“Glasgow, in the mid Noughties; it felt like the epicentre of electro. Or like something was definitely happening, anyway. And not just the clubs; there was a lot going on.”Kirstin Innes
Brickwork: A Biography of The Arches is the first book that has focussed on The Arches from its humble beginnings as the potential for an art venue, which soon became the venue that DJs such as Carl Cox, Daft Punk and David Guetta were all keen to perform in. Having attended several arts performances, gigs and club nights in this Glasgow institution this book throws me back into those gigs, the smells, the bass, the unkempt undergroundness of it all in the early noughties. Offering an uncompromised flavour of the Glasgow art scene, whether it was the nightclub, the theatre, the creative hub, it was one of the most significant and pivotal venues in Scotland, Britain and Europe: for almost 25 years, The Arches was the beating heart of Glasgow.
In 1991, former punk-turned-theatre director Andy Arnold walked into the disused red brick Victorian railway arches underneath Glasgow’s Central Station and immediately saw the a vision of how this space could be used. With a grassroots upbringing and a family team vibe encouraged amongst staff it wasn’t long before many accumulated a respect for Andy’s intention and the opportunity he was opening up to many in the Scottish arts scene, as simultaneously one of the most famous nightclubs in the world and a major player on the European theatre scene.
Until its closure following a drug-related death in 2015, The Arches carved a unique and uncompromised path, offering a role to many renowned in the arts scene today. When it closed in 2015 it was notable the place it held in everyone’s hearts, as not only the people of Glasgow voiced their concern; it was an arts venue with international credibility and anyone from Carl Cox to Mylo to Kieran Hurley were voicing their concern about the closure about one of Glasgow’s iconic arts venues.
David Bratchpiece (who worked in various roles) worked in The Arches for fifteen years, and author of Fishnet and Scabby Queen, Kirstin Innes, was press and publicity manager for the venue from 2004 until 2006, have collaboratively interviewed the staff and the artists as well as some of the regulars to allow the venue to resurrect and become alive again in this 2021 title. Piecing together accounts from directors, DJs, performers, clubbers, artists, bar tenders, actors, audiences and staff, Brickwork writes the biography of a space that was always more than its bricks and mortar, and it will pull you in to hear for the first time those chants of HWFG. A vibrant and insightful biography reminding us all of Glasgow’s loss for a venue that strived for something different.
Photo courtesy of Andrew Perry
Brickwork: A Biography of The Arches is out on 4th November, published by Salamander Street