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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On the fringe of the light fantastic

As a young moose I loved Mary Poppins, I wanted her to take me on magical trips and dancing with penguins. A few evenings ago I fell in love with her all over again, what a gal! I for one thoroughly enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns, so much so, I intend to return to see it again before it leaves town. It’s  a snuggily warm blanket, so whimsical and quaintly British, with lots of little nods to the original, especially in the music with a few notes here and there from the earlier songs. All the cast were terrific, Emily Blunt is spot on as Poppins and Lin Manuel Miranda, well, I may have a bit of a crush on his smile!

And blimey Charlie – David Warner, Angela Lansbury and ol’ Dick too! Who says there’s no parts for old folks? And these are seriously old folk, I did the usual pastime of coming home from the cinema and spending the next hour or so on IMDB and the like checking out just how old they were, etc, and found out some rather interesting facts (well I thought so).

Most Interesting Fact I discovered, Beautiful Briny was actually originally intended for Mary Poppins but was cut, later to be used in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (another old favourite of mine). Angela Lansbury, of course, played the wonderful Eglantine Price; so great to see her again. She’s older that Dick Van Dyke by two months, a fine pair of nonagenarians!

How pleased was I to see David Warner playing Admiral Boom! On IMDB he’s listed as having 223 acting roles, okay so not all classics, but hey, there’s Star Trek, Twin Peaks, Babylon 5, The Omen, Time Bandits, Tron, The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse, and all manner of one-off appearances in tv shows. My college pals and I would always let out a cheer whenever he was spotted on screen, dunno how that started,  just one of those things!

And then there’s Binnacle, Admiral Boom’s man, he looked kind of familiar but I couldn’t place him. Apparently it’s one Jim Norton, first seen in The Face of Fu Manchu back in 1965 (a classic!). I spotted he was in an episode of The Adventures of Black Beauty (who remembers that from the 70s? Personally I preferred Follyfoot) in a long steady list of jobs that went Stateside in the 80s with L.A.Law, Cheers, Frasier, Star Trek Next Gen and even four episodes of Babylon 5! Ah, finally I found it, why he looked familiar – Father Ted’s Bishop Brennan! Of course!

Who’ll be the actors from today who’ll still be popping up in forty, fifty years time? Will this year’s crop of Fringers produce any future stalwarts of our screens?

Toodle pip!

 

Hello 2019!

On New Years Day I made my traditional trek up Arthur’s Seat to welcome in the year. This year along with my hip flask of Laphroaig, I took a slice of my rather damn fine Christmas cake, a reward for reaching the top and sugar rush to get me back down! It maybe somewhat tiring going up, but it’s trickier getting down again (well it is for me, I’m much more sure-footed ascending but descending I go so gingerly and worry about slipping).

Twas a beautiful sunny morning and rather breezy at the top, thankfully not as windy as when I did my practice run two days earlier, I almost took off in the wind a couple of times! So many different languages and accents can be heard at the summit, most heard is “Could you take a photo of me/us?” I do like to oblige when asked.

From there I scrambled down from the peak and explored the other areas around the top, finally heading back down via a path I’ve never used before and probably never will again. It took bloody ages to negotiate the slip slidy mud and steep parts. By the time I was back down to the road the annual triathlon was in full swing with cyclists whizzing past, it was a while before I had a chance to leg it over to the pavement.

I really should go up Arthur’s Seat more often, there’s so many paths to follow and such beauty to behold. I used to wander around the park much more in the past, ah yes, New Year Resolution – must walk in the park more often.

Toodle pip!

Time to go to home

It’s very late, tomorrow I head down to darkest Yorkshire for Christmas. Finally all packed up, did take a break to find out about Grindelwald’s crimes, he’s a bit of a wrong’un, ain’t he? I would love to have a niffler, rather reminds me of a platypus, methinks – without all the coarse language  (I do know a platypus, swears like a trooper, so he does).

Anyhoo, just thought I’d show you this year’s cake. Oh, and if you’re concerned about the penguin, don’t be. He’s not having bad thoughts, he just does it to freak people out.

Toodle pip! Merry Crimble!

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Strictly elephants and zombies!

Oops, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Christmas will soon be upon us but before it comes the Strictly Come Dancing Final, and absolutely no one is surprised by the final line-up; Joe, Faye, Ashley and Stacey. Who’ll be the first one out? My elephant friend confidently predicts Ashley, who? why?

My good friend FB likes to watch Strictly, he’s a lovely soul, says how things are but most folk don’t even acknowledge his presence, he is after all an elephant in the room. And FB? It stands for Fan Base, without one a celebrity can only do so much, especially once in the Final when the judges can no longer save a contestant on merit. If Ashley, even with high judges scores, can’t get enough public votes to be kept out of the bottom two, then how will she fair when it’s strictly down to a popularity vote?!

Mind, a week’s a long time in social media and it might just be long enough for the anti-Ashley mob to get up enough noses to generate an anti-anti-Ashley mob! They’ll vote for her in the Final just to annoy the anti-Ashleyers! Then there’s also the “journey” voters, who’s journey are they most moved by, Stacey’s or Joe’s? Faye stumbles at that hurdle, as like Ashley she’s seen as having previous dance experience. Also, let’s not forget that Joe has millions of followers on social media, have they been voting? Will they vote on Saturday?

My personal favourite is Stacey, and she is dancing with Kevin, another favourite of mine. They may sneak in a win being well-loved by many – and surely Kevin has to win sometime!?

So what about zombies? Well, my second favourite film from this year’s EIFF has been in cinemas this week, Anna And The Apocalypse, saw it three times 😊 (the benefit of having an unlimited card to my local multiplex). Everything about it is brilliant, certainly a new christmas must for me! I may turn evangelical next yesterday – the DVD will be a great present for friends, hell yeah, the ones who missed it this week do NEED to see it.

Time to go,

Nightly night,

Don’t let Zombie Santa bite…..

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Some Lillies are Tigers that bite

Last night I headed down Leith to the recently re-opened Leith Theatre to see a performance of The Last Days of Mankind by Karl Kraus featuring the The Tiger Lillies. No, didn’t know anything about it, but the poster suggested a hard-hitting, provocative piece of theatre about man and war, and The Tiger Lillies! Oh yay! If they were providing the music, then definitely hard-hitting, plenty of sarcasm and black humour and no shying away from man’s vileness and depravity. It’s been just over five years since I saw The Tiger Lillies at the Fringe, way too long…….

The first time I saw them was 2004, performing Punch and Judy at what was called Pod Deco, this was an odd pop-up venue in the much-loved but sadly closed-down Odeon cinema on Clerk Street (I saw many films there, it was a proper old cinema). This was no family-friendly puppet show – the big clue being the blurb in the programme, “A lurid operetta, with supporting cast of shadows, glove puppets and rubber blow-up dolls. Step into the dirty, chaotic and violent world of Punch”. Yeah, violence and blow-up dolls, but still some idiots brought children along, only to leave before the second song was over! My friend who’d introduced me to the TLs told that when he’d seen them the year before at St Stephen’s the singer warned a mother with two children, she waved him off only to skunk out during the first number!

Punch and Judy was like nothing I’d ever seen or heard before, grotesque, heart-searing, beautiful, depraved. I came out needing a good shower to cleanse my soul – this reaction became my benchmark for a good TLs show. To paraphrase Eric Olthwaite, their humour is black, very black, even the white bits are black. Not for everyone, given the lyrics, but the music itself is sublime; a trio of very talented musicians who will spell-bound you and Martyn’s voice will stay with you forever.

Described as “an avant-punk Brechtian cabaret trio” the Spiegeltent was the perfect venue in 2005. We felt transported to another era, just without the thick cigarette smoke that would have been there. They returned to the Spiegeltent in 2008 with their 7 Deadly Sins. Loved, loved, loved this show, a brilliant set of songs, a burlesque dancer and a puppeteer/clarinetist with little angel wings who seriously looked like Timothy Claypole (a character from a long-ago children’s tv show).

The next two years the TLs were in the Pleasance Beyond, a soulless, functional, modern theatre with no ambiance at all. The performances were great but after the sleazy atmosphere of the Spiegeltent, well, it wasn’t the same overwhelming devineness, they were a band on a stage.

It was 2013 before they returned to the Fringe, playing at the Underbelly’s Cowbarn (aka Reid Concert Hall). A much better venue for them, I seem to the remember the lighting being really good, especially the uplighting on the bass player’s face, fair gave me the willies it did! Another great show with the usual crowd around their CD stall afterwards, they are quite prolific doing all sorts of musical projects, so there will always be new CDs to procure. Sadly I haven’t seen them at the Fringe since, so when they put a picture on Facebook with the comment Watch out Edinburgh, ooo.

So I got me a cabaret table seat in an old slightly dilapidated theatre, even walking in the ambience was right, a piano was centre front in amongst the cabaret tables, percussion at the right wing, bass in front of the left wing; liking it. Two gents with paled faces sat at desks on either side of the raised piano. The Tiger Lillies walked on to their instruments and played…

What a theatrical performance! Everything just outstanding!! The Last Days of Mankind was written in the early twentieth century, satirically charting the war and it’s effects on humanity as the author saw it in Austria; the collapse of civilisation in Europe at the time. Apparently the original play has over 200 scenes, almost 500 characters and an estimated 10 day running time! This new adaptation had a cast around 30 (from all around Europe), 35 scenes and a running time of about 3 hours, phew!

The whole theatre was the stage, with scenes emerging from the sides, the back of the central aisle, even the balcony! Pictures and film clips were projected on to the backdrop and curtain of a sparse stage. Martyn moved between the piano and stage to serenade us with his sarcastic dark wit (his accordian was a thing of beauty, always fancied learning to play one). It was a breath-taking, thought-provoking, mesmerising evening. My cabaret table seat was great, sometimes being right next to the action, but I am quite tempted to go back before it finishes to see it again from the balcony! After all, god knows when the Tiger Lillies will come back to town.

Toodle pip!

 

 

 

We need to talk about Seann

Yes I’m going to go on about Strictly again! This Couple’s Choice thingy is interesting, not something Strictly needs, just another show dance, ok so that zoot-suited dance was more than just a show dance, like awesome, man. Danny J-J didn’t disappoint with his jive as his score of 37 testified and how great was Alfonso Ribeiro!? He impressed me that he’d done some homework on everyone’s previous dances so to see how each had progressed, see, a lot smarter than he looks, and his Bruno impression was fun. Alfie should come over more!

Hallowe’en is a great week on Strictly, hair, make-up and wardrobe really go to town. Kate and Aljaz looked stunning as ice statues, shame their dancing did match the same standard but it was the rumba; Lauren looked fab as an evil queen and really channelled her inner Disney villianess for her paso doble; and Stacey made a cool Dr Who, her outfit was fab-u-lous, those cullottes – so stylish, Jodie Whitaker’s probably on to wardrobe now dropping hints! Kevin’s choreography made for a daring tango that they pulled off with aplomb.

Some of the tunes and singing left something to be desired, but I seriously loved their 90 second take on Screamin Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You, sleazy, sparse and soulful. I’m assuming giving that piece to Seann and Katya was no amusing accident, come on, we weren’t all born yesterday! But if you’re gonna go, that’s the music to go with, and then for an encore their final dance picked up from the middle of Bat Out Of Hell, “If I’m gonna be damned you know I wanna be damned, dancing thru the night with you…” I’d say that was a clear two fingers up to the “outraged and disgusted” mob. Good for you, mate!

So yes, we need to talk about Seann (or at least I intend to). The last few weeks I’ve delved into the Facebook Strictly page and my, the self-righteous, vitriolic, plain downright nastiness of some posters took my breath away! Seann Walsh could have had no idea of the world he was stepping into and how OTT the media and zealous fans can be. So he’s doing pretty well as a comedian, he will have had some dealings with press and publicity but never anything on this scale, and acting like a baying pack of hounds out for blood – his!

He isn’t the first to have a drunken snog with someone he shouldn’t and he sure won’t be the last. As for all the comments of how cocky and smug he is, really? I didn’t see any of that enough to slam him for it, we can all come across as smug or cocky in a moment or two, but really, he’s just a fallible bloke. Let’s not judge him for unwisely (and under the influence of alcohol) giving into the temptation of kissing a beautiful, passionate woman with whom he’d been up close and physical, after all, he’s a comedian not an actor who’s day job is to turn passion and emotions on and off as necessary – let’s face the professionals who should be able to deal with it better often don’t, let’s see, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise….

But Bruce, he left his poor long-suffering girlfriend on her own on her birthday, what a selfish prick! Err, she mentioned that in the same statement she claimed she didn’t want to come across as a victim, but hey, she knew the mob won’t notice the contradiction there! They’d been together five years, she must have known what he was like, warts and all, but she chose to put with his foibles as he put up with hers (everybody has foibles!) This strong independent young woman was sitting at home alone on her birthday – notice that she never mentioned whether they had arranged anything or that he was expected to be there. Woman, we’re not mind-readers, your birthday, why hadn’t you called the shots? Why weren’t you out or in with friends? The fact that she never mentioned that he missed anything that had been planned speaks volumes, she should have made it clearer she wanted him home straight after practice. Again, five years, long enough to know him.

At the end of the day, Seann was never going to get to the final anyway, better dancers than him will fall by the wayside. He gave it a shot, he learned many lessons along the way, he made a stupid mistake, but he’ll always have that Matrix Paso Doble!

 

It’s strictly about the dancing!

This year is turning out to be fun!! And at present we get the rivetingly marvellous Killing Eve later on (enough time to do the washing up and plonk back down with a glass of something). I was away to darkest Yorkshire last weekend so recorded everything to enjoy once I was back up, including Dr Who (of course). Yes, they do have telly in Yorkshire but I’m always way too busy to watch any!

Movie Week is always good, but I sometimes wonder about the choice of movies and the music, and who makes the choice and determines which couple gets what? The Powers That Be can definitely make or break couples with their decisions this week. Poor Lee gave it his best but the cha cha has brought down better male celeb dancers than him and The Power of Love is a tad overplayed and cliched now. Even an improved dance-off performance wasn’t gonna save him. Mind I only placed him in the middle-rank, didn’t reckon he’d make it to the end anyway.

My highlights were Vick & Graziano, Kate & Aljaz, Stacey & Kevin and Seann & Katya. I must just say, I’m really having to watch what the print goblin in this tablet is playing at, he clearly doesn’t care for Strictly considering how much he keeps changing names and words when he thinks I’m not paying attention! Those four dances also had the best music for me, especially Why Don’t You Do Right? Kate nailed that performance, wowzah! Happy keeps floating in and out of my Desert Island Discs, but I was unsure beforehand how well dancing minions would come across, hey wow, I loved Stacey & Kevin’s routine.

And then there was the Matrix paso doble! Wow, he really trained hard for that and gave it everything. That foot lift and slo-mo bit – she has incredible core strength. Orchestrated music rather than a song can really make a performance stand out from the crowd as well, who would have thought we’d have the Matrix Theme on Strictly?  And I loved Seann’s comment afterwards “Bruno, you can have your trousers back now!”

Strictly speaking Dr Ranj and Janette could have done their paso last week too as Cancion del Mariachi is part of the soundtrack of Desperado, check it out on YouTube, it has Antonio Banderas singing it! Late on last night I had to play it, one of my favourite soundtrack albums, not a bad track on it. I may have to watch the film again, and that means I’ll have to watch El Mariachi as well, I would thoroughly recommend both, if you don’t mind a bit of violence, that is.

So I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon, who will be oot this week? Well, if the public vote similar to the judges then the dance-off will be between Kate and Katie as theirs were the lowest scores, 20 and 18 respectively. Next above them with 25 a piece are Charles and Lauren. That’s Charles’ fourth 25 in a row, dancing to a great disco classic; but no matter how well Lauren danced, jeez those dress colours were distracting and not in a pleasant way!

I did feel for Kate having to dance to Africa by Toto and a samba too! Not a kind dance anyway – but to Africa?! Toto only ever had one good song Hold The Line and even that has lost something over the years (yes, I’m really showing my age now). On the other side of the scales, one of THE naffist, overplayed songs Hi Ho Silver Lining was a joy to hear with Stacey looking totally mod and really selling the performance.

Ok, but strictly about the song and dance – the charleston to Bills, well the song doesn’t move me but neither does it annoy me and it does kinda tie in with a busy pizza place. Seann did do plenty of swivveling and that first lift! Loved it! Did the judges mark up? (For the first time ever I had a look at the Strictly Facebook page, the comments are brilliant, people don’t half get their knickers in a twist!) Yes, I think they did but as I’m ranking him in the middle still, I don’t think there’ll be any harm done from it. Plus, the silly sod could do with a boost after the week he’s just had 😉

So what was so important last Saturday? Exploring pubs in deepest Yorkshire that time and town-planners forgot……

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Strictly honestly – I was in the pub!

Yeah, what was going to be a lunchtime/afternoon session rather overran. There was me reckoning I’d be home for Pointless Celebrities, which was a Strictly line-up, and next thing I knew it was quarter to eight! Well, there’s a lot to put right about the world in these current times, a couple of pints wasn’t anywhere near long enough to cover everything! And when the fresh air hit me I was rather hungry so a fish supper had to be purchased, yes, had to be (a fish supper means fish and chips, in fish and chip shops here if you want anything with chips it’s a supper). So after all that I only made it home for the last two couples on Strictly, damn, but it was a fine pub session taking in the Jolly Judge, Bow Bar, Dagda and the Cask and Barrel.

Hurrah for BBC iPlayer, I watched both shows on Sunday evening instead. No, I didn’t watch Bodyguard, am I the only one in the country who hasn’t seen any of it? Maybe I’ll get round to it sometime before another series comes out.

So Strictly…… well I did say about making some reference to Danny John-Jules’ Cat and, blow me down, first off was himself and Amy doing a foxtrot to the theme tune to Top Cat – I loved that cartoon so much as a calf. He’s the oldest celeb but crikey he’s pretty fit and has some great moves, I reckon he’ll go far.

Poor Seann had the tango, not an easy dance for a male celeb to start with, but he did go for it so he gave it plenty of attitude and character to make up for lack of technique. The scores weren’t helped by Katya putting in a lift that wasn’t allowed, but ever a comedian Seann said it wasn’t a lift, more of a “chuck”. Being used to hecklers and the like, the judges may find he’s one contestant who’ll always have a smart quip back at them.

My other immediate favourite, Charles Venn, wowzer! Oh yay, he can dance, and he and Karen looked amazing together in red. Joe Sugg was actually pretty good at the jive, I was pleasantly surprised, but I’m not sure how he’ll cope with a rumba! Kate Silverton Cha Cha’d with plenty of attitude, but I reckon she’ll be a half-wayer. Another half-wayer I reckon is Graeme Swann, but I did love hearing Soul Limbo, of course he had to dance his Samba to the cricket theme tune, and Oti was as scrummy as ever!

Generally it’s another pretty good year with plenty of potential winners. More about the others next week. First out? If they’re in the dance-off, Susannah and Anton. Of course, if they get enough public votes to avoid it ….. but I’m not sure she has enough fans, even with Anton’s over-the-top antics.

If you’re thinking, what? Another post about that dancing tosh! Well, let’s say, if the title contains the word Strictly that’s what it’ll be about, forewarned and and all that.

Nighty night!