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  👻👻🎃

20171005_222640

Peek-a-boo!

20171026_185457

That looks spookier than me.

 

2017-10-05 22.32.04

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

post

It’s cold, it’s dark, I’m lurgied – it’s Telly Time!

Hello there! I’m a little hoarse still, so have taken to medicating myself with black cherry mead. It’s rather good! There’s a chap who dresses up like a monk and sells all sorts of mead at a stall in the Grassmarket on Saturdays, it’s rather fun tasting all the varieties! The black cherry mead is reminiscent of a lovely soothing medicine from childhood.

So, hands up who watched Dracula on telly at New Year, wasn’t that fun?! Claes Bang was excellent, his performance and the wit made me think of Tom Ellis as Lucifer, but with less of the camp. And surely I wasn’t the only one who thought Sister Agatha was like Delenn from Babylon 5?? Admittedly, I was a little sceptical after recovering from the wtf ending of the second episode, Moffat & Gatiss up to their tricks again! But, I thoroughly enjoyed the final episode and Mark Gatiss’ cameo as Dracula’s lawyer (well, if you can’t write in a part for yourself!) was a bit of cheeky genius. Some folk probably won’t be happy with all the liberties taken with the story, fair enough, the padding out of the voyage of the Demeter made sense to me (except the moustache they stuck on Sacha Dhawan).

Talking about Sacha Dhawan, did you see the new Doctor Who? No moustache this time (thankfully – not his best look), he’s rather good in it, one of the better parts I thought. I hate to say it, but Doctor Who is not what it was anymore. No, it’s not Jodie Whittaker, I’m fine with her take on it, it’s the writing, just not as good as previously. Oh, I’ll no doubt still watch it, but not with enthusiasm.

Oh, but, how pleased was I with His Dark Materials? Very. I finally got round to watching it all as I wallowed lurgiefied in front of the fire. Dafne Keen is such a brilliant wee actress, she makes a perfect Lyra Belacqua, and Ruth Wilson, wow, stunning as Mrs Coulter, do not mess with this lady! Just so many wonderful actors perfectly cast in a beautifully realised TV adaptation, and yay, the dulcet tones of Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby (one of my favourite characters from the book). Let’s not forget the bear in the room, Iorek Byrnison, he was truly magnificent, wherever did they find such a talented bear 😆 The only casting I was slightly at odds with was James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, mind, I never really got the character in the book either.

Still lying in front of the fire, I caught the original Jumanji film starring Robin Williams on the telly, which I followed up with the second on dvd. Now I’m all set for the latest instalment in the cinema. Yes, I had to spend a lot of time in front of my fire to recover from my lurgy, but needs must when the devil drives!

Nitey nite!

 

Happy Not-Quite-New Year!

Hello, dear friends! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay wherever you are! My family Christmas was fine, thanks, until a nasty little coughing lurgy attached itself to me somewhere amidst all the farewell hugs in the last days before I journeyed back North.

I soldiered on, went back to work to earn my crust, ignoring how my whole body shuddered at each cough. Hogmanay was spent by the fireside with a hot toddy watching the telly til after the bells, well, there was no point going to bed earlier – those fireworks are very loud and they went on longer than ever this year!

New Year’s Day morn I rose with one mission, to climb the Seat That Belongs To Arthur, no lurgy was going to hold me back. And, by George, Andrew and Murgatroyd, it didn’t!! My adrenaline pumping, my dander up, I was gonna scale that Seat or die in the attempt. Dear reader, I nearly did! (thank goodness I had my emergency hipflask of Laphroaig to revive me)

Since then I’ve been confined to bed and fireside, but am starting to feel much better now, so I thought I’d drop you a line. Expect stuff soon on Dr Who, Dracula and Dark Materials, also some Tuck and squirrels’ nuts.

Yours truly on reaching the top…

20200101_122621

And after a reviving glug or three of Laphroaig…..

20200101_141459

Merry Christmas!

It’s just gone midnight, oo, it’s Christmas! I’m back in the family fold in dankest Yorkshire. If I survive in one piece, I have my homemade Christmas cake waiting for me back in Edinburgh, only a small one. Cousin Edgar announced a few weeks ago that he intended to make the family cake this year, great, well, not as great as mine! I was round at his yesterday, offering tips on how to do the icing. Tomorrow we get to try his attempt, mmmm! Better get my head down or Santa won’t come.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas wherever you are 💛

2019-12-22 21.49.47

 

Close call at The Jazz Bar

There’s a bar/music venue next door to Richer Sounds on Chambers Street, well, the door’s there, then lots of steps heading downwards. It’s been there as long as I can remember, though it’s probably gone through a few reincarnations since I last went in one time in the, ooo, late eighties, early nineties?! The Jazz Bar is it’s current moniker and it’s rather a fun place.

Last Saturday night had Logan’s Close in the midnight slot, so I thought I’d trot along. As I had time to kill I headed to the cinema to see Knives Out, I’d liked the look of the trailers and folk had said it was very good (I had some reservations as an all star cast does not by any means mean a good film!)  Daniel Craig got to have fun with an odd accent – not as odd as the one in Logan Lucky though. Knives Out is actually a fairly cracking film and doesn’t feel as long as it’s length, it’s keeps up a good pace through to the end.

Anyhoo, I meandered back and headed down into The Jazz Bar about quarter to twelve. A bit of red velvet round the place and I’d swear I’d walked on to some Lynchian-type movie set! Cool, hip, young things were bopping around, I was almost expecting to hear the word “Daddio” yep, there was some vibe going on. Then I noticed, near the entrance, a certain bass player tapping madly on his mobile, this went on a while, til almost midnight, hmmm, a whole set of bass solos,  nice!? Slowly over the next fifteen minutes or so, the rest of the band appeared (though it wasn’t til much later when I realised they were sans keyboards).

The Close made up for their tardiness with two long, cracking sets, including in the second Love me two times by the Doors, rather good, it was! Great to hear What d’I say as well, I’ve been playing the Bluefinger recording recently, that has a seriously lonnngg intro, lads, they probably have a good couple of minutes on you. You may have noticed in a previous post that I have a problem in gigs with tall guys getting in the way, but here there was a slight variation on this; whilst in rock/blues gigs the tall guys tend to be seriously broad too, these were all skinny, easier to peer round!

Indeed, the crowd were undulating, seemingly strange currents moving bodies around and about; I felt I was Sheldon Cooper playing at Spock, it was fascinating to watch, almost like….wow, was this the modern version of what we used to call a “cattle market”? I guess in this new “me too” environment it’s trickier for anyone to express any interest in another without risking any offence, so subtlety is to the fore. It makes a fun spectator sport, watching from the sidelines.

I have to mention the white t-shirt, I have no recollection of anything else the young lady had on, just her white t-shirt, which become pinker and pinker as the time went by. Even her back had two great splodges of red wine on it by late on, huh?

The Jazz Bar was fun, the people friendly; bar prices pricey but no more than you’d expect; entrance was £6 but that was anytime of the evening, I could have seen another two bands for the same amount had I gone in earlier. I like it, definitely a place to keep an eye on.

Toodle pip!

Strictly speaking, he should be oot!

Yes, this is a post about Strictly, all about Strictly, you’ve been warned! It’s just before the Sunday dance-off show. Who’ll be in the dance-off? Who won’t make it to next week’s Final? Can Chris Ramsey defy all the nay-sayers and go all the way?

Nah, I don’t reckon so. Even if his fans keep him out of the dance-off, I don’t think he’ll have enough voting for him in the Final. Or, maybe getting him to the Final would spur on his fans even more to get him the Glitterball. If Chris and Karen make it through, the fans of whoever goes out tonight will be fuming and probably determined to vote just so he won’t win. Let’s not forget the Anton factor – this would be his first ever Final in the show and there’s a lot of love for him out there. I think the voting masses will keep him and Emma out of the dance-off, which could lead to an even bigger groundswell in their favour. And the other two pairs? Both excellent, clearly the best dancers, usually I would want one of them to win, but this year? Hmmm.

I like Chris Ramsey, I liked that he was happily doing a thank you for his time on Strictly even before taking part in the quarterfinal dance-off last week, he reckoned his great run was at an end (I could have told him foxtrot v samba, my money would be on the foxtrot). I liked his quick comeback to a comment on his face during his rumba “I was thinking of that mistake in the viennese!” Yes, he comes across as a lovely chap, why have I never been to any of his fringe shows? Why?

On checking back through my old fringe programmes, I clearly missed the window! It maybe didn’t help that he was often next to Chris Martin in the programme. No, not that Chris Martin, the comedian Chris Martin, but, well, I have a bad aversion to that name so would have quickly turned the page. Looking back, Ramsey did have very odd hair styles, I could snapped a few to show you but, well, I like him, we’ve all had bad hairdos.

Chris Ramsey burst on to the Fringe in 2010 with Aggrophobic at the Pleasance Courtyard, performing every day from the first preview night, no middle week night off for this lad, right through to the final Monday night. He was back at the Courtyard again for full runs in 2011 and 2012, I say full but he only went up to the Sunday night. Obviously things were going awfully well for him because he’d made it by 2013, just three nights of Feeling Lucky at the Underbelly Bristo Square at £15 a pop! Chris returned again in 2014 and 2015 to big venues, Pleasance One and Assembly George Square Theatre respectively, each time in the latter half of the Fringe so no cheap previews and no 241 days.

Yes, I didn’t pick up on Mr Ramsey in his initial Pleasance runs and by 2013 he’d done a Noble and priced himself outside my range. Come back again, Chris, do something odd and fringey! Come back, you have my attention now, and my admiration for getting so far n Strictly. It’s the first time I’d be happy if the best dancers didn’t lift the glitterball!

 

 

 

The natives are revolting!

Finally, it’s over, November’s done for another year, yay! Christmas is already old hat in the shops and the ever-expanding Christmas Market is causing the usual ruckus with locals. Yes, not everyone loves a Christmas Market! The local evening paper’s Facebook following have been pouring out vitriol by the bucketload about the council and the Underbelly (aka the Plunderbelly!). Some paint the Underbelly as the evil villain and the council as dumb, some just hate the council as totally money-grabbing and/or inept (they have a point there).

Probably a lot of local papers have similar followers on Facebook, i.e., people who love to complain and will at very opportunity.  This brings me to the point of Facebook’s “Top Fan” status; I assume this is bestowed purely on the number of times a person has responded to posts, I wouldn’t really call the Edinburgh Evening News top responders fans! The latest news stories (or often non-stories) are often “Suggested” for me, and like a guilty pleasure I succumb to the Comments where I’ve found that the Top Fans are the top lambasters and rather entertaining to those of us who don’t take it seriously.

A few weeks ago everyone become construction experts as the city was shocked by a picture showing part of the lower scaffolding holding up the market. The scandal grew when it was reported that Underbelly were going ahead without planning permission, meaning that when the market collapsed (deemed inevitable by all these new experts) it wouldn’t be covered by insurance. Many were threatening never to set foot on such a dangerous deathtrap!

I grew bored of it all. Quite obviously the construction was fine, the Underbelly are now a very big, successful company, like they’d risk everything by cutting corners on something THAT important, seriously. The planning permission thing, well, that is dodgy and in my opinion is all about the council being happy to cut corners, being lazy and inept, and only being interested in looking after big businesses rather than the local population.

Will I set hoof on the Market of Doom? Sure I’ll go for a meander round one weekday evening, I’ll even take a few pics pics for you. Will I buy anything? Most likely not, I’ve seen all the same stalls every year and have already bought anything I liked a few years ago. The market, like the Fringe, is a victim of the premise BETTER=EXPANSION, but too many stalls and none will make enough money.  Also the fact is that many people go to the Christmas Market like it’s an art gallery – great to wander round looking at everything feeling all christmassy, maybe have a mulled wine, but not to actually buy anything.

The council claim that Edinburgh needs a Christmas Market to compete for tourists. Oh yeah, Edinburgh has nothing to offer tourists without it, actually the council probably do really believe that, they seem to be totally blind to what tourists love about Edinburgh (like the history, architecture, scottishness). Every city seems to have a Christmas Market these days, maybe I’ll pop down to Durham or York, beautiful old cities, spend an hour in the Christmas market, then enjoy the ambience of a grand old cathedral city.

Hope you have a great December wherever you may be!

Wuss not woose

So, Logan’s Close were great tonight, Mr Marah is growing a rather dubious moustache for Movember and I’m a woose for not wanting to go out in the rain, so I’ve been informed by a friend. I say friend, a Facebook friend, would a friend call you a woose? Is that even how it’s spelt? Ha, not it’s not, it’s wuss (ok, I goggled it).

I may have stayed in, I may have dozed in front of the fire, but I also, luckily, flicked through the telly channels and spotted The Frighteners was on the Horror Channel. A most excellent film by Peter Jackson starring Michael J. Fox, there’s also Jeffrey Combs as a manic FBI agent and Jake Busey (the spit of his dad) amid a great cast.

I remember seeing The Frighteners at the cinema when it first came out in the mid ’90s. I wanted to see it for Michael J Fox, the comedy element and it’s New Zealand connection (having been there just a few years before), Bud was more about it being a horror film by the chap who made Bad Taste and Braindead (he was a fan). We both loved it and raved about it, but it seemed to slip under the radar for most. If you enjoy a good comedy horror then do check The Frighteners out; it is by the chap whose next thing was The Lord of the Rings!

It’s late, I shall bid you a goodnight and leave you with a glimpse of Mr Marah’s Movember moustache. Oh, and the floating head of the new drummer 😆

FB_IMG_1574556160063

Wet does not suit mooses

It’s a miserable, wet day here in Edinburgh, typical November. It’s so soggy oot there that even a set by Logan’s Close in Stramash can’t tempt me to leave the moose cave! Maybe if  I’d had more notice about it my mind could have been set on going no matter what, but I just spotted it on the board as I squelched past at lunchtime.

I was quite surprised as Facebook usually informs me of such things (and then tells me again and again and again….) but not a peep. Had a quick ganders at the Close and Stramash’s pages – nothing! The Pianodrome at Leith Theatre would appear to be the Close’s next outing (Friday 6th December, annoyingly I’m otherwise engaged that evening) and the Stramash events bit mentions two bands on tonight but not the lads.

Hmmm, usually there’s three bands playing on a Saturday night. So I checked it with the Close and indeedily they are playing, just seen on Facebook that Stramash have finally mentioned them this afternoon. Is it, like, really uncool to do the 7pm slot? Like, Yeah, we’ll do it but let’s not mention it to anyone, okay?!

Of course, Strictly is on telly tonight too, oo, soon. A good reason to stay in by the fire. 

FB_IMG_1574535079844

I shall leave you with this marvellous pic of the lads. Hmmm, what’s going on in those heads……..

– That’s it! We’re taking them down!

– Uh oh, I’m gonna keep sitting quietly and hope no one notices me

– Shit! Better protect the family jewels!

– Aw, hell! Here we go again. Why do I let myself get into these situations?!

😆😆

It was a very good year (part III)

In 2013 even the turkey was quite awesome in it’s awfulness and it still holds the record for my quickest exit from a show, somewhere just under twenty minutes! A few days before this traumatic experience I was wandering down an old town close when I heard a beautiful song that quite charmed me, I went to investigate the source – a young man who gave me a flyer to his Free Fringe show.

The show was Masters of Drip at the Fiddler’s Elbow, in the programme blurb it was described as “sketch theatre”, well it wasn’t comedy that’s for sure. I do vaguely remember enjoying the first sketch, the second one went downhill, the third made us envious of the folk who’d scarpered after the second sketch, by the fourth we knew what we had to do! See, between each sketch the Masters went “backstage” (a side room from the stage area) which folk quickly realised was a good time to run. When a couple more left after the third sketch and the fourth didn’t show any signs of better things, Bud and I were ready to leap up and legged it – leaving about seven folk left.

If you read my previous post you may recall that the Fiddler’s Elbow was the venue that also played host to the very popular Captain Morgan and the Sands of Time, which happened to be the show on straight after Masters of Drip! Indeed, the queue for Captain Morgan had already started outside when we escaped. I almost felt sorry for Masters of Drip, almost.

One show I didn’t see in 2013 was a one-woman play written and performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, somewhere within the depths of the Underbelly, called Fleabag. Six years later she’s done a final sell-out run of Fleabag at the Wyndham Theatre. Ticket prices may have somewhat increased between productions!

In the interim Fleabag became a tv series with two seasons; in May this year Waller-Bridge was drafted into the James Bond writing team; then in September she went and won three Emmys for Fleabag – best lead actress in a comedy series, best writing for a comedy series and outstanding comedy series, like wow. And if that wasn’t enough, the lady has only gone and got herself a contract to make tv shows for Amazon!

It makes me wonder about the futures of this year’s crop. Does a story like this inspire them to work harder knowing it can lead to great things? Could I have witnessed the early performances of a future Oscar winner? A national treasure thirty years hence? And the people at the previews of Fleabag – they saw it for just six quid a ticket!

20190924_000820

 

 

It was a very good year (part II)

2013 saw McNeil and Pamphilon Go 8-Bit! Okay so if I just saw those words it would mean nothing to me, but the pic and blurb informed me it was about classic videogames. I had never been into videogames or particularly understood the appeal, but, well it was M&P so hilarity was expected. And how! So I didn’t know any of the games, but from my distance it was an entertaining hour of anthropomorphic insight; comedy, rivalries and the most evil forfeits (I really felt for Pamphilon by the end). The sheer enthusiasm and joy of watching a bunch of comedians mucking about and having a laugh was just a pleasure.

Go 8-Bit! embraced the new multimedia, these were young, tech-savvy comedians, or least, they knew someone who was! The following year the tech went even higher, the audience participated on their mobiles! Needless to say, I didn’t, and just as well as interaction meant you may be picked to play the next videogame – that would not have been pretty! The technology and interactiveness really fascinated me, but only as an observer.

The Pin was our opener that year (was or were? The name of comedy act, but it’s a double act) two fresh-faced youngsters, Ben Ashenden and Alexander Owen. It was the first preview which is possibly why they seemed to be trying too hard for the first while, but then it became much funnier as they relaxed. My journal says “They do have potential. ☆☆☆” I have seen them since and indeed, they’re doing well, they’ve even had the 6:30 comedy slot on Radio 4. I’d say that’s doing well.

2013 was our third outing to see Max and Ivan, who had moved into the Pleasance Queen Dome for Max and Ivan: The Reunion (they were going up in the world!)  The show was nominated for Best Comedy, though for me whilst it was slick and very well-done, it didn’t tickle my funny bone quite as much as their previous two shows. Indeed, the first time I put “A very enjoyable show, even though poor Holmes had broken his ankle… ☆☆☆☆+”, yes, Max Olesker had broken his ankle but he carried on and even got laughs out of it. Radio 4 beckoned and they’ve had two series of The Casebook of Max and Ivan with some great guests like June Whitfield and Reece Shearsmith!

Ah, I’ve just spotted on Thursday 15th at 14:10 I saw Sock Puppet in The Cellar at the Pleasance Courtyard. It was a monologue about a murderous possessed sock, and my first encounter with John-Luke Roberts. What a bloody fine year it was!

(To be continued……)