It's been four months since I did anything on here. Suffice to say, my life has been dismantled this year, and I'm still putting it back together again. While there's been beer, there's been no desire or time to blog about it, though I do need to talk about Meantime (again) and some other bits and pieces that caught my attention.
What's bringing me back today is an update on the documentary being made by Steve Sullivan about Chris Sievey and his more famous alter-ego, Frank Sidebottom.
There's been a deal of activity since the early summer, when Frank fans raised a whopping £48K via Kickstarter to get the movie project started. Since then, Sullivan has been wandering all over the country with his small team, capturing memories and moments in the Sidebottom/Sievey mythology. Yours truly was invited to Chelsea Space to recount the infamous window-painting of August 2007, and also to talk generally about Chris and Frank, duality and art. I'll probably end up on the cutting room floor, but it was an honour to be asked to share my memories.
Then, in October, it was the unveiling of the bronze statue of Frank in Timperley Village. Despite being in the middle of a move, I didn't think twice about making the trip, a pilgrimage if you like, and I made this patchy film of the morning when the local police had to close the roads to allow people to witness the event...
Locals were surprised by the distance people travelled to be there. I stayed in Altrincham, and another Frank fan from Herts was also there. On the day, I spotted Mike Joyce (former Smiths drummer) and saw Damon 'Badly Drawn Boy' Gough get out of a cab just after the unveiling. I didn't get any film of him, but was standing behind Frank's statue when he gave an emotional speech about what Chris and Frank meant ('a genius' he said, which just goes to show that great minds do often think alike), after giving a guitar and his Mercury Prize to members of Sievey's family. A great day with lots of love and other emotions, remembering a great man and his greatest creation.
But the film is still getting made. Steve Sullivan continues to rove, Merlin-like, around these Islands documenting this story. So there's still some fundraising to do. So I'm writing this post. Here's the Being Frank Xmas Message, where Steve Sullivan, Martin Sievey and David Arnold make their fantastic pitch...
Being Frank Xmas Message
You can pre-order a copy of the finished film for yourself, or make a present of it. Recipients will get a special download on Xmas Day, and their names will be included in the credits of the finished film. Or, if you're really keen, join the 'I Should Be So Lucky' Club, where your hundred notes will get you a download a month for the next year. All rare stuff, none of which can be fitted into the film in its entirety. Or finally, just get the word out by sharing this, or your own message on social media. Frank's fans have been brilliant since the great man passed, funding his send-off, this film and the statue. Please support the film now and ensure somebody has a cool Yule. And have one yourselves.
Monday, 2 December 2013
Thursday, 1 August 2013
Meantime has been spending a Sunday each month in trendy Shoreditch, spinning choons and aiming to entice the Hipsters with some of their limited-batch beers. The venue for this is the Boxpark, a pop-up retail experience constructed from shipping containers and scaffolding. Here, global brands like Nike sit side by side with local start-ups and street food outlets. On Bethnal Green Road, vintage cars cruise up and down, although the Hipsterati wouldn't be seen admiring them. Meantime are doing six summer Sundays here, under the guise of #hopsatthebox.
It would appear an unlikely setting for one of London's more conservative craft brewers, but is part of an effort to put their beers in front of what is an increasingly important demographic for craft beer in London. Earlier in July, Meantime launched their latest seasonal Pale Ale (Pacific) at something called Frank's Cafe, atop a multi-storey car park in Peckham. I was due to go, but got my dates mixed up, and anyway, an online search of the place revealed this whole 'cafe' thing is a bit ironic (what else?), with not a bacon or sausage sandwich to be found on the menu.
I'd been invited to the previous two Boxpark events, but hadn't been able to get along. What persuaded me this time was the beer. Called Fool's Gold, a pilsner brewed in 'collaboration' with a listings magazine on the small Old Brewery plant, this had been single-hopped with Citra. I'd not had a lager with Citra before, so wanted to check it out. It's also my view that Meantime's most recent seasonal lagers have knocked the socks off their ales. Tandleman recounts his recent taste of the Friesian Pilsner here. While the Pale Ales are solid enough, I prefer a bigger hop character, and a lager hopped with something as distinctive as Citra needed to be tasted.
|Alex Morgan. A Geezer|
So I did, in the company of memorable Meantime Beer Sommelier Alex Morgan, a real character who I'd met a few weeks earlier at one of Meantime's beer dinners. All wide boy patter and a real and infectious enthusiasm for beer and food, he was working his socks off getting tasters of the beer into the hands of passers-by. In one of those moments of synchronicity you find around beer, he introduced me to a young American couple on their first trip to London. Turns out they were from Berkeley, in the East Bay, an area I've visited a couple of times now. They were visiting London for four days and were hitting as many beer venues as they could. Admirable.
So. The beer. It poured a delicate pale gold and, being quite chilled, didn't show much of the distinctive Citra character at first, but as it warmed a little some of the cattiness started to show. Berry fruits were in evidence, too. The hop wasn't overwhelming, rather it made this a flavourful and easy-drinking beer. I had several, and every one was refreshing and went down nicely, without any gassiness or bloated feeling. And it's named after a Stone Roses song, so what's not to love?
Meantime are a funny brewery. Their regular beers are well-made but can seem a bit unexciting. I'll happily drink their wheat beer if I can find it fresh. As I said, their recent lager styles have been excellent, but who'll be able to drink them? I'm off to this weekend's beer fest at The Old Brewery, and I'm hoping that there'll be some Fool's Gold left.
Disclaimer: Boggle paid for all of his beer at #hopsatthebox and bought his own ticket for the fest at The Old Brewery.