Peter London [singer and keyboards]: 'I started playing here in 1970. When I first used to come down here I could see better. There were striptease artists – I miss being able to see them.'
Peter Hoyle [drummer and owner of the pub]: 'I've been the proprietor for 40 years. My brother-in-law and sister run it now. It's changed a lot over the years. In 1978 we refurbished and now there are moose heads on the walls, a zebra head, skeletons, a penny farthing...With the entertainment, that got the coach parties in. We also used to have comedy – Jim Davidson and Mike Reid began their careers here.'
PL: 'A few years ago Jim came back for a drink, saw we had two coaches in and asked if he could do some jokes. So he got up – and didn't get one laugh. He couldn't understand why. So I told him: "They're Swedish." Ha ha ha... Serves him right for leaving it so long.'
PH: 'But the band has been the mainstay throughout.'
PL: 'We go for stuff people know: the Stones, Beatles, some Ray Charles. We've also dabbled with Oasis, a bit of Ronan Keating. You’ve got to give people what they want. One song that has always gone down well is "Whiter Shade of Pale".'
PH: 'If we weren't here, this pub wouldn't survive. It's in a bad spot, on a busy road. It'd be a shame to see it go. I've made lots of friends here.'
PL: ‘You can't buy atmosphere. In modern pubs, you don't feel welcome. Customers here know they're going to get called "love" when they come in. It's just like home.'
The Montague Arms, 289 Queens Road, London SE15, tel: 020 7639 4923Reuse content