Escaping All the Hideousness! Withnail Weekend

After five months in the making #WithnailWeekend finally arrived. SCRUBBERS all threw themselves into the road gladly, descending as they did into Birmingham from all corners of the UK (not from London you know.) The three days prior to Saturday 21st June were no time for finding neutral space, tickets came and tickets went, Squat Betty didn’t pick up the phone once. Bastard must have died!

We started on the front foot. The Jag had been poorly the week before but we received clear instructions about how to tutor it in the ways of righteousness in the event of misbehaviour. To start with the brakes were spongy enough to have been served up by Mrs. Blennerhasset but in fairness the engine was that loud fellow motorists didn’t need to rue the day. 


We made it to Birmingham. We parked, we observed a significant volume of water pissing out of the radiator. It was fitting really, the car was absolutely beautiful but it knew its’ part wasn’t about seamless engineering. 

We we swiftly into The Vic and slowly all the electronic entities that I had been conversing with over the weeks and months adopted human form. Genevieve (@jennijuniperxx) bounded over first all smiles and the glint of the cocktail consumer in her eye, followed swiftly by sidekick Becca (@beccamaloo). They came from Northampton you know and the pair of them were radiating enthusiasm and something akin to gin. Next up Sam Maskel (@SamanthaMaskel1) Photo Scrubber and Jeanette (@JRAlderton) Cake Scrubber both contributed loads to the weekend. @HuBoyd – my sidekick was already forking food into his face and shifting fine wines- a man always in his element in a pub. Ant Cooper (@Rain_Over_River) showed me some fantastic pictures of Crow Crag, friends and family filed in, instantly the atmosphere was bubbling, chat levels rising and then Presuming Ed and Danny the Hippy (@durdermoll) rocked up and we were into 5th gear. Jeanette, Sam and Razza (@Linclass72) demanding to have some booze! 


Getting people out of the Pub and into the Cinema was never going to be easy but the film but the fact they keep an excellent cellar @ElectricBham won through. Then the big moment and @HuBoyd (pictured below with Claire; note cheeky work from Phil Sharples @captmoaning in the background) clambered behind a failing mike.  


My friend was born for a stage and warmed the crowd up with the following beautifully crafted tirade: 

“Several months ago, my f … , my acquaintance and I met in a pub in Stoke-on-Trent. The pub and the beer were splendid. It was Stoke that was like a sulphur stained, nicotine yellow and fly blown lung.

 We hadn’t met for a couple of years. We were talking about work, employed as we both are asset stripping the public sector, being shat on by Tories, with little hope of being shovelled up by Labour at any time soon.

We had of late, where and whyfore we knew fucking exactly, lost all our mirth. However, man does delight us, and woman also. There is no quintessence of dust, and the earth appears to us a fertile promontory. A scheme was hatched. A means of temporarily escaping all of this hideousness.

 And here we are …

 My f … , my acquaintance has documented how all of this was done. The blogging! The blagging! The acquiring of vehicles, food and fine wine! The viral spread and the swift sell out! The dubious celebrity endorsements!

 To be honest, he’s done all of the work. He’s persuaded all sorts of people to do all sorts of things to make this happen. In order to get you to do stuff he probably told half of you that I was a toilet trader, and that he rejected me.

 I ought to hand over to him.    

  • He winters with his mother in Guilford, a cat, rain, vim under the sink and both bars on.
  • He’s understudied Constantine in The Seagull.
  • Get any more masculine than him and you’d have to live up a tree.
  • He’s sure we can find the rosemary together.
  • He hasn’t drugged anyone’s onions.
  • He’s not from London you know.
  • You’ve seen him. Prancing like a tit. Committing sensitive crimes in a punt.
  • Imagine getting into a fight with the fucker. Imagine the size of his balls …
  • He’s incapable of indulging in anything but pleasure.
  • His leg’s wrapped in polythine.
  • He wants to get down there and have sex with those cows.

 It’s your host, …”

 Event though he shared it with me beforehand, I still spat my drink all over the cinema with amusement- all in the delivery don’t you know! Setting up the whole thing with him was fantastic, he is relentlessly enthusiastic and made the grunt work fun. Don’t get me wrong he is still a terrible c*&t and would steal your shoes if you weren’t looking- he’s SOOOOOO mauve. 

And so to me. I felt like I knew the entire audience and the lot of you were at it from the word go – lines hurled up to the stage, clapping, whooping and huge positivity – what beautiful SCRUBBERS you were. Danny and Presuming Ed rightfully deserved a place alongside me. 


For those of you who were too pissed to listen (approximately 75% by my maths) a summary of my speech: 


Welcome to #WithnailWeekend – we are known to you as @WithnailBrum. Today we have at least 225 people descending on Birmingham to watch the film and to think they say talking bollocks in a pub never gets you anywhere!  The first screening is already done while you lot were bothering Mrs. Blennerhasset in The Victoria.

Some thank-yous to the SCRUBBERS that made this happen. Please show your appreciation as if Raymond Duck had just landed you The Dane………….

Edie- our designer in chief. 

Numbers Mike – warmed up Twitter, sorted the Welly. Top man! 

Quiz supermo Mr. Dean Lee

Sam Maskel- photographer for the day. If you don’t want your photo taken let her know; it does imply you are a bit of a wrong’un. 

The Electric for hosting the two screenings, Sam and all of the team have been ace. Ditto The Vic and The Welly. 

Jeannette for making a Camberwell Carrot cake to feed a family of elephants and Comms 2.0 (Dan Slee and Darren Caveney) for sponsoring it.

Graham at Classic Car Hire for the Jag. Forget 2 pound ten a tit my man love for Graham means he gets a freebie from Hugh.

Family and friends for taking the edge off the significant financial gamble to get this on the big screen and of course you SCRUBBERS for making it all happen

Hugh for making this fun and pointing out my occasional massive fuck ups!

GUY turns 40 today so happy Birthday GUY – we’ll sing you the obligatory when we are all wrecked later.

FINALLY we need your help – Northern Scrubber  Matt Gibbins has booked an absolute monster of a cinema in Stockport for two screenings on  Friday 12th September. Anyone who can either help fill it or wants to go make yourselves known to the nearest Northerner or follow @WithnailManc

This is the first time I have seen this in the cinema, I that excited that I reckon I could give Wrigglesworth a backie and still win the Tour de France. Enjoy, meet new people, have a superb day and thank-you.

Cut to Whiter Shade of Pale……….”

The atmosphere during the film was superb. As Andy Hunt (@atahunt) put it “Nicest thing about #WithnailWeekend was the constant chuckling at the quotes, but no one shouting them out.” For many of us it was the first time seeing it on the big screen and it was an fascinating experience. I hadn’t noticed the newspaper on the windows of the Mother Black Cap or half of the film references on the wall in the kitchen. Many people commented on detail they hadn’t been able to pick out on video or DVD. 

From there the Jag became the official #WithnailWeekend taxi and people started packing out the Welly. Mr. Dean Lee rocked the quiz (nice work The Wolves of Regents Park – winners!) and Jeanette’s cake was immense in EVERY sense as proven by an already tipsy Genevieve with more stealthy scene stealing from @captmoaning).



The night descended into a beer infused fug but the atmosphere remained ace throughout. @durdermoll looking very beautiful man……..


The Twitter timeline was awash with hangovers and positive feedback the next day. Tired and broken I dropped the Jag off safe in the knowledge something really special had happened…and I know what for!

You can get a face full of Sam Maskel’s pics here:  

You can book tickets to Withnail and I 12th September at the Stockport Plaza here: or contact @WithnailManc

Thanks SCRUBBERS, we will be back and we mean to have you all over again!!!



Throw Yourself Into the Road Gladly! The blagging of #WithnailWeekend

Now #WithnailWeekend has some pace we are getting a number of queries about whether we could run alternative dates and venues. The level of interest is great but the answer is sadly no we can’t. Why you SCRUBBERS (I hear you ask?). Because we are a pair of total amateurs with busy working and family lives (except Hugh who lives in a skip and drinks meths with the w%^kers off the site.) We don’t want to make any money out of Withnail Weekend we just want to watch the film with fellow fans. So, in the spirit of the punk rock ethic, here are a few pointers to try and encourage more folk to adopt a do it yourself approach in other parts of the country. We emphasise we aren’t experts and we have made it up as we go along so do not take this as textbook- have a bash and do it your way is the most important message. 


1) Make sure you have enough interest. Facebook is awash with Withnail fan groups and key word searching on Twitter can help find folk by location who love the film. @Withnailizer alone has thousands of scrubbers following! 

2) Have a recognisable Twitter handle. Having “Withnail” in it is obvious; the balance needs to be catchy and geographically relevant. Hence the uber imaginative “Brum” for us!

3) Find a venue – independent cinemas are more flexible and most allow private screen hire. The Electric in Brum has also helped us with marketing at no extra charge bless them. Here comes the tricky bit- someone has to take a financial risk as there will be a venue hire (this will vary so shop around) and a public licence fee (circa £85). The more of you there are to bankroll it and the more demand you have the lower the risk. Somewhere handy to bus stops and stations will help the cause. In our case we sold the cinema out (106 seats) in six days. It was only a £100 deposit and we have managed full cost recovery swiftly. 

4) Find people to help; the amount of comms involved will peak and trough quite significantly (mornings and early evening on weekends seem to be peak time alongside commuting time on a Friday.) Hugh and I opted to share the management of the Twitter account. People like Mike Ward @badsciencemonk have played a key role in generating twitter traffic and improving our “Tweet reach.” Richard E Grant and Ralph Brown have been lovely; their interest opened the door for many other SCRUBBERS to get involved and raised the profile of #WithnailWeekend significantly. Equally we have been at pains not to bombard with requests, I can imagine they get asked to do this sort of thing rather a lot!

5) Look for local groups that will support you with marketing. There are loads of Birmingham based twitter accounts and blogs such as VisitBrum who have been of immense help. We were also blessed by @_AleMary (pun intended) who kindly placed us in the Birmingham Post. Such people and orgs exist in all cities and are usually really helpful.

6) Follow back. You can’t possibly read all the tweets on your timeline for an account like this but the more you follow the faster your audience grows. To start with it is more about quantity than anything else, the quality follows! 

7) Take the pain out of payment. We used Eventbrite. The downside is the admin fee £1.07 per £8 ticket. However it can drastically increase marketing reach and also means you don’t have to worry about payment. There is also an early payout option that can help if you have cash flow issues. There are also really useful tracker tools (proportion of tickets sold, functionality to develop mailing lists etc). Finally the Eventbrite app enables a scan and check-in function on the day to ensure everyone gets their seat. 

8) Build around the film. We have had loads of ace people such as breweries, restaurants, street vendors, quiz masters, cake shops etc all coming forwards to help and pitch in. Our role is to signpost and co-ordinate wider activities- we haven’t spent a penny on venue hire once the film was booked people are only too happy to have the business. 

9) Be positive. It is a leap when you first post the event online. We have encountered nothing but positivity and offers of help. WithnailWeekend will be a shared effort and we really appreciate everyone who has pitched in ranging from a simple RT to offers of time and money. 

Best of luck- if we can help in anyway come and talk to us 



Matt Bowsher and Hugh Evans a.k.a. @WithnailBrum