Luke Owen looks at the pubs in The World’s End and what their names might mean….
If there is one thing that Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg do very well when writing scripts, it’s foreshadowing. They always drop in little nuggets that will either give you a clue of how the film will progress or make a joke that you’ll laugh at later on because the punchline finally arrives.
The best example of this of course is Shaun of the Dead, in which Ed tells the recently dumped Shaun exactly what they’ll do the following day – only it ends up being surviving instead of drinking. They have a “Bloody Mary” in the morning, a bite at the King (Phillip)’s Head and finally “shots at the bar” as the zombies pour in.
The World’s End has two examples of this. Gary King’s opening montage narration explaining the events of that fateful day in 1990 follows the exact same pattern when they try in 20 years later. They get into fights at the same time, get thrown out at the same points and lose their friends at the same points.
However the second example, and the one I want to look at today, are the pub names and how they relate to the plot. As soon as the movie was announced we all knew the pub names were sure to have double meanings.
Pub 1 – The First Post
This one should be fairly easy to work out.
While of course that name refers to the fact that the pub used to be a mail service, (until a businessman felt that weary travellers might prefer to “get twatted”), the given name for The World’s End most likely means that this simply is first pub they visit on their crawl. As far as I can remember, there isn’t anything in the following conversation that would suggest otherwise. Unless there is some deeper meaning in regards to the ‘Starbucks’ treatment of small town pubs. Which leads us too…
Pub 2 – The Old Familiar
This won’t be the first pub on our list to have a double meaning in my estimations.
The name either refers to the ‘Starbucks’ treatment of local pubs, or the arrival of Oliver’s sister Sam. I lean more towards the former as Wright uses the same location, the same blocking and the same camera movements to show just how all pubs are getting the Weatherspoons make over to remove their unique and rustic charms. Everything looks and feels the same as the previous pub – hence The Old Familiar.
The second option could equally be true. The arrival of Sam brings out some old familiar feelings for Steven, who has been in love with her since they left school. The same can be said for Gary who wishes to continue their disable toilet adventures that they started back in 1990, going back to The Old Familiar. As I said, I lean towards the Starbucks argument, but the other two reasons would not surprise me.
Pub 3 – The Famous Cock
There isn’t a great deal of story being told in this pub. The only thing of note is the introduction of Crazy Basil and his wild stories of The Bermuda Triangle and underwater Nazis. However he is not The Famous Cock – Gary is.
It seems that back in 1990, Gary was thrown out of The Famous Cock for being a drunken lout and that ban is still being upheld. The boys are once again denied service because Gary King is a massive Famous Cock.