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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On the fringe of the Close

That would be Logan’s Close, a rather good band from Dunbar near Edinburgh, who play Sixties-style music. Indeed I would be so bold as to say they are on the fringe of success. Tonight they played at The Caves in Edinburgh to launch their new single Girl (with a B-side of Work, a B-side? On a cd? aww bless ’em).

Sometimes Facebook does throw good things your way, case in point these lads’ previous single Listen To Your Mother (check out the Official Video on YouTube, no I haven’t put a link up, I’m not sure how, I’m only a moose), since I saw it I’ve seen them a few times in Edinburgh. The first time was in Sneaky Pete’s in the Cowgate, a much changed pub from when I used to prolong a night’s drinking by ending up there, way way back in the 80’s.

Tonight was top notch if a tad on the cold side for a while, but a great bar for real ale with Caesar Augustus as an option. The Caves are rather better now than when they first opened as a Fringe venue some years ago with moisture dripping off the ceiling! The support band were pretty good, a shame more folk didn’t turn up earlier for them, but as soon as Logan’s Close came on the joint started to really swing. The Close have a lovely easy chemistry between them, especially Scott and Carl on rhythm and lead guitars and shared lead vocals. As David Lynch would say, the eye of this duck is in the right place, this band is perfection to me. They transport the soul, or mine anyway.

Well, I have some red wine somewhere and I’m in the mood for more music …..

 

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Inconceivable!

Nah, it’s not really that inconceivable that I haven’t posted for a month, not if you know me – life, huh; but what is inconceivable is the sheer brilliance of The Princess Bride on the big screen, oh I’ve watched it many times, but tonight I saw it in my local cinema for it’s 30th anniversary outing. Wow! Awesome!

It was almost sold out, you could feel the love in the air, the anticipation of favourite lines, THAT sword fight! Memories of first renting the video from Blockbuster so many years ago, Peter Cook exclaiming “Mah-widge!”, the Albino rasping, “You are in the Pit of Despair” to then clear his throat and say it again, oh how we howled with laughter realising it was Mel Smith, but none of us guessed Billy Crystal, though now he doesn’t look that different from Miracle Max. Whatever happened to Fred Savage? (loved The Wonder Years) and the wonderful Peter Falk, perfect as the Grandfather.

This was an “all round to mine for lasagne with plenty of wine” film, my lasagne was rather a hit. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was another that we discovered in the video store, both became cult classics. I do remember a chum who was a fencing coach waxing lyrical about the swordfight (then he would always go on to the sword fight on ice in one of the Musketeer films – the Michael York et al ones) pointing out what made it so brilliant, usually rewinding it to watch again.

There’s wit and humour, derring-do and pathos, drama and slapstick, and one of my favourite lines ever….

“Hallo, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”

💛

 

McNeil & Pamphilon: which ones were they?

Ones who gave out badges at the end of their show, yay! I do like a show that has free badges at the end. That was in the Pleasance Dome in 2011, the show was McNeil & Pamphilon: Which One Are You?, which besides sketches had them looking at their differences and how fans have their favourite of the two (I was definitely a Pamphilon). These two are very funny and play off each other brilliantly, they’re so relaxed and endearing it felt like watching two pals bantering in the pub, keeping everyone else thoroughly entertained and happy just to listen.

Okay at times they seem disturbingly close, like when McNeil had to touch Pamphilon’s balls – it’s there in my old Fringe diary, followed by “(rubber glove and lube)”?! McNeil also drew the short straw in the fashion stakes, Pamphilon looks cool in anything, but McNeil can make the same clothes look crap, demonstrated to make the point (oh, it was well made) by borrowing a hoody from an audience member. Old diaries are fun, apparently the School Rabbit Sketch was VERY sick and funny, I’m sure it was, wish I had one of those memories that can actually recall details! I gave them four stars.

We saw them again in 2012, this time in the Baby Grand at the Pleasance Courtyard, a small, hot room, so, much like most venues then. Threading through the show was Pamphilon’s body-swapping machine and the joke that he fancied McNeil’s mum. Another four stars given.

2013 was the first time they brought Go 8-Bit to the Fringe, and more badges! Yay! Despite never having been much of a videogamer, I thoroughly enjoyed it seeing the enthusiasm and competitiveness it brought out! And the horror of some of the forfeits the lads, as team leaders, had to endure, well Pamphilon mainly. Forfeits like downing three shots of cheap vodka, eating a jar of chillies, getting dead-armed by all the winning team. All good fun, and worth five stars!

Oo, 2014 it went hi-tech, instead of, please switch off your mobile, it was, switch it on, go to the website and vote for who you think will win each video game. Umm, I didn’t bother, ok, so more like I was still getting used to my first android phone and didn’t really know what to do. Just as well, turned out that one lucky person who voted would then be randomly picked to play in the next game, aargh, like seriously, no way could I have done that! Hmmm, back down to four stars!? I did note that the forfeits weren’t as cruel as the previous year’s, was that a reason to lose a star?

As luck would have it, flicking through tv channels on 5th September 2016, I settled on a show on Dave hosted by Dara O’Briain, he’s usually a safe bet. Then, oo, isn’t that Steve McNeil, and there’s Sam Pamphilon, blimey Charlie, Go 8-Bit’s made it on to the telly! Nice one. Hang on, why is it Dara’s? No, it’s not yours Dara, it’s Sam and Neil’s, give it back! That was literally my thought process over the time it was on. Hey ho, maybe Dave wanted a bigger name to be able to entice viewers in. There’s been two series shown so far and another coming up next year. Well worth a watch, with a few beers, natch. It’s still great to see how competitive and focused some comedians can be, yeah right, Calman, it’s just a game!

Shame they don’t do the really cruel forfeits  😆

 

Nick Helm on Dave

I was just flicking through the telly channels when I happened upon Eat Your Heart Out With Nick Helm. Huh? Nick Helm has a food programme now?! Mr Shouty was conversing in French and later showing off his few words in Portuguese, all in lovely mild manner. Hmmm (looks into the distance, head to one side, a hazy wibbly-wobbliness takes us back, back…)

Friday 3rd August 2012, rushed home from work to get to the Pleasance Queen Dome in time for Nick Helm: This Means War. My choice, I just really like the poster, very Flashman/ Rik Mayall’s Bombardier, it worked for me. I had heard he was quite loud, quite loud?! He came on singing a Motorhead song, well, shouting it, then he seriously ripped into some of the audience, boy, was I glad we were well back in the middle of a row. One poor chap ended up on stage peeling spuds and being yelled at for most of the show, but while we felt the fear we enjoyed the show anyway.

I didn’t see Nick Helm again until 2015, well to be fair, in 2014 he only did two nights at the Pleasance Grand at £15 a pop, that’s ’cause he’d made it on to the telly in Uncle. Then in 2015, he appeared on the Free Fringe with a catchy show title, Nick Fuckin’ Helm: My Edinburgh Hour. This time, a young chap at the front who hadn’t clapped and laughed enough was made to sit behind Nick on the stage so that a more appreciative lady could gave the seat, again I was glad to be well back in the crowd! It was another very entertaining show, especially as the venue sound limiter kept cutting out the microphones whenever he sang – it’s not like Nick Helm really needs amplification in a room that size anyway!

So, his new tv show on Dave, well I really enjoyed it. Him and a mate just go places, eat loads of food and meet the chefs who cook it, and he’s quite sweet actually. There were two half hour shows together, the second had Nish Kumar as the buddy, he’s another chap who’s doing rather well these days. I saw him doing McNeil and Pamphilon’s Go 8-Bit back in 2013 and 2014, yes, at the Fringe it was theirs, not Dara O’Briain’s.

More about that later.

 

 

I 💛 Susan Calman

2016-08-21 09.03.28Some may call it a guilty pleasure, but I have no such feelings about Strictly Come Dancing. I feel no guilt or shame about declaring my allegiance to this wonderful, feel-good show.

And, hey, I’ve finally managed to put a pic up and downsize it, moving it about is tricky but then I’m a moose not a sheepdog.

So, to bring my international readers up to speed. The brilliantly funny comedienne Susan Calman is in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing on the telly, she’s also the first openly gay female celebrity on the show. Oh, there’s been a number of openly gay male celebrities on the show, never a fuss about why they weren’t paired up with another man, but as usual it’s another matter for a woman and apparently some on social media have criticized her for dancing with a male partner. WHAAAT!!!! Get over yourselves people! How narrow-minded that a gay woman should have to dance with a female partner, and (from what I’ve read on the BBC News website) it’s the gay community doing the criticising! Huh?! Can’t you just share the joy emanating from Susan? The obvious glee on being partnered with Kevin was pouring through my telly, there was even an emotional wee tear. She’s even admitted to having a picture of him – on her fridge I think she said.

Well, I did say last week there was a rant coming up, I just didn’t realise this one would jump the queue, but it just really irked me.

I wonder if they’d ever consider having a moose on the show? I take it I’d have a lady partner, oo, Karen Clifton or Janette Manrara please, both seem like really good laughs. Mind, who knows? Kevin Clifton would be my top choice (yes, I too have a Kevin-thing going on) or Pasha, we could make a dashing duo!

 

 

 

Hello Canada!

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Greetings to my Canadian reader! You are my first from your neck of the woods, I do hope you’ll pop back again. And indeed, hello to all my international readers, I say all, but as I’m so pleased to have a reader in Canada (who it seems read most of my posts in one sitting – I salute you!) you might realise “all” isn’t a large number!

It also seemed like a good excuse to post another pic of yours truly. I still haven’t figured out how to do more than one pic to a post or resizing them, but hey ho, it’s fine.

May your lives have a little wild beauty in them.

 

 

 

Tidy flat up ✔

So that’s all my ironing finally up to date – who knew a moose could own so many shirts?! I do also iron my bedsheets, that first night getting in between clean, ironed sheets is bliss. What?! So I’m a moose who likes his home comforts, what’s wrong with that?

The kitchen surfaces are visible again, I have clean glasses and mugs and all the pizza boxes are gone (there is a rather good, cheap pizza takeaway just up the road where I can pop my head through the door and though there may be a crowd between me and the counter an exchanged nod has my funghi pizza on the go). All the pots and pans are back in the cupboard, neglected plants are all watered.

My Ukulele Death Squad cd has been a great accompaniment, some tunes really are worthy of a Tarantino soundtrack. Keeping with the aussie theme, after about the fourth playthrough I put on some Screaming Jets to keep the cleaning pace up. Maybe some AC/DC later on? Oh yeah, there’s an INXS album somewhere around (yes, that would be a vinyl album) haven’t played that for years.

Fringe Fund checked and approved. Another Fringe over with some left in the kitty, yay. So that was 44 shows in total: 12 previews, 5 Assembly residents offer, 1 241 Tuesday,  10 Half Price Hut,  2 Pay What You Want,  5 Free Fringe and 9 full price tickets. And despite the rants of some folk about how expensive Fringe tickets are (they seem to think all shows cost at least £15), my average price has been under £6 a ticket! Ok, so I have not included the booking fees of £7.20 in that, but that would still be under £6.

I didn’t even use any of my Friends of the Fringe 241 deals, mind if we’d arranged to see Aidan Goatley a day later that would have been one. So is it worth still being a Friend of the Fringe? Well, I did make the most of this year’s new benefit of being able to buy Half Price Hut tickets in the Friends of the Fringe Hut, really that saved a lot of queuing and no booking fees!

Still nibbling my way through a Fringe chocolate bar. This year Edfringe In Your Mouth was launched and very tasty it is too, especially the Dark Chocolate with Rose Oil – there’s rose petals in it too! As a young moose I didn’t care for dark chocolate, but in the last few years I’ve come to appreciate the luxurious, velvetiness of the dark side. One small piece savoured is enough at a time. After all, a little of what you fancy does you good!

 

 

 

 

Fireworks ignite old volcano

Oh, every year I have this image of the fireworks getting bigger and bigger until everyone realises it’s the volcano reactivating spewing molten rocks into the air and lava flows down the Royal Mile.

So only one show to go, Will Seaward’s spooky midnight ghost stories one more time, and maybe a pop into the Pleasance Courtyard on the way!

Toodle pip!

A late contender

So it’s almost over for another year, already some venues have reverted back. The flyerers have been making a big effect today to fill that last performance, all those I’ve chatted to have loved their time in Edinburgh and would come back again another year if the opportunity arises. It’s even been good weather this weekend, so I’ve been out getting a few more photos.

About now I start composing my Fringe Top 20, oo this year there’s a few in there for top spot. On Friday I went to the Underbelly warren in the Cowgate (very surprisingly the only time I’ve seen a show there this year) for Nick Coyle:Queen of Wolves, ok so I’d been hoping it might Half Price Hut at some point but I finally bowed to my instinct and bought a full price ticket. Like, cor Blimey guv’nor, so worth every penny.

This was outstanding, as a naive, nervous Bronte-style governess he was very good, and he can play the cello. Yes, it was a comedy but the horror aspects were quite chilling. The moving chair and falling books, the sounds around the house, the incessant sound of the rain, all really kept the tension going. Nick Coyle kept his audience gripped from start to finish, and that finish! Well done, sir! If I wore a hat I would take it off to you!