Thursday, 14 August 2014

Beer and Loafing in Cardiff

“Cardiff’s biggest lapdancing club!” the promo girl shouts excitedly at me. Craig Heap is capering like a feral child raised by chimps that were raised by wolves a couple of feet behind me, trying to fight with all of Wales at the same time.

“He’s not fit for anything” I tell her, and she suddenly looks weirded out and pushes a business card into my hand almost apologetically.

This is Craig Heap’s Gonzo Stag Do. It’s about 8:00 at night and Craig is less of a man and more of a wild, pissed beast.

It’s not hard to see why.


“There’s something in your pocket. What’s in your pocket? What’s in your pocket?”

It’s 4:00 in the morning and I’ve got my arms spread like Christ the Redeemer in the security area of Newcastle International Airport. My carrying of two smartphones and a video camera (who even owns a video camera these days?) must have raised an eyebrow with the doormen of domestic and international air travel because I’ve just had the most intimate frisking of my life, before my new boyfriend’s busy hands brushed the boarding pass in my pocket and he got all intense. The fact that I’m dressed like a gang of acid casualties were asked to design an outfit for a journalist probably didn’t help my case. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has a lot to answer for.

I shamble into the airport’s Eagle Bar and acquire a Guinness and a corner seat. A child instantly begins to scream and doesn’t stop. I read a Fortean Times article about vampire burials and become acutely aware that today is going to be a massacre. I finish my Guinness and neck a Leffe as I watch some planes take off to the backdrop of a breaking dawn. Drinking in airports feels weird.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Tommy IPA

Head in a Hat Brewery


Thomas Atkins was the placeholder name used in British Army manuals when, on this day a century ago, an Australian coastal artillery battery fired the opening shot of the British Empire’s involvement in the First World War. Four years later the Atkins boys were dead in their thousands and the world was changed utterly.

Naming a beer for them is the least we can do.