Biography of legendary Glasgow venue The Arches to be published next year
- Megan Forsyth
- 13 November 2020
New book by co-authors Kirstin Innes and David Bratchpiece will explore the history and characters of the iconic theatre, venue and nightclub
Independent publisher Salamander Street has announced that it will publish a non-fiction book telling the story and secrets of legendary Glasgow venue The Arches next year. Brickwork: A Biography of The Arches, set for release in November 2021, will be co-authored by acclaimed Scabby Queen novelist Kirstin Innes and comedian David Bratchpiece.
Lurking beneath Glasgow Central railway station, The Arches served as a bar, arts venue, theatre, music venue and nightclub from 1991 until its sudden closure in 2015. Scottish theatre makers including Kieran Hurley, Nic Green, Cora Bissett, Rob Drummond and Gary McNair showed early work at The Arches, while Underworld, Daft Punk, Jeff Mills, Felix da Housecat, Carl Cox and Erol Alkan are among the dance music icons who performed there. Brickwork co-authors Innes and Bratchpiece were both formerly employed by The Arches and their book will feature a variety of interviews with others who were a part of the venue's 24-year history.
A much-loved cultural institution, The Arches was forced into administration in 2015 due to licensing issues following a drug-related death at the venue. The venue's closure was devastating for the arts and culture scene not only in Glasgow, but all across Scotland. Irvine Welsh, Liz Lochhead and members of Franz Ferdinand, Belle and Sebastian and Mogwai were among hundreds who signed a letter asking the Scottish government to save The Arches, but it was never restored to its former glory.
Kirstin Innes – who released her second novel, Scabby Queen, earlier this year to widespread critical acclaim – said: 'I worked at The Arches in my early twenties as the press and publicity manager. It's not an exaggeration to say that the venue made me who I am, and collecting these stories together is my way of saying thank you. I'm delighted to be writing this book with David, an Arches stalwart in so many ways, who has a wealth of knowledge about the venue.'
Scabby Queen was longlisted for the 2020 Gordon Burn Prize earlier this year. In 2015, Innes's debut novel Fishnet was awarded The Guardian's Not The Booker Prize. She is a two-time winner of the Allen Wright Award for Arts Journalism and has written for The List, The Scotsman, The Herald and The Independent.
David Bratchpiece said: 'I was a regular customer of The Arches from its early days, during which time I quickly fell in love with the venue. Later I would go on to start working in the cloakroom there, and little did I know that 15 years later I would still be there, as a manager. I always felt its impact on Scottish culture deserved to be documented, and I'm honoured to be playing a part in that.'
The comedian, writer and occasional actor has performed stand-up all over the UK as well as at the Edinburgh Fringe and Glasgow International Comedy Festivals. His short plays have been shown at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh and Tron Theatre in Glasgow and he has previously written for BBC Radio, Empire, Mixmag and The List. Brickwork will be his first book.
Salamander Street publisher George Spender said: 'The Arches is an iconic venue in UK theatre and clubbing history. Former artistic directors Andy Arnold and Jackie Wylie nurtured a wealth of emerging talent who have since gone on to have an extremely influential impact on contemporary theatre. Brickwork will compile the memories, anecdotes and testimonies of the people who made The Arches what it was – a club, a theatre, a meeting space, a place for artists, clubbers, musicians and performers to find themselves.'
Brickwork: A Biography of The Arches will be available for purchase from November 2021 in both print and digital formats.