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The Last Hour!

Collective Gallery, Edinburgh until November 5th
Four stars

The sheets of newspaper that cover up Collective's windows may give the impression of the gallery being shut down or else under new management giving it an end of tax year make-over. In truth, the recorded hubbub of bar-room chatter inside begs to differ, just as the light-boxes of half empty (or half full) pint glasses on the wall suggests the doors are open, if not all, hours, then at least as late as licensing laws allow. Look closely at the newspapers, and the windows themselves are mapped out with a series of pointers for what a good old-fashioned boozer, is, was and can be.
These are new works by Toby Phips Lloyd and Andrew Wilson, aka Lloyd and Wilson, that form part of The Last Hour! Dreamt up, possibly over a pint, by curator Timothea Armour, and inspired by The Pub and the People, a mass observation study undertaken between 1938 and 1943, The Last Hour! features a series of events to explore pub life and its role as a 'local' at the heart of community life that has come increasingly under threat by gentrification.

The plethora of The Last Hour!'s off-site socials include a newspaper produced by Lloyd and Wilson featuring essays and after-hours chat on various aspects of boozerdom infinitely more substantial than scribbles on the back of a beer mat. The local rag has been distributed around eighty hostelries within the Collective's locale.

Community outings include a new one-day mass observation field trip, a discussion on the role of the pub, and a performance by Edinburgh-based performance cartoon duo Usurper in the upstairs room of the recently re-opened Waverley Bar. Chucking out time concludes with a screening of Public House, Sarah Turner's documentary film that charts the story of the Ivy House pub in Peckham and how it was saved from developers by the local community. From speak-easy to social sculpture, from last orders to lock-in, this is worth a toast. Cheers, then.

Mass Observation Field Trip, meet at Collective, Edinburgh, Saturday October 7th, 3.30pm,; When is a pub not a pub?, Collective, Edinburgh, October 21st, 3.30-5pm; Usurper: at the Waverley, Waverley Bar, Edinburgh, October 21st, 7.30pm; Public House, Cameo Picturehouse, Edinburgh, November 5th, 3.30pm

The List, September 2017



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