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BrewDogging #23: Brighton

#TaxidermyTaxi. And some dick in a hat.[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, Dundee, DED Angel, Soho]

I admit it, the chronology of these things is totally screwed now. Sorry about that. But this bar review (#23) kind of follows on from the last one I posted (#26), which documented the recent soft opening of BrewDog Soho. We didn’t quite make it to the equivalent event for the Brighton bar last August – what with it being both on a school night and in Brighton – but getting there for its first Saturday session had three advantages. Firstly, it allowed us to check another one of the bars off our list nice and early. Secondly, as it was my birthday, I could take advantage of one of the perks of being a shareholder. And thirdly, it meant we could be a part of another zany BrewDog publicity stunt.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

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MOSTLY FILM: Love Is In The Ground

MONIKA + ROB 4 LYFEI wasn't really planning to do a new thing for Mostly Film, it just happened that way. I had a bit of a gap in last Friday morning's schedule, and the editor suddenly announced that unless anyone had any better ideas, there wouldn't be a new piece going up on Monday.

As it happened, I knew that a film I'd already namechecked on the site over four years ago - Jörg Buttgereit's grim necrophile comedy Nekromantik 2 - was, astonishingly, about to get a legitimate release in the UK. So I laid my hands on a, let's say, less legitimate copy, rewatched it for the first time in over two decades, smashed out a thousand or so words of instant reaction and had it in the editorial inbox by later that afternoon.

The review is now up on the site under the title of Love Is In The Ground, simply because this had been posted a few days earlier. Looking back on it now, in the calm after the frenzy of its creation, it strikes me that at least one more read through on my part could have been a useful thing, to pick up carelessnesses like the sentence which contains the word 'really' twice. (Amusingly, that sentence was picked up by Mostly Film's Facebook team and used as a pull quote to cement my shame.) It also strikes me now that the whole piece fails to really acknowledge at any point that necrophilia is not nice. Kids! Monika M. is a professional, do not try to imitate her. Besides, she has a hacksaw.

Anyway, as the piece was written in a bit of a rush, the Red Button Backup Content for it has been hurled together at similar speed (and is also a bit late, sorry). Want to see a tasteful collection of film clips on the subject of sex with dead people? Then here you go.

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Spank's LFF Diary: The Wrap Party 2015

The 2015 London Film Festival finished nearly three weeks ago, and as ever it’s taken us this long to get our final thoughts about the thing onto the internet. So here are yours truly and The Belated Birthday Girl with our pick of the best and worst bits, plus a clutch of bonus reviews from guest correspondent Lesley.

(Or, if you'd rather, that thing to the left is the BFI's official YouTube playlist from their LFF coverage, with several hours of clips, interviews and talks. You could watch that instead if you like. Your call.)

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BrewDogging #26: Soho

Beer Is Porn. Porn Is Also Porn.[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, Dundee, DED Angel]

Yeah, let's face facts here, the numbering system in these BrewDogging pieces is now officially bollocksed. Episodes #1-20 were posted in order: #21-23 are still to be written up (two of them are based around the Italian bars, and there's a shitload of other stuff accompanying them): #24 happened in the middle of the LFF: and we've already visited bar #25, but that'll have to wait for a little while, particularly as the opportunity to review bar #26 on this particular day seemed too good to pass up. So, bearing all that in mind, here's some historical context for you.

Back in the 1990s, I used to work in the broad vicinity of Shaftesbury Avenue, the heart of London's glittering yet peculiarly urine-scented West End. And every couple of months, the same scenario would repeat itself. As I was walking around the streets at lunchtime, a tourist would come up to me and ask me where Soho was. I'd wave my hands about in a general fashion: "you're in it right now," I'd say. "No, you don't understand," they'd reply, with some sort of wink or nudge attached, "I'm looking for Soho." What they're looking for, of course, is the Soho that stereotypically existed in the 1970s, with naughty upstairs rooms occupied by even naughtier women. Soho's not been that for a couple of decades now: gentrification, insane property prices and a flourishing pink pound have seen to that.  For giggles, I generally used to point people in the direction of Old Compton Street, and fondly imagine how their afternoon progressed after that.

A lot of the time, those tourists were Scottish. [Points at photo above.] Just sayin'.

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Simian Substitute Site For November 2015: Bang Monkey


Food & Drink: I'll warn you now - if everything goes according to plan, there'll be a lot of BrewDog-related content appearing on the site in November. Hopefully the Italy holiday will finally get covered, and that took in a couple of the BrewDog bars along the way. There are another two bars that we've visited in the last couple of months that still need writing up: there are another three that we plan to visit for the first time in the next two weeks. Will all that make it onto the site before the end of November? Your guess is as good as mine. But in the meantime, elsewhere on the internet, The Belated Birthday Girl and I have produced a series of live reports on CollabFest 2015, the latest in a series of large-scale brew-offs involving all the UK BrewDog bars making new beers in association with their favourite local breweries. The bottom line is this: The BBG and I drank 16 different beers yesterday, albeit only 1/6 of a pint of each one. We didn't have time to guzzle all 21 available in the festival, and we apologise profusely for that. But if you want to read our on-the-spot reviews of what the ones we did try were like, they're published over four posts on my nowadays-neglected Moblog: read them all here. I think the writing's remarkably consistent even though we were drinking as we went - mind you, the fourth picture is notably more fuzzy than the previous three.

Internet: Sam Smith can piss off back to his brewery, because this is the only version of the Spectre theme song you'll ever need. It's the work of the legendary Adam Buxton, who's recently come bouncing back into the spotlight with The Adam Buxton Podcast, a weekly compilation of interviews with mates and other random silliness. Doctor Buckles is no stranger to podcasts, of course, most notably the various ones he put out when he was 50% of Adam and Joe. But this is the first time he's released a regular podcast that isn't derived from a radio show - it's all original material. This seems to have caused unrest in some quarters, as the freedom to generate his own content has pushed it very gently into areas that some of his listeners haven't been expecting, meaning he's had to preface some of the later shows with a warning about how much effing and jeffing they may contain. Take that warning on board, and there's a huge amount to enjoy in these downloads. If you're looking for one to start off with, try the wholly atypical episode three, in which Buxton gives a day-by-day breakdown of the process of going through a mild cold.

Theatre: Here's one for those of you who've been here for the long haul. Back in 2001, I reviewed the West End premiere of Closer To Heaven, a musical by Jonathan Harvey with songs by the Pet Shop Boys. You can tell it's a review written by someone who wanted the show to work, and was frustrated by the parts of it that didn't. Fourteen years later, there's an opportunity for re-evaluation with a revival of Closer To Heaven at the Union Theatre in London, where it's running until November 28th. Gene David Kirk's new production is on a much smaller scale than the West End original - it has to be, the Union only has room for an audience of 50 - and the music loses out on some of the gloss that a full-size staging would give it. But in all other departments, it works astonishingly well. The cast handle the emotional switchbacks of Harvey's script much more effectively than I remember the 2001 cast doing. In fact, The BBG - who'd never seen the show before - managed to nail exactly why the dramatic aspects of the show work better now: effectively, it's become a period piece. As a precise time capsule of the post-AIDS-panic pre-legal-marriage era of British gay life, some of the rougher sections of Harvey's dialogue can be forgiven in a way that maybe wasn't possible back in 2001. And when it comes to the songs, what they lack in polish they more than make up for with the sheer balls-out, tits-out enthusiasm of everyone performing them. At the centre of the cast is a troupe of six dancers - three male, three female - and whatever your orientation, you'll fancy them all a little bit by the end of the night. Which is part of the point, really.

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