Friday, February 12, 2010

The Ale and Quail Club

The other day a correspondent mentioned in passing something called The Fellowship of Boar and Beer.  When I asked to what he was referring, he clammed up. 

I never considered there was particularly much relationship between boars and beer, but as the person in question knows someone in the Baker Street Irregulars, and because boars were often depicted in heraldic terms alongside warriors, I wondered if that might be a group akin to The Red-Headed League, depicted in that Sherlock Holmes tale.  Probably not... or was in fact the Red-Headed League a hoax?  I don't remember, but all this set me to pondering.

I'm ensconced these days in north London above an old butcher shop, 18th century by the facade, but a local historian says the foundation goes back to late 16th century.  Out back even today through the fog I can still see the outline of the old stockyard, and in between a barn-like building, now an artist's loft, once for the bloody process between stockyard and counter.  And, further, nearby is Bacon Lane... though I've suspected that was named after the scientist Francis Bacon, who died nearby of ague after conducting an experiment with a chicken.  No matter.  Across the street is a very old pub, where last month I was served a wonderful "winter warmer" cask ale.  Come to think of it, across from every old butcher shop there is a pub, but... well, this is London.  Of course, there there may be chapters of this group all around and I've simply never noticed?

I remembered then that some of our friends were fans of the filmmaker Preston Sturges and I recalled a group who appear early on in his movie "The Palm Beach Story."  The Ale and Quail Club.  Not to be confused with the stockcar racing outfit based out of upstate New York.  

Yes, I suspect that the mysterious association The Fellowship of Boar and Beer, if it even exists, has something to do with Ale and Quail Club, but who knows? 

I await confirmation.  In the meantime I include below a relevant clip.  (Please forgive Sturges his broad caricature of the waiter.)

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