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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The Tuck returns.

Hello peeps, today I am a rather poorly moose, though not half as ill as I felt yesterday, couldn’t hardly raise my head ūüė©. In my fevered condition my mind wandered (it does that a lot anyway, my little legs would be knackered if they had to actually go along too) to a name – Thom Tuck. Ah, where is he this Fringe? After being¬†An August Institution¬†last year I haven’t actually noticed him anywhere in this year’s programme. Hmmm. So having hauled myself from my sick bed and breakfasted on porridge with honey and raspberries I investigated……

Oh yayyy! Phew! The Tuck is back! He’s hosting the¬†Alternative Comedy Memorial Society (ACMS)¬†with John-Luke Roberts late night at the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club. I shall definitely popping along to that. Tuck and Roberts together? That’ll be bonkers enough, never mind the guests! So, if he’s doing that late night, what’s he doing the rest of the time? Oo, he’s in one of those all comedians plays¬†Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play¬†at 12.25 in the afternoon, plenty recovery time from the late night. Ah, just looked again at¬†ACMS¬†it goes on til 2.30 in the morning, every morning of the Fringe (Wednesday nights are quiz night), Tuck’s going to be tuckered out by the end of August ūüėÜ

I’ve also discovered he’s putting in a couple of appearances at the¬†Comedy Club 4 Kids. A lot of comedians do it now, why not? The fans of the future and a different perspective to more adult-honed shows. In fact I’m rather miffed as Thom’s first date also has Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana there and I’m busy that day, grrrr. Brendon Burns for kids, I have to see that sometime!

Burns and Cabana are back with their¬†Comedy and Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches¬†late night at the Monkey Barrel, hmmm, just a five minute overlap with¬†ACMS, interesting! I’ve never been but have it on good authority that it is worth seeing. Brendon himself has downsized again, not quite the free fringe but Pay What You Want (or ¬£6.50 ticket in advance) at Heroes@Boteco, apparently his twentieth solo hour! I shall be there.

Time for my lemsip, toodle pip!

Anastasia sings again.

It’s a tad late, I’ve been perusing the Fringe programme again and lost track of time but thought I might share with you some of the possibilities I found this evening and why they caught my eye. I’ve taken to marking up on each cutout a rough time of day, in case there’s enough earlier shows to warrant booking more annual leave off work.

First to catch my eye¬†Accordion Fight¬†Show,¬†it’s late night in the final week, only a fiver and apparently has “the world’s loudest, nakedest accordion player”!! No it wasn’t “nakedest” that got my attention, I happen to enjoy accordion music!

Anya Anastasia I’ve seen before, oo, she’s moved venues again, this time to the Gilded Balloon; fun, a sharp wit, pretty good voice and wickedly dark songs, but still, it’s pricey,¬† marked up EVE and HPH (half price hut). Another from the Cabaret & Variety section is¬†The Voice Behind the Stars¬†the story of Marni Nixon, ghost singer on so many musicals I used to watch as a young calf; tempting but another HPH.

Adam Larter: Boogie Knights¬†caught my attention ’cause of his starey eyes in the picture, that and “just a typical medieval story told through disco”!? So that’s an AFT and PWYW (pay what you want), how bad could it be?

And how bad will Ciaran Dowd be in his first solo show Don Rodolfo without his fellow Beasts? I ponder this as the first Beasts show I saw was outstanding with plenty of hysterically funny ideas but their follow-up show was disappointingly unoriginal; this one may need more checks, so REVIEWS and LATE.

To end this evening in the Comedy D’s,¬†Douglas Walker Presents: Of Christmas Past,¬†“the sinister, absurd true story of Christmas” with a picture of a chap in polar gear gazing into the distance, my fringe-dar is definitely beeping at this one!

You know, I think I may be starting to feel ever so slightly excited about this Fringe lark again¬† ūüėä

Oh Cripes!!

Where does the time keep going to? It suddenly dawned on me today that three weeks tomorrow I’ll be seeing my first preview shows! Yikes, that snuck up on me! I guess I should get Chez Bruce totally tidied and cleaned up – it is amazing how much mess one chap can create!

The windows could do with a wash but a very industrious spider seems to be creating her grand opus outside the lounge window, I’d hate to be the destroyer of such fine art. As long as she stays outside we’re fine, but we’re going to have a problem if she wants to do an indoor installation next.

It’s so hard to focus on cleaning when we’re having such great weather! I just want to trot down to the park and snooze in the sun with a good book for company. No! It has to be done, I’ll pray for rain, god knows the plants need it and maybe it would help clean the window without harming the web. I like to have everything in it’s place all slick and span at the start of August, after that it’s all a mad downhill slalom ’til the end of the last Monday of the month.

Back in the old days with Bud around we would have bought more tickets by now, our fringe diaries taking shape past the previews and 241 Monday with more shows and possibilities. Now I have a larger pile of Half Price Hut hopefuls, hey ho. Oo, I seem to have turned a bit maudlin, can’t be having that. I shall bid you goodnight and go make myself some chamomile tea to take off to bed, maybe tidy a few things away while the kettle boils.

Toodle pip!

 

 

 

 

EIFF 2018 done and dusted

The Edinburgh International Film Festival for 2018 is over and done with, but did¬†Supa Modo¬†stay at No1 or did another film nudge it to No2? Nah!¬†Supa Modo¬†is a thing of rare beauty; there’s so many friends that I think would love it, I do hope it gets a decent release, not just a few arthouse cinemas.

A close second place was homegrown¬†Anna And The Apocalypse,¬†a fun zombie-filled musical set at Christmas (so a December release in cinemas would be great!) Typical teenager, she heads out to school, music blasting in her ears, singing and dancing down the¬†street totally oblivious to everything around her – including that half the neighbours are now zombies attacking the still human half! This film has great songs, teenage angst, lots of laughs, plenty gore and fun ways to kill zombies; and whilst the young’uns were all generally excellent, it was great¬†to see Mark Benton as Anna’s father and Paul Kaye is in blisteringly good form as a tyrannical Headmaster!

Joint third place to¬†Unicorn Store¬†and¬†Humor Me.¬†Unicorn Store, well, it has unicorn in it’s title (automatic points for that alone ūüėä) and Brie Larson not only stars in it but it’s her directorial debut, directoring no less than Samuel L. Jackson as the Salesman at said Unicorn Store. This is an oddball of a film with just the right amount of quirkiness and some beautifully played surreal and absurd moments. My only niggle was some of Kit’s (Larson) millennial traits, hey, I’m an older generation, they bugged me, ok!

Humor Me¬†(clearly American from the misspelling of¬†humour)¬† was a very different kettle of fish with the excellent casting of Elliott Gould and Jemaine Clement as father and son, along with great support from the likes of Bebe Neuwirth and Annie Potts (she’s wonderful as Meemaw in¬†Young Sheldon).¬†This is a slow charming film about families, aging and Jewish jokes; it has a well-balanced bittersweetness.

Also seen was¬†Flammable Children¬†by director Stephan Elliott (He did¬†Priscilla Queen of the Desert). I did really enjoy it, just not as much as the above films but probably 4th equal with¬†Blood Fest.¬†It did have Guy Pierce and Kylie Minogue looking like you’ve never seen them before!! It’s an autobiographical look on Stephan’s early film-making career – think¬†The Goldbergs¬†in 1970’s Australia. Ah yes, this had a great Q&A afterwards, we found out he has upset family and friends with it and his sister says the queue outside her bedroom was not that long!

So that’s the Film Festival wrapped up, tomorrow the CAMRA Scottish Real Ale Festival begins at the Corn Exchange here in Edinburgh. Besides an awful lot of beer there’ll be 30+ ciders and perries, heaven ūüėä

Well, that’s my Film of the Fest found!

Three days since my last post and three more films from around the globe:¬†Mug¬†from Poland,¬†The Little Girl Who Was Too Fond Of Matches¬†a French Canadian film and¬†Supa Modo¬†from Kenya. Sometimes my ‘not getting’ a film is possibly as much to do with a different cultural way of looking at the world, as a film being ‘too arty’ for my tastes (or being just crap).¬†Mug¬†was ok, a very slow and deliberate film, not sure about the ending.¬†The Little Girl ….¬†was ok to odd, at least the ending made sense in it’s bittersweetness.

Sunday afternoon when the sun was blazing outside I hid myself away in the underground warren of the Odeon to see Supa Modo, jackpot!!! This will be, without doubt, my Film of the Fest this year. It had humour, pathos, grief, family issues, hope, defiance and just how amazing people can be when they come together. Jo, her sister Mwix and mother were brilliantly written and portrayed. We could see how the mother only wanted to protect her terminally ill daughter but she couldn’t see it was too much, Mwix’s love and positivity for her little sister was heartwarming and Jo herself just wanted to be a superhero. Just a perfectly formed film, and we even got a Q&A afterwards, despite it being the second showing! Usually there’s only a Q&A with the first screening (if there is one at all) so I wasn’t expecting there to be one.

Some films you hurry out of to avoid the Q&A, some films you wish you’d avoided the Q&A, but 5‚ėÜ to this one, Likarion Wainaina the director came across so well, he was interesting, informative and pretty cool. It was the sort of Q&A that makes you want to watch the movie again to appreciate the insights you’ve picked up; hearing about the children’s ward he visited that made him rethink the storyline and how he went back afterwards to show the film to the children; how the filming affected the lives of the people in the community. Yep, besides Best Film I’ll give it Best Q&A too!

There’s more musings on Q&As on last year’s¬†Bruce goes to the movies

Toodle pip!

 

Late night at the Film Festival

Edinburgh nights in early summer are great, there’s always still that faint bit of light in the sky. It always takes me back to my college days, tipsyly walking back to my digs in Portobello after another night carousing at Grindlay Street Union. It was one such balmy night at one o’clock this morning as I left the Filmhouse, hence the photo!

First off after work I saw¬†The Devil Outside,¬†not horror but¬† disturbing and it left me with a sense of unease afterwards. An okay film but the ending was somewhat “huh!?!?” and by the end I felt it could have worked better as a tv series to really develop the characters.

Had a simple tea of mushrooms in cream on toast followed by a G&T to wash it down; strange, I don’t like cream per se, no cream cakes or trifle for me, but in recent years I find myself enjoying it in sauces like a little wicked decadence! At nearly eleven o’clock I headed out into the night.

Friday night in the old town has all manner of creatures out roaming. The Cowgate and Grassmarket will already be spawning debaucherous hordes. Spot the hapless family of tourists heading back to their hotel, anxiously trying not to make any eye contact. Despite the Cowgate being closed off to traffic after 10pm there’s always an odd car goes through, maybe a taxi and of course there’s always the pedicabs zooming about (my tablet just tried to turn pedicabs into pelicans, just as well I spotted that ūüėā!)

I made it to the Filmhouse in plenty of time to grab a drink from the bar to take into the Film.¬†Blood Fest¬†had attracted quite a crowd, and yes, being horror, there was Bob a few rows in front. Bob was a friend of a friend some years ago, I know who he is but he doesn’t know me, at least I don’t think he remembers me. I always see Bob at least once during every Film Festival, it’s a natural law it seems.¬†Blood Fest was¬†great fun, tongue-in-cheek, using all the cliched rules of the horror genre – think¬†The Cabin in the Woods¬†with added cheese!

By 1am on a weekend morning the Grassmarket/Cowgate route is not unlike a horror movie set, so I opted to head home via the Royal Mile. Interesting, another film being shot there by the City Chambers in the wee small hours, I wonder what this one will be. Will it appear at a future EIFF? Hmmm.

Toodle pip!

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Well, that’s the previews sorted!

If you read my last post (and why not?!) you’ll be dying to know what happened, will I have to miss my films? Well, good news, I¬†will be heading back to the mother ship this weekend so won’t miss any of EIFF 2018, yay! Bad news, the whole piss-up/brewery thing has been totally cancelled this year (bloody numpty!) I am so not impressed.

Since then I’ve completed my first scour of the full printed Fringe Programme and bought my first batch of tickets, mainly previews with a few others. As there is now a booking fee of 80p a ticket that stops at ¬£4.80 it makes sense to buy enough tickets to reduce the effect of it – ¬£4.80 booking fee for fifteen shows is quite reasonable, I’d say!

I’m going to kick off this year with Russell Howard, good to see him back and for only a fiver! Mind it is called Russell Howard – Work in Progress, hmmm, first night could be interesting (interesting=shambolic). The ever delightful Felicity Ward (pic below is me swooning over her poster) is back and hopefully on time. I have 30 minutes to get from Pleasance Above to George Square Theatre for Thrones! The Musical! this is perfectly doable, just as long as the Pleasance aren’t running too late. Considering how long they’ve had to get it right you would think it should run like a well-oiled machine but, well, it doesn’t always.

After a break last year everyone’s favourite sock puppets are back¬† with a new show Superheroes, check out the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre on Facebook or YouTube for skits and songs on the subject (love the Deadpool and Black Lightning videos). As ever they’re in the exceedingly warm Sportsman room at the Gilded Balloon, grab a flyer on your way in to use as a fan!

At the witching hour the wonderful Will Seaward is back with Spooky Midnight Ghost Stories V, but what’s this? He’s no longer in the Wee Room, he’s been upgraded to the Dining Room! Yay!!

Oo, and I got me a ticket to see the Ukulele Death Squad as they’re bound to sell out. They’re back at the Leith Depot near the bottom of Leith Walk, an exceedingly hot room above the pub but it does have its own bar. Well I actually bought two tickets as it’s on the Friends of the Fringe list of 2for1’s, so if you’re reading this and will be in town Sunday 5th, I have a spare half price ticket for one very lucky individual! Bang Bang!

Toodle pips!

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There’s trouble at’ mill!

There was I all pleased with how quickly I sorted my choices to see at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018, ten tickets bought so I got the 35% discount, woohoo. All marked up on my calendar after a trip to darkest, dampest Yorkshire next weekend. Then this morning I gets a text, oh dearie me, someone failed to organise the piss-up in the brewery and I may have to head south the weekend after I had planned i.e. the first weekend of the Film Festival when I was going to see five films! Aargh!!

Yes, someone forgot one of the fundamentals of running an event – book the venue! Never assume, don’t put it by because it’ll be fine, turns out it isn’t fine at all, and everything’s been printed for that day, everyone’s expecting it that day, it’s traditionally that day! I’m hoping against hope that the situation can be resolved to restore tradition – and my films.

My initial reaction was, well I won’t be able to come down, but my second was a heavy sigh and acceptance that yours truly has to be there to help make it happen. Really, they couldn’t manage without me! I can still make the first film if I shorten my trip and the other tickets with my discount cost just ¬£7.80 each so I reckon I could find takers for them.

So what will I be missing? Friday was to be humerous horror night with The Devil Outside then Bloodfest late on, Saturday’s film is Mug, a Polish film about a guy who receives a face transplant, it’s “a farcical comedy drama” and Sunday’s is Supa Modo about a young Kenyan girl who is terminally ill who believes she has superpowers. Supa Modo is the one I’m¬† most unhappy about missing but hopefully it will resurface with a limited general release in the UK at some point. You never can tell what will or won’t get picked up for distribution or how long it can take to appear.

My remit for EIFF tickets is films that most likely won’t get shown at the multiplex where I have an unlimited pass. At one time it was films that were unlikely to get any release in the UK but now that the tickets aren’t as comparatively expensive compared to usual cinema prices, it’s cheaper for me to see films at the Festival than at the Filmhouse the rest of the year.

Ho hum, it would be a shame if I had to miss the films, but as they say,¬† worse things happen at sea. Aaand, it’s now after midnight, later on TODAY the full Fringe programme is officially out! Yayyy!!!

Toodle pip!

How much fun is Joe Gilgun?

Blimey it’s a tad warm this evening, what happened to the thunderstorm I was promised?? One, it would have cleared the mugginess and two, I love a good bit of thunder and lightning. Even the forecast for tomorrow has now dumbed down to just rain in the afternoon. Rain was always on the cards for tomorrow, it being the Meadows Fair (it’s like a Glastonbury thing – rain and mud are inevitable).

This was to be a post about this year’s Film Festival but I’ve waylaid myself and watched the first three episodes of Preacher. How good is that??!!! I’m sooo tempted to put the next dvd on. Cooper, Gilgun and Negga, all just beyond brilliant! Joe Gilgun especially,¬† he’s so alive and exciting to watch. Tip, give the film Lockout a go, Gilgun is very entertaining as a psychotic Scottish criminal; it’s no masterpiece but it does also have a laconic Guy Pearce!

I’ve not read the comic books of Preacher, just perused the odd one in friends’ flats many years ago. I just stuck with Sandman at the time but I do remember liking the look of Preacher, hardly surprising as I’d been a big 2000AD fan from its beginning until I gave it up in the early 90s as it became too much into the artwork and not enough actual storylines. I do still have all my old 2000ADs back home, oo, what a fun distraction that would be. Then I could revisit Sandman! For lighter moments I could put Bloom County Babylon in the bathroom for my toilet-reading. No, no, no!! The Fringe programme is oot on Wednesday, that’ll be my reading for the next while.

Beware the Ides of May!

I say this because the weather this last week or so has been darn lovely which, in my experience means the sunshine ration for Edinburgh will have run out by August! Brollies and rain macs will be must-haves at this year’s Fringe, I predict.

This coming Monday is Victoria Day, a little known public holiday in parts of Scotland; it’s celebrated on the last Monday before or on 24th May, which was Queen Victoria’s birthday (I just looked that up, I’ve only known it as usually the third Monday in May). I used to get it as a public holiday from work and in the further past we had the previous Friday off too, before they cut down on our public holidays – yes, I am a working moose, the bills don’t pay themselves, unfortunately!

It was a weekend to be off as most people are working and the kiddies are in school; Bud and I had some great camping trips with glorious weather. The Lake District being just down the road was a favoured destination. Beautiful scenery, good campsites and plenty of great pubs! Oh to be waking up in Great Langdale with the sun already shining and lambs gambolling about the place (those same lambs you could have quite happily barbecued at 4 in the morning when they did their own version of the dawn chorus!); then, later rounding off another perfect day with a drink or three at the Old Dungeon Ghyll’s Hikers Bar, a no-frills pub with good grub and well-kept ales (I could be wrong but I think they have been in the Good Beer Guide nearly, if not every year). And only a drunken stagger away from the campsite!

Over in the east County Durham and North Yorkshire, another favourite area for Bud and I to visit or use as a good stopover when heading south. Let’s face it that whole swathe across the north of England is bloody marvellous, scenery, great pubs and grub and lovely locals. One particularly sunny May we went to Beamish, if you’ve never been, go!! I’d wanted to visit for years but just never got round to it, one day I’ll have to go back and see what I missed last time – it’s awfully big, a full day and you still won’t have seen it all!

Heading south there’s Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Richmond, Leyburn, to name a few old market towns worth a stop and wander around. Leyburn sits on the A684 which runs across to Kendal with plenty to enjoy in between. Leyburn is also a hop and a skip away from Middleham, which is very close to the Forbidden Corner, so good we went twice (a few years apart). The Forbidden Corner started out as a private folly, but then like Topsy, it growed and growed, now there’s grottos, towers, tunnels, chambers, a maze and beautiful gardens. But, and it’s a big butt, it will be full of children. If you have children this is the bestest place you could take them, but do microchip them first so they can be located when you lose sight of the little dears, and you will! This is why a May visit, on a weekday preferably, book for a visit straight after breakfast ahead of the coachloads of school trips, is great.

Ah, the sun is beckoning me to go oot and play. It teases Edinburgh with the prospect of a fine Meadows Fair in a couple of weeks but more on that little extravaganza later.

Toodle pip!