Bag of Secrets at The Angel Microbrewery: A Prophecy Fulfilled

Words: Ben Knight
Thursday 02 November 2017
reading time: min, words

Together with Phrase Goblinz, local writer Benjamin Knight is set to whack on a cabaret show as part of Nottingham Comedy Festival. Here, he explains how the idea came about...


It was sometime in 2016; I was spending a lot of time in the desert back then, combing the sands for traces of the big worms from “Dune”. I’d later be disappointed to find out that Dune was completely fictional, and sandworms don’t actually listen to the commands of a desert messiah (they answer to nobody). Instead, I found there a tiny cave opening that didn’t look unlike the tiger cave from Disney’s Aladdin, except it wasn’t the shape of a tiger mouth I was entering, but a giant stone replica of a pub music venue’s façade.

And in there glowed a tiny red jewel, pulsating with such otherworldly brilliance that it sent voice-like sound waves directly into my mind’s eye, speaking to me, commanding me to organise a cabaret night for Nottingham Comedy Festival at The Angel Microbrewery, showcasing out-there and experimental acts from Nottingham and beyond.

It struck me as strange then. Not because a glowing jewel in the middle of the desert was specifically instructing me to put together a variety show, but because it was before I lived in Nottingham and hadn’t at that point been to or even heard of The Angel Microbrewery.

“It’s a cool music venue in Nottingham,” said the jewel. “It used to be a proper cool punk venue but it got kind of gentrified. It’s still pretty good though, and they do vegan food.”

I didn’t want to question this eldritch and god-like entity that had waited for me for thousands of years in the desert wastes, but I had to. “If you want me to do a show for Nottingham Comedy Festival, why suggest a music venue?”

“Because there’s not just music there, there’ll also plenty of other fantastic comedy events in the same week – including Katie Mitchell’s One Woman Labyrinth and Andrew O’Neill’s History of Heavy Metal,” replied the jewel, somehow scratching its face to think of a third one (because of rules of three). “Oh yeah, and Ben MacPherson’s Byron Montose, which did super well at Edinburgh Fringe”.

“Wow, that’s a lot of future events that are destined to happen. It almost begs the question whether or not everything has been planned from the beginning, and whether free will is a myth”.

“Yeah, almost,” said the jewel. “But those are just a few examples of some of the fantastic shows that’ll be at Nottingham Comedy Festival in November of 2017, but we’re not here to talk about those. You can also intersperse some musical acts between the comedy; maybe even start each half of the show with a musical act to kick them off.”

“That’s a really good idea,” I said. “Thanks, you’re a gem.”

“Yes, I am,” the jewel replied. “I literally am a gem.”

Big Bang Theory-style canned laughter played distantly on the sandy horizons, and was carried off by the winds. Though I thought that my quest would end in the desert, it seemed it was only just beginning. I was destined for Nottingham Comedy Festival on Thursday 9 November 2017, enlisting the help of talented and odd musicians, comedians and other performers to form my party:

Cage of Crows, a clockwork band from the Victorian age.

Birthday Bread Man, a comedian genetically spliced with a fresh loaf.

Lord Illusion, a magician with arcane powers beyond esoteria.

Katie Mitchell, a raven-gothic comic summoned from the shadows themselves.

Grawlix, a man with experimental music learned from the depths of space.

And finally, Cock-Kane the Clown; an evil jester and inventor of coulrophobia.

Together, on Thursday 9 November, we will fulfil the prophecy that I may or may not have hallucinated. And as the desert winds blow in from Storm Ophelia to blot out the sun, then we know the time for laughs and japes draws near.

Bag of Secrets takes place at The Angel Microbrewery on Thursday 9 November, as part of the Nottingham Comedy Festival, £2 entry. Facebook event.

Nottingham Comedy Festival website


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