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Farewell to the Good Mixer! Legendary pub’s closing party

Bar was a favourite for bands like Blur and Elastica

18 January, 2018 — By Tom Foot

The Good Mixer

IT was a key stop on the rock ’n’ roll map of Camden Town, a bar which indie bands such as Blur and Elastica famously favoured during the Britpop explosion of the 1990s and where Amy Winehouse once played pool with the regulars.

There was no surprise, then, that devoted fans of The Good Mixer were determined to make the most their final pint before it closed its doors for the last time on Thursday night. While passing customers were able to say a farewell on Inverness Street last Wednesday, the pumps poured for one last round at a private party the following night, as friends, regulars and bar staff from other pubs toasted memorable nights at the Mixer and shared jokes about its less than appealing toilets.

The landlords are selling up for personal reasons and it is unclear what will happen to the building. No planning application for redevelopment or change of use has yet been filed at the Town Hall. Among the performers at the pub’s last night was John Chapman, a blind singer who grew up in Ingestre Road, Kentish Town. Mr Chapman has been going to the Mixer since the 1990s. He lost his sight eight years ago due to a condition known as retinitis pigmentosa (RP) but still knows his way around the layout of the pub.

John Chapman at the Mixer’s final night

The 36-year-old said: “I’ve played five times at the Good Mixer, and solo there twice. They had a stage by the window and a table with a couple of chairs. It wasn’t really a venue, it was more a music place. You’d see Amy, Suggs – Pete Doherty, sometimes Russell Brand. It was a great pub.” He added: “Once you get into rock ’n’ roll it all changes. You go to the places. Some nights you get in, some nights you wouldn’t. You get into mods, Oasis, then The Beatles, then The Who – then the whole Quadrophenia thing, [and] The Good Mixer – that and the Enterprise. After that, the Dublin Castle.”

Mr Chapman, who used to work as a driver for UPS in Kentish Town, now lives on the Holly Lodge Estate. He was invited by landlady Sarah Hurley to play at the closing party. “It was funny, though I was saying to my missus I was feeling nervous beforehand,” said Mr Chapman. “In the nighttime I’m as blind as a bat, but in the daytime I get a tiny bit of vision. My mates sort of lead me around the place.” He added: “I played 11 of my songs, including Black Blanket – it’s do with the whole thing about eyes. And Take Me Back, which is a tribute song to a friend of mine, Barney, who got electrocuted and died.”

Mr Chapman was referring to Ralph Kennedy, nicknamed “Barney”, who was working as a scaffolder in Somers Town in 2006 when he was killed after touching a faulty light fitting.

News of the sale of the pub led to online speculation that it would be converted into flats, but Ms Hurley posted a response criticising the spreading of “non-facts”.

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