Bermondsey Beer Mile: Slight (many happy) Return(s)

The Kernel Brewery, taken by The Belated Birthday Girl in 2014. You can tell it's an old photo, there are people in it.Twenty years ago today, I pressed a single button on a computer keyboard and UNLEASHED HELL. (Well, I say it was a single button, it was probably more like a messy FTP upload, but you get the idea.)

July 14th 1998 - Bastille Day, no less - was the day that I launched The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey, the Demon Internet website that eventually migrated over to this thing on Typepad. So, I've been spouting off on the internet for twenty years today. As I usually do most years, I'd like to thank all of you who've been reading this nonsense, no matter what proportion of those two decades you've been here for.

Still, the question remains: how do I best celebrate the anniversary of the creation of a website?

And the answer is: with the help of The Belated Birthday Girl, I've created another one.

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Yippee-Ki-Yay, Father Christmas

@MichaelLegge, 14/12/2016 1:24PM: "I think my favourite Christmas song is Die Hard. A lot of people forget that it's actually a Christmas song."

@SpankTM, 14/12/2016 1:32PM: "A lot of people forget that it's even a song."

At the time I sent that tweet to Michael Legge, I was referring to this song. But now there's another one. It's become a genre!

Season's greetings to all of you from myself, The Belated Birthday Girl and this year's Christmas song suppliers, Jonnie Common and Bec Hill.

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Wasn't Really Sure What Was Going On

The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey first appeared on the internet 19 years ago today, on July 14th, 1998, setting out its stall with a post about Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan because it gave me an excuse to swear a bit. Nineteen years later, Ellis has written an animated series that's just debuted worldwide on Netflix, and I'm still finding excuses to swear in my own fetid corner of the internet. Best not to think about it, really.

Anyway, it's the traditional site birthday post, so happy birthday to me, and thanks to all of you out there reading, no matter how much of the ride you've been along for. This time next year, the site will be 20 years old: maybe I should start thinking about what happens then?

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MOSTLYFILM: Mostly MIF 2017

<insert reference to shitty Neil LaBute remake of The Wicker Man here>There's an unspoken subtext to my latest MostlyFilm piece, a roundup of things I saw at the 2017 Manchester International Festival. Our visit took place nearly two months after the bombing at the Manchester Arena. It made me rather proud of the city of my birth, seeing the way people came together in reaction to the atrocity. And there are still signs of that all over the city today: the 'WE MCR' banners hanging off every vertical surface in town (as seen at the top of the MostlyFilm article), along with the frequent use of the city's bee symbol. (The example here has been on the floor of the town hall for countless years, but it's the best picture I have.)

We were only there for a weekend, catching six different MIF events (seven if you count the computer game), and spending any time we had in between them in many of our old favourite haunts. A couple of new ones were added to the list this time: breakfast at Evelyn's Cafe & Bar (which was Superstore when we visited it last), and dinner at Bundobust (having enjoyed the Leeds branch so much last Easter).

As for the shows, the MostlyFilm piece will tell you most of what you need to know, but I've also got some video trailers and clips here for those of you hungry for Red Button Bonus Content.

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...which could be quite graphic...

The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey first appeared on the internet on July 14th, 1998, launching with a slightly scrappy post about Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan. Which means that today - July 14th, 2016 - this website is now 18 years old. It's mature enough to vote! Not that that would be any fucking use right now, obviously. (In a vaguely related development, this happened ten years ago today.)

Anyway, this page is my low-key birthday celebration. Thanks to all of you for reading, whether you've been here since the beginning or joined in more recently. No plans to stop yet, so let's see how far we can go from here...

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Santa Claus Is A Black Man

If you're still recovering from this week's announcement about Hermione from Harry Potter, then I'm afraid I have some more bad news for you.

However, for those of you who aren't arseholes, The Belated Birthday Girl and I would like to wish you all the compliments of the festive season. Oh, to hell with it, it's Christmas - happy holidays to the arseholes too.

(And special thanks to Carole, who introduced me to this song via the album A John Waters Christmas.)


Hotel Rooms 2014

Names on the framesTaki. Sakura. Ninja.

I spent all of last week in Japanese hotel rooms that had names on them rather than numbers. You'll soon hear a lot more about what happened when I wasn't in those rooms, don't you worry about that.

But the rooms themselves deserve a page to themselves, for this reason: they became the suitably unexpected finale to a year-long wanky art project of mine that ends today.

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Sweet Christmas

Merry Christmas from Spank The Monkey and The Belated Birthday Girl. And from Japanese punk princesses Shonen Knife because, well, you work it out.