Popping up in my trillion digital invitations this week was a request to join the ‘Save the Spoons Carpet’ Facebook group.
The protest has been set up by a disgruntled resident in support of the Sir Samuel Romilly. And, in fairness, is gathering momentum as I type.
As you may be aware, our Wetherspoons has been told to remove its Barry Town crest-emblazoned mat by The Council – and pronto please.
The floor covering controversy, which even made the Daily Mail, centres on the Barry pub’s apparent failure to ask permission to use our town’s logo – and then being denied that permission retrospectively when they eventually did.
Now, you all know how I love a crusading Campaign – or three, but I think I’ll sit this one out…possibly in Wetherspoons on one of those high stools with the well-known jug of Woo Woo.
One thing I won’t be sitting on is the fence, as, in my view, if you do that you get metaphorical splinters where the sun don’t shine.
So, for me, I think it is absolutely outrageous for a pub chain, or anyone else for that matter, to play so fast and loose with our town’s Coat of Arms.
And this is not about Wetherspoons. I admit the Broad Street boozer is not my favourite watering hole, but I’m not adverse to a cheeky pint, the aforementioned jug of Woo Woo, or a cheap teatime treat – sometimes all at once.
I just don’t want to do it treading onion rings into our Coat of Arms as I trudge to the toilets. Yes, you know the ones. All ‘Spoons toilets are over three mountains, thorough two small forests, and up four flights of stairs! I think the Barry ones are well spooky too – I’m sure they are haunted…but that’s another spine chilling story.
Let’s be honest, if the chain really wants, as is it’s tradition, to show a bit of local flavour, they’d be better off splashing the instantly recognisable Barrybados logo all over the floor.
Aaaah, but then they’d have to ask permission wouldn’t they?
And that for me, says it all. What other brand name would allow their logo to be used without their consent.
I totally get that the carpet was part of an over £700, 000 refurbishment. Of course, we should all be grateful for any regeneration in the town but not so desperate that anyone who flashes the cash can do what they like.
Some say that our Coat of Arms belongs to us, the people. I have also read that it is patented and was granted on behalf of the Sovereign in 1939 to the Town Council for its own exclusive use.
But whichever it is – neither have been asked have they…so it’s the principle innit!
Barry Town Council have now requested ‘Spoons remove the mat as soon as is practically possible. They haven’t, and the row rumbles on.
For me, although the carpet may have been laid in good faith, it’s totally wrong to use our Coat of Arms without permission.
And while we should welcome any celebration of our town I’d rather we do this with a plaque on the wall than with a sticky, beer drenched, pub carpet.
I expect many will think I am being precious, or pompous, many will fight to keep the carpet underfoot, whilst others, quite frankly, won’t give a toss what they are standing on when they slurp their large, two for the price of one, G&T.
I think the best solution is for Barry Town Council to ask the residents exactly what they want to do.
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Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”
Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.