point with regular live readings on a Friday night. His pub made things happen.

But a proper pub isn't just a place where you can get a drink or a packet of peanuts. It's got to feel like your putting on an old pair of slippers. The Kenny was always a refuge for the risk-takers, rabble-rousers and revolutionaries and more than a few lost souls. Miki became our crazy father figure who was often worst behaved than his hundreds of adopted children. I hope he is proud that so many of those people have gone on to do amazing things in their lives, encouraged by his hospitality, words of wisdom and anything-is-possible attitude.

For me, the Kenny reinforced just why pubs are so important. Everytime I see a boarded up boozer or one converted into another poxy supermarket my heart sinks. Where are people meant to meet, to celebrate, to chew over the days events, if there are no community spaces left?

Miki took on the big breweries, who've strangled pubs with their modern day tied-system slavery forcing publicans to buy their beer from them at vastly inflated prices. Along with other publicans he went on rent strike, but eventually they won and the Kenny shut its doors for the last time (scroll down to page 2) scattering a community to the wind.

As Chris Natural put it so well “Under Miki's watchful eye(!), the Kenny was the best and only pub in the world I have liked. For it was so much more than a pub. It was an extension of Miki's essence. A melting pot of weird and wonderful, anarchic, rebellious and often crazy spirits. Infamous worldwide it and he encapsulated everything that was great about Brighton at that time. A piece of me died when the Kenny shut it's doors for the last time. Brighton was never the same again.”

Never really finding a Brighton local I felt as comfortable in since, I got together with other local residents, to try and open our own co-op pub! But just like the Kenny, so much more than just a pub. After nearly 5 years of campaigning The Bevy finally re-opened and while it can never be the Kenny, we hope it is a new model of how pubs can survive and be a shining example to other working class estates of what can be done.

Of course Miki was more than just a landlord. He had a history of activism – but always with a mischievous smile and a love of gossip rather than chip on his shoulder. And before that last orders bell was rung, you could be sure he would be trying to land a moustached kiss on anyone in the vicinity. As his health worsened he threw himself into disability rights; setting up disabled friendly areas at festivals giving many people the opportunity to enjoy them for the first time. 
 
I'm gutted I never got to buy Miki a bevy at the Bevy and say thanks for his inspiration and all the good times. You were a legend my friend, who will never be forgotten.

2 Comments:

Blogger kath hall said...

Thats my dad your talking about! Thank you so so so very much, amazing beautiful words, all I can say is thank you. Kath xxx

8:49 pm

 
Blogger kath hall said...

Thats my Dad your talking about, and thank you so soso very much. Beautiful words. I thank you. Kath xxx

8:51 pm

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home