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The Lure [?] Of The C

The reporter largely responsible for compiling this wholly factual account - Nofa Kenews - would like to acknowledge the marginal influence of events portrayed in recent editions of The Drovers - Dorset Radio's beloved and long-running audio-soap. Any resemblance between augmented reality and creative fiction is entirely accidental.

AFTER and BEFORE: [TOP] the pub as it is today and [BOTTOM] as it was 100 years ago

Regulars of The Cow Public House Stalbridge were left "shocked and stunned" on Saturday last when they turned up for their packet of cheese and onion crisps and "a pint of the usual" only to find that their familiar and hitherto unchanging surroundings were suddenly no longer as they had been. "We couldn't believe our eyes" said local preservationist Di Dinderwood: "overnight our old pub was gone and we were left with a whole new identity to cope with". Such was the surprise that several loyal customers reported that "the beer tasted sour and even the crisps had an odd tang to them. Perhaps it was our imaginations but everything seemed out of kilter. It was spooky: vaguely familiar and yet utterly different. We didn't feel at home and we didn't feel welcome. We are shocked and stunned." Something had changed. What could it possibly be?

Known since the fifteenth century as The Cow, the pub was recently subject to a rebranding exercise in the hope that widening its appeal to younger consumers would seriously shift its customer demographic. "We felt things had become stale and that we were too reliant on traditional entertainments [cribbage, bar skittles, pancake racing and Saturday evening punch-ups]. Then again, we had a clientele which - Saturdays apart - took all night to drink a half of bitter. Profits were down and we needed to do something", said long-time landlord Bob Tappe-Roome, who remains adamant that changes were necessary.

Local opinion is divided over the new pub sign [RIGHT]. 99.999999% prefer the old sign [LEFT]; Mr and Mrs Tappe-Roome prefer the new one. "Of course we like it, it cost us £50,000 quid didn't it?"

Cue brand gurus Charles and Maurice Macpro who quickly established that the pub needed a new image and a modernised visual palette offering "an exciting typographical experience". £50,000 later the new sign arrived announcing with it the rebirth of The C at Stalbridge.

"Everyone knows what the C stands for", said local activist - and visceral opponent of the new name - Ms Lydia Smell who is planning a Campaign of resistance and has not ruled out a village-wide boycott and even a blockade. "A cow is always a cow", she said. "Ask one who knows". "And a C is always a C", retorted Mr Tappe-Roome who has clashed with Mrs Smell before.

So is the rebranding working? "It's too early to say", says Stalbridge neutral Noah Pinion. "They were closed on Sunday and last night they had special offers of Jager bombs which attracted a few youngsters, but looking at the marks on the spirit bottle labels I don't think many went down by very much. I'd say the jury - like the locals - are currently out".

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