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Darryl, John, Dave, George, Frazer, Charlie, Andy and Henry
Charlie reports on the Essex Beardsmen's pogonophilic gathering at The Queens Head

quotesAS FRAZER AND I walked in to the Queens Head we were greeted by the familiar faces of local boy Darryl, George, and John. Having purchased various fine horizontal lubricants from our massively supportive, and bearded, landlord; we set about the important business of socialising.

Henry and Andy
Henry and Andy
Nigel, Nigel and Liz
Two Brewers - Nigel and Nigel, and Liz
We were shortly joined by fellow Essex Beardsmen Henry, Andy and Nigel, along with his lovely partner Liz. They'd just got settled in when Russ turned up with his wife and daughters, celebrating his birthday at the meeting, closely followed by Geoff and Nigel from Farmers Ales. Since our group now contained four brewers, a certain amount of shop talk ensued, to the probably boredom of those around us.
Ken from Southend
Ken from Southend

We were pleased to be joined by Jock and Lewis, from the Handlebar club, and Ken, a new local member.

The in-depth discussion
The in-depth discussion
Candid Shots by The Essex Chronicle
With our numbers enlarged, we moved to the more spacious dining area, for that very purpose, and to continue our in-depth discussion on such weighty matters as yeast management, quality tweed, the local music scene, beard care, and styling - I had been experimenting with “products”!

Whilst some took to the garden, to enjoy a pipe, or two, Andy Palmer from The Essex Chronicle roamed the pub, taking candid shots (more of which can be found on the Essex Chronicle website).

Soon after we arrived at the pub the landlord Dave told us that he'd arranged for the local radio station to do a telephone interview with one of our number. Not taking a fast enough step backwards, it fell to Frazer to deal with the interviewer, in a suitably tongue-in-cheek manner. You can listen to the interview using the player below.

Click the triangular play button to listen. (Needs Adobe Flash; 3min; 1.5Mb)

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Lewis, Justin, Adrian and Luke
Lewis, Justin, Adrian & Luke by The Essex Chronicle

We were delighted to meet a group of chaps unknown to us, Lewis, Justin, Adrian and Luke (pictured right by Andy Palmer of The Essex Chronicle) who had travelled all the way from Australia - and making a brief three year stopover in London.

At one point Frazer was to be seen standing in the middle of the room, pint in hand, smiling to himself at the range of conversations around him, and the success of the gathering.

Russ, before he left
Russ, pictured before he left

Unfortunately Russ and family left before the group photo, but we still managed a respectable nineteen “beards” in the picture. Since a large number of these were different faces to our first meeting, almost a year hence, we're optimistic that we can make this an annual event.

Nineteen Beards: Click on the picture...
The Respectable Nineteen Beards. Back row: “Rotten Bottom” Bob, Henry, Jock, Lewis
Middle row: Dave the Landlord, George, Nigel, Ken, John, Andy, Darryl, Geoff
Justin, Luke, Lewis, Adrian. Front row: Charlie, Nigel, Frazer.

Click a thumbnail to enlarge or play as a SLIDESHOW

Two brewers called NigelDarryl and CharlieCharlie, Henry and Frazer
John and GeorgeCharlieAndy, Charlie and Darryl
Group PhotoSidelong viewGeoff
Nigel from Farmers Ales

A special mention should be made about honorary Essex Beardsman Guy, who had to abort his attempts to reach us in time, thanks to the vagaries of the transport network, and was forced to seek solace at a convenient London hostelry, a brave effort none the less!

Much thanks must be given to Dave Magee, and the staff of the Queens Head, Andy Palmer and The Essex Chronicle, and Panic fanzine for their support, promotion, and reporting of our pogonophilic gathering.

Charlie quotes The End

Click on the image for a readable version
Click on the image to read the Panic Online article

Photos are variously Copyright © 2011 Liz Faulkner, Frazer Coppin, Charlie Saville and Andy Palmer of The Essex Chronicle