So Close so fine

Last Saturday night was the best Saturday night in the last year, possibly the top night of all nights in the last year. Yes, the lads were rather good! Logan’s Close really knocked it out of the park. Two hours of music and banter all wrapped in a psychedelic haze – bloody excellent!

Hats off to LimbicTV, the set up and production were excellent (not that I know anything about these things). The layout looked good and there were lights and cameras galore to capture all the action then mix it up with trippy video effects (I really liked them!), and there’s Dave, the laidback but authoritative voice, great with the banter and keeping the Close on track and sounding awesome. Well, it all impressed me.

Should you choose to check out what has me still buzzing almost a week later (aren’t you curious?) that’s Logan’s Close on LimbicTV (Live from Aluhpasonics), not only will you hear great music, there’s chat on such diverse topics as Scott’s fashion choices, local cuisine (Dunbar fish suppers and Pizza Crunch) and liquor of the gods, well, fortified wine of some monks, Buckfast. Like Dave, I was also at Glastonbury in 1986, such a shame I didn’t bump into him and all that buckie!

Did I mention how good the music was? The band were clearly enjoying finally playing live together, Carl and Scott both had new guitars to have fun with and their vocal harmonising is none the worse for all the time away, I assume Ollie was having fun (dressed all in black including a black facemask in a darker bit of the studio) on his six string bass, Alex on drums was wearing his trademark hat, Sean not only had his own keyboard but the studio piano as well, making full use of both (to think I was initially a tad dubious about the addition of a keyboard player, he’s a perfect fit in their sound).

Fifteen tasty treats, yum, some old, some new, two borrowed, a smorgasbord of sound to feast on. For starters they served up Eleonara, a new one, fun, catchy, a delight. Second was a song I’ve heard them play live before, I thought it was called Never Blue, err, no, turns out it’s Never Bloom, well, you know how it can be at gigs! It’s a cracking rendition of it whatever the name, lots of space in it (something I really like about Logan’s Close, they don’t overcrowd their sound).

Next up were Worked A Treat and Girl. The visual effects are amazing, layering two members of the band over each other, add it a psychedelic swirl of colour, wow! Loved the kaleidoscopic bits during Girl, was Scott able to see them on one of the screens? Did it disturb his concentration or did he just forget the words? Yes, I noticed but he covered it well.

Song five was Gallus Laces which I do reckon I’ve heard before, or it could be that it reminds me of the ambience and lackadaisical sound of Fur, a band I saw in Sneaky Pete’s a couple of years ago. I actually just went because the Close were supporting them but happily made a fine new discovery. Fur were meant to be back up in March but have had reschedule the gig to November.

Next song Babe Station was sublime desolation! When Carl sang the first two lines it immediately took me back to when I first heard Rodriguez, that same plaintive bleak but beautiful sound. The Close should definitely put out this track, please, please, like this, nothing added nothing taken away. Another newby followed, one Mock Marble Linoleum, good solid, a vague early Deep Purple feel to it. Fine but nothing special. Almost an hour in now and the band played Paralysed a regular live number for them, the visual effects go nuts, strobe city! Intense.

Give It To Me had Sean over on the piano for the intro, he’s rather good, you know. This is one of those goosebump tracks, the deliciousness of the guitar break gets me every time. We’re on the home straight now, In The Morning, I Want You, Listen To Your Mother, all sheer class. Scott really let loose on I Want You, as Dave said after it “What I love about you, Scott – you’re prepared to testify” Indeed, amen to that.

Oo, I was so pleased they played Fantastic Man next. This is a cover of a song from the late 1970s by William Onyeabor, the Close did a lockdown video of it early last summer, it was such a ray of sunshine! Last year’s single Lost In You was the last song and blimey, I love this song anyway but this was astounding, I want this version. I defy them to ever play it better than that! What a finish. But, of course, this is the current version of a live gig, so one more tune was in order, but what? A good old classic that the lads regularly play Please Don’t Go, one to go all out on, they did and so did the visual effects!

Now if they could compile a CD from this gig – I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s wishing for this! I wonder what the band thought when they watched it later?! If you watch it, do let me know what you think. It’s late, time I bid you adieu.

Adieu, dear hearts ūüíõ

Y’know, 2020 wasn’t all bad….

Saw yet another strand of tinsel as I downward dogged this morning, that’ll be the twelfth since my last blog post! It lay there glinting mockingly at me, bold as brass it was, well not any more. Oh, and we didn’t get the promised snow, so I closed the curtain again and went back to bed. There has been more snow outside of Edinburgh but nothing in the city, just freezing temperatures.

Listening to the news, it’s sounding like we’ll be lucky if we can do anything at Easter nevermind Mothering Sunday here in the UK. That’ll be another of my annual trips to the old country cancelled, I’ll have forgotten the way down soon! Yeah, 2021 isn’t looking that much better than 2020 so far. How depressing! So, to brighten the mood I decided to look back through 2020 and find my highlights, surely there were some?!

First off, Esther – our wee beastie o’the loch. I reckon she’ll be a highlight for a few Edinburgh folks grateful for the distraction. It’s been so good to watch this beautiful wild creature so close by. Hopefully she’ll be okay after all the recent weather, Dunsapie Loch has been frozen over a fair bit this last month. From otters to rabbits….

Way back last January I went to Jojo Rabbit three times at the cinema. Those were days, open cinemas, me with my unlimited card going to see two films in one evening, Nando’s chicken wings in between (will Cineworld reopen at all now?). Jojo Rabbit is such an outstanding film and a proper cinema film too. God, I miss going to the cinema, that sense of occasion (as a young moose a trip to the cinema was an event, that feeling has never quite left). The whole cast of Jojo were brilliant and Taika Waititi cemented his place as my favourite director and all-round amazing film person.

Thinking about it, I guess all that time spent in Holyrood Park, walking around, lying in sunny nooks reading, that was pretty special. We did have long spells of great weather in 2020, I did most of my reading outdoors. Highlights bookwise, finally reading Errol Flynn’s autobiography (an amazing glimpse at another time and place) and John Robertson’s The Little Town of Marrowville, I expected it to be good and darkly humorous but wow, it exceeded all my expectations! Yes it’s a kid’s book, but it’s a damn fine one.

Not Eurovision 2020 was a day of Eurovision treats for the fans on radio and tv. In the evening Graham Norton guided us through the main Not Eurovision Show, which just felt like one big love-in around the world (as Australia is now in it, yes I make that around the world). I thoroughly enjoyed a day of reminiscing, music, dancing, oh, and prosecco with pear juice.

2020, a shorter but sweetest year yet for Strictly Come Dancing. Bill Bailey with Oti was a worthy winner, confounding the initial assumptions of so many viewers with his capacity to learn and ability to dance. Their routine to Rapper’s Delight will go down in Strictly history. I learnt you could video chat on WhatsApp in November – yeah, Strictly brings out that need to share!

Fringey goodness was found online. April and May saw the magnificent Will Seaward online re-telling his Spooky Ghost Stories sometimes with live accompaniment courtesy of Jam With Humans. Yes, it was back in the early lockdown days, things went a bit wonky, not always online just somewhere in the vicinity, but no matter, it was great to see the maestro weaving his wondrous tales again.

The nearing of the NonFringe saw me checking to see what the Sleeping Trees were up to, if anything. Oh bugger! I’d missed getting to see MAFIA? by about ten days! Joys, I did get see SCI-FI? again. So is there a recording of WESTERN? somewhere? I’d love to see that again. Pretty please?! I could read MAFIA? by purchasing a copy the recently published Sleeping Trees at The Movies – Blueprints for Devised Comedy, but it just wouldn’t be the same as seeing it. But the best was yet to come – a Christmas Living Room Adventure! Oh yay, The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington was the highlight of my Christmas, yes, even above my Christmas Lunch Roll! That first sighting of the great white whale will stay with me forever.

Anything else, Brucie? Well, there was the small matter of Logan’s Close at the Caves for the release of their latest opus Lost In You at the end of February, like, a truly epic night! Best I’ve seen them yet; there was a gig planned for the end of this month but it has, of course, been cancelled. Lead guitarist and singer Carl Marah took to singing Bob Dylan to his washing machine in April, strange behaviour but captivatingly beautiful.

My top highlight of 2020? The Close’s Lockdown Cover of Fantastic Man by William Onyeabor. Having since put the original on one of my Spotify playlists, I love what the lads did with it even more; they’ve taken the best parts, condensed and Closified it into a summer classic of their own. Their video is rather fine too, and usually if I leave YouTube running afterwards it goes to a film of roller dancers skating to the original with some seriously cool moves (yes, I’ve watched both plenty of times after I’ve done online exercises – hey, its good cool down music).

So, wow, 2020 wasn’t all bad, and I did two seasons of Preacher and three of Lucifer, plus my uke playing is slowly coming on. Dear reader, I hope you too can look back and recognise your own highlights of 2020, to paraphrase Aidan Goatley, What made you happy in 2020?

Toodle pip!

Have yourselves your own kinda Christmas!!

The old grandmother clock has just chimed twelve – Happy Christmas to one and all! I’ll have to head to bed soon, if I want to get up Arthur’s Seat first thing. Yes, first thing, no really, first thing, about 9am-ish. I’ve never been up there on Christmas Day, wonder how busy it might be?

Earlier this evening I watched the magnificent The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington, this year’s annual Christmas living room adventure by the Sleeping Trees. What a treat! And it’s not just me saying that, it’s getting great reviews – including in the New York Times! My sides almost split on first sighting the whale, ’twas a wondrous sight indeed! Pinnochio makes a cameo appearance, well, it is a mashup.

You’re encouraged to join in (well, kids are, small or big) speaking whale, making your own boat out of whats around you – I did, but it was immediately commandeered by an owl and a pussycat who installed their own captain, some dozey sheep! Moby Dick Whittington is still available to watch in a number of countries up until the 31st December for a very reasonable price and you can watch it again and again and again before the 31st ends (on the same device). If you’ve had a crappy year and need some warm, daft silliness, look no further!

I’ll leave you with a couple of pics I dug up from a Christmas Past, when my good friend Humphrey visited. Things got a little silly ……..

I was the King of the Castle!!
after six or seven eggnogs

Is it just me?

I’ve never seen June go so fast before! Is she speeding up or is Corona slowing time down so June just looks to be sprinting away? It’s Friday evening again, last Sunday I was brimming with ideas and good intentions for this week – I’ve got a lot of cramming to do before Sunday bedtime. Umm, can I blame my lack of impetus (aka bone idleness) on the current situation or am I actually this crap but just never noticed before?

Of course, any other year the full Fringe programme would have come out in the last week or so, I should be poring over it page by page, marking up potentials, big squiggles in the top outer corner of any page of note. Any other year I’d be looking forward to the Film Festival imminently starting, if it hadn’t already. Oo, he says after a quick dive into his files, ten years ago today I saw two films in Filmhouse One,¬†The People vs George Lucas¬†(primarily Bud’s choice as a big Star Wars fan), then just time for a quick pee before going back in for¬†Monsters.¬†

Yeah, having a big Star Wars fan for a friend, I was well aware that many fans were feeling rather disillusioned by Mr Lucas (that was more than a few nights in the pub I can tell you!) Luckily for me, it was a smart, entertaining documentary (so it was a tad one-sided but these were passionate long time fans), enjoyable and thought-provoking (more pub chat!) even for the ambivalent.

Quick aside, Buffy has just come on the telly – it’s the first appearance of Spike and Drusilla!! Oh yay! And on that note….

Monsters¬†but this time of the sci-fi genre. The film is obviously low budget but just how low was not appreciated until the Q&A afterwards, one of the best Q&As I’ve ever been at. Gareth Edwards, the director, writer, cinematographer, production designer and visual effects guy, came across really well with plenty great stories about the making of it; it was filmed in just three weeks in some pretty scary places, often without permission, using any locals hanging around who were willing to be extras. Edwards then spent months in his bedroom on his computer creating all the visual effects using just Adobe software. It all paid off – in 2011 Gareth Edwards was announced as the director of the new Godzilla¬†film.

I saw ten films at the EIFF in 2010, Boy by Taika Waititi being my favourite followed by Monsters, then in third place Evil Рin the Time of Heroes a Greek zombie horror film (yup, really!). One of my ticket stubs bears a film title that I have no recollection of whatsoever, nope, nothing.

And back to 2020, where the EIFF and Curzon Home Cinema have come up with #EdFilmFestAtHome, an online festival of cinema. It will run from 24th June until 5th July, there’ll be a new film each day (which then shows for between two and twelve days). I have had a quick look at this year’s selection but nothing stands out on first glance. Mind you, in a full year I may not find many films I wish to see, so I wasn’t really expecting my types to make the cut in such a slimmed down affair. I’m glad that something has been worked out, there’s even going to be live online Q&A after at least one of the films! Modern technology, eh!

Night all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moon stalking – tricky under Scottish skies!

Today’s outdoor exercise was hunting down the Flower Moon, more like the Shrinking Violet Moon. The city sky was almost clear but the East Lothian skies were full of clouds for the moon to stay hidden behind. She hopped from one cloud to another, it’s not often I go out of an evening just to watch the moon, try it, she moves faster than a watched kettle boils! I know, who’d’ve thunk it! I calculated it would probably be around midnight before she reached clear sky, no chance, I wanted to be home way before then.

Why,¬† I even forewent watching¬†Antony & Cleopatra¬†from National Theatre Live tonight to go moon hunting. I’ll watch it at the weekend (mind, as time goes by, who, like me, wonders like a certain magnificent Dowager Countess “what is a weekend?”). I have never seen¬†Antony & Cleopatra¬†but should like to as I studied it at A-level, will any of it come back to me?!

Last night I had the great delight of more spooky tales from Will Seaward! Usually I have to wait ’til August to get my fix of silly spookiness, Wednesday evening was my third dose this year already!! Yes, three times already and its only May!¬†Jam With Humans¬†are doing a lot of stuff online including co-hosting¬†Will Seaward’s Spooky Ghost Stories,¬†with the Jam With Humans supplying very atmospheric musical accompaniment. This week’s terrifying tales were about a spooky castle, and then one set in the Wild West; both thoroughly enjoyed along with a rather nice bottle of Sicilian red wine and a large plate of spag bol!

I would continue but I’ve just noticed it’s way past bedtime. I’ll never stay young and pretty without my beauty sleep. I shall leave you with my earlier game of hide and seek with the moon….

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She’s there somewhere, I think?!

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Oo, a cheeky peek-a-boo!

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After all that I was expecting something more spectacular – like with bells on!!