He’s the landlord of the Fulford Arms in York and a man with more opinions than a pub full of cab drivers. And he’s YorkMix’s new columnist. So what makes Steve Bradley tick?
You fall into the Ouse and the big moments of your life flash before your eyes. What do you see?
Apart from probably a giant rat worthy of a James Herbert novel? I guess if I fell in the Ouse I’d see the time I skived off to the amusement arcade instead of taking my swimming exam back in 1983 (the one where you tread water in pyjamas and pick a rubber brick off the bottom of the deep end); and the day I left Northallerton. Shall we say it’s not a town to grow up in if you are a bit “different” or alternative. You can’t get more conservative!
What are the best things about the work you do now?
The obvious answer is being my own boss after years of frustration working at the Department Of Work & Pensions. How some of those people have worked there for 30-plus years is beyond my understanding. They must simply be institutionalized. The amount of money and time wasted on trivial nonsense within the civil service would rightly anger most voters. One day I’ll document my time at Monkgate and reveal the truth.
If you could put together your dream bill of live entertainment at the Fulford Arms, who would be on it?
Assuming there was an unlimited budget I’d have Neil Young of course. With a bit of luck he’d bring David Crosby along too. I’m not sure Pete Townshend would agree to be a support artist but seeing as it’s my dream bill then he’s on it too! Martin Stephenson has played here three times already but for sheer entertainment in a pub I’d have no hesitation in putting him on the bill as well. Finally I’d ask Joe Solo to kick start things off. He is truly unique and a wonderful human being. Incidentally, he’s playing at Fulford Arms on November 30th so come see what I mean.
What is the silliest thing you’ve done in your life?
In the past I’ve said “yes” far too many times when the correct answer was “b***er off”, and been far too trusting of others. However I’ve learned from those mistakes and now the opposite applies. One particularly silly thing I did was drunkenly decide it was a good idea to wake up my old housemate by climbing out of the bathroom skylight and frightening him at his window late one winter night. There are two reasons why this was a silly idea: 1) He was out, and 2) The skylight slammed shut and I was stuck on the roof in freezing fog for three hours. Those tiles were bloody slippy I can tell you!
Who are your heroes, and why?
I don’t really have heroes. However there are people I admire for different reasons. Neil Young, for his honesty and integrity – and for not playing the corporate game – as well as for the incredible music; Dennis Skinner, for making me realise that not all politicians are selfish parasites; Sir Geoffrey Boycott, for being Sir Geoffrey Boycott; and Mark Burgess, for forming The Chameleons and playing a solo gig in my living room 27 years after I first saw them live.
If you were made King Of York, what would you do to improve the city?
How long have I got? First I’d completely reconfigure the ridiculous road system around Fishergate and Piccadilly. I would scrap party politics and make it compulsory for all councillors to be independent and actually live in the wards that they represent. The requirement for affordable housing would be scrapped to kickstart housebuilding. Finally I’d do two things to make York more appealing to both visitors and residents: 1) Bring back the litter bins that the council shamefully removed and 2) fill them with the human detritus that hangs around Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate and St Crux.
Favourite: band; song; meal; TV programme; film.
Band: The Chameleons; song: Love and Affection; meal: curry; TV programme; Curb Your Enthusiasm; film: The Wicker Man (the original! The remake should be made illegal!)
Name your three biggest pet hates.
1) Abuse of power.
2) Swearing in pubs.
3) People who get offended on behalf of others.
What is your most cherished achievement?
Finding personal happiness after 40 years of underachievement and accepting second best.
Tell us a secret.
I can’t sleep if the buttons on my quilt cover aren’t at the foot end of the bed.
- Steve’s first column for YorkMix will appear here shortly