BrewDogging #30: DogHouse Glasgow

Doghouse (late Sunday night, it's not always this quiet)[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, Bologna, Florence, Brighton, DED Angel, Brussels, Soho, Cardiff, Barcelona, Clerkenwell]

Last year, at the 2015 BrewDog AGM, a lot of big plans were announced. Many of them involved BrewDog opening new premises that weren't just straightforward bars. A press release listed the following: the ShuffleDog games room, a chain of Dog Eat Dog hotdog diners, the Newington Fix coffee bar, and a restaurant/bar/bottleshop combo called DogHouse.

One year on, let's check on their progress. ShuffleDog has been up and running in Leeds since last July. The Newington Fix has spent a year in planning permission hell, and it's still not certain whether it's going ahead or not. Dog Eat Dog - or at least the initial Angel branch - has been and gone. That leaves us with DogHouse, which opened in Glasgow last autumn to a few grumbles which I noted at the time the Soho bar opened. A few months later, at the end of last January, The Belated Birthday Girl and I headed up to Glasgow ourselves to see if they'd been resolved.

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BrewDogging #29: Clerkenwell [inc. Small Venues 2015 exit interview]

It's literally only just occurred to me that BrewDog Clerkenwell is a Small Venue in its own right.[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, Bologna, Florence, Brighton, DED Angel, Brussels, Soho, Cardiff, Barcelona]

Clerkenwell! To be honest, it's not a part of London I've needed to visit for decades. But when I initially moved here in 1984, my first job was based in a Clerkenwell office. Coming up above ground at Farringdon station in December 2015 gave me all sorts of weird flashbacks, tempered by the fact that there's been a huge amount of development in the area over the last three decades. In the course of researching this piece, I decided to check up on my old work boozer from those days - the Sekforde Arms - only to find that it closed down as recently as last July.

Still, that's not the bar I've come here to visit. I'm here with The Belated Birthday Girl to check out BrewDog's latest London opening, and then move on to another bar to see a comedy show. Which has a major bearing on the rest of this article, as you'll see.

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MOSTLY FILM: Mostly MIFfy 2015

The former Cornerhouse, which recently shut up shop and relocated down the road at Home. Hopefully the building will be restored back to the fully-functioning porno cinema it was in the old days.It's July in an odd-numbered year: which means it must be time for the Manchester International Festival again. Which also means I've written a review of the festival - or at least five of its performances - for Europe's Best Website, in a piece you can now read there entitled Mostly MIFfy 2015. Which also also means that there's some Red Button backup content for the article to be found right here.

This was a bit of a hit-and-run visit for The Belated Birthday Girl and me - we arrived in Manchester around 11am on Saturday morning, and left around 7pm on the following day. In those 32 hours we saw the five shows I reviewed on Mostly Film, slept at the Premier Inn Portland Street, had two excellent dinners at The Round at The Royal Exchange and James Martin Manchester, and ate breakfast at Gorilla and Home. The last of those is worth expanding on, because it was our first visit to Manchester's newest art centre since its opening in May. It's unnervingly quiet early in the morning, and the cafe bar's brunch menu is a little abbreviated. But the dishes themselves are lovely (including a terrifically oversized croque madame), and we had a very chilled time there, not realising that just twelve hours later Douglas Gordon would be twatting the place with an axe.

As for the shows we saw in the festival, all of them have videos of one sort or another associated with them, so they'll make up the bulk of this page.

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Monty Python Live (mostly)

I think this might just be low quality enough for me to get away with it.How much of a Monty Python fan was I back in the day? Enough of one to know all the usual sketches by heart. Enough of one to own most of the records and books. Maybe going that extra geek mile further in some areas. (Do you know why Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life ends with the spoken line "I said to them, Bernie, I said, they'll never make their money back"? Well, I do.)

Was I at the O2 for their farewell show last weekend? Well, kind of. But it took me a while to make my mind up.

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Chris Rock

A section of Chris Rock's audience, O2 Arena, Saturday May 24th 2008. (Security were smacking the cameras out of the hands of anyone who took pictures during the show, which is why you're not getting a picture of Chris himself here.) Comedy is the new rock 'n' roll: that's what they were saying fifteen or so years ago. Nowadays, given that this site's Music section has twenty-three entries in it, and its Comedy section has two, I suspect that's no longer the case. But back then, it was a phrase that was being used to justify the invention of stadium comedy. In the UK it started with Rob Newman and David Baddiel, who decided to cap a couple of years of TV fame with a 12,000 seater gig at Wembley Arena. Not many people tried to follow in their footsteps after that: the closest anyone got was Lee Evans, whose 2005 Manchester gig was officially ratified by Guinness as the biggest comedy show in the country, with an audience of just over 10,000.

It's a record that was comprehensively twatted by Chris Rock this week, as he played two shows at the O2 Arena in London to an audience of around 16,000 each. Thanks to the last-minute availability of tickets for the second show, I can speak from experience as to how well stand-up comedy holds up in a building the size of, as they used to say in the O2's previous lifetime, thirteen Albert Halls.

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REPOST: Melbourne Comedy Festival 2003

Richard Herring. This photo has been cropped, in case you were wondering. Originally posted on The Unpleasant Lair Of Spank The Monkey 01/05/2003.

The Melbourne Comedy Festival 2008 will take place between  March 19th and April 13th. Here's what it looked like five years ago. This piece should be read in conjunction with "Monkey" Dundee, a description of the non-comedy things we did during our visit to Australia.

Raw Comedy winner Nelly Thomas is still going strong, and has an official site featuring pull quotes from a variety of dubious media sources. I think it's a shame she didn't go with "a bit like a less pre-menstrual Jo Brand", but that's just me.

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