Thursday, August 03, 2023

Shirkers Rest SE14

Don't think I've given enough love out to the Shirkers Rest, beer shop/bar at 9 Lewisham Way opposite Goldsmiths in New Cross.

They have beers (and cider)

They have events including open mics and comedy nights

And of course they have a slacker aesthetic

Yes there's a 'Never Work' poster and the legendary 1980s 'I didn't go to work today... I don't think I'll go tomorrow' poster. Despite the claims of some cheeky f*cks online to have designed and therefore sell this image, I believe it was actually designed by a nice Leeds anarchist called Brian  who also did some radical Tin Tin cartoon strips. Remember having lots of arguments about this at the time  - along the lines of yes the sentiment's great but many working class people don't have the luxury of sleeping in and losing their job. Something to debate over a pint of Common Sense or whatever you fancy at the Shirkers Rest.


Anonymous said...

That poster is Clifford Harper, surely?

Anonymous said...

"Nice Leeds anarchist"? I can overlook the word "anarchist" but all those years of misanthropic carping have gone to waste if people start calling me "nice". Anyway, yes, I was responsible for *that* poster. As with the Tintin stuff, if I'd known it was going to have such longevity, I would have made a better job of the artwork.

Weirdly I met Cliff Harper a few years ago. We had a few beers and somehow that poster cropped up in conversation. After some hesitation I owned up but he wasn't really bothered. And who can blame him? He's an insanely talented artist and I'm a clumsy hack.

The other reason that poster has been haunting me for the last 35 years is that people associate it with 1980s dole culture and anarcho-punk "lifestylism". True, the poster did emerge from that scene but if you only see it through that lens, you're glossing over a huge history of struggle against the imposition of work, from the Luddites through the Italian autonomists to things like r/antiwork. Anti-work politics are also struggles to reclaim time* – more critical now than ever.


*I'm writing this at work on a Friday afternoon