Bruce the Phantom Moose

There’s nowhere quite as good as Greyfriars Cemetery for a few Hallowe’en shenanigans. There are more pics on my Facebook page, that’s Bruce T. Moose (and no the T doesn’t stand for what you might think it does).

Happy Hallowe’en  👻👻🎃

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Peek-a-boo!

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That looks spookier than me.

 

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Rather fetching, if I do say so myself

First blog post

So Hi anyone looking at this. Never done anything like this before but have been musing on doing a fringe blog for, oo, the last four years. So finally I’m taking the plunge! The first fringe show I saw was way back in 1985, The Bald Prima Donna at Buster Browns on Thursday 22nd August for £2. That Prima Donna keeps coming back every year, still bald as a coot. So if you fancy a stroll along the byways and alley ways of my Fringe experiences, feel free to drop in.

Like I said, I’m new to this so there’s gonna be plenty mistakes (though at least my typing seems ok for a moose) as I’m not really up with this modern technology stuff. So wish me luck and do check in again!

Bruce

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So a phoenix, a bear and a monster walk into a bar….

Actually it’ll be myself going to the bar between shows 😊 Yes, the full Fringe programme is out! An intense first check through over three days, eighty two cuttings, several G&Ts and some of teeth gnashing later, I have bought my first batch of tickets: twelve previews and the Sleeping Trees’ Christmas Special. Yay!

First preview night this year will be Nick Helm: Phoenix From The Flames, Ben Pope: Dancing Bear, and Alice Snedden: Absolute Monster. Nicely spaced over the evening and not too late to bed afterwards. Nick Helm, just because! Ben Pope, umm, is it the bear thing? I have seen previous good reviews for him (and who didn’t smirk on seeing the  words pope and bear so close together?!).  Alice Snedden I know nothing about apart from the blurb in the programme but she’s a kiwi and that’s enough in my book to warrant a preview ticket.

20180825_171401And on kiwis, I’m off to the Modern Maori Quartet’s Garage Party on the Thursday night, looking forward to seeing them again (that’s yours truly with three quarters of them last year)

I don’t have a ticket yet for the wonderful Sarah Kendall, but as her previews are £8 I’m holding off in the hope that Assembly will do the locals’ tickets for a fiver thing again (just up to the end of the first weekend I think). There’s another five or six shows in that particular queue; if Assembly don’t come through for me they’ll all go into my Half Price Hut hopefuls pile.

The Sleeping Trees: Christmas Special is just on for one night so I had to, had to, had to get a ticket! Well, actually I got two, the show has the Fringe Friends’ 241 offer on it, so at £15 for one ticket (yikes), it made sense to get the second ticket – I’ll sort out a chum to chum me later.

Oo, I’m starting to get a bit excited now. Only fifty days to go!

Sweet dreams!

 

Bears and foxes and sockses, oh my!

Yes, there’ll be bears and a fox and a pair of socks at the Fringe this year, yay! After a year off Goodbear are back with Dougal, no, not the dog, it’s the name of their new show. Oo, I might even make that a first night show, it’s always good to start well and I’m sure Mr Barnes and Mr Perryment will not disappoint me.

The Abbott and Costello of the sock world, the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre are back with Roll Up! I’ve been following their show development throughout the year on Facebook, bits have come and gone, and there’s plenty of video footage. I expect it honed to perfection by August!

And the Fox? Why, it’s my childhood hero Basil Brush! Apparently he sounds slightly different these days, but it was forty plus years ago when I was watching him on the telly. If only he’d come to the Fringe in 2015 – he could have met up with his old pal Rodney Bewes (this tablet wants to make him Rodney Beers! No, tablet demon, it’s Bewes). Mr Rodney was Basil’s side-kick in 1968, he’s the first one I can remember. After that there was Mr Derek, he stayed around a few years and was very good, but my favourite side-kick/straightman was Mr Roy, I loved it when he would grab Basil’s snout in exasperation to shut him up (while trying not to laugh).

Turns out Basil first appeared on telly as a support act to a magician before getting his big break with his own tv show. He was very influenced by Terry Thomas, he liked the charm and droll wit, and was always seen wearing a cravat (and comparing his clothes to now, he definitely had a better tailor back then, probably Saville Row). The stars were all queuing up to be on his show, Lulu, Cilla Black, Demis Roussos, to name a few, all eager to duet with him. Yes, Basil was so popular he even made a cameo appearance in The Goodies Rule-OK? 

Indeed, I shall have to go see the Fox, why, I learnt all my wit, humour and sarcasm from him (and Dougal, yes, the dog, and Brian). I wonder, will he still talk about Dirty Gertie from Number Thirty?! Does he still have that laugh? He must still use his catchphrase. Until next time, my friends,

Boom! Boom!

 

From Finland to France in 11 days

Yay! I have my film festival tickets, all thirteen. Oo, hope it won’t be unlucky, ummm. Only two are at the dreaded Vue and I’ll have to be sure to leave my ukulele class sharp to make one of my films (yes, I’ve just started ukulele lessons!) but apart from that all’s well.

From Finland to action in Hong Kong, to faking a war in Georgia, to singing school girls in India, a wedding in Australia (not that one), to more action in South Korea, a few trips in amongst to Spain, another tale from India, a surreal comedy from Ukraine before ending with a mystery in France. Phew!

And that’s takes me to the Saturday evening. On the final Sunday there’s the annual Best of the Fest, which is a selection of the best and most popular films of the festival for just £5 a ticket. So, if I spot something else, there’s always the chance it could be on then.

Ah, I’ve just remembered, umm, that unlucky thirteen. The Filmhouse seems to be having a few problems currently with heating and work being done to screen one….. No! I’m sure everything will be ticketyboo in time, yeah, I’m sure.

Toodle pip!

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Please crunch your popcorn quietly!

Hurray! The 2019 Edinburgh Film Festival programme came out on Wednesday and I’ve already sorted which films I want to see. I toodled along in the evening to grab my two copies – same procedure as Fringe planning, one to peruse and refer to, the other to cut out all potentials; then, as it wasn’t a huge diversion, I popped into the Jolly Judge for a couple of ciders and a quick flick through of this year’s offerings.

No showings at Cineworld this year, I take it that’s just because of the huge renovation works still going on there at the moment and not an end to their participation. I do hope so, fewer cinemas means a greater chance I’ll have to see something at Vue in the Omni centre. Huh? I don’t know why, I just really don’t like the Vue cinema at Omni. Yes, I have been in it, twice; it feels “wrong” to me, my fur bristles and I’m ill at ease, odd I know.

I’ve selected thirteen films to see, but this may have to whittle down to eleven. I can guess you’re thinking this will make a sizeable dent in my Fringe Fund, but probably not nearly as much as you’d think. Tickets are generally £12 for new films and £8 for the retrospect (this year it’s A Retrospective Celebration of Modern Spanish Cinema, yay), which is comparable with usual cinema prices; then, add in a discount for seeing more than six films (25% up to nine, then 35% above that) and it’s very reasonable. Those thirteen films will cost me £89.60, bargain! As usual, to be included in my selection, none of my choices are ever likely to be shown at Cineworld – I don’t pay to see films I can see with my unlimited card later.

So once I’ve picked out my choices I have to see if I can fit them round each other, this is the tricky bit! New films are shown twice, retrospects once, with everything crammed into seven weekday evenings and four chock full weekend days (there’s very little in the week day times), so many choices will collide with each other! You think you’ve solved this Krypton Factor puzzle, stroll up to the Box Office and discover one of your definite must-sees is already sold out for the showing you chose!! This can kick everything else, so carefully planned, into touch. As I book early nowadays this is unlikely to happen (he says, touching wood) but I always have my list in order of preference and my mapped out diary with me when I buy my tickets (like a good boy scout I’m always prepared).

Looking at my cutouts I’m quite happy with them, but if I have to let any go, ummm. Oo, one other thing I take into account is that first showings may have a Q&A with the director, the second showing won’t. I say that, though there was the exception of Likarion Wainaina after the second showing of his film Supa Modo last year, which was delightful and very insightful. I haven’t mentioned the names of my choices of films as I don’t want to jinx anything! The tickets went on sale to the masses today so I should get on. Toodle oo.

Just one more thing, those clever peeps at the EIFF have only gone and snaffled a showing of all six episodes together of the new tv adaptation of Good Omens!!! How glorious would that be to see!! Yeah, but those tickets will all be long gone (no doubt within an hour or two) and it was in Vue anyway. Ho hum.

Well, that was a ride and a half!

And so tonight The Big Bang Theory finally came to an end (after which E4 announced they’re going to start showing it all again from the start). Gonna miss those guys! Sheldon Cooper must be my favourite comedy creation, closely followed by Niles Crane, both so brilliantly written and portrayed. Indeed, I used to watch Frasier as avidly as I’ve watched BBT these last twelve years. Even when Frasier was in the Friday 9pm slot my friends and I wouldn’t head to the pub until after it (mind, I would be oot til two o’clock or so).

It got me trying to remember what other american half hour comedy shows have had me so hooked over the years……

Roseanne immediately sprang to mind, okay so towards the end it seriously declined, but that is where my moose crush on Johnny Galecki began! I remember the hallowe’en episodes were always excellent. Grace Under Fire was another firm favourite, Home Improvement was around at that time, and Cybill, a show I loved for almost everyone in it apart from Cybill Shepherd (Christine Baranski was wonderful, of course). Oh yeah, Spin City too, Michael J.Fox was sooo, just sooo, yeah, moose crush time (and Jennifer Esposito was hot!)

I had videos recorded long play from the telly full of American comedies. The odd Married With Children episode thrown in as well. Crikey, almost forgot Third Rock From The Sun!! Wow, that was sooo funny and such a brilliant ensemble piece with great cameos (Christine Baranski and Laurie Metcalf to name two). Another connection – a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tommy) was briefly in Roseanne.

Later came My Name is Earl and Scrubs, then How I Met Your Mother. It took a while to get into HIMYM, but it sucked me in and by the sixth series I was seriously committed! Yeah, The Goldberg’s kinda pulled me in despite my lack of initial interest (I do like it when they have the people portrayed in it talking at the end).

But Bruce, what about Friends and Seinfeld? Seinfeld, I really did try, and it did make me laugh, but we just never gelled. Friends? They were on a break!! That’s when it lost me, oh I still watched but I was irked, the guys would, should have stuck by their bro, they were on a break, they were free agents. Wow, yeah, I’m still irked about that plotline now!

Two more classics that I adored, The Wonder Years and The Golden Girls. How come neither of them are being repeated on some channel?! They probably are, somewhere.

Ain’t it nice to look back on old loves!  Who would win a hissy fit fight – Niles or Sheldon? What new comedy show will grab Laurie Metcalf for a cameo? Whatever happened to Harry?Did any of your old favourites pop up here?

Toodle pip! Sweet dreams  x

 

Heroes and Baddies

Heroes need baddies to be heroes, they also need good lines and more than a little wit, in my humble opinion. Why have my thought wondered here? This week I’ve seen Hellboy, Captain Marvel (for the second time) and Shazam. Yes, I know there’s a new Avengers film out, the cinema was crawling with fans, I’ll savour the anticipation a bit longer, plus I wanted to hear Ben Mendelsohn’s antipodean drawl again.

First up, Hellboy, ummm. I do feel sorry for David Harbour, I mean, no matter how much he tried to make it his own, well, Ron Perlman, nuff said. But, if you can cast Big Ron out of your head then David Harbour was good, in an eighties movie way. This is an eighties movie – not brilliant, not as good as it could be, gory, clunky, but fine with popcorn! The soundtrack was fun (its always good to hear Welcome to My Nightmare) and Ian McShane seems to be everywhere these days, no bad thing. It’s no del Toro movie but it’s fun, just a tad clunky.

Next.

Shazam! Nope, still a moose. I do like Mark Strong and he does make a great baddie, but I prefer my baddies wittier than this, more sardonic, he did what he could with it. That aside, another fun popcorn movie with a lot of heart, Zachary Levi was great but the thing I will always remember about Shazam! is how much Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel looks like Arya Stark (Maisie Williams). Honestly, the resemblance is uncanny, I found it distracting at times.

And did you know…

I ❤ Brie Larson. She can be in my army (I’ll tell you about that another time), feisty, funny, fierce, my kinda gal. Yes I know how brilliant she was in Room, but I’d rather watch Free Fire again. And did you know Brie has directed a film? Unicorn Store (she produced, directed and starred in it) I saw it at the Edinburgh Film Festival, not a great film but I enjoyed it. If you check out reviews it didn’t go down well, on the other hand as one reviewer pointed out there were a lot of Brie haters over her Captain Marvel casting, so read with salt to hand! Hell, She got Samuel L Jackson to be in it!

And finally.

Captain Marvel rocks, and Jude Law as the baddie! Brits do made fine villains. Oops, err, spoiler alert?! Well, you should have seen it sooner! Personally I always find Jude Law’s characters on the dubious side, is he good at portraying ambiguously moral characters or is just the way he acts? Watching a second time yesterday it was good to see it knowing the truth, but I rooted for Talos on my first watch, quite clearly he was just misunderstood! Kinda like the Gorgonites in Small Soldiers (god, I love that movie). I could even see myself going a third time before it goes, yes, it really is that good (and a cracking soundtrack).

Now I shall go dig out my Beach Boys 40 Greatest Hits, first track, second side, second disc, I do believe….

Toodle pip!

…. meanwhile at the Voodoo Rooms ….

Evening, peeps! Friday evening and I’m home, drinking alone, tapping my thoughts down. I could be out, you know. I could be in The Pond listening to the dulcet harmonies of Carl and Scott; I could also be wandering lost in Leith trying to locate said Pond, I’ve never been there. No, I intend to write this post, this post that I intended to write late last Friday night but was side-lined by a need for more music (til after 3 in the morning).

So last Friday night I was back in the Voodoo Rooms to see Logan’s Close supporting Black Cat Bone. Crikey, it’s almost a year since I was there for the launch of their EP Fried Bangers there. But what was this? A keyboard on stage? Ummm, not sure what to make of this development. A favourite band changing it’s line-up has connotations of a pub “being refurbished”, ummm. I remember way, way back when Thin Lizzy brought in keyboard player Darren Wharton for their Renegade album and tour in 1981 (first gig I ever saw!) I was dubious but it was the start of the 80s and keyboards were a thing. I actually quite like the Renegade album but it’s not like classic Lizzy, but hey Phil Lynott’s voice was my passion. Then I recall the last time I saw John Martyn perform around ’92, ummm, I remember wishing someone would shoot the saxophonist! I do like sax, Reuben Legge, case in point, but the saxophonist that night just would not shut up. He was up in the mix and played continuously through everything (I like my sax sparse and selective) Aargh!

So there I was, supping a half of Joker IPA, wondering if this could be the end of my crush on the Close. First number, Work, hmmm, well that worked rather well! Just enough, not too much, a nice touch. I don’t remember the name of the second song but I know it’s one that sounds like it belongs in a Tarantino soundtrack, again, keyboards like a bowl of baby bear’s porridge. New songs thrown in too, nice! A fine set, In The Morning and I Want You particularly brilliant (Scott’s vocals on I Want You are sooo good) Yes, I totally approve of the new chap, except, dude, the trousers, turning them up so high with white socks, no, really.

And what of the headliners Black Cat Bone? A great, bluesy, sleazy, pretty darn sexy sound, I’d reckon not so much black cat, more dirty ol’ ginger tomcat heading out on a night of fighting, f**king and caterwauling ’til dawn.

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And here’s a look at the newest member of the Close doing his stuff….

….then the armadillo said to the bishop….

Hello peeps! No he didn’t – I have no idea what the armadillo said, which I suppose means he could have said it after all! Way back one of my first posts was about the effects of negative advertising on fringe-goers, this title is to test the effect of false advertising. If you’ve read this far and intend to continue on, well, yay!

So I happened to glance at one of the update Assembly emails and noticed that Sleeping Trees have gone for the Ronseal approach for their show this year; no messing just Sleeping Trees: Silly Funny Boys.  Indeed they cannot be done for false advertising, they are as funny as they are talented with silliness in spades, and the brilliance of a show title like this is it says everything about them but nothing about the show itself (most likely because they haven’t written it yet but wanted to get a good slot).

They have been very busy; last year’s Edinburgh Fringe show Sleeping Trees: World Tour is still touring the world, they were at the Adelaide Fringe earlier this month, then a quick hop to Melbourne before coming home to Blighty. Even then they still have a few performances to go. Phew! A new show, new ideas, new jokes must be quite an attractive prospect after such a long run. I can’t wait to see it!

Oh yeah, for those not familiar with old British tv adverts, the Ronseal tagline quickly became part of the vernacular “it does exactly what it says on a tin”.

Toodle pip!

A Poster Is Not The Show

See what I did there? I’ve heard it said that the songs in Mary Poppins Returns aren’t memorable – poppycock! Ok, so I don’t remember the words much but I often find myself humming them, even whistling them on occasion (when did whistling tunes go out of style?)  Anyways, the song A Cover Is Not The Book has been making Jeremy Lion, a bygone Fringe performer, pop into my head. Why? Because I judged and made presumptions about Mr Lion from the poster.

And here it is in all it’s glory!

2019-02-18 23.11.30Nothing about this poster appealed to me, not even the Perrier Best Newcomer bit – we hadn’t always seen eye-to-eye Pez and I about what funny actually is. This was 2003, the year of God Inc. the only show Bud and I had ever walked out of at that point, and not just because it was running an hour late!! The show we caught after God Inc was thankfully also running late, but it really wasn’t up to much and hadn’t been worth our mad dash to catch it. We’d also had the pain of watching April in Paris (see A Cautionary Tale), I was in no mood to waste more money on a dubious poster!

2019-02-18-23.23.15The following year Mr Lion returned with a new show; The Guardian described it as “Play School meets Hellraiser”. Actually on that description I’m surprised we didn’t give it a punt!

Looking at the posters again now, they are perfect for the show they were advertising; all the colours and tones have an old-fashioned, yester year feel. It’s the 50s and 60s and Butlins again (I do have vague memories of Butlins holidays as a young calf!) He’s the children’s entertainer who wants to be anything but that, but he keeps going with what he thinks is entertaining (and educational) with the aid of the odd drink or two or three or ……

So when he returned yet again in 2005 with Jeremy Lion – What’s the Time, Mr Lion? Bud and I decided we should give him a go, after all, three years in he must be doing something right! Even then we bought tickets for 241 Monday, 18:25 in Pleasance Beyond (by’eck I’ve seen an awful lot of shows in that hut over the years,  worth a post of its own at some point). OMG!!! One of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen to this day! So good we saw it twice, both immediately having agreed that we had to see the show on the last day to check if he was still alive!! Surely no-one could drink that copiously through an entire month and live to tell the tale?! We debated long into the evenings how much may not have been actual alcohol but decided he really was drinking that much, wow. We drank plenty ourselves at the time but even we would have been under the table against old Lion! And the belching – he could have done a masterclass, such was his talent. It wasn’t just about the drinking and the belching though, it was a brilliantly conceived, written and performed show. Total Fringe. We both felt thoroughly miffed with ourselves that we’d poo-pooed his previous shows.

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Did he come back again? He reappeared in 2010 moving over to the other Pleasance presence the Dome. It had taken five years to have sobered up and now be looking back fondly thinking what fun to do it again. Mind in those five years he’d got older, could the liver take such punishment again? He now had the very enchanting Lucy Porter as a wife and a child on the way (she was at show we went to, looking very pregnant). Ah, she’s married to Justin Edwards, Jeremy’s alter-ego, I’m not sure there’d be many takers to be Mrs Lion. He’d obviously taken time to reflect on life, the world, the times, and so his final Fringe show was Jeremy Lion Goes Green, an environmentally-aware show, which as usual with Lion went awry with arguments with his pianist, daft props and, of course, drinking. We did murmur to each other that he wasn’t drinking as much, until, to quote from my Fringe diary “Finding bottles of Malibu in his bit of the desert was the start of the end and the finale was a marvellous rendition of Ten Green Bottles that he decided should be ten empty bottles to recycle – so he drank a lot of them.” I notice I said “a lot” rather than “the lot”, well, the mother of his child was looking on 😆

 

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