Published on April 15th, 2016 | by Allan Brown2
Tough Times Make Monkeys Eat Red Peppers Review
Movie Review: Tough Times Make Monkeys Eat Red Peppers (2016)
Running Time: 45 mins
Director: Charlie Parker, Joe McTernan, Bradley Welsh
Cast: Bradley Welsh, Irvine Welsh, Danny Boyle, Phil Coppola, Lord Provost Donald Wilson
‘Tough Times Make Monkeys Eat Red Peppers’ (Trailer) is an abbreviation of the modern proverb meaning sometimes times people will push the boundaries of what is deemed the norm, when faced with hardship or adversity.
Here that very adversity translates as an ambitious Guinness World Record attempt in a bid to raise money for Edinburgh based children’s charities.
Ex-Boxer, Boxing Coach, Club Development Officer and Events Organiser are just a few of the titles Edinburgh born Bradley Welsh has to his name. Despite running two successful boxing clubs in the city (Castle Boxing Gymnasium, Holyrood Boxing Gym) and having over 30 amateur boxers that he mentors (like that wasn’t enough), Brad has set his sights on a exciting (and exhausting) new challenge.
Brad will attempt boxing pad work over a continuous 24 hour period. Sponsored patrons will enter the ring and land a series of combination punches as instructed by Brad over a round. That equates to 360 gruelling rounds, with in excess of over 60’000 punches absorbed.
The 45 minute documentary concerns itself not only with the World Record attempt at hand, but also manages to create an interesting dialogue around the many misconceptions and out-dated attitudes that seem to plague the sport of boxing in our society.
Talking candidly, Brad challenges and dispels the preconception around boxing being a grizzly Neanderthal, male dominated arena, that puts its patrons in mortal danger any time one steps into the ring. Brad states “there are more injuries in under 15s school rugby than there is in boxing”. but goes on to say that we as a society are responsible and sanitised to what the sport has now sadly become to most, “two heavyweight boxers knocking ten bells out each other…and that is not boxing, clearly it’s not” he states.
Brad is clearly passionate, and his deep knowledge and understanding for the sport pours out of him anytime a discussion presents itself. But what is perhaps more endearing is his ambition to bring the sport out of the shadows it has been forced into by general society and make it accessible to everyone, both male and female, young and old, rich and poor. As one 58 year old female gym member states “I am slightly more intimated by women in lycra than I have ever been coming here (Holyrood Boxing Gym)”.
As the punishing world record comes to its final hours, the documentary begins to pull back the curtain to present a much deeper and heartfelt story of charity, and a belief in sport to help to create awareness for the less fortunate and disadvantaged in society. This comes to a head in an incredibly moving scene where we the viewer are finally shown what this was all for. We are guided through footage of children afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, were verbal communication is made possible through a ground-breaking piece of equipment known as a ‘Tobii Eye-gaze Machine’. The very machine that spurred on the efforts of so many throughout the challenge, including the hundreds of generous sponsors, chartiries including Spyfox too , as well as the odd celebrity like Irvine Welsh and Danny Boyle. These people made it all possible and as a result, another one of these life changing machines is in circulation. Bravo.
Summary: In the end, this is an inspiring story of the sheer grit and determination of a man who cares not only for the sport he loves and respects, but in giving back to local charities and a community he cherishes so dearly.