MOSTLY FILM: Criterioner Among Thieves
BrewDogging #26: Soho

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.

In the meantime, your Simian Substitute Site for November 2015 is Bang Monkey, a song by Pogo featuring copious samples of the character Rowley Birkin from The Fast Show. He posted the original track on his Soundcloud page about a year ago - the video is actually the work of animator Jack Bowdler, who ripped a pile of Fast Show clips off YouTube to see if they could be edited into something appropriate. It works for me, anyway.

As ever, if you want to talk about something, feel free to use the comments box below. It doesn't have to be about beer, honestly.


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