Puppets, hippos and an accordionist

It’s really warm out there and really busy, so many people everywhere! So many people who have totally forgotten everything they were ever taught as kids about crossing the road. The human gene pool could do really without them. They’re quite often the same people who walk two or three abreast across the pavement and expect you, the oncomer, to step into the road to avoid them; I used to, every time, now I check myself and carry on my own path, let them moved aside instead – so many times they completely, like a refusal to give way, keep coming on, then are astonished/annoyed that I expected from them what they expected from me (it is in fact less, I just expect the courtesy of being able to walk on the pavement, they expect me to walk into the traffic). And breath, rant over, humans, huh?!

Space Hippo is a case in point of how dumb humans can be; why is a hippo sent into space? – because all life on earth will be wiped out in five years and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Yes, you’re right, there is absolutely no follow-on logic there, this is the bizarre premise of Space Hippo but considering some the world leaders around today, hmmm. This is like an epic sci-fi movie, but told using shadow puppets projected on to a large screen. A poor female hippo is captured and sent into space, this is her story, meeting aliens, being used, lied to, befriended, getting caught up in an intergalactic war and ultimately discovering the power within herself. I told you it was epic!

The two puppeteers are amazing using over two hundred shadow puppets whilst also performing all the characters’ voices. The story whips along with laugh out loud bits along with wry and poignant moments; it is quite out there but if you see it, I’m sure it will charm you too ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A very different puppet show is Famous Puppet Death Scenes, this is dark, very dark, unsettling, grotesquely funny. Oh, it’s very funny if you have a macabre sense of humour; lots of puppets die, one poor thing dies over and over. The puppet show stage set is impressive and there’s quite an Edward Gorey feel to the whole thing. Mind, the first death will make most think of Monty Python as the big foot comes down. Catching strange and wonderful shows like this and Space Hippo is what the Fringe is all about ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2

Famous Puppet Death Scenes has an air similar a Tiger Lillies performance, their music would be the perfect accompaniment to it. Speaking of the Tiger Lillies, they’ve finally returned to the Fringe with a new show One Penny Opera, I have a ticket for next week, yay.

And now, something completely different Accordion Ryan’s Pop Bangers playing at the Counting House as part of the Free Fringe and popping up in various places during the day. He is the sweetest guy, a gentle, laidback soul, who (you may have worked it out) plays the accordion, rather well. The show is mainly his twist on popular pop songs but he sneaks in a few of his own compositions (I do like the Holister song). He arrived in Edinburgh a few weeks ago now, I first saw him performing at Whistlebinkies’ Open Mic Night and made a mental note. At 22:15 in an evening it’s a good time when folk will be up for taking a chance on a free show. He is highly entertaining with his mix of music and comedy, not for the prudish though! I’ll probably go see him again before the end of the Fringe ⭐⭐⭐⭐

That’s your lot for today, I’ll leave you with a pic of my latest Fringe mementos. The programme from Famous Puppet Death Scenes with a selection of cut-outs on the back to make my very own puppet death scene; and the Mochinosha Puppet Company’s comic book/flyer for Space Hippo (what a great idea!)

Silliness, Inc.

Come on, moose, focus! No playing out in the sun ’til you’ve written up a few more reviews. Well, as I stuck that pic up of The Establishment poster form 2017 at the end of my last post, let’s start with them. Yesterday I caught up with Neil Frost’s and Dan Lees’ latest Fringe offerings. The Establishment may have disestablished itself but these two have plenty going on. I had already PWYC for Neil Frost: Nan’s House of Fun, then just a couple of weeks ago I spotted that The Flop: A Band of Idiots was back (I failed to see it last year, yes failed, I did try hard) at Banshee Labyrinth, yay.

Neil Frost is at the Blundabus, a fitting setting for such an anarchic silly sense of humour. It is a small venue and he will talk to you wherever you choose to sit, but he’s very lovely and friendly so don’t let that put you off seeing this delightful show. You may wonder five minutes in what the show’s title is about, he’s still on his first riff dressed up like a scary psycho mouse, it’s actually a bittersweet look back at parts of his childhood. Neil Frost is obviously around ten years younger than myself as he thought Timmy Mallet was great in the 80s, really, he wasn’t. The show is on at 8pm in the Blundabus, which is next to the Potterow underpass (its passed by all the time by folk going between the Old Town/ Cowgate area and the university area around Teviot); definitely worth pausing there for 45 minutes to recharge your funny bone ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The Flop: A Band of Idiots wasn’t listed in the Fringe programme (it is now in the online version) but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt these last few years it’s that the Absurdists like to keep folk on their toes, always check the free fringe stuff regularly, the silliest comedy is worth the hunt. The Flop are the other half of The Establishment, Dan Lees, a third of Privates Tom Curzon and Cammy Sinclair, three gents who can make you laugh just by standing still. What a wonderfully musical and cathartic hour! Again, some friendly audience interaction, the front row seats are not to be feared, embrace your inner child and have fun. Besides being rather good at physical comedy our trio are musicians also, Dan on electric guitar, Cammy on percussion and Tom on strings, yes, he’s brought his double bass along again and a violin. If you’re not grinning from ear to ear by the end of the show, well, there’s no hope for you, I’m afraid.⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The Flop: A Band of Idiots is the perfect follow-on to Neil Frost: Nan’s House of Fun, and time for a beer or two in between. Be warned though, like last year this is going to get very popular so head to Banshee Labyrinth up to an hour before and pick up a token from the bar to ensure you’ll get in; they’ll appreciate it if you stay in there drinking but you can toddle back a while.

And while I’m talking silly, Grubby Little Mitts at Assembly George Square Studio 4 at 14:45 is very silly. Sullivan Brown is a lovely chap (Russian Roulette) and this year he’s up with a new show with Rosie Nicholls, obviously I was going to see it. Funny, subversive, charming, dark, daft; Sullivan does blustering magnificently and Rosie is marvellous, I like her, excellent character acting both of them, the two make a great team. The chaise longue plays its part well and doesn’t seem to mind being pushed and nudged around, I wonder did it come up with them or did they audition local chaise longue for the part? Oh, and this show may make you think twice before ordering a coffee anywhere later. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Now where’s my sunblock?

Toodle pip!

Another sunny day in Fringeland

It’s another glorious day in old Edinburgh town, gonna be hot today, maybe I should escape the Fringe madness for a couple of hours and go down to Portobello beach, soak up a few rays. For the Fringe acts this is the day it gets real – the giddiness of arriving in Edinburgh, previews, first weekend going wild, the packed houses of the 241 days, that’s all done now. Of course, apart from the initial Yay! We’re in Edinburgh! the PWYC (pay what you can) shows and the Free Fringe hit reality sooner, especially as folk (myself included) will have been making the most of the cheap offers, but now the pendulum swings the other way. The free Fringe shows puts the punters in charge of how much a show is worth, do they pay a tenner for a show that turns out to be rubbish or see a show that may turn out to be really good and worth every penny of that tenner? Or fiver or fifteen pounds if you’re really flush.

Today is also the day the Half Price Hut usually opens for business, sadly it’s no longer on the Mound and open until nine o’clock in the evening so that revellers can decide on a whim to take in a show as part of their evening. Instead, this year the day’s offers will be posted online and must be bought by six o’clock at the Fringe Box Office – am I the only one that thinks this is rather rubbish? For starters, the Fringe was going to make itself more popular with locals, hmmm, be at work, get home, eat, maybe a change of clothes, catch the bus into town and have already decided what you want to see, all by quarter to six?? (There will be a queue at the box office, let’s face it) Sorry, if you have a day job to go to and don’t live in the very centre of town you can forget HPH-ing for a fun evening.

The Hut’s old location also gave flyerers somewhere else to hang around, ready to give punters that extra push towards their show, the Royal Mile is packed enough as it is. There were obviously staff rotas for up until nine previously, so why not until nine now to help manage the crush there’s going to be late afternoon? Anyone who’s been on the Royal Mile in the last week knows it’s back up to peak capacity already in the afternoon; the times and place may deter some from bothering to get HPH tickets. I get that the old Hut was past it’s sell date and the Fringe don’t have the funds right now to get another one, but surely there’s a business in Edinburgh or Scotland that would like the publicity and prestige of putting up the dosh for a new hut? We need a new hut and laserboard, next year will do.

End of unexpected rant. Normal service will resume next post.

Toodle pip!

coming up next time, the Establishment comes apart!

Twenty One Returns

That is to say, there are a number of shows that did make the effort to come to Edinburgh last year, that are back again, some did come as WIPs (Work In Progress) in ’21 so there will be changes to them. I’m excited to see Rob Kemp: Agenda in a couple of days, that was excellent last year, I wonder if I’ll spot the changes. All three Privates are back with last year’s shows, alas, again no actual Privates show even though they do have a new show Great Ideas by Geniuses, which was premiered at the Brighton Fringe earlier this year.

Due to extremely popular demand last year I didn’t get to see Tom Curzon in The Flop: A Band of Idiots but this year I’m determined (he was in another show last year which I did see but thats not being repeated). Luke Rollason and Christian Brighty were both at Monkey Barrel last year so I was able to get tickets in advance to ensure seeing them. Christian has moved over to the Pleasance Courtyard (Below), let’s start with him.

Christian Brighty: Playboy is a brilliantly silly show with plenty of bawdy Carry On style humour. One obvious change from last year – no bows and arrows left on any seats for the audience to fire at him, shame! At least in Pleasance Below there’s quite a gradient up to the tech desk, so the avian messengers had easier downward flights to the stage. Pingback back time, if it works, see last year it was A win by a gnat’s crochet for young Brighty (click on the highlighted bit to see last year’s review), could he do it again?

Well I’m pretty damn certain there was no talking armchair in Luke Rollason: Bowerbird last year! It even has a wee segment to itself when it invited someone to sit on it (the guy at the front wouldn’t, nothing would persuade him, Brighty boy was in the audience and obliged the armchair), then Luke reappeared, kind of like those little odd bits in The Young Ones, remember them?! I did think he spoke more this year, as I previously noted that it seemed almost weird when he did talk. I’ve checked and my review from last year still stands, he is A barrelful of funny. Another pingback there, do let me know if they’re not working.

But which one won the battle of the Privates this year? Oo, gonna have to say Luke Rollason: Bowerbird (and that’s not just because he had badges at the end!). Mind, if you go to either of these shows and enjoy it, then do check out the other.

This evening I trotted up to Cabaret Voltaire to see Alex Farrow: Philosophy Machines last year it was Philosophy Pig – a man who doesn’t stray far from his favourite subject! Another interesting and entertaining show, oh, he did get in a mention about Andrew Nagel and his book again (well, I do recall his liking for bats). Last year Philosophy Pig did very well with plenty full audiences, mind that was a smaller room, but I’d say go for the Pay What You Can in advance option, this chap could get very popular again!

I’ll put this up I’ve seen some things, you know as it has my review of Alex Farrow: Philosophy Pig in it along with my reviews of The Return of Sherlock Holmes and Stand-Up Philosophy which are both back again. I’ve noticed that the company that put on Embassy Stomp are back again, hmmm. And John-Luke Roberts’ show was my favourite at that point of the Fringe. Ah well, it’s very late, to bed!

Red hats, chest freezers and an owl

Wow, it’s Sunday, pretty sure it is, yup, my Fringe calendar shows that I saw BriTANick last night and indeed I did. This afternoon I’m staying in to fill you guys in on what I’ve enjoyed so far. What? Staying inside on a lovely Sunday afternoon when the town will be heaving with Fringey things? Well, exactly, it’ll be heaving out there and I have to write something down, all these shows are starting to merge into each other in my head, some were perfectly bizarre enough on their own without added plots. I have been out earlier in Holyrood Park, I headed up by the lesser walked Lang Rig, round to Nether Hill and down the steps, a bracing walk on such a windy morning. Washing up from the last three days finally done, I have strong coffee and a punnet of cherries to help me along.

So, how was Fritz and Matlock? Pretty good. Two friends have managed to accidentally get locked in a house basement while putting a dead body into a chest freezer down there; they’ll be unable to get out for sometime. The house belongs to Fritz’s granny and the lads have been growing marijuana in the attic, dubious characters; this is drama and dark comedy about dependency within relationships, with occasional illumination from the chest freezer. Its well acted, well written and well conceived, it struck a chord with this moose.⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Pleasance Courtyard in The Attic)

I was back up in The Attic the following morning for Who Here’s Lost? an utterly delightful monologue by Ben Moor. The hour slips away as our narrator tells a tale about going on a road trip with his ex-mother-in-law who is dying from cancer; it’s funny, heart-warming, surreal, recognisable, beautifully eloquent. I really enjoyed it and intend to pop up to the Courtyard just after he’s finished one day as I want to buy the book of it (didn’t have any cash on me at the time), oo, and there’s a badge too, yay ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From the Pleasance Courtyard I headed to the Pleasance Dome for The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much by the Voloz Collective. The blurb in the Fringe had “Chaplin meets Hitchcock meets spaghetti western ….. live music ….. Lecoq-trained physical theatre company” how could I not see it? (great promo pic too, quirky, intriguing) Live musical accompaniment can really enhance a show, this guy played keyboards, guitar and harmonica (well if you’re gonna get a musician in, might as well get one who can play a few instruments). Could the Voloz Collective deliver what seemed promised? Yes, and how, with impeccable timing and nuances. Physical, comic theatre at its best, and that red hat amid the grey, loved it. Definitely gonna be one of my top shows this year (yes, three weeks still to go, it’s that good) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

While I’m on about the best ones so far let’s stay in the Pleasance Dome and go back a day to when I saw Crybabies: Bagbeard. Picked because the blurb said Absurdist and “a sci-fi infected narrative sketch adventure”, the pic was too dark to inform further. By George, my fringedar was right on the bullseye with this one, these lads are great. Right from the first scene, so, so funny and inventive, and the owl. I lost it when the owl appeared, not just because it was a ridiculous costume (that looked more like a strange bat to me) but it looked like John-Luke Roberts had just wandered into their show (it so looked like something he’d come up with and the chap is not dissimilar to him). And Victor Valentine – this character (and only when he was playing this one character) so made me think of the crazed FBI agent in one of my favourite films The Frighteners.

Crybabies:Bagbeard is hilarious, ridiculous, sweet, quite bonkers, there is a very good, clever plotline in there amongst the laughs. Another top Fringe delight for me. So what if there was a slight technical mishap, it was the first preview and they handled it well ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Must finish here just now. I do need to eat before my next show.

Toodle pip!

It’s started, cue the drizzle

Yes, it’s Preview Wednesday and right on cue the sky is completely grey and a gentle drizzle is alternating with a fine mizzle (the wetness just hangs in the air more with a mizzle, drizzle goes downwards). As this is a Brave New fringe my old habits are being reassessed for compatibility. For instance, I haven’t left Shakespeare For Breakfast til later, first morning in, bang! Seen. Actually it was more like Shakespeare For Brunch, this year they’re putting on a second performance each morning at 11:15 – rather good for folk who could never be up and at a venue by 10:00. Different venue again this year, an old favourite of mine, Roman Eagle Lodge or as it’s proper title C Aquila.

Ah, back queuing up those stairs to the very top room, but what’s this? The croissants weren’t just left on the seats, they were by the coffee (or tea or orange juice) at the entrance! While I applaud this change, no more wasted croissants, it does mean I don’t get to grab a few left ones as I’m leaving. How was the show? Very different to previous SfB productions, first and most obvious there’s only three players, one of whom is definitely much older than the usual demographic (not that there’s anything wrong with that, he’s probably younger than me actually); I don’t think I’ll be the only regular who’ll be like, oh, ok, not the same vibe. But it is cheesy in parts, some good groans, some not so good groans, great opening song, the usual bit of audience anticipation (just the one bit for one audience member).

This year’s breakfast dish is The Winter’s Tale, they asked the audience if anyone knew it, erm, I did it at A-level but remember only a smidgen, wasn’t about to admit to it. Oh, exit, pursued by a bear, I remember that, of course! Actually, once the story got underway a lot of it did come back to me but I couldn’t seem to recall Leontes hiring a private detective to look for his daughter, hmmm. Yes, Shakespeare with added film noir, oh and a ukulele (yay! There was a guitar played too in the play but ukuleles are way cooler). Not the best SfB production I’ve seen but it ranks pretty high, and bear in mind that was the first day. I’ll give it just a smidgen off four stars.

That wasn’t actually my first Fringe show this year, I saw that yesterday. Monkey Barrel Comedy decided to start a few previews early, it was a fairly easy choice to pop my Fringe22 cherry with John-Luke Roberts: A World Just Like Our Own, But…. He did not disappoint! On stage with just a washing machine with an old slimline corded phone in the powder tray, he told us about so many worlds like our own but for one thing, there were an awful lot of them, of course I remember it was very, very funny but few actual details. Two that really stuck with me were a world where corpses are buried feet first, so that if there’s a zombie outbreak it would like a game of Zombie Whac-A-Mole as they rose up; the other involved a cat and little red laser dots, I’ll say no more on that one.

The phone was there to enable other John-Luke Roberts from other worlds to phone him, he’d ask them about their worlds and whether they were happy. There is a reason for the washing machine but you’ll have to see the show to find that out, it is integral to the arc as JLR slowly reveals more, silliness and absurdity mix with pathos and profundity. I love this man that he can make me weep tears of laughter and recognition. A definite ☆☆☆☆☆

I’ve actually just finished this post off much later in the day as I had to shoot off to see another show. It was Fritz and Matlock in the Attic at the Pleasance Courtyard, more details next time; just mentioning it because I saw it purely by luck. Coming out of Shakespeare For Breakfast I debated whether to head home via the Royal Mile or the longer way by Teviot Square, the long way I decided. I fell into conversation with a girl with a small inflatable cow in her bag (as you would), of course it was to do with a show, would I like a free ticket? I wasn’t entirely sure it would fit into the day’s schedule but I took it, and phew it did, quite nicely in fact.

More from me about today tomorrow, I’m not too sure how or when as I have five shows lined up. I’ll probably put the odd pic up on Instagram and Facebook (Bruce T Moose). I’ll leave you with an old pic inside Roman Eagle Lodge, and yes the old stair lift is still there. Toodle pip!

Stannah Stair Lift to heaven?!

300 not out! Who’d have thunk it!

Did someone have a bad case of insomnia in the early hours?! Why do I ask? First off, I’ll level with you, this blog doesn’t have a big following, to describe it as small would be generous, hey ho, I’m hardly doing it for fame and fortune! If I brighten up someone’s day, give a little light insight into Edinburgh and it’s Fringe, I’m good with that. Anyways, when I checked in on my blog this morning the stats page showed that one person (in the UK) read twenty posts in the time since midnight. If you’ve come back for more, hello there, and if that insomnia is chronic, there are another 280 posts for you during those long, sleepless hours, maybe some of the duller ones will help you nod off.

I said the numbers involved because this happens to be my 300th blog post!! Yup, hang out the bunting, bake a cake, call a psychiatrist, that’s a lot of musings. Maybe I should pop out, get a few more pears and make that cake that I tried out last week (no, I didn’t freeze any of it, it all got guzzled down); doesn’t everyone keep a supply of eggs, marg, caster sugar and flour in? Kitchen necessities, don’t you know. 300 is an odd number, there are noughts involved so that’s like a landmark, but it’s not as standout as 100 or 500, know what I mean? At least it shows I’ve stuck with it, I don’t think my family and friends thought it would last long, just a daft bit of nonsense.

A little investigation showed that my reader read through all my posts from last August, hmmm. A Fringe fan? Or they randomly came across my first post of last year’s Fringe and carried on reading? A performer having a read how last year went? A Fringer checking me out, they like my style and now want to give me a free ticket so that I’ll review their show! Hey, it could be, don’t laugh there. Just last month I was offered a free ticket in order to get a show reviewed, yes, me! I felt quite flattered, then I read the contact form again. It was obviously a standard letter sent to any number of reviewers at the Edinburgh Fringe, hey, at least they’d picked up on me, that’s something.

Did i take them up on it? No, why? It’s a free ticket! Look I really umm-ed and ahh-ed about it. First off, it’s a play in that venue, the venue that really sucks, the venue I’ve never seen anything half decent in, St Augustine’s or as it’s called in August Paradise in Augustine’s (it really isn’t). That was almost enough right there, then I read the play description again and well, it’s obviously a very serious drama, a social commentary, sounds really earnest, not really my bag. Okay, so I’d be there to review it, but that little inner voice niggled and jabbed away at me. They’re only doing a short run, anyway, what difference would a review by me have made? I almost took up the offer just to put two fingers up to my negative fish.

All this is not to say I would turn down any other offers of free tickets, I’m available for reviews after Saturday 6th, just saying. I’m seeing sixteen shows up until then, Sunday may need to be spent chilling somewhere quiet if I’m not stuck at a keyboard typing furiously. I do wonder whether I’d feel slightly obligated on a free ticket, could I be a hard-nosed hack telling it like it is? (my nose is actually soft and squishy) I’m up for finding out.

Now I must pop out for some fruit, toodle pip!

Move over Lionel Ritchie, it’s Bea Arthur’s Seat now!

Hello you, I’m ba-ack, the moose is in the hoose. All my travel bits have been sorted, cleaned and put away, time to play! And yay, tonight sees the Scat Rats back at Stramash. Oh yeah, I realised some time after I wrote the last post that I hadn’t mentioned seeing the Scat Rats before, how remiss of me. A few weeks ago I popped into Stramash on my way to the cinema as I had some time to kill, some band called the Scat Rats were playing. Well, blow me down, it was Carl Marah and Scott Rough from Logan’s Close! Needless to say, I never made it to the cinema that evening, it was well after nine when the lads finished their second set. Just the two of them on acoustic guitars playing mainly covers and a few of their own. Oo, they played Babe Station, love that song, gonna have to go back and check it out on the Limbic TV gig, has it altered since then?

I’ve been back since Wednesday evening, just before six. I know it was just before six because I made a brew, grabbed some digestives and put the telly on just in time for Richard Osman’s House of Games. What a lovely surprise and long time no see, Andy Hamilton is on it this week (he’s doing rather well). He’s a very clever and very funny man; he’s created, written and directed comedies on radio and tv, he acts, writes novels and is known for appearing on radio and tv game shows. Apparently he still appears on The News Quiz on Radio 4, I don’t bother with it any more, gave up on it a few years years ago. For me, the Simon Hoggart years were the best, when Andy was on it regularly with the likes of Linda Smith, Jeremy Hardy and Alan Coren (them were the days!).

Googling Andy Hamilton, I’ve discovered that he performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in the 1970s going on to being a scriptwriter for tv comedies and radio. He’s been responsible for creating some great comedy – Drop the Dead Donkey in the 90s (essential viewing at the time), Outnumbered (out of the mouths of babies, nuff said), Old Harry’s Game on Radio 4 ( it did tail off in the later series) oh, and the wonderful film What We Did On Our Holiday. Bud and I saw him at the Fringe in 2009, he did one night at the Queen’s Hall, Andy Hamilton’s Hat of Doom. The review in my fringe diary reads “Good, sharp, but not really brilliant like we wanted. ☆☆☆☆”

If Andy wins tonight’s ROHOG he’s won the trophy for the week, he may well still win it if he comes second. I want him to win, he deserves it just for getting the answer Bea Arthur’s Seat in the Answer Smash round. Speaking of the Seat, I must go out and stretch my little legs.

Toodle pip!

The end of the Fringe as we know it?

Thirteen days ago The Times had a front page headline Two weeks to save the Fringe from oblivion, erm, so is this really it for the Fringe?! The chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Shona McCarthy has been asking the Scottish government to lower the two metre rule to one metre in venues to ensure at least some shows will be viable. She said acts that would usually come to Edinburgh in August are already arranging stuff in England because, well, they can. Quite why the two week deadline I can’t figure out, yes time is seriously running out for anything to happen in August, but why by 12th June? Or is that paper emphasising the clock ticking timebomb more than the chief exec?

Is there really a danger that two years without a full-on Fringe will mean the demise of the Edinburgh Fringe? The article states that “an alliance of ten venues recently warned that the Fringe was in danger of sinking without trace”. Oh boy, I know I’ve pondered such a thing, but I’m a top level catastrophist! I keep checking the BBC online news for updates but all I’ve read recently is that the Scottish government intend to extend their temporary emergency powers (that really doesn’t sound promising!). These temporary emergency powers were meant to expire in September but they want them extending until March next year, with an option to extend further until September 2022 if they deem it necessary. Wow. Cautious or controlling? Opposition parties have expressed concern that the government is trying to rush the bill through before the summer recess which means there won’t be time to properly scrutinise the details and fully debate it – call me cynical but I smell something fishy!

I haven’t seen anything that even hints the Sturgeon will agree to cut the two metres down to one. There have been a number of large trial events in England that have had good results, as in only few positive cases found linked to the events. Yes, there are new variants, some that spread quickly but they don’t seem to be as harmful (which come to think of it, way back last year some scientist said that as viruses mutate to survive they become less virulent as part of that survival process). There’s enough evidence to show that one metre distancing is good enough if the rules are followed. Many countries have gone down to one metre and seem to be doing okay, many businesses here are unmanageable and unviable at two metres. If businesses here have to abide by stricter guidelines, then the government could at least give enough assistance to alleviate some of the hardship caused by them.

I’ll leave you with a quote I saw this week from Scotland’s chief medical office, one Dr Gregor Smith, talking to a committee he said, “…. and if you are at one metre your risk is much greater than if you are at two metres ….” No shit, Sherlock! Who’d’ve thunk it! Of course there’s a higher risk, higher, but higher than what? What is the risk now and each day as more people get vaccinated? And much greater? I wonder the percentage that adds the “much”. In times gone by, folk carried snuffboxes about their person, these days we need saltboxes for a ready pinch to hand!

Toodle pip!

It’s downhill all the way

After doing my civic duty yesterday, I skidaddled down the road to the old country (so much quicker going down the way, as my old dad used to say). First morning woke early, ye gods, frost! And I’d thought, what a waste of time, when I had to cover a multitude of young plants around the garden with various objects yesterday evening. Apparently it’s been back to wintery coldness down here recently, but now I’m here things are gonna get warmer and, rather annoyingly, wetter.

Hurrah, teatime viewing is Richard Osman’s House Of Games. Ha, back in the day mother banished the new colour telly to the sitting room and insisted we all sat at the table for meals – it still feels slightly devilish even now to eat tea watching the telly down here! ROHOG is rather good this week, I do like Samira Ahmed, she and Angela Rippon (isn’t she looking great) compliment each other well in the pairs round. Meanwhile at the far end Dom Joly has been rather a misery guts, doesn’t like losing, does he? And then there’s the stand-up comedian, the rather amiable and unassuming John Robins, he’s whupping Dom Joly’s ass in the final round each day (oh, I hope saying that doesn’t damn John’s performance today). On checking wikipedia last night, I see he’s been performing at the Edinburgh Fringe since 2007, winning the Comedy Award in 2017 for his show The Darkness of Robins – how does his name not register with me at all?! I’ll have to look through my Fringe programs when I get back home and see why Mr Robins has stayed below my fringedar.

Oh joys! John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme is back on Radio 4 on Thursday evenings, I was happy to have the kitchen to myself to listen while (while or whilst? Linguistics?) I did the washing up. Oo, I wonder if he’s ever been on ROHOG? With the unusual things he dreams up I bet he’d be rather good on it, though his quickness on the buzzer wouldn’t be stand-up fast. Finnemore v Neenan would be a good match, I reckon, let’s add in, erm, Carrie Quinlan and Alice Lowe. Okay, so I think about people I’d like to see competing on ROHOG, more about that another time.

By the time I return to Auld Reekie the dust will have settled after the parliamentary election. No doubt it’ll all be whirled up again soon enough with independence talks. Politics suck, why can’t folk just try to get along better? Vive la différence! Another thing that sucks is waiting to see how this year’s Fringe will pan out. Registrations have now opened for it but, as the vast majority of venues won’t be viable under current restrictions, it’ll be more the Online Fringe than the Edinburgh Fringe. Hey, at least that could be fairly international, I mean, from next year there could be fair less Creatives over from europe thanks to Brexit, and then, god knows what will happen when Scotland goes for independence?! And let’s not forget the new Scottish Hate Crime Bill thats been disturbing many with its potential new puritanism. At this rate 2019 may turn out to have been the last ever full-on Edinburgh Fringe!!

Oh dear, that went bad. I’ll pick the mood back up by leaving you with a pic of the blue haze of bluebells in the local woods. Toodle pip!