murals, pop art, portraits by Maria Beadell
See the painting in: https://mariainpaint.webnode.com/gallery/paintings/#img-0366-jpg
This painting is a celebration of eight years of the cockney singalong at the Coach by resident pianist Mister Meredith. I love this pub, I love the singalong. In my opinion, it's the most authentic night out in London you can have these days. Although I've never prided myself on being any sort of decent singer, the sense of togetherness you can have warbling along out of tune with total strangers is something quite special indeed. It's fun, you can't possibly take yourself seriously and it's a great way to bond with people from all walks of life. Indeed, I have personally seen many a self-declared 'non-singer' belting out Bonnie Tyler while draped over new-found friends in there!
So it was an honour to be asked to render this experience in paint, along with some of the colourful characters that love it as much as I do.
The painting was completed over six weeks and was painted in a semi-cartoon-like style reminiscent of illustrative art. The scene is viewed from above, the figures are all dancing, laughing or singing. The characters are varied and represent the diverse mix of age groups and backgrounds of regulars that come into the pub. I wanted to capture the silliness and sense of fun that I always feel at the singalong, so I felt this interpretation would portray that energy best. I was influenced by social realist painters such as Hogarth and Beryl Cook’s pub scenes when working on this painting. It has often been said of Beryl that her paintings of everyday scenes encapsulated joy and have the power to amuse and uplift. I hope this painting does something similar. At the very least, I hope it makes people smile!
10 Limited edition signed prints 16 X 20 inches are available to buy. Printed on high quality Hahnmuhle Photorag Giclee Fine art paper. Contact me for details.
A bit about the Pub
Norman’s Coach and Horses, infamous West-End journalist haunt, favoured by the Private Eye team and other Soho personalities such as columnist Jeffrey Bernard; has entertained patrons for more than seventy years. Indeed, it was the biographical play about Jeffrey ‘Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell’ which made the pub most widely known; as the play was staged in the interior of the pub.
Norman Balon, the pub’s infamously short-tempered Landlord, and namesake, presided over the pub from 1943 to 2006; after which the pub was handed over to Alastair Choat.
Alastair has maintained the charm and atmosphere of the pub and its unique status as one of the last bastions for Soho’s bohemians in a rapidly gentrifying area. One of the most successful ways he has achieved this is with the pub piano sing-along, which brings together a glorious mish-mash of Soho regulars, tourists, curious passers-by and hardened boozers every Wednesday and Saturday.
Mister Meredith is a professional cabaret performer who is the Coach and Horses’ longest-serving singalong pianist (8 years and counting). His nights are the perfect mix of classic cockney numbers, cheesy pop classics, musical theatre and power ballads where you will hear anything and everything from ‘Knees up Mother Brown’ to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Over the years, the pub’s singalong has become a huge success, with firm friendships being forged out of a swift ‘Hokey Cokey’. Long may it continue! www.mistermeredith.co.uk
The pub is however, not immune to the ever-encroaching virus of gentrification that is sweeping through the area and will remain under threat while the developers continue on their quest to redesign and ‘clean up’ Soho. The pub will only survive with the help of its punters, so please make the most of it while it’s here and drink, talk, sing, and be merry.
Norman's Coach and Horses
29 Greek street
Soho, London, UK