Have you ever had one of those really strange days at work?
You know the kind I mean – when you’ve been stabbed in the stomach by a stripper wielding a Louboutin stiletto heel and then had to hold a conversation with senior police officers whilst tripping balls on ketamine?
Okay, maybe you haven’t had a day quite that strange, but I have.
Allow me to explain why.
In the late 90’s I saw an advert in the back of the List Magazine – “The Arches is looking for cloakroom staff.” (because looking in the back of magazines is how we found jobs in those days, kids.)
I was already very familiar with the legendary venue in the city centre, having attended a number of events there, from theatre shows to club nights to the notorious Alien War attraction. And since I had just moved to Glasgow and was pretty skint, it seemed perfect. My motivation at the time didn’t really extend beyond it seeming like a fun way to make some extra cash for a while.
So I applied, and got the job.
Little did I know at the time that it would go on to change my life forever. I stayed there. For a long time.
Fast forward to over a decade later, and I had somehow found myself as a manager in the venue…a delicate balancing act of being responsible and organised whilst dealing with absolute madness on a daily basis.
But I partied too. I partied hard, for years. The point I realised I was beginning to come apart at the seams was when Shaun Ryder and Bez were set to come to my flat for a session, and their manager stopped them from doing so, because “I’d be a bad influence on them”.
Needless to say, when the country’s two most notorious party monsters are barred from spending time with you, maybe it’s time to think about calming down a bit.
Toward the end of my time there, things had changed quite a bit…society had changed. I was older, and I felt even older than I was. Things just didn’t feel the same as they used to.
And sadly, after I left The Arches, after a decade and a half of my life and all the highs and lows, loving and losing, pills, thrills and bellyaches, the much loved but often controversial venue fell on some hard times and was eventually closed forever, a loss which continues to be felt round the city and beyond.
I also did stand-up comedy on the rare nights off I had – including a number of shows in The Arches itself, from the very first Glasgow Comedy Festival onwards. In fact, for the first show we did there (me, my dad and my brother… also comedians!), over three hundred people turned up and many had to sit on the floor.
Being a comedian, as well as having this other crazy job, I started to note down funny stories of things that happened there, and when I told people, they liked it and wanted to hear more.
So I’m doing a comedy festival show about it all. After all these years I’m ready to tell my story. You should come and hear it… it’s quite a ride.
Midland Street – The Rise and Fall of the Arches, Glasgow… And My Part In It
The Hug and Pint, Gt Western Rd
Sunday 19th March, 8.30pm