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BrewDogging #20: Dundee

A quiet Sunday lunchtime in BrewDog Dundee[Previously: Bristol, Camden, Newcastle, Birmingham, Shoreditch, Aberdeen, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stockholm, Leeds, Shepherd's Bush, Nottingham, Sheffield, Dog Tap, Tate Modern, Clapham Junction, Roppongi, Liverpool]

About fifteen months ago, a Dundee coffee house called Caffe Borsa shut up shop. You can still read the Facebook post where they announced that their lease had been acquired by BrewDog, who were planning to open a new bar in its place. The comments are amusing, as several of them are from disgruntled fans of the cafe who assume that BrewDog just barged in and stole the building from its owners. The general vibe is that a huge corporate bully has driven a small local business out of their premises, which is funny given that BrewDog tend to portray themselves as being on the other end of that sort of conflict.

On our way to investigate our twentieth bar in their portfolio, The Belated Birthday Girl and I stopped off in Aberdeen to attend BrewDog's 2015 Annual General Meeting with six thousand other shareholders. This time last year, it was four thousand. It seems to me that it's too late to be thinking of BrewDog as a small local business.

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MOSTLY FILM: Wild Untold Stories

"This is the sort of shit you do, isn't it?" said Mostly Film's editor as he passed me the review copy of Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story Of Cannon Films. (I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like that.)

There's no denying that it's exactly the sort of shit I do. And initially, I was reluctant to take on the job simply because it's shit I've already done once before: Electric Boogaloo played at last year's LFF, and I reviewed it then. I wasn't sure if I could come up with a sufficiently different angle to justify a second review. But then I found one: this is the third in a series of documentaries made by Mark Hartley on the subject of exploitation cinema, so why not watch them all back-to-back?

Not Quite Hollywood was a favourite of mine at LFF 2008, and I'm already the proud owner of the Australian two-disc special edition, which includes a second disc of Ozploitation trailers that's longer than the main feature itself. Machete Maidens Unleashed never had a theatrical release in the UK, so it came as a surprise to discover that it's downloadable on iTunes for a ridiculous £1.89. Electric Boogaloo, meanwhile, is hitting UK cinemas tomorrow (June 5th), with a home video release to follow on July 13th.

I talk about them all in my piece on Mostly Film entitled Wild Untold Stories, but obviously the main focus is on the film that's getting released this weekend. So the Red Button Bonus Content you're getting here is no fewer than twenty trailers for films by the Cannon Group, all of which are discussed in the Electric Boogaloo documentary. One of the points raised in the film is that Cannon weren't all about tacky exploitation, and balanced their roster out with serious movies made by overlooked genius directors. Rest assured, though, this collection of trailers is more skewed towards the trashy, so expect tits and gore all over the place, and don't try to watch it at work.

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MOSTLY FILM: Obscurities Reloaded

Hubert was unusual.At this stage in the life of Mostly Film, the Obscure Gems series - in which several writers each pick an overlooked movie for re-evaluation - is a little like a special guest recurring character in a sitcom. One of those people who only turns up once or twice a year, but has made enough of an impact for those appearances to give you a little tingle of delight when they happen.

I didn't get around to contributing to the first one in 2011, but I made up for it with two recommendations in the 2012 edition: Czech time-travel comedy Tomorrow I'll Wake Up And Scald Myself With Tea, and incomprehensible genre mashup Ninja III: The Domination. (We'll be briefly revisiting the latter later this week, by the way.) I've made an appearance in all the others since then, covering obscurities like My Estonian Butler, Siesta and The Perfect Kiss.

It's probably about time that we had another one. So here's Obscurities Reloaded, in which half a dozen regular contributors to Europe's Best Website each pick another film that you may not have been previously aware of. And as has now become traditional, it's accompanied on my own site by some Red Button Bonus Material consisting of trailers and clips from the films in question.

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Simian Substitute Site For June 2015: MonkeyMTB


Internet: This may or may not come as a terrible shock to you, so brace yourselves: last night, on May 31st 2015, my internet radio station Spank's Audio Lair closed down for good. (Well, that's the theory - I've just had a peek and it still seems to be going, but I'm not paying for it any more.) It was a bit of an experiment when I started it back in 2002, at a time when streaming internet music appeared to be a novelty with a limited lifespan. But here we are, 13 years later, and it turns out that Live365 and other internet radio providers were just the forerunners to what's become one of the primary ways that youngsters listen to music nowadays. For me, though, it was a novelty that I kept forgetting about for years at a time - see 2010 for the most recent mention of it on this site. I rarely uploaded new songs to the Audio Lair, I listened to it even more rarely, and I was paying ten US dollars a month for the privilege. So when the latest renewal notice came in for my annual subscription, I decided to pull the plug. Apologies for those of you who are affected by its sudden disappearance from the internet, although statistics suggest that the listenership was pretty much close to zero anyway. I'm sure you'll find alternatives elsewhere on the internet.

Music: In fact, I've got an alternative for you right here. I mentioned that streaming is the way that The Kids tend to do music these days, with Spotify being the most common site. So, starting today, Spank's Audio Lair has become a Spotify playlist. As frequently as possible - ideally once a month, around the time that I do these Simian Substitute Site posts - I'll play around with the list to make it a collection of ten songs that are running around inside my head right now. They'll be mostly new stuff, with a couple of older favourites scattered throughout for flavour. You'll need to register with Spotify to listen to them (a bit like Live365, at least in its early days), and if you go with a free account rather than subscription you'll have to put with adverts (again, much like Live365). But it takes me less time to maintain a playlist than it does to upload a collection of songs, so hopefully this should be a more fluid version of the Audio Lair than the previous one. Of course, it's possible that Spotify's business model is just as rickety as Live365's was back in 2002. But let's wait and see, shall we? In the meantime, wrap your listening gear around this. (I'll update the widget on my About page as soon as I can.)

Travel: There was a time last year when it felt like I was spending every alternate week in Sweden, so it was a surprise to realise that my last visit was almost a year ago. After several consecutive trips to Stockholm, last June I found myself in the less busy environs of Karlskrona, albeit in the middle of the drunken celebrations for the end of the school year. By comparison, my time last week in Linköping was even more quiet. There's not much I can report back to you about regarding the visit, except perhaps for a few travel tips. The main one that springs to mind is not to go there with British Airways - their flights in both directions were delayed by a couple of hours, with my return flight to London getting in long after the last train had left for the city. My fortunes with Swedish rail were a bit more mixed: the journey to Linköping was marred by a cancelled train, but the journey back was enhanced by the conductor failing to sell me a ticket. Getting around Linköping itself involves a careful study of the bus system, which is entirely cashless and requires you to buy single tickets in advance from a carefully concealed selection of vending machines. As for accommodation, the Scandic Linköping Väst is one of three hotels run by the chain in the town, and is up to their usual high standard. No chance of a Monoglot Movie Club coming out of this trip, sadly - as my co-workers pointed out, the local cinema treats Swedish language films as a niche concern and tends to stick with the Hollywood blockbusters you can see anywhere.

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