My Best of Glasgow: Comedian Christopher Macarthur-Boyd

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Christopher Macarthur-Boyd is debuting his new solo stand-up show, The Boyd With The Thorn In His Side, at The Stand as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival on Thursday 23rd March. In his latest performance, the 23-year-old comedian from the East End tackles the two biggest problems in the world: the seemingly irreversible slide of the western world into far-right fascism, and his girlfriend leaving him.

The former hardcore punk bass-player began his comedy career in 2013 and since then has performed internationally, from Downtown Toronto to the Perth and Adelaide Fringe festivals in Australia.

As well as a stand-up in his own right, Macarthur-Boyd is a founding member of SCRAM, a sketch group with a seasonal residence at The Stand in Glasgow, in addition to being a long-time affiliate of Chunks, the anarchic alternative cult comedy collective.

Macarthur-Boyd is a three-time Scottish Comedian of the Year finalist, a So You Think You’re Funny? finalist, has been shortlisted for the BBC New Comedy Award, nominated two years in a row for Best New Act at the Scottish Comedy Awards and nominated Best New Comedian at the Scottish Variety Awards.

You can buy tickets for the show here.

We caught up with Christopher to find out his favourite places and people in the city.

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What do you like best about Glasgow?

When I was growing up I hated Glasgow. Then, I moved to Edinburgh to study journalism at university and realised that it was a case of the grass being greener on the other side.

I crawled back to Glasgow with my tail between my legs, and I honestly couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. There’s always something to do, and the people are beautiful.

Best outdoors space?

I’m not a huge fan of the outdoors. Any time I’m with someone who wants to go to the park, I tag along to make them happy, but inwardly there’s a lot of resentment. Shout out to Hogganfield Loch for having beautiful swans, though.

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Best restaurant right now?

I have a soft spot in my heart for Qua, in the Merchant City. They had a great moment on Trip Advisor where an obnoxious couple posted a negative review, and the head waiter went up-in-arms to defend the restaurant and the staff and the food.

He felt so direspected by them that he refused to accept payment, and when they left a £10 tip he ran out into the street to hand it back to them. “The standard of your food was excellent. The customer is not always right.”

Beautiful stuff.

Best pub?

I mostly drink in Nice N Sleazy, but that’s not really a pub. I used to like The Halt on Woodlands Road, until it got transformed into a woeful pop-up monstrosity.

That’s where Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson from Belle & Sebastian first met! And now it’s soulless. Everytime I walk past that place, which is quite often, a tiny part of me dies.

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Where do you like to pick up ingredients for cooking?

I don’t want to give all my secrets away, but I know this wonderful little market on Baillieston Main Street called Aldi. I would give a serious answer to this but the closest I come to cooking is grating extra cheese on a Dr Oetker’s oven pizza.

Where would you meet us for a coffee?

I had two cappucinos in a row from Artisan Roast a few months ago, and I was shaking so much I thought a train was underneath me. Then I realised the subway does actually run underneath that place, and that’s what was happening. But I was still pretty wired. Major props to them for using an old medieval door with spikes coming out of it as a table. That’s not awkward to put a little plate on in the slightest.

Where do you shop for clothes?

I wish I could say I frequent cool vintage shops like Mr Ben and whatnot, but I’m a pretty petite guy and all the old Glaswegian men who die and have their clothes handed in to those places seem to be tall as trees. I pretty much stick to the chain shops on Buchanan Street like H&M and Topman, but don’t tell anybody.

Glasgow needs more?

Compassion.

Glasgow needs less?

Burger bars.

Favourite Glasgow building?

The Barrowland Ballroom. It just feels like it’s trapped in the 60s, in the best way possible. I got to do stand-up there in December at the Scottish Comedian of the Year final, and the dressing room backstage makes you feel like Elvis.

The first gig I ever went to was Megadeth there in 2007, and it was something else to perform on that stage, even if I accidentally turned my microphone off half-way through my set.

Close second to The Stand comedy club, which is a home away from home.

Your Glasgow music?

I used to play bass in a short-lived band called Gunfinger, who The Skinny described accurately as “weirdly accessible powerviolence”. The drummer (Fraser McPhail) and guitarist (Liam Nicholson) have went on to form a great pseudo-grindcore band called Droves, and the singer (Hashim Ali) promotes gigs under the name Hawkchild DIY.

I miss being in a band. It’s like being in a wee gang.

My favourite Glaswegian bands over the last couple of years include such luminaries as Divorce, Skullwizard, Rapid Tan, Casual Sex, The Cosmic Dead and Holy Mountain.

If you can guess how many of those are fictional, you win a prize.

Favourite Glasgow neighbourhood?

East End for life. Remember where you came from, people.

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Your Glasgow hero?

Alasdair Gray. His novels Lanark, Poor Things and Janine, 1982 are terrific. Reading his work makes you feel proud to come from here, and glad to be alive. He’s not just a novelist, though: he’s the artist responsible for the murals in Hillhead Subway Station and the foyer of the Oran Mor.

There’s a really great bit in Lanark where someone asks the main character why nobody ever notices that Glasgow is a magnificent city.

Because nobody imagines living here… think of Florence, Paris, London, New York. Nobody visiting them for the first time is a stranger because he’s already visited them in paintings, novels, history books and films. But if a city hasn’t been used by an artist not even the inhabitants live there imaginatively.

That book in particular sets that notion to rights.

When you are with friends in Glasgow, what do you like to do?

When I catch up with old friends, we tend to head down to Supermax at the Berkeley Suite and have a wee dance.

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Follow Christopher on Twitter.

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