That’s all right? I’ll say!

Saturday night I toodled back to the cinema for Baz Luhrman’s Elvis and I loved it! Sure he plays fast and loose with the facts but this a Baz Luhrman movie not a gritty warts’n’all biopic, what did people expect?! I had no problems with Austin Butler’s Elvis, and Tom Hanks’ Colonel Parker was a great departure from his usual roles, bet he enjoyed playing the bad guy for once (has he ever played a bad guy before?). The soundtrack is great fun, I enjoyed the mix-up of styles, all the scenes around Beale Street were a total delight for eyes and ears alike; and Trouble, oh my, it was rather fine.

Elvis does skirt around a lot of stuff but how long would it have been to get everything in? It was already two hours 39 minutes long, not that I particularly noticed the time, the film fair sweeps along and carried this viewer with it. For me it’s a cautionary tale of talented boy looking for fame and fortune makes a deal with a devil which ultimately costs him everything, any resemblance to Elvis Presley was intentional. I could happily see it again before it disappears, that’s how much i enjoyed it!

The title of this post, you may have guessed, comes from the song That’s All Right which features in various forms through Elvis. It’s also the second song that The Scat Rats played on Friday evening in Stramash, it usually crops up in their sets somewhere (you can catch a bit of it on my Instagram). I headed up the road determined to catch more than the last few songs of the first set (I always intend to get there earlier but time seems to go incredibly fast late Friday afternoons), haha, turns out the bar was so dead they’d held off starting for a while. It happens in summer, people are staying out in gardens and beer gardens longer to enjoy the evenings; even when the lads started it was still very quiet but their magic touch weaved it’s way out into the streets and drew people in (to paraphrase from Field Of Dreams, if you play, they will come). A very appreciative crowd they were, mind The Scat Rats were on fine form, particular stand-outs for me were Tonight The Streets Are Ours and The Man In Me, beautiful both 💛

I’m being spoiled this month as the Rats are back in Stramash a week on Friday and the Fridays before and after that it’s the Willie Dug Band in the early evening slot, yay. Earlier today Stramash shared on Facebook that the Rats will also be there seven o’clock on Friday 5th August, ah, first Friday of the Fringe so I’ll most likely be seeing previews, hey ho. Yes, it’s just over four weeks until the Fringe preview shows start! And kinda Fringe related, the Cowshed as was during previous Fringes under George IV Bridge is now an extension of Subway next door, the Cowshed folk have mooved to 27 West Port. They opened just recently, it’s a low building on the right-hand side as you leave the Grassmarket; a pub that’s never appealed to me in all it’s many reincarnations over the years, but as it’s now the new Cowshed I popped in for a look after the cinema. I was pleasantly surprised, especially as they’re having live music every evening – I missed Del & Bart (from The Kennedy’s Project) earlier in the week according to the board on the wall.

Just three more sleeps ’til this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival programme is properly out i.e. in solid paper form. There’ll be billboards up all around the place with Fringe posters in no time. My first Fringe on Instagram, if only I knew what I was doing with it!

Toodle pip!

Movies, music and a little light rain

Last night I went to see Top Gun: Maverick, nothing unusual there, I am a regular cinema-goer; the thing is, I’ve never particularly liked Tom Cruise and I’ve never watched Top Gun all the way through (even on telly, the bits I’ve seen have never enticed me to sit and keep watching). I still don’t get the guy’s appeal, but Top Gun: Maverick was an enjoyable watch even if it was fairly predictable. Yes, yes, the flight scenes were great but that’s only as expected from a Tom Cruise movie.

I saw a much better film on Sunday afternoon, I was dragged along for company (why are some folk unable to go to the cinema on their own?!), certainly wasn’t expecting to enjoy it I as much as I did. The movie? Good Luck To You, Leo Grande a film about a retired widow who hires a sex worker so that she might finally experience all the things she missed out on through her very unfulfilling marriage. It helps that the widow is played by Emma Thompson, who once again turns in an amazing performance; and Daryl McCormack as Leo, he’s well grand, acts as fine as he looks (in his case I can see the appeal).

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande is intelligent, funny and frank, hats off to Katy Brand for creating and writing such a great grown-up film. All the self-doubts, fears, overanalysing of Emma Thompson’s character will be well recognisable to many, myself included; oh, to have been more gungho and fearless through life. The denouement of the film was perfect and completely satisfying (he said with a wink), of course I say this as a moose, what older human males will make of it I really couldn’t say.

The cinema wasn’t my only outing on Sunday, in the evening I went along to La Belle Angele for the launch of Nicole Cassandra Smit‘s debut album Third In Line (that’s Nicole as in the one with the back up crew). Tonight the crew weren’t backing her, instead they were all out front in the audience. Wow, she sure gave a captivatingly awesome performance with a fine brass section on the side. The album will be released on 8th July, there’s already a single off it on Spotify. Yeah, I really should get on and book a ticket for her show at the Jazz Festival.

Let’s just go back one day further to Saturday, a fine afternoon – until I trotted along to Waverley Bridge to see if The Kennedy’s Project were playing. They were, with extras, and they kept playing through the shower, it went on for a good (or bad?) ten, fifteen minutes or so, but it was fairly light. Lucky for me the person behind put up a brolly which nicely sheltered me from much of the precipitation. The band retaliated against the weather with Have You Ever Seen The Rain? (I’ve put a clip of it on Instagram, you can indeed see the rain on it). The extras? Dara Watson trying to keep her harp relatively dry (yes, she from Whistlebinkies a few weeks back with Bart from TKP) and Jay Supa (frontman for Supa & Da Kryptonites).

Even after the sun came back out during Hound Dog, the rain refused to give up for a while, not that anyone was driven to seeking shelter elsewhere, most stayed to watch. Finally the band outplayed the rain and finished the set in glorious sunshine. Ah, the joys of a Scottish summer!

was it something I said, guys?

A is for Aidan, Alex and Arthur

Just fourteen days to go before the solid-form, paper Edinburgh Fringe programme is finally released. Can’t bloody wait!! I’ve tried having a look around it online but it takes so long to get anywhere, and all that clicking back and forth for more information, can’t be doing with it. See, you can look in the paper version and there’s everything immediately in one glance, the blurb, the venue, the dates and all the varying prices, all there together, no messing. Checking online I’d still have to write all the details down, all that scribbling would take a long while and use paper anyway.

Yes, I took a peek yesterday, when I clicked on Browse What’s On it said there were 3196 results; I filtered out the Online shows and it came back with 3124 results; then I took out Children’s Shows, Events and Exhibitions (apparently there’s 199) leaving me with 2925 to browse through. And that’s another thing, I thought I’d just look through to the end of the A’s, then the next time I’d pick up with the B’s – there’s only previous and next choices of pages, no way of jumping straight to page 30 to the start of B (If there is a way it’s not obvious).

Actually the first shows listed are the ones with numerals at the start, about 30; one for the night owls is 2am at The Jazz Bar. The A’s always have a few beginning AAA to get the first listings, followed by a few Aaaaaaaaaargh…. shows (round about that number of a’s, I didn’t bother counting). I noticed Henry Naylor has a new show, Afghanistan Is Not Funny, this time he’s performing himself; and his one woman play Angel from 2016 is back again.

Joys, Mr Goatley is back with Aidan Goatley: Tenacious but not at the Sweet venue in the Grassmarket this year, he’s on at ZOO Playground at High School Yards instead. Also back is one of my finds from last year, Alex Farrow, still with Laughing Horse but in Cabaret Voltaire this time. Oo, I had a disagreement with a chap the other week who said that the Liquid Room was on the left-hand side near the bottom of Blair Street (it’s not, it’s on Victoria Street) he was obviously thinking of Cabaret Voltaire, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember it’s name at the time! Last year his solo show was Philosophy Pig, this year it’s Alex Farrow: Philosophy Machines, he may not be teaching philosophy any more but he’s not ready to give it up yet, and if there’s comedy to be mined from it, well.

Arthur Smith is back, of course. He must be in the running for longest-running Edinburgh Fringe act by now. Hmmm, I must check that out sometime but not right now as its way past my bedtime, so I’ll bid you good night.

Good night!

A somewhat potty weekend

Friday late afternoon, the weekend had begun! I had an inkling, so I took a long detour to Tesco’s via Waverley Bridge – good call! The Kennedy’s Project were playing, so I settled myself on one of the concrete roadblocks to watch. Two songs later the heavens opened and the band had to stop and I scarpered home double-quick sans shopping.

The Kennedy’s Project on Waverley Bridge

The downpour wasn’t actually for too long before the winds blew it away and the sun reappeared, thinking about it now, I would have possibly dried quicker if I’d gone back outside but once soaked twice shy, and meals don’t make themselves. I had more musical entertainment lined up for my evening – a Scottish Blues Train. Not on a train, in a bar on the Cowgate called Legends, next door to Sneaky Pete’s. I’m not sure when it became Legends, it was called Opium for quite a few years (I was only ever in Opium once or twice, I didn’t care for it); back in the late 80s/early 90s it was called the Casbah, that’s when we regularly headed late on, unwilling to let the night end. We had some epic times in there!

Anyway, this Scottish Blues Train was made up of three bands, first up Fullfat, sadly I missed most of the set but what I did catch was sound. Second up were Eustace, I liked them. A good solid sound, a powerful voice and a fine banter between songs; I would definitely see Eustace again next time they’re in town. It felt a bit odd being back in that upstairs room, I kept looking round trying to remember how it was. Either the back wall has been moved forward or I was standing where the bar used to be, the little vaulted ceiling bits at the back of the stage were from the opulent Opium days and definitely no mirrors anywhere, it was dark and dingy. The bar still serves cans of Red Stripe, always our tipple there, now as before, there wasn’t much else I actually care for.

And then the mild-mannered janitor came on stage, okay so it was Jed Potts and the Hillman Hunters. Mild-mannered janitor? Err, there was a cartoon back in the mid 70s and for some bizarre reason Mr Potts always brings it to mind. It would probably make more sense to think of Clark Kent – the quiet, unassuming guy in the heavy-rimmed glasses, takes them off and picks up his guitar…… Okay, one, I don’t much care for Superman, and two, that’s a little ott, not that Jed Potts isn’t a brilliant guitar-player, he definitely is. Brilliant but a light air with it, he has a joie de vivre about him that’s infectious (I’ve put a short clip of him on Instagram, see if you’re not grinning by the end of it!) So Friday night was pretty damn fine, I wandered home wondering when I’d next get to see Potts play.

Sunday evening I had a date with a hot Brazilian lady – Flavia Couri was playing the Voodoo Rooms again, okay, with her husband along too, they are The Courettes. This time they were in the Ballroom, last October they packed out the Speakeasy; you read my thoughts at the time in Speak easy at the Voodoo Rooms if the pingback works (hopefully a click or two will take you to it). For just guitar and drums, the music sounds so full, must be the fuzz, and Flavia’s voice is straight from the sixties with the look to match. Standout favourite song for me was Strawberry Boy, yes, The Courettes were, as their backdrop said, fabulous.

That would have been a good evening in itself, but the night was not over! From the Voodoo Rooms I headed to Stramash where another lovely lady was playing the ten o’clock slot, Nicole & The Backup Crew, I was in time for the second set, sweet! And oh yes, Jed Potts is part of the Backup Crew (when he’s not busy elsewhere like the previous time), nice to see him again so soon. There’s a wee clip of Nicole Shakin’ All Over on Instagram, so’s my recording of it but it’s not too bad (not paying for premium, I can’t put video clips on my blog).

Nicole giving it some sass ❤

I would have headed home but I checked Facebook as I left Stramash (no signal inside) and happened to see a recent post by Whistlebinkies; the band at midnight was Fly Mo and The Strimmers. This name meant nothing to me but one of the two pics was of Jed Potts, hmmm, Binkies was only a short detour home and it wasn’t yet midnight…… Of course I went along, and indeed there he was, this time with Euan on bass (fellow Crew member) and the drummer from Friday night (I’ve mentioned a few times how incestuous the band scene is here). What a fine way to finish off the weekend!

It’s been quite fair all in all

It’s a mizzly, drizzly day out there today but, hey, after the last week the plants need it. The weather even stayed nice over the Meadows Festival weekend, breezy but sunny. They built it and, indeed, the people came.

Arthur’s Seat just peeking over the tops of the trees there
a sunny Meadows Festival

The stalls were back with the usual unusual, the food vendors all did roaring trades, local success Stewart’s Brewing ran the beer tent, and there was live music in all three corners of the main area on the Saturday. The stage for upcoming bands was back, Out of the Bedroom Open Mic was another, and of course the Main Stage, the latter going on through Sunday too. The one problem with spending much time there is the time wasted standing in the queue for the loos, always long! The Meadows don’t have any bushy areas to disappear into, but, just a short saunter away is the Dagda Bar very handy for relieving one’s bladder and thirst without the long waits in line.

the usual unusual – a parrot and his boy
the usual unusual – vital in every kitchen!

Sunday evening saw me trotting up to Whistlebinkies to catch a duo I’ve been hearing about on social media that’s really had me intrigued – Harp & Guitar. Bart from The Kennedy’s Project has teamed up with harpist Dara Watson to create some amazing blues sounds! I arrived just as they were playing Wicked Game, oh boy, sublime, no need for vocals, just guitar and harp, beautiful.

just guitar and harp, beautiful

Most of the set was instrumental with Bart adding his low gruff voice to the odd one. A Little Drop of Poison from Shrek 2 was in there, a great choice as Bart sounds more than a little like Tom Waits; Minnie the Moocher put in an appearance too, onbe he often plays with the KP. You can catch a bit of their take on Havana on Instagram, yes I’ve recently taken the plunge! That’s on there and there’ll be other stuff not on here, please take a look and follow me, please! (it’s bruceonthefringe or Bruce T Moose)

On that note I shall sign off to take some exercise, it’s not looking quite so damp outside now. I’ll leave you with a couple of pics taken in the Park a couple of days ago. Toddle pip!

You wait two years for a Festival ….

It’s June, the sun is shining and the Meadows Fair (or Festival, as it has become) is back again on the first weekend of the month, yay. Apparently not as big as it was before Covid, not down to Covid but our money-grabbing, anti-locals council; the usual space in the Meadows has been priced out of the Fair’s range, so it will all be in the area that was previously just an extra spill over corner. I noticed the other day that the travelling fairground has come back in it’s usual spot, it comes for about seven or eight days.

a fort, anyone?

The Meadows Fair is wonderful for spotting odd buys on the bric-a-brac stalls and bumping into old acquaintances you haven’t seen since the last time. There’s live music right through the day til six o’clock. Indeed, this year they’ve been seriously promoting the bands on Facebook, check them out at Meadows Festival Edinburgh. No mention of a second smaller stage for young, upcoming bands this year, so I don’t know if that’s happening or not. Annoyingly I have somewhere else to be on Saturday from noon, but I should manage to be up there in plenty of time for Black Cat Bone at five o’clock.

do you wanna get ahead?

I may be a tad whacked on Saturday because The Buccaneers are playing the midnight slot at Whistlebinkies on Friday night. I’m thinking of seeing the new Dr Strange film beforehand, the 8:40 showing won’t finish until 11:15 which gives a nice time to walk from the cinema to Binkies. [EDIT it was just Binkies nonsense again, I checked with Mr Marah, he was away playing on Islay] It is a good stop-off point on my home from a movie, I went to check out their Legendary Open Mic Night on Monday after seeing Downton Abbey: A New Era (very enjoyable if you’re a Downton fan – very predictable but the script is witty with the Dowager Countess getting all the best lines as usual). Why is Binkie’s open mic “legendary”? I don’t know, maybe there is a history that justifies the term, I hope so, legendary to me is a term that should be whispered by others not claimed for oneself.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival will be fully back this year, disappointingly not this month. They’ve put it back in August like it was until around 2007 when it moved to June; I much prefer it in June, there’s enough to see in August with it! I’ve now had a look at the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival programme for this year, the lovely Nicole Smit has two shows on the final weekend. Oo, it’s a great venue, the Piccolo tent, perfect for Nicole Smit: Travelling Tent Show to celebrate the music of 1920s tent shows; I don’t have a ticket yet but I shall! (at £18 it’s pricey for me, but she’s worth it)

Free to wander around will be the Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket on Saturday 16th July and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival (around the Mound and Princes Street) on Sunday 17th July. Fingers crossed for a sunny weekend! It’s starting to feel like an Edinburgh summer now, where’s my sunglasses?

It’s good to be back

……said Messrs Marah and Rough at least a dozen times each last night. Yes, those Scat Rats were back on the seven o’clock slot at Stramash on Friday evening, yay! It’s been a whole five weeks since the last time – some of us were having withdrawal symptoms. “Good” doesn’t really cover how great it was to see them again!

It was the usual mix of covers and their own stuff, one cover they do divinely is Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Richard Hawley (I had to look that up). It’s a shivers down the back, bittersweet, honey of a song; I really should check out more of Hawley’s stuff, I think. They don’t often play it, so it’s a treat when they do as their harmonies really shine on it. Another rarely performed treat was Bob Dylan’s The Man In Me, was I the only one who immediately thought of The Big Lebowski? Probably not. Carl’s guitar work was beaut here, the Scat Rats really were glad to be back and it showed.

As usual now Babe Station was in there, Hot Blondes In Your Area Tonight and Gouching On The 33 from the upcoming Logan’s Close album also got a look-in. And if you want to check out the acoustic versions of these three gems you can! When LC went back to Germany earlier this month they performed them live during a radio interview, Logan’s Close Interview & Liveset on Chocolate Soup radio station, available to watch on Facebook. I’ve gotta mention the neat little segue in the Rats final song last night; You Can’t Judge A Book as usual had a crowd up on the floor when a large bunch started doing an odd dancey walk thing round in a circle, our boys responded by breaking in a quick bit of Walk Like An Egyptian, nice one!

The evening was still young so I had another pint and hung around for the next band, The Moanin Bones. I’ve not seen them before even though they play Stramash and Whistlebinkies fairly regularly, the singer/guitarist Chris Buckley often does the sound for bands at Binkies, not really sure why I’ve never checked them out. They’re rather good, yup, I’ll go see them again; and I could be wrong but the bass player also plays with the Kennedy’s Project, he was very spruced up in a rather cool shirt last night but I think it was the same guy.

the Moanin Bones

In case you’re wondering why it’s taken me so long to post, I had to save the day down in Deepest Darkest Yorkshire, I was very busy. I may have taken the odd one or two pics whilst out pooch walking, I’ll leave you with a wee selection. Toodle pip!

I have no idea what the flowers are, sorry.

plenty of wild garlic flowering on the riverbank
Yorkshire, nuf said.

Are you ready?

Hey, yay! It’s that time again – Eurovision!! Just over an hour to go. I have marinated chicken thighs in the oven, parboiled spuds to be sliced and sauteed, bread garlic buttered to be put in the oven later, mixed salad all diced and refrigerated, prosecco in the fridge, hmmm, have I forgotten anything? Score cards printed out, yup. I did fancy making something nice for dessert but I was distracted a while this afternoon so that ain’t happening.

For the first time in ages I caught the Kennedy’s Project busking on Waverley Bridge so I just had to linger. The sun was shining and it was a gorgeous afternoon, the combination outweighed the idea of even more time in the kitchen. It was so good to see the Kennedy’s Project again, they make it easy to hang around awhile, great music as ever. And on great music, Logan’s Close are back in Germany; tonight they’re playing the Sonic Ballroom in Köln, just the name sounds amazing!

The lads flew over on Thursday to Berlin for a radio interview with three live songs thrown in, nice! Luckily it wasn’t just on radio, it went out on Facebook Live, you can check it out on Chocolate Soup’s page, Logan’s Close Interview & Liveset. All the songs are from the upcoming album which is mentioned, of course. LC will be back over on the continent in June for Spoorpark Live at Tilburg in the Netherlands. I’m really gonna have to get myself over sometime. They hope to do a big tour in Europe once the album is released, hmmm, a moose on the move, a travel blog. Maybe?!

Oo, best check my chicken thighs. Good luck, everybody! Let’s face it, everyone will be fine if Ukraine wins – that’ll be a big two fingers up to Russia!

There’s been some ukeing goin’ on

The kitchen was a real state last evening, but that didn’t stop me from popping down to the Kilderkin for the Uke Hoot. Hey, the fridge freezer still wasn’t fully defrosted, a small pool of water was still collecting in the bottom, but not enough to spill out on to the floor if I left it for a couple of hours. Besides defrosting and cleaning it, I’d pulled my fridge freezer out from the wall to clean the floor and paint the last bit of kitchen wall. Yes, I painted behind the fridge freezer, I knew it wasn’t done and it irked me, plus there was just a small amount of paint left in the tin, it made sense.

Yes, I hooted my uke last night, it’s quite liberating! A small group of enthusiastic uke players meet up to play and sing songs, all abilities welcome, just do it with gusto and you’ll fit right in. There’s a comprehensive songbook to pick from, some of the regulars have it on tablets but there are solid copies to share around. Folk just call out tunes to play next, there was My Girl, Two Princes, Dreaming (a Blondie song I’d completely forgotten), a few Beatles tunes, of course; my suggestions were Sunny Afternoon, Runaway and Pretty Flamingo. All washed down with Stewart’s Holyrood Pale Ale (well the voice did need lubricating) at the very reasonable price of £2.30 for half a pint. It’s now £2.90 in Stramash, I guess that’s the difference between diy entertainment and getting in professionals!

I was back in Stramash last Sunday night, drinking Stewart’s Citra Blonde, a very hoppy session ale, nice but not as nice as the Holyrood Pale Ale but it is 40p cheaper for a half! The Buccaneers were playing after midnight but I went along at ten for the band before, Nicole & The Back Up Crew; never seen them before but I know Nicole has sung at a number of Fringes as part of the Blueswater Presents line-up, it seemed a good time to finally check her out.

Holy moly, ay caramba, like, wow, don’t I feel stupid for missing out til now!! What a voice, what a presence, what a cutie, Nicole Smit is the whole package; super talented and sweet’n’sassy. A quick check reveals that she’ll be performing Blueswater Presents: Queens of the Blues Live at the Jazz Bar again this year (six shows), definitely worth a punt for blues lovers. Oh, and Nicole’s at the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival in July, I’ll be checking the programme for the details when it launches tomorrow.

Nicole and her trusty Back Up Crew in Stramash

I almost felt sorry for Mr Marah having to follow Nicole on stage, but hey, Carlos was fine. The band change over was easy as two of the Back Up Crew are also Buccaneers, Simon on drums and Ewan on bass (I was a tad confused when I walked in to see Simon already setting up the drum kit to his liking), as I’ve said before the band scene here can be quite incestuous. Stage right, the harmonic player was replaced by keyboards, stage left, that’s always Carl’s spot no matter who he’s sharing the stage with. I must ask sometime if there’s any particular reason for it – his best side? superstition? Special mention must be made of the night’s rendition of LA Woman (I say this as one who loved this track to death many years ago, yes, to death, when I really could not bear to hear it ever again) the Buccs have renewed my appreciation of it’s magnificence.

You would think that it was time to hit the sack when I got home at ten to three, au contraire, I made a sandwich, a flask of hot herbal tea, dug out an old picnic blanket, grabbed my uke and headed Park-ward. At five in the morning I was sat on Whinny Hill listening to the dawn chorus, a very grey dawn chorus, occasionally joining in strumming my uke (no, I was not playing Morning Has Broken). I was gently strumming away when I sensed an audience, slowly peering round there was a fox just a few feet away from me, wow! It stayed a few minutes more then continued on it’s way. Probably going to saying to it’s friends later, “You are not gonna believe what I saw in the park earlier – a moose playing a ukulele! Yeah, how weird is that?!”

a moose with a view

Hot blondes in the Auld Toun

I think the title of my last blog post confused a few Americans – they went looking for whisky talk and found a Dutch band instead! How to get attention though, just put the word scotch in, or maybe I’ve just suddenly gotten very popular in America?! Hahaha, nah. So what’s new? Not a lot. Oh, the Uke Hoot is back at the Kilderkin on Wednesday evenings, I really should get along there one week. I’m currently trying to master a Blues Shuffle in G that I found online, it could take a while but hey, it’s a fine excuse for not doing other things that I should be doing.

I was inspired to search out some bluesy uke playing after seeing Mr Marah play not once not twice but three times last weekend. Yay for social media keeping me informed – it’s not stalking when folk put their schedule on Facebook! First off, The Buccaneers were playing the after midnight slot at Stramash on the Thursday night. I had intended to go down to Leith Arches earlier that evening as Willie Dug was playing there along with three other bands; annoyingly, after tea my little relax on the sofa turned into a big time nap til around ten o’clock, dammit. A couple of episodes of Lucifer perked me up for stepping out into the night and up to Stramash.

Carl was back in Stramash for the seven o’clock slot Friday evening with fellow Scat Rat Scott Rough. Oo, we were treated to Hot Blondes In Your Area Tonight from the upcoming Logan’s Close album, nice! This pared down version really brought out the bittersweet-sounding chords and harmonies; music to make your soul soar whilst at the same time tearing a rip in your heart. A young couple completed the romance of the song by dancing together to it, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to be enchanted for those few minutes, that moment in time.

Less than twenty-four hours again and the Scat Rats were doing an afternoon set in Whistlebinkies. I just caught the second set, it was my reward to myself for spending the previous two hours up a ladder carefully painting the final inch strip around the top of the kitchen walls. Hey, I have high ceilings, the concentration required to paint that neatly and not fall off the ladder was intense, I deserved to sit in a dark room with great music playing after that! There was a new Stewart beer on, a very nice session ale, just had the one half, you understand, just to relax after my endeavours.

And yay, I got to hear Hot Blondes again, a big reason for going along so I’m glad it wasn’t in their first set. There weren’t many in Binkies but the lads gave it gusto as always, Carl managed to break another two strings (I saw two go the previous evening!) – overexuberance?! So, a lot of the same songs always come up, but I could never be bored of listening to this pair, there’s always something to delight, a sound that’s tight but loose and always fresh.

In The Morning is sounding so good now (well, yes, it’s always sounded good but this is A+ with a cherry on top good); sitting in Binkies I realised this was the song on Friday night when I could have sworn Big Nick was there beside me enjoying it, saying, “Yep, those boys have it!” As the Rats wound up with You Can’t Judge A Book it finally twigged – Carl’s gotten a tad flamenco-ey at times, very like Nick did in the later years, that’s why he’s been hovering round.

Facebook tells me that The Buccaneers are back at Stramash this Sunday night (well, Monday 00:30), another late night. Mind, Facebook has also just told me the Close are back in Hamburg, a quick trip or will I be in bed before midnight on Sunday?

I’m sure Elsie won’t mind me sharing the latest shot of their magnificent mugs here