While living in England I used to LOVE my pub crawls. I’ve touched on a few of them before, including the epic 2007 “Countries of the World” pub crawl in London. In 2005, me and three mates also did the Monopoly Pub Crawl (41 bars over 2 days – to be completed within 41 hours!), and that one I’ve yet to write about – have the photos in print only in an old photo album. In the meantime, today’s thirsty Thursdays is all about a Cluedo Pub Crawl. It’s a “whodunnit?”
What is the Cluedo Pub Crawl?
I invented the idea myself. (Unless of course somebody else invented it before but I didn’t know about it). Basically it’s a pub crawl that incorporates a game of Cluedo in each pub you’re in, with a twist, that each person has to be dressed in a certain colour or be a character from the board game. Also, the pubs chosen need to have some kind of link to the board game Cluedo. I hadn’t seen a few of my best mates in what seemed like an eternity (it was over 2 and a half years!!) and so on our reunion in 2012, I helped organise the Cluedo Pub Crawl with my former flatmate and close mate Dan Darch.
So the scene was set – I would return to England for 3 days in 2012 and over 2 of those days we would attempt to play 6 games of Cluedo, with 6 characters involved, in 6 different pubs in and around Manchester and Bury.
Why Manchester and Bury?
It was an easy one to organise. The lads could meet me in Manchester (they all live in either Birmingham, London or Bournemouth), and I would make Manchester my stop over flight between Northern Ireland and Hong Kong. In the end I flew Belfast – Manchester – Dubai – Hong Kong (and literally straight back into work the next day). So time was tough but we met up in Manchester, spent a night there then spent a night in Bury.
This would coincide with a visit to Gigg Lane, home of Bury FC to watch our English team, AFC Bournemouth play. I was so excited. We were making up for 2 and a half years apart. These were best mates of mine for a few years. So it had to be special.
Months of planning
Facebook messages are a great tool for casual planning of events. Gradually Dan and I had looked at the fixture list and realised that Bury away was going to be the easiest one for us to meet at. I was supposed to go to Preston away in 2011 (a match we won 3-1) but sadly I had got pre occupied with more jobs than I could manage, while living out in Hong Kong. So Bury it was. We planned it bit by bit on Facebook.
First of all the flights. I arranged to have 3 days in Manchester (it was actually 2 and a half). Dan and Austin booked the Manchester Travelodge (handy place to stay and a backpacker’s budget with a bit more privacy ands luxury). I booked us all into the White Lion pub in Bury. This part of English lifestyle I love – pubs that host backpackers upstairs. They’re always family run, down to earth and great fun and value. Also the fact it was the WHITE Lion gave us a Cluedo link already. Miss White…
The calm before the storm
My first night back with the lads was the Thursday night in Manchester. My girlfriend flew to Paris for the first time and I said goodbye to Belfast after my longest stay in Northern Ireland for about 4 years. I landed in Manchester Airport and couldn’t wait to see the lads again. We met in the bar at Manchester Picadilly Station. Dan Darch and Austin Sheppard, both former flatmates of mine. We’d been around England (and Scotland) together travelling with Cherries matches. If you did follow Don’t Stop Living in its early days, you’ll remember it was just stuff like this post – me telling stories. No holds barred – my travel lifestyle as it happens. It’s nice to return to this type of post tonight actually 😉
After meeting Austin and Dan, drinking till the sunset, finding our Travelodge, heading in search of the first Cluedo Pub. It didn’t take us long. Darch is master of the extraordinary. Austin is the uncomplaining all round top bloke. I was the long term backpacking farmer and barman back from a jaunt round Indonesia, China, Hong Kong and the Philippines. We found a bar called the Soup Kitchen. So that was our first Cluedo Pub. But this was the calm before the storm.
The Thursday night was just a catch up, a good few beers and a bit of preparation for the next day. We ate in the Soup Kitchen and as the banter flow and the reminiscing continued we moved on to a budget Wetherspoons (Dan and Austin are as cheap a backpacker as me, without even leaving their native land – how’s that for profoundness?). After our 20 pence pints (slight under exaggeration there), we went all Irish. I found a bar called Mulligans and the Guinness flowed. We watched a live band, chatted away to a few others and sang to some old songs like Oasis. Next up a nightclub in Manchester. It was good to be back and we all headed back to the Travelodge together.
The Start of the Cluedo Pub Crawl
So we woke up in Manchester on the Friday morning, with the knowledge that there would be a total of 6 of us during the weekend. I’ll introduce my crew here guys…(if you’re a regular follower of Don’t Stop Living, these are my mates, and my mates are your mates. Come join us for a beer sometime!)
Let’s meet the crew. The lads. The boys…
Dan Darch – The Cornish Cherry. Budget cider drinker. Hardcore Cherry fan. He got out of prison in 2008, but only in the football sense. In fact, we got relegated but Darch stayed up. That’s the sort of bloke he is. Dan Darch is a man who won’t let you down. If he was alive when the Titanic sank, he’d have survived. And he’d tell you the tale if you buy him a cider.
Austin Sheppard – Austin was commonly known as “Aussie” at university, but I didn’t like that nickname. I half expected him to come into the room with a boomerang and dressed as a kangaroo. But he’s English – and proud. He ain’t no Australian. He sometimes consumes vaster quantities of apple related alcohol products than most people living in Bristol. He’s the most authentic Bournemouth fan out of all of us – he was born in nearby Poole. Or at least that’s what his assumed birth certificate says. Don’t forget to wake him up, or he’ll miss the first half.
Chris Sheppard – No relation. Honestly. He even has a different hair colour to quash the rumours. Shep was a backpacker too. He visited the same places as me, at different times. Shep’s a barman too – he also lends his support to Aston Villa on occasion. And by hell, they need it! Shep is so innovative he invented his OWN Cluedo Character – Sergeant Grey.
Lee Adams – Real name of Lee Adams is “Lock In Lee” – that’s what it says on his birth certificate. He’s a punk that got smitten with the 1979-1980 era Nottingham Forest team. Since he left the New Forest zone, he also had a stint of Australian backpacking and banking work. When the pub opens, Lock in Lee will be there. When the pub closes, he blames the Queen. And why shouldn’t he. It’s as much his country as it hers. Though he owns more Ozzy Osborne albums, albeit on rare 12 inch vinyl only found in a market stall in Dudley. Occasionally he gets pissed off and swears at Yeovil Town fans.
Richard Rowland – I can never remember if Rich’s surname is Rowland or Rowlands. I actually just had to check Facebook to confirm it!! Rich was also my flatmate once and a good one. Tidy, clean, respectful and aways busy. Not too busy to give up the odd Saturday for a spot of Cluedo and a game of football. Actually I lied – Richard Rowland is an authentic AFC Bournemouth fan. OK, let’s check the facts – yes he’s from Bournemouth. In fact, as Austin is from Poole, then Rich os the only real Cherry amongst us. But he’s popped his own cherry enough times to know the score. Wedding bells and nappies are his latest line.
Jonny Blair – Jonny Blair gave up living in the dormitory town of Bangor over a decade ago. His Northern Irishness is what he prides himself on. He thinks he’s a cool global traveller who has been everywhere and has a load of crazy stories to tell. Deep down, Jonny is just a football loving lad who wants to head down the pub with his mates and talk nonsense over a Guinness. And that he does.
So now you know the six Cluedo players/suspects/killers/murderers/drunks, it’s time for some ground rules.
The Rules of Pub Cluedo (official)
1. You can only play Pub Cluedo when more than 50% of the players agree it’s an appropriate related time to play it.
2. No cheating
3. Nobody can be the same Cluedo character
4. No cheating
5. You have to dress in the colour of your Cluedo character at all times during the game.
6. No cheating
7. When playing the “actual game of Cluedo” (which in fairness is the point), the NORMAL Cluedo rules apply
8. No cheating
9. When one of your mates goes to the toilet, you should not check their cards unless everyone except that person agrees
10. No cheating
If you break any of those rules you’re out of that game – but can join in the next one. We’re not that strict.
How to get from Machester to Bury as a backpacker
OK this is a travel site, so you’ll want to know how to get there – easy tip is to head on the tram to Bury from Manchester, further details here on “this website” etc.. So after checking into the White Lion in Bury (decent wee backpackers hostel with a bar below 😉 we headed into central Bury to find a Cluedo set. We first went into backpacker mode by scanning the charity shops but in the end none of the 15 shops we tried had Cluedo and WH Smiths was too dear. We ended up buying the Cluedo Board Game in Smyths.
The Warm Up
The warm up to the game included a trip to Old Trafford in Manchester for no reason really other than to have pints. In terms of sightseeing, we also passed the Kellogg’s Factory on route after meeting Lock In Lee.
This caused the pun “Cereal Killers” to be used and BANG! The game was underway. We met Shep in Picadilly Station bar. Shep hadn’t actually met Lock In Lee before and on meeting each other we realised they may be both English, but they speak different languages. Lock In Lee reads and speaks backwards. Shep is of the more conforming type – he reads, writes and speaks all words the way they are meant to be read – forwards. So while Lock In Lee said “Ih Woh Era Ouy?” Shep’s response was “Good Mate”.
Now you’ve met the lads, let’s have their Cluedo aliases:
Reverend Green – Jonny Blair
Professor Plum – Austin Sheppard
Mister Scarlet – Dan Darch
Sergeant Grey – Chris Sheppard
Mr. White (with a Revolver) – Lee Adams
Colonel Mustard – Richard Rowland
Game 1 – The English LOUNGE
We chose the English Lounge pub in Manchester for our first game. After a hard fought battle, Lock In Lee won the game. Key moments included the bouncer asking Jonny why he had a backpack. Obvious answer followed “to play pub Cluedo”.
Game 2 – The Soup KITCHEN
Upstairs was full so we didn’t have a table to play on. They let us into the downstairs nightclub and while dancers danced, we played Cluedo. A local lad came over wanting to join in. He wore blue, but his spell in the game was brief. Mr. Navy bought Shep a shot of Sambuca as a reward yet Reverend Green, disguised by Jonny won the game.
Game 3 – The ROPE Bar
It was getting late and we needed 6 more games of Cluedo, so we had to sweet talk our way into the ROPE Bar. After getting inside through a hotel and pretending to be staying there, Lock In Lee and I got the gin and tonics in, before finding a spare table to play another game. Lock In Lee won it.
Game 4 – The HALL, Tram
OK so we all agreed we should play a game on the tram between Manchester and Bury and that we did. We got the last tram back to Bury, playing a spontaneous game on the floor, adding in a random tram passenger to the story.
Game 5 – The WHITE Lion
We got back to the White Lion late on and it was a Lock In. Lee particularly enjoyed this as it’s his name. Then he got a vintage CD player out and started playing his CD of spooky songs related to murder. Sophie Ellis Bextor, The Beatles and the Killers all got an airing as we downed pints and kebabs and played another game.
Game 6 – The WHITE Lion
OK the next morning, before the big match, we got lazy, playing another game in the same venue. We liked the WHITE Lion. This game was fixed and we faked to Rich that Austin won it by default.
After that it was off to another pub, also with a murderous name, the TWO BARRELS pub where we watched Liverpool gun down Everton in the FA Cup Semi Final. After that we headed to Gigg Lane in Bury to watch Bury FC v. AFC Bournemouth.
We lost the match 1-0 and it was a non event. We had time for a final lads drink together at Manchester Picadilly Station before I headed to Dubai and they all headed back to their flats in England. The Cluedo Pub Crawl was fast and encompassed a lot more than just the Cluedo. It was real good fun and pub crawls like this are my speciality. I’m up for another one sometime, when the time is right.
I owe it to the lads – if they’re reading, I promise to meet up soon for a pint, a football match and a few days of randomness. I said it before and I’ll say it again:
“These sacred moments of silliness are where I find my heaven”
Thanks lads, stay happy and stay crazy.
For the memory: