And so ends another Fringe

I’m happy to report that my Fringe did end well, though it did look doubtful for a while that I’d get to see one final show. I went up the Three (Free) Sisters a good twenty minutes early, a few folk were scattered around outside the gate, just a few seemed to be In a definite little queue, ah yes, they wanted to see Darius Davies: Don’t Be Shit but hadn’t got tickets either; I tagged on to them. The guardian at the gate, a woman not to be trifled with, yelled “Anyone with tickets for the next show? Anyone?” about half a dozen stepped forward, damn. Every three of four minutes she’d yell out again and more would realise she was meaning them and so got to enter, mind the queue was still growing all the time.

Ten past nine came and went but we all assumed it must be running late as there was no shout that no-one without a ticket was getting in, and none of us were walking away at this point, just on principle! Yes, just after quarter past nine we started to trickle in, the others in front were all heading to the the bar first but I made straight for the door at the back on the right as instructed. Yikes, there weren’t many seats left but I managed to nab one, which luckily had a shortarse in the seat in front, yay!

The lights dimmed and the star of the show announced himself before running on to the stage to great applause. Five minutes in, as he was telling us how bad Croydon is, I realised I had heard this spiel about Croydon before. Where? Ahha, Joke Thieves at the Counting House. Tonight’s show was apparently a Best Bits of what he’s done so far – apparently so far is over ten years!

It was a great show, very funny though at times not really my cup of tea; nothing bad, just maybe a bit antagonistic for me, hey ho. He is a good storyteller, the suited guy on the bus tale and later recall to it were well executed for maximum effect. A word of warning, trying to leave a Darius Davies show early unseen is impossible, no matter how sneaky you try to be, those piercing eyes will target you and his disapproval will be fierce! Oh, and his final punchline had me laughing most of my way home, nice one.

Good night, sweet dreams!

A fine final Friday

Friday morning I popped round to Mums for brunch – no, not all the way to Yorkshire, to Mums on Forrest Road, I’d noticed they do Eggs Benedict. Their full title is Mums Great Comfort Food, and it surely is. Like Luscious it was a no nonsense, no fancy twiddles, proper Eggs Benedict; perfect poached eggs on plenty of streaky bacon, atop a muffin and generous amounts of hollandaise sauce. It never looks like a big amount on a plate but, by God, it fills me up! I was all set to nip round to a PBH’s Free Fringe show at noon.

The venue was the Natural Food Kafe on Clerk Street, the show Van Gogh Find Yourself. Folk were already sat around various table sketching whilst waiting for the show to start (art materials supplied around the tables). Besides the people in the cafe, there was also an online audience, Vincent had two cameras set up so that he was seen and also the picture he was drawing as he spoke to us about his life. We were also encouraged to draw as we listened but it was very easy to become engrossed in his words and just sit back awhile. We started with a quick sketch each to kinda free ourselves up from our selfconciousness before he properly settled into telling his story. A fascinating and relaxing hour, well somewhere over it actually. It felt like we’d been in the actual presence of Van Gogh, I’m so, so glad I went – what did I create? See below.

As it was a gorgeous warm day I wandered up into the Park and dozed a bit. There were a couple of free shows that I could have made it to, but once I was settled in a wee sun spot I really couldn’t be bothered moving! Finally my tummy was rumbling so I headed to a large slice of lasagne for tea (made with hoggat mince from Annanwater at the Farmer’s Market, it works really well).

Last night I toddled back to Stramash to see a band called Moanin Bones, they were rather good, a rocky set and a tight sound. The crowd were well up for it, especially a large bunch of squawking hens; two rather drunk guys were highly entertaining, it looked like there could be murder on the dancefloor at one point. Had something previously happened before I arrived on the sidelines, or was it an ex who’d just come in with her friends? Whatever, the tension was palpable, eyes were throwing daggers at machine gun speed, thankfully (I think?!) he did the gracious thing and left, dignity drunken but not dented. People watching can be such a fun sport!

Mum’s Egg Benedict
Self portrait, Moose in the Park, well, I had to put a seat in there, come on!

As nightmares go, it was rather a fine one!

Yay! I finally made it in to see David Alnwick’s Nightmare Magic, it’s rather good. This show is as much about the storyline as the magic tricks, they’re all a part of the story as it unfolds. Towards the end I did lose the thread a bit, but there’s a good chance that was part of his plan to bamboozle us and wrest rational thoughts from our minds; it worked if it was! David Alnwick is a good storyteller with a quiet confidence in his tone, can I coin his talent as “sleight of voice”? He would ratchet up the tension and diffuse It effortlessly. And the ending was delivered as a throwaway, just brilliant!

I’ve noticed there’s a fair number of magic acts this year, maybe there’s always be this many but they’re more noticeable as there’s so much less of everything else. There’s certainly a demand, David is now doing Nightmare Magic twice a night now until the 29th.I have seen another production involving young actors at a theSpace venue, but as it suffers like other younger shows I’m not going to bother naming and shaming it.

Is it the effects of the last eighteen months that the younger contingent of the Fringe haven’t impressed me; or, in a normal Fringe year with much more choice would my fringedar have automatically picked better shows? Who can say? But bravo to all those who have come and given it a shot this year. I hope they get a chance to come back another year. Mind, I would be happy if the Fringe didn’t go back to how it was in 2019, way too big. There’s big and then there’s just too much! From selling out almost every show this year, the newbies could be sadly disillusioned by numbers from a return to 2019 levels in a second year here.

This is an odd year – as I keep mentioning! I went out late last night because The Kennedy’s Project were playing at Stramash again, this time after midnight. I went for a stroll about to revive myself (I could have easily just gone to bed), it looked like the Pleasance Courtyard were closing up, no throngs of people around the Teviot area, of course no Potterrow this year, just a few still sitting out in the Underbelly garden in Bristo Square. The Cowgate is sooo quiet compared previous Augusts. Stramash was fairly quiet too but it sure picked up when the band came on. Different lead guitarist this time, he didn’t do any singing so it all fell on the other guy. Another great night, the crowd loved them, I suspect they’ll now be regulars there. My, it’s been a while since I last got in at almost three in the morning!

I shall leave you with an Eggs Benedict update. I was going to go to Em’s Kitchen but there was a queue waiting to go in! Er, no, so I went up on the Royal Mile, left or right? I knew everything on offer left so I turned right and headed down the hill. Not far down on the left-hand side there’s a cafe called Luscious, some how it’s never caught my attention before, I crossed over to check out the menu, oh yay! Went in, no menu perusing necessary, thanks, Eggs Benedict and a latte, please. And here it is, pure and simple, just an slice of tomato with it. Perfection on a plate and in my tummy ūüíõ

Some nonsense is good, some is just nonsense.

Yesterday I caught three more shows, a lot of sitting around in darkened rooms, so I had a brisk walk around the Park and a strong coffee beforehand. Ah, I haven’t had a coffee yet, excuse me. That’s better, I’ll crack on. The third show I saw and am gonna give third place in ranking was Drown Your Sorrows in theSpace @ Symphony Hall. It wasn’t a good start when the music was too loud for the actors to be heard! Luckily the music wasn’t on long but even then some of the lines seemed a tad gabbled; what ever happened to enunciation and projection?! Mind, this was their first night so hopefully some director’s notes will steer them right.

Sorry, but much as I wanted to enjoy it, I did find it a bit lame. Oh, some in the audience, one area in particular, found it immensely funny – maybe they were in the sweet acoustic spot! Oh, it wasn’t all bad, the plot was okay and a few great moments and ideas. I bet in a normal Fringe year they’d be out flyering in the dinghy on the Royal Mile, oh they should do that anyway, grab any attention they can!

In second place I’ll put Kate Smurthwaite: The Last Mayor of Fihalhohi. She was in the Cinema Room at the Banshee Labyrinth, a small but sweet venue with well tiered, comfy seats. Having been pre-warned about the Banshee Labyrinth’s system, I turned up very early so that I could collect a “ticket” and head back into the sunshine awhile. It’s a PBH’s Free Fringe venue but the bar room and nooks and crannies, especially this year, are too small for the amount of people who might be wanting to hang around to catch a show (the shows here are always very popular). “Tickets” are available for each show up to an hour in advance from the man at the door, that way they can say when there’s no seats left (sometimes within five minutes the tickets being up for grabs), a much more civilised way than an arm across the venue doorway just after your friends have all got in and you’re left out!

That’s a great surname Smurthwaite! What with that and Fihalhohi in the show title, I had to go check it out, plus the blurb, “the most mind-blowing lockdown story you’ll ever hear”. It’s certainly a lockdown story that’ll be very hard to beat, it’s almost like a Bond movie – exotic islands, dramatic action, intrigue, a villain, a go-to guy, and, of course, some saucy shenanigans. It is good tale but one little niggle – as the time went by the narration became a bit clunky, like a slide projector clunking between slides. It may well have just been me that noticed it, but I suddenly had a vivid recollection of a teacher telling me that while my story was good, I should come up with other ways to say “and then”, funny the things that come back to you! Niggle aside, I did enjoy it, she is quite a lady!

My top spot for yesterday goes to Rob Duncan and Dan Lees: Extreme Nonsense. I was looking forward to this show – Dan Lees is one half of The Establishment, an absurdist duo who’ve been entertaining/disturbing me for a few years now. You’ll spot the title has just two names in it but there was another on stage with them, one third of Privates! Oh yay! These three gents are all very tall which added to the comedy as there was a large beam across the ceiling just above the front area of the stage – rather lower than all of them! Dave Alnwick must not be as tall as them, that or he kept well back from it! Once again I was in the cellar bar at the Canon’s Gait, in the same seat too (do other folk also tend to gravitate to seats they’ve sat in before?).

A seriously silly show! Not to everyone’s taste, these guys really know their absurdities. Some of it can almost come across as sinister and creepy, it doesn’t help knowing you have no clue what they might do next, well, maybe another refrain of “Call me Daddy”? Dan plays guitar for the songs, then Tom joined in on violin, he was rather good, I won’t say what he pulled out of the Gents loo at the side of the stage but he was rather good on that too! To be fair to the other shows I’ve reviewed, there were a few misses in this for me – they were too absurd?!

Hey, this means that though Privates have not brought their new show up to the Fringe, I will get to see all three of them! The other two thirds of Privates are up with their solo shows, yes, of course I have tickets. Anyway, must dash, I have a show to go to!

I just noticed the date…..

Whoa! Friday the 13th, that snuck up quietly! I wonder if today’s topic at Stand-Up Philosophy will be something about being superstitious? I’m not particularly superstitious myself, I’ll happily walk under a ladder, on the other hand I always salute the first magpie I see any day, even if I have to do it surreptitiously. Will there be any Fringe performers being extra exact in any little rituals they may have, to overt any bad luck floating around looking for victims today?

There’s a young chap, David Alnwick, who’s got three different magic shows in three venues every day for the full run of PBH’s Free Fringe – Friday the 13th could be just the day to see his show Nightmare Magic! That’s his last show every day at 8.20pm in Banshee Labyrinth (did he want specifically want that venue for that show? The names do fit so well). Oo, he’ll have started his first show of the day Super Chill Magic in the back lounge at Pilgrim Bar. After a chilled beginning, he’s ready to show off some Exceptional Magic in the Canon’s Gait cellar bar at 5.20pm.

How long before he does the wrong act in the wrong bar? Starts one magic trick that somehow morphs into a different one halfway? Smashes a bunny with a hammer? Sorry about that last one but it popped into my head as soon as I started thinking about mishaps of an overworked magician. I’m sure there’ll be no rabbits in any of his shows and he’ll be young, eager and bright enough to sail through a Fringe doing sixty plus shows! Yeah, I have to give at least one of them a go. I wonder if anyone’s been to see all three shows in the one day? Hmmm.

Toodle oo, mes amis.

‚óč ‚Ė° ~ + ‚ėÜ

I have now seen David Alnwick’s Exceptional Magic and indeed it is! I definitely intend to see his evening show now, and have been warned to get the Banshee Labyrinth an hour early to grab a “ticket” to get in, apparently they can disappear very quickly (like magic!). He does like to get folk up to help out in Exceptional Magic but no worries, he’s a lovely chap. The seating in the Canon Gait’s cellar bar is different from previous years and better for it, I reckon. You’ll get why I used those symbols above if you go to see the show!

Happy Blog Day to me!!

Today it’s four years since my first blog post, yay! Who’d’ve thunk it! This will be my 218th post, so that’s one and a tinsy bit a week. Outside it’s a gloriously sunny day, I fully intend to enjoy some sun today, yesterday afternoon was spent wrapping Christmas presents which takes time to do properly (I pride myself on my gift-wrapping skills, friends are always saying how immaculate my presents look). Mind, this lot may not look their best once transported down to deepest Yorkshire, where I shall be heading in the near future. At Christmastime I usually leave the wrapping of presents until I’m wherever I’m spending it but hey, what’s been usual about this year?! I was so engrossed with planning, well, just thinking about all the things I need to do, what to take, who’ll water my plants that time slid by. Half nine at night was when I went wandering…..

I decided to head to Portobello Beach, brrrr, it was rather chilly. The wind was blowing down from the north so any daytime warmth was gone, not that a bit of cold will send the locals packing, oh no. I counted thirty, yes, thirty beach fires (it is a long beach and the tide was heading out). There were thirty beach fires, two groups had windbreaks, a smart idea, and there were two little groups with no beach fires or windbreaks, they must have been bloody freezing sitting on the sand! Don’t judge me that I counted them, I like a bit of precision, “a lot” wouldn’t have cut it for me. I would’ve taken a photo but it would’ve been red blobs surrounded by darkness.

Oo, that reminds me, a few evenings ago I went out to check how the bats are doing up at Dunsapie Loch. They’re doing very well! It had been a warmish day with little wind, so I reckoned there’d be plenty food on the wing for them. Indeed, and as the bats up there come out relatively early I could really enjoy watching them. The difference in watching the bats at Dunsapie rather than St Margaret’s Loch is like an action movie with long shots where you can see the action played out, as opposed to one with so many cuts between cameras you don’t have a scoobies what’s going on. Anyhoo, that’s not actually what I was reminded of, walking back down the Queens Drive I saw a dark figure approaching me in the gloom, at a low level was a green glowing thing moving at the same speed. Of course, I knew it was one of those dog collars but really I could not make out any dog at all! Ah, finally when we passed by each other – a black labrador, it was darker than it’s surrounding, which made me think of the aliens in Attack The Block, I picked up my pace.

It’s now over a week since Edinburgh Fringe announced that registration for shows would open in May. Since then the local press have said that Underbelly have decided their big purple cow will be summering in London this year at their new Wonderground. Underbelly are planning their own festival that will, and I quote “champion the spirit and quality of the Edinburgh Fringe”; indeed, they’re going to program a “Best of the Edinburgh Festival” season of performances. I can see the idea and why they’re marketing it this way, but also, it’s not Edinburgh, won’t be, ever. Oh, how the Facebook commentators went berserk! Underbelly are not well-liked by the stampy-feet local rag readers any time, it was all “Good riddance!”,”Cheerio”,”Don’t come back”. Erm, guys, Underbelly are still hoping to have some kind of Fringe presence in Edinburgh, it all depends on what the Sturgeon decides and how long that decision takes. See, England has given one metre as the social distancing necessary for venues, in Scotland it’s still two metres which is obviously not viable. If the fishwoman won’t change her mind or takes until midsummer to change it, well.

The Free Edinburgh Fringe Festival are looking at ways to put something on this year, the size of the venues they use are really, really not viable for two metre distancing, one metre would be tough in some of the rooms, we’re talking snug places! At least they’re probably well placed to be online as they’ve had plenty of experience this last year. I saw something about maybe putting the online shows on the big screen at the Pear Tree, I assume that’s the one in the beer garden, in which case there does also happen to be a big screen in the beer garden at the Three Sisters.

Ho hum. Who knows what the next month will throw up? Enough of this doom and gloom, I’m going to take me out into the sunshine. Oh, and I need to get milk on my way home.

Toodle pip!

It’s getting Closer

Saturday afternoon and I’m feeling rather chipper, it could be the effect of having a second coffee (I’m such a rebel) or the impending Live Stream courtesy of Limbic TV of the brilliant Logan’s Close. It’s at 20:00 local time, but if you reading this after 27th March 2021, you’ll probably be able to watch the video at Limbic TV on Facebook. Like the Free Fringe, it’s free but if you enjoy the music please show your appreciation and donate if you can.

Many folk here in Scotland are probably still feeling rather good today after last night’s rugby match – Scotland beat France!! It was the Six Nations Game that had to be postponed because of positive Covid tests. I didn’t realise it was on (I’d known it was finally going to happen but had assumed it would be at the weekend) until I noticed a friend on Facebook had posted “Come on Scotland.” I was pondering what may have induced this rallying cry when it dawned that I should probably check the telly, phew, only twenty minutes in. By ‘eck, it was a bloody good game, and tense right to the very end. I reckon there were a lot of tellies being screamed at for the last five minutes – by the people who weren’t almost faint from holding their breaths.

The evening’s fun didn’t end there, channel-hopping I came upon Elton John talking to Graham Norton very candidly; the two had a good rapport making for a great watch. Mind, it did mean I didn’t get round to doing the washing up, oops. No, I couldn’t do it after that because then it was time to flick back over to BBC1 for Graham’s Friday night chat show. So did I wash up after that? No, because I intended to go to bed. Intended, but ended up staying up to watch Crimson Peak even though I’ve seen it before. It’s just so sumptuous! And it has Tom Hiddleston in it.

I should go, I require some ingredients to make a salad to go with my chicken wings and curly fries for tea. Haven’t had curly fries in years! In fact the only time I’ve ever had them was in an Aussie theme pub here in Edinburgh, served in a little tin bucket, they were sooo good! We had them every time we were in there after that, until the place closed down and re-opened as an Irish bar, boo! So Brucie’s to do list, have tea and do the washing up before 8 o’clock, in time to open a beer and tune into Logan’s Close at Limbic TV.

Oh yeah, if you want to find out a bit more about Carl and Scott (singers and guitarists) check out the podcast Whistling in the DARC #050 from earlier this week. Another excuse to crack open a beer or two (it runs for at least ninety minutes) and see the boys chatting.

It was a very good year (part I)

2013 was the year the Free Fringe got really quite exciting, no longer was it just stand-up comedians in back rooms of pubs, there were proper shows to see! Or, at least, that was how my buddy and I perceived it.¬†Casual Violence: Om Nom Nominous¬†in the Voodoo Rooms was one such show, so good we went to see the company’s other non-free show the next day; the live musical accompaniment was a fine asset!

The Hawke Papers at the Blind Poet (loved that pub, alas, no longer there, that fine old boozer has been absorbed by the Pear Tree) was an interactive murder mystery using the full space of the pub for us to move around, look for clues and talk to the various characters. It was popular for a morning show, we missed out one day but were given a signed flyer and told to be there twenty minutes early the next day to be sure of getting in!

We heard that¬†Death Ship 666¬†at the Three Sisters was very good and very popular and at 10:45 in the morning! After one miss we made it in plenty of time on the second attempt, great show, dubious venue. It may be fine now (I haven’t seen any shows there for a few years) but the back of the Three Sisters used to have a whiff of stale urinals, watching a show distracted from it, but hanging around waiting for a show to start was not pleasant!

The Free Fringe show that sounded right up our street was¬†Captain Morgan and the Sands of Time¬†at what was the Fiddlers Elbow at Picardy Place – ours and every other bugger’s street. We’d heard it was popular so headed down a good twenty minutes early, apparently not a hope in hell said the guy who came out to count the queue.¬† The next time we were just over half hour early, so did we get in? Argh, by a gnat’s crochet, no!!! We were right at the door, next in, sorry, jam-packed full!! Now fainter hearts may have given up at this point, not us, another evening another even longer wait (forty five minutes) but, yes, we made it in! Was it worth it? Absolutely! Two actors, one musician (yes, more live accompaniment), lots of characters including Poseidon, a Lovecraftian creation played by the actors together.

2013 was the year we saw the wonderful Aidan Goatley for the first time, another visit to the Voodoo Rooms to see¬†Ten Films With My Dad,¬†a Free Fringe show. It was also the Fringe we finally scaled the mighty Arthur’s Seat, not once but twice, to see¬†This Arthur’s Seat Belongs to Lionel Ritchie, a gala spectacular of Barry Ferns and friends (not quite at the top as it was a very windy squally day) and then¬†Barry on Arthur’s Seat, which poignantly turned out to be the last time he’d do his solo show up there – his knees had decided enough was enough.

Here’s a little collage of pics from the Arthur’s Seat shows. See, you can tell it was a proper Free Fringe show – there was a doorway to go in through and it’s where he stood with the bucket at the end ūüėÜ

2019-09-27 00.11.49

Caterpillars, hedgehogs and sperm – all in one day!

Friday of week two is a good day to take off work and Fringe, most years I’ve done this; it was always a day for seeing pricier shows that were on the Friends of the Fringe list for me and Bud, always beginning with¬†Shakespeare for Breakfast,¬†we’d snaffle any croissants left on nearby seats at the end. This year it just happens to be one the days I’ve taken off work, but thinking about it, it is indeed a perfect day to Fringe. It’s shortened the working week, woohoo, which allows for later shows on Thursday night; it’s far enough in that the list of possibles has been whittled down from it’s original unwieldy size; it’s also far enough in that other possibles are in the mix, from chatting to flyerers, tips from people in queues, reviews.

Just as well I didn’t go to any late night shows on Thursday night – the first show I saw on the Friday started even earlier than¬†Shakespeare for Breakfast! Okay, so only five minutes earlier, but still, my Fringe Friday tradition of running to get to the first show on time ain’t gonna end with early starts like this!¬†Headhog¬†was only on for six days of the middle week, the blurb was that a man has a scan after having a fit and discovers he has a hedgehog living in his skull. No one can explain how it got there and removal of it is (obviously) unknown territory.

Headhog¬†was a charmingly absurd play; a great concept to mull over. I liked Malcolm, the turmoil he was going through was well played out. When he becomes more concerned by the “why me?” than “how?” the scene with the ecologist and philosopher was great – amusing and exasperating. Some of the play felt a bit clunky but overall it was well done, with a lovely melancholy ending that was somehow quite uplifting.

Two hours later I was back in the same venue,¬†Paradise In The Vault,¬†in the Annexe¬†room, one of the best smaller venues; the seats are generous and comfortable, with a reasonably tiered-height between them, it’s also got a good record with me for good productions.

The Man From Verona¬†was a very funny, dark comedy, quite farcical at times. It is quite a small stage but the set was well-conceived to maximise use of every part of it. Everyone was great in it, especially Mama – don’t mess with a mafia matriarch! Rocco, her henchman, had some wonderful moments.¬†The Man From Verona¬†himself is a mafia don/landlord, Harry,¬† who spends a lot of the play dead, but is very effective when he’s alive. Blaze and Jimmy, our secretly-in-love couple are the ones we’re rooting for, will they get to be together? Will Jimmy ever be able to leave the bathroom?

From¬†Paradise in The Vault¬†on Merchant Street it was a quick jog over to the Space @ Surgeons Hall, with just ten minutes to spare before¬†The Very Well-Fed Caterpillar¬†started. Another trustworthy venue, I see they’ve moved their Box Office to just inside the gate, probably to cut down some of the noise in the foyer though the queue inside was still regularly told to hush – with more and more people joining in the sssssshhh-ing for a laugh.

The Very Well-Fed Caterpillar¬†is one weird show! It’s extremely quirky and absurd, a great piece of high-energy physical theatre and hell the delivery is fast, it can be tricky to keep up with the plot at times. I followed the basic story, Caterpillar likes eating, can’t stop, won’t stop eating, demands all the food his subjects have, a complete tyrant hated by all; through a portal he meets and falls in love with the Butterfly King, a good, beloved ruler; Caterpillar tries to change his ways, err, the ending escapes me! No matter, the destination is unimportant, the journey there is loads of fun with this talented, enthusiastic bunch.

After a breather, a beer and a bite to eat, I headed to Boteco on Lothian Street for¬†Privates: A Sperm Odyssey¬†and though it’s a PWYW show instinct told me to buy ticket upfront; good call as a lot of folk had tickets, I doubt many without made it in. Oh my, how much utterly joyful daftness can one hour contain??!! Blimey, never have sperm been so funny! These three chaps, Luke Rollason, Christian Brighty and Tom Cufzon have created one bloody wonderful show. And I’ll never hear the name Darnell again without a smirk on my face!

So, four for four, and it was only half past six! At this point of such a brilliant Fringe day picking the next show is trickier, it’s like, it’s gone too well, don’t mess it up. I decided to take a chance with¬†Ava Beaux: The Mysterious Tales of Poe¬†at the Revolution Bar as part of PBH’s Free Fringe. The blurb promises macabre minds, magic and gothic tales. Ava has been at the Fringe before and I’ve always been a tad tempted so tonight was it. Well, it was lovely, good magic and a charmingly dark sense of humour, but it came across as too rehearsed and some how contained, she needs to get wilder?! The venue wasn’t the best though for her show, too many distractions which hampered the ambience Ava was going for. I did enjoy it but not half as much as the previous shows.

As the night was still young I took a wander up to the Squares, Bristo and George, plenty of ambience there. Flyerers, buskers, young chaps trying to hang on to a high bar for 100 seconds (a tenner a shot, ¬£100 to any who can do it, I’ve seen many try but none succeed), bright young things out to party, older things blethering to other old things only met in Edinburgh in August. The melting pot that is Fringe.

Toodle pip!

 

 

Nick Helm on Dave

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

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

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

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

More about that later.