A Fringe beyond zero

Alas, I didn’t get to see The Flop: A Band of Idiots last night and it was their last night, unless, like many things in this fluctuating Fringe, they decide to do more shows (pretty please?!) Nah, it’s unlikely, at least I have the third Private to see today, Christian Brighty: Playboy. Its like a minibusload of absurdists came up for a week and now they’re all packed ready to head back south just as soon as Christian has taken his bow and said his thank yous. Him and his stuff will be bundled into the bus and with ringmaster, Dan Lees at the wheel, they’ll be gone. Imagine if the outside of the minibus reflected the minds of those inside?!

I had been intending to head to Stramash after the show, wow, drinking and dancing in a no doubt busy room, a blast from the past. How would Stramash be now? Well, it was weird going to the bar, rather than six deep around it, there were two queues stretching across the room. To folk entering it wasn’t immediately obvious so they’d head straight to the open space at the bar, then they’d kinda look round at us, it would click that we were stood in a line, “Er, is this a queue for the bar?”,”Yup!” and they’d head the other way to find the back of it. God, it was interminably slow. Now Stramash has an upstairs balcony area that I’ve rarely been in, I was pretty certain there was a bar up there but not 100% certain, striking up a conversation with a chap alongside me in the other queue I ascertained yes, there was a bar upstairs but the queue was even worse up there, that’s why he was queuing where he was. Considering how quickly my drink (a pint of Holyrood Pale Ale, very nice) was bought and paid for, I don’t understand why it took around twenty minutes to get it! It looks like Stramash has gone cashless, everyone was paying by contactless or their phones, so no fumbling around for cash and change.

It was busy but the doormen were making sure everyone was using the CheckIn Scotland app on entry. I guess its become another habit for some, click in and mask up. I did notice a few folk keeping their masks on awhile once inside, like they couldn’t really believe it was okay to remove them. It is a bit confusing, different places have different rules, many folk I think keep masks on until they’re pretty its ok to remove them. Some Fringe venues are fine with unmasking during performances, well, if there’s a bar many will have brought a drink in. Some venues do make an announcement asking that folk stay masked (half then have to put their masks back on), yes, it’s confusing.

Assembly Roxy has attendants at the door to enquire the size of your bubble and then lead people to appropriate seating. Similar was done at Monkey Barrel Comedy Club; they also have a temperature scanner there (only one I’ve seen so far) and they administer a squish of hand sanitiser to everyone who enters. Many venues certainly started the Fringe with seating spread out in groups of twos and fours, I wonder if some have made the spaces between smaller now to accommodate more seats; certainly some venues now have the usual rows of seats. Some folk do look uncomfortable when strangers sit right next to them, but as the In Person shows are selling out a fair bit, it happens, are they thinking “would it look insulting if I put my mask back on?”?

So, back at Stramash, pint in hand I found a good spot to watch the band come on for the second spot, a band called The Kennedy’s Project. I almost spilled my drink – it was the band from Waverley Bridge! It was great to see them indoors in a proper venue and, my, they were good, really good. As usual both the rhythm and lead guitarists shared out the vocal duties, as their voices suit very different songs it works well across the songs they cover. The crowd (and me too) loved them, plenty were on their feet dancing. Highlights for me were Hound Dog, Bring it on Home To Me and, as awesome as the last time, Minnie the Moocher. My, that guitarist was hot, growling out the words, hotter than Idris Elba even!

💛

If you just stumbled accidently upon this blog post and have enjoyed it, I always post a link on Facebook, I’m Bruce T Moose. New friends and followers always welcome (and no, the T isn’t for The).

Some bad news, sad news, good news and reviews

Godammit! I was too late to get a ticket to see The Flop: A Band of Idiots tonight! There’s now a highlighted note on my Fringe calendar to be outside the Banshee Labyrinth ten minutes before the hour before tomorrow evening. The sad news is Barry Ferns has cancelled his Arthur’s Seat shows, I was perusing what was on today as I breakfasted and spotted it; good to know, but as it was already it in my head that I’d be ascending the Seat I decided to head up anyway. It was a good day for it – warm but overcast with a pleasant breeze.

Good news, the lovely Tim Fitzhigham is doing a show (a as in just one) at the Pleasance Courtyard Cabaret Bar and I have a ticket for it, huzzah! It’s not listed in the Fringe programme (well, not as yet), I happened to be looking at something else on the Pleasance website, then of course, I fell down the rabbit hole, at least it wasn’t another waste of time!

This year’s Fringe has been odd for trying to keep up with all the updates, no doubt at some point I’ll find out that I missed something I would have dearly loved to have seen. The Free Festival announced today that they have added a significant number of extra shows, extended the run a day to end on the 30th and earlier this week added a new venue at Bar 50. Things are obviously going very well for them, yay! And speaking of updates, there’s four shows I’ve seen but not mentioned yet, so, in chronological order this time (it would be hard to call between three of them).

I saw A Highly Suspect Murder Mystery in theSpace @ Symposium Hall. Umm, it was fun but the interactive part of it worked better for some than others. They had printed sheets for audience members who couldn’t access the clues and stuff that were online (new phone, me, I joined up with two ladies next to me). There were a few questions to ponder and solve, and plenty of interacting with the characters between their set pieces. Interestingly, the set-up had Dr Watson, a few years after the death of his wife and Holmes (almost deja vu!), he’s moved back into Baker Street; Mrs Hudson, Inspector Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes are with him trying to solve the mystery – but could one of them be a killer?!

We had to figure out the how & why for not one but two murders! I was very impressed when one of the ladies next to me seemed to quite easily spot one of the how’s, it really was not obvious at all. I did enjoy the show, the actors stayed in character well. They could have had something telling us where to go online before the show began to save some time (many folk had turned their phones off what with being in a theatre!)

Next up, Joke Thieves at the Counting House, so a PWYC show, I’d already done that online to get a ticket. This year a lot of folk are booking and paying in advance for PWYC shows (Pay What You Can), there haven’t been many seats left for walk-in’s at the shows I’ve been to, so booking is a good idea (there are usually a few different prices you can choose from, just like you would choose what to give at the end of a free show).

Joke Thieves is an interesting concept hosted by Will Mars, four comedians perform their own jokes, then each others’. Will asked a member of the audience to pair up the comedians to show that nothing could have been rehearsed for the second part. Obviously every show will be completely different; some comedians may be meaner than others with the material they set their pairing up with; the second two of the second of the pairs (are you still with me here?) may want to retaliate somewhat for how the first two pairings of the second half have retold their jokes. I hadn’t really thought about it much before I went in, other than thinking it could be fun. It was! As I said every night will be different but its worth a punt.

Last night I saw Nathan Cassidy: Bumblebee in Bar 50. He’s been around the Fringe a number of years but I’ve never seen him before. Okay, so with the shortage of In Person shows, I decided to give him a shot and am pleased I did, he was really rather good; I would go and see him again next year. The pacing of the narrative was good, I enjoyed his delivery, and I would agree, Idris Elba is way hotter than Bradley Cooper.

So I didn’t see Barry Ferns today, but I did see Adele Cliff at 32 Below. She seems to be doing very well, extra shows added on for her. She’s rather sweet and so young! I did worry a bit if I’d just not be on the same level as her, like, what common areas could we possibly share? Well, there’s mothers who want to know everything, I feel her pain there. It was a light, entertaining hour in which she managed to confound many of my expectations. Nice one!

That’s it for another evening, I must away to my bed. If you’ve enjoyed reading this and would like to catch more reviews and other tales, I always post a link on Facebook, look up Bruce T Moose.

Toodle pip!

On top of the world! Well, Edinburgh.

A duo of monologues

I’m counting this morning’s show as my Shakespeare foray for this Fringe! It wasn’t one of his plays but there were plenty of his lines quoted and it was called Shakespeare’s Fool, so yes, it counts. I was back for a second time in the Main Theatre at theSpace @ Symposium Hall, the bar was set pretty low after the last production I saw here. No worries, it was a superb performance! The audience were hung on to his every word (which we could hear clearly whether he spoke loudly or softly).

This was Will Kempe recounting his life story to a mouse called Maurice (who performed his part admirable) in one final performance before passing away with the name of his first love on his lips. Who he? William Kempe was one of the most famous clown actors towards the end of the sixteenth century, a contemporary of William Shakespeare, his buddy, he brought to life Shakespeare’s characters, some they say written just for him; then they fell out. This one man play tells a tale of what might have happened with plenty of the historical facts around it. Fascinating stuff! Robin Leetham plays the part so well; it always astounds me how actors can stuff so many lines in their heads and bring them all back out in the right order, especially monologues (and this one was seventy five minutes long!). He also looked rather splendid in his fool’s garb, top marks for wardrobe.

One thought did pop into my head from time to time – much as I was enjoying Robin Leetham’s performance, I would love to see Thom Tuck have a shot at it. I think he’d make a fine Will Kempe, well, he’s not dissimilar in character! Perhaps it was also that Shakespeare’s Fool reminded me of Scaramouche Jones that Thom played so well (four years til the next time if he keeps to his plan).

Can I rewind a bit to yesterday now, please? That show I was heading to, another brilliant example of how to deliver a monologue and keep your audience mesmerised, was Watson: The Final Problem playing in Assembly Roxy (I do like the Roxy, it’s a fine old building, originally a church). The setting is three years after Holmes’ death at Reichenbach Falls, Dr Watson recounts his life (yes, another life story!) right from being a young soldier wounded in Afghanistan. It’s a cracking tale, of action, intrigue and poignancy, but ultimately at the end, after a full account of the past Watson looks forward to the future (unlike Will Kempe dying broken on a street corner).

Tim Marriott is excellent as Dr Watson, fans of Sherlock Holmes will not be disappointed at this story angle; Watson deserves more limelight! The show is only on until Sunday 22nd at 12:45 in the afternoon. Shakespeare’s Fool is on at 11:20am right up to Saturday 28th. Definitely my top two theatre shows this Fringe (sorry, Guy!)

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.

○ □ ~ + ☆

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!

I’ve seen some things, you know!

Since I last tapped out a post to you I’ve seen six shows in six different venues. I could go through them in chronological order, nope, gonna go least favourite first; that would be Embassy Stomp at theSpace Triplex (yes, one of the tickets I was having problems booking, which irks me now that maybe I should have taken the hint!). Oh, it wasn’t all bad, it just could have been so much better. The plot was fine, pacy and silly, the car chase scene was great, but I wished two of the actors had dialled it back a bit. They were too much for me, made me think of a show I saw a few years ago same problems, shouting is not projecting and less mugging can be a lot funnier (it didn’t help that the room acoustics were not good for shouty voices and made them slightly incoherent). I do think though that there was potential, there were some good ideas; given a few years the two I had problems with may well become fine comic actors.

From a group of young enthusiastic actors to the other side of the business, two experienced older actors playing Holmes and Watson in The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Oh it was fine, maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I’d been sat further back, I felt a tad blasted by the performance of Holmes (very Jeremy Brett, I thought) but I can see that’s definitely a way to play him, just a teensy bit hammy for me. Another thing was, a whole conversation piece at the end of the play, it felt like it should have happened near the start but they’d somehow missed it out and decided to tag it on at the end to keep the time right; it just seemed odd to me. It’s on in the Dining Room at the Gilded Balloon until the 29th; Sherlock Holmes fans should go see it and most likely they will.

Next up, another theSpace venue, this time Surgeon’s Hall, I’ve seen plenty of shows here usually pretty good ones, so no pressure. I’d forgotten that Theatre 19 Presents: John was down as an absurdist comedy, now it makes more sense, or at least, what seemed absurd was meant to absurd, and some elements were delightfully so. Again, the room was not the best acoustically when volume overtook projection, but hey, another bunch of young, enthusiastic performers (with those dials up to 11 at times, again, come on directors!) Some of the characters seemed like they were borrowed from bad Radio 4 “comedies” but the plot was fine and the ending, somehow it took me by surprise, well played!

This afternoon I was in the Ballroom at The Counting House for Stand-Up Philosophy. An hour of four comedians (one host, three guests) being funny and philosophical on the topic of the day, which today was rationality. I like these types of shows as the stand-ups can’t just rely on their rehearsed material, we get to see more of their mettle, especially when our host would open the floor for questions! And if you go more than once it’ll be a different show each time. It’s on until the 29th but it was full today, so that bodes well for the run. The Counting House is part of the Laughing Horse family and so operates on Pay What You Can to guarantee entry or risk turning up and donating at the end; today looked like most had booked in advance, you have been warned.

Our genial host of Stand-Up Philosophy, Alex Farrow is next on my list with his own show Alex Farrow: Philosophy Pig. No, I didn’t go to his other show because I was impressed by his solo show, I actually bought that ticket first, but if I hadn’t, I would have bought one! Alex Farrow is an engaging chap with a quietly confident air. I bet he was a great teacher, easy-going but in control; he gave up teaching philosophy to do stand-up about it instead. Yes, an hour with Alex is informative and well as entertaining, plenty to muse on as well as chuckle over. The Pig bit? Humans are animals too and have a base piggy side. He also has a lot to say about bats and is a bat-watcher, good man! This show is next door to The Counting House at 32 Below, (also a Laughing Horse venue) best book in advance as it’s quite a small room and he’s filling it already!

Top show so far? John-Luke Roberts: It Is Better – Live! The man is a genius! Bonkers, but a genius. This show wasn’t in the Fringe programme but I heard about it from Monkey Barrel and quickly got a ticket as it was only on for a few nights, so so glad I did – for me it was the best show of his that I’ve seen. He was so charmingly engaging, (I think he may have mellowed a bit from the first time I saw him) and looked quite debonair with his long mane of hair and beard to match. It will take something very special to knock It Is Better – Live! off my top spot!

No paradise nor bedlam this year!

It’s Friday night, I’d usually be in a final preview show at this time (four years on the trot it was Will Seaward just starting as I type this). It really doesn’t feel like Fringe time, apart from the weather – thunder early afternoon and heavy showers since then. I took my walk early evening once it was looking dry for a while. I was noticing the things that were missing, a Spot The Difference Stroll. There’s often six differences to spot in those pictures, so six, i ) no C cubed at Riddles Court, ii) nothing at St Columba’s, iii) nothing at Roman Eagle Lodge aka C Aquila, iv) no Paradise in the Vault (a big miss, I always see something great in there), v) no Paradise in Augustine’s (not that any production came close to that in there!), and vi) no Bedlam!!! That’s a really big hole in the aesthetic of the Fringe; an iconic building looking bare and closed up, such a shame.

Was it because of the rain, lack of interest or a lack of people, but George Square Gardens, weren’t remotely busy; the Assembly side was positively genteel with a harpist playing on a small stage set into the bottom corner. I think it’s the Underbelly in Teviot Square (shows how much of an impact it made on me), also quiet. Oh, I’ve just realised – no Pleasance Dome, of course. One small thing that made me smile was a few couples dancing the tango by the Dugald Stewart Building; I have no idea what that was about but it was quite charming to watch a while!

As I was quite peckish by then I headed home via the Sharwarma House on Nicolson Street. They do a rather good lamb sharwarma wrap for a reasonable £5.99, there’s plenty of it. I washed it down with a bottle of pils, yes, a pils, one of the few times I do prefer a lager to real ale or cider.

Oo yes, I did book some tickets today, six, enough to save a bit on the booking fees. I did try to book two more, but, well, the computer said no, and it kept saying no no matter how many times I tried! Why did I keep trying? Well, when the screen shows which days there’s still tickets available, but then comes up with “Sorry there are not enough tickets available to fulfil your request” at a request for one ticket!! I was a tad narked, any of the days I clicked on said the same thing and both shows are the same venue theSpace Triplex, hmmm. Maybe I’ll try checking them next week in case more tickets are added after Monday, I do hope so.

On the plus side, and oh so fringe side, my new favourite from 2019 is back, Luke Rollason, yay. He’s back at the Monkey Barrel again – I have my ticket booked! So looking forward to seeing his latest offering.

I’ll leave you with a photo of the Bedlam Theatre taken back in 2017. Adieu!

Old, posh, rather batty – no, not me!

Another cracking day here in Edinburgh, I’ve been lazying in the Park just sunning myself and reading. It’s a rather good book, Lady in Waiting, the autobiography of one Anne Glenconner. You may well not be familiar with the name, I wasn’t, and then my friend who was lending the book to me said, “You remember her, she was on the Graham Norton Show. Old, posh, rather batty, very funny. Princess Margaret’s chum, husband bought Mustique?!” Ah yes, her. Definitely wanted to know more – well I’m finding out an awful lot!! What a life she’s led, what a character, surrounded by characters. Okay so maybe some of it maybe embellished, who cares, it’s a great read. If you remember her from the show and like me went Oo and then forgot about her, get the paperback!

Today was so gorgeous here that the shallow pools by the parliament building had a number of small kids splashing about in them and obviously not an impromptu splash for many as they had swimwear on. Not sure if the architect of the Scottish Parliament had paddling pools in mind when he designed the foreground landscape!?

In other news, the Edinburgh Fringe programme is starting to fill out nicely, with more shows being added to the website today (that’s http://www.edfringe.com). There’s another twenty real physical venues added, one Online added, three more outdoor meeting places and, yay, the West End Fair will be back in physical form! Always a good place to look for unusual Christmas presents, and maybe a treat for oneself. Be warned though, some only take stalls for a week rather than the full three weeks, if I want to ponder on a purchase I’ll always check how long they’ll be around.

Sone rather disappointing news about MultiStory, the new festival hub being set up at the NCP carpark on Castle Terrace (a multi-storey carpark going down on to King Stables Road, geddit?). Apparently no single tickets are being sold! I hadn’t picked up on this until I saw a comment on Facebook raising the issue. The reply from the Gilded Balloon said, “Unfortunately, due to government restrictions tickets are only available in groups of 2 or 4. If availability allows, we’ll release some single tickets closer to the show dates. If any single tickets are released, we’ll announce it on social media.” Erm, I think they mean if a show isn’t selling, shows no signs of selling many tickets, they’ll make a quick, late on,splash announcement to entice more in, anyone’ll do.

Of course, it also means three friends can’t go together, either one drops out or they pay for four tickets, or they don’t bother and instead buy one ticket for another show that’s online and with the leftover money get a few drinks in. I’m not sure why the current government restrictions won’t allow single tickets to be sold though, especially since they may be sold later?! Maybe just easier for their booking system, perhaps? To be honest, as yet I’m not too bothered, the few shows they’ve so far announced don’t appeal to me, but I feel for the lady who raised the point on Facebook. Solo travellers unite – at least with one or three other people!

I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures from a clamber in the Park few days ago and one from the other evening when I went out to Cramond. Toodle pip!

Cramond causeway – the Toblerone-inspired design ensured that only the fittest should make it across to the island, the passage of time and tides had made the task even more of a challenge.

Nothing much on the telly tonight…..

As I type this the UEFA Euro 2020 final is half way through, England are beating Italy 1-0. Yes I have the football on, well, it is quite unusual, for England to make it to a Final. To be honest I’m not fussed who wins, ’cause, one – it’s only football, and two, I have a soft spot for Italy. I had a good mate in school who was Italian and really football mad (we had the same taste in music); he tried his damnedest to get me into football but it really wasn’t to be. When we met up again in the nineties we’d watch the Italian matches shown on telly on Sunday afternoons, then I understood more about his passion – it looked like a completely different game compared to British football at the time, it flowed. I wonder if my old mate is watching tonight, last I heard he’s in Japan.

Outside its quite a pleasant evening now, mind the drizzle could start up again. I was walking in the Park this afternoon when it came on, so my hike up to the top (getting in practice for next month) was rerouted to home before I got too soggy. Umm, I could go out later, perhaps, the bats in the Park are quite lively now and I’ve discovered another couple of great spots to watch them. Oo, Italy just drew level. This is a tricky one for some Scots, the ones who aren’t hardcore ABE (anyone but England), as long as there’s no dodgy call that helps England, then I think many Scots would be okay with a win.

In other news, George Square Gardens had the beginnings of the Assembly Festival garden going up, one bit definitely looked like a spiegeltent skeleton. I don’t think Assembly have announced any In-person shows yet, at least, when I looked through this week’s additions to tickets there’s only a venue numbered for Assembly Showcatcher (Online). There’s now forty eight numbered venues;four are venues that are both physical and digital, so they have a venue number for each. The Fringe Player is back, with venue no.65 (a quick look back, in 2000 venue 65 was St Ann’s Community Centre, South Gray’s Close, Cowgate). I counted fourteen online venues and twenty nine physical venues. Yes, that leaves five unaccounted for; those are just meeting places on the street for walking tours.

All the big four (Assembly, Gilded Balloon, Pleasance and Underbelly) are still to announce any In-person shows. The up-and-coming Summerhall have been busy bees and already have In-person, Online Scheduled and Online on Demand tickets available for plenty of shows, yay them. ThespaceUK also has plenty of tickets already available at three venues and online; the garden in Hill Square has been upgraded from just an outdoor bar to an open-air venue, the Garden Theatre (there’ll still be a bar, of course). Greenside, a slow-grown company with three sites, always worth checking out the shows on offer here, announced back in April that they would be digital-only this year.

Of course, the online content this year will make plenty of the Edinburgh Fringe available around the world, especially the On-demand shows, the Scheduled online shows will be available depending on one’s bedtime (you’d have to be really certain it’ll be a good show to watch from Western Australia). Families with young children should get a good deal with any children’s shows online – one ticket bought for a whole family! Of course, that means much lower incomes for the shows, or maybe enough extra families will come on-board that ticket sales won’t dip.

Italy just won a few minutes ago on penalties 3-2, ben fatto, Italia. I’m guessing there may be a connection with the car horns I can hear outside! Commiserations to the England team, I’d say they played well, but I was only half watching and what do I know about what I just saw?! Hey, it is only a game, it’s not like it’s a matter of life or death 😉

Time to call it a night, I reckon, it’s a night! Toodle pip!

Fringey things are afoot….

Hi there! Bruce here, coming to you from deepest dankest Yorkshire, yes, even in summer the damp is never far away. I may be away from Auld Reekie but I’m keeping tabs on what’s happening, like Fringe tickets now being on sale! One thing I managed to miss is that social distancing will be down to one metre as of the 19th July (how did I miss that?!) On the Edinburgh Fringe website it says that the Scottish Government has advised that even the one metre could be lifted on 9th August; two thoughts on this, i) I’m not going to hold my breath, and ii) its a bit bloody late to appease anyone. Did the decision for allowing the drop to one metre come too late for Underbelly? Whatever, apparently Underbelly will not be going ahead with plans for a Circus Hub venue in the Meadows.

Underbelly will be back in George Square as well as having an outdoor stage in Bristo Square. Assembly Festival will also be back in George Square Gardens with one spiegeltent and an outdoor stage. The Pleasance will be creating an outdoor stage in the Courtyard, let’s face it so many of their spaces are cramped, they couldn’t happen this year! Summerhall will also make use of their courtyard as a venue space – where will folk do their boozing and schmoozing?! Gilded Balloon will as ever be in Teviot (I guess the Wee Room won’t be used this year). Heaven knows how the smaller venues will manage, or if they’ll bother even trying.

The Edinburgh Farmer’s Market may benefit from having a new venue right next to it; the top floor of the NCP car park on Castle Terrace is to be an open air festival hub run by the Gilded Balloon, Traverse Theatre, DanceBase and Zoo Venues. At least I hope the Farmer’s Market will still be able to be in its usual spot over August, okay, yes, I am slightly troubled about this development.

Tickets for over 170 shows (but less than 180 shows, I’m guessing) are now available from the Fringe website. These can be In-person or online shows, the online shows may be scheduled or on-demand, or a show may be a mixture of the aforementioned. At quick glance it seems that if a show is both in-person and scheduled online it’s listed twice, this could take some time!!

One show that I spotted is back is that bloke atop Arthur’s Seat! Oh yay, Barry Ferns is going to back on Arthur’s Seat at one in the afternoon from 7th to 28th August, oh, with Wednesdays off and as long as his knees hold out. What with the Ferns’ return and all these outdoor stages, better pray to all the gods for a dry month!