The good, sad, sublime and mad

It’s been an interesting week since I last posted, some bits sublime, some ridiculously weird, some totally unexpected; it’s all left me too bamboozled to put anything down ’til now. Let’s start where I finished last time, about to head to see See How They Run, I didn’t see it. We arrived rather late, my chum wasn’t fussed about seeing it so we saw Bodies, Bodies, Bodies instead (I still haven’t seen it yet but I shall). Yeah, umm, we should’ve just call it quits and gone to Stramash early, really I could not have cared less if all they’d all ended up dead (I don’t think we were the intended demographic for it).

At least after that particular ridiculous, there was the sublime Nicole & the Backup Crew to pick us back up, and she was wearing another unitard, oh my (I’ve seen her wearing one before, I get it, very comfy, like a onesie but with sexy sass). Stramash was jumping, a great crowd. After midnight The Buccaneers took over, the crowd kept dancing, it was a lot of fun but I called it a night after the first set, hey, beauty sleep is required if I’m to stay so handsome!

A last minute decision saw me heading to the cinema on Tuesday night to see Clerks III, I hadn’t been aware it was even out, just as well I flicked right through the list! The first time I saw Clerks I was not impressed, then some time later I saw it again, much better, I loved Clerks II; I’m sure I have them both on dvd somewhere. If I can find them I can have a Clerks Day, watch them both then see Clerks III again. I enjoyed it but its definitely just one for the fans, quite poignant at times and it really points out how old we’ve all gotten (wow, Dante looks sooo young in clips from the first film!).

Sad news, Accordion Ryan has now left Edinburgh, he’s taken his two bags and accordion to Vienna. Good news, Ryan enjoyed Edinburgh and his Fringe experience so much that he may well be back next year, yay.

Wednesday saw me back at Legends for another blues evening. I missed the first band but arrived just as Jed Potts & The Hillman Hunters took to the stage; or in my head as they became, The Janitors, the mild-mannered janitor (as previously explained in this blog), the cooler slightly edgier janitor and the janitor you really wouldn’t mess with (yes, my mind does wander down some strange paths). As brilliant as ever and I do believe there was mention of an album coming soon?!

Headliners were The Cinelli Brothers who have just won The 2022 UK Blues Challenge, needless to say they were pretty damn fine – but my mind went for another walk…… Okay, so at the time it was very funny, I wasn’t drunk or nothing, I mean no disrespect, but come on, I bet I’m not the only who’s looked at the drummer and thought “porn star”. He had the ‘tache, the hair style, the satin shirt; actually I blame the guitarist/keyboard guy (they all sang various songs) he started it with his odd vaguely eighties trousers with a pattern that reminded me of curtains my Mum had in her kitchen years ago (probably the eighties). Then the other two band members, tiger print shirt and blue tinted glasses, paisley shirt and a hat straight from the seventies; obviously the director and producer of the porn movies. Like I said, they were great, it was a great evening – the deflated blow-up doll lying abandoned in the Cowgate made for a bizarre ending.

That wasn’t the bizarrest part of my week though. Oh, I had a good idea that the gig on Thursday would be different – I had no idea how different it would be! Firstly, it was in the Banshee Labyrinth, not a pub I frequent (just in August for the odd Free Fringe show, usually in the cinema room), well named as I wandered what was obviously the long way round to find the right room. Just about another dozen souls had found their way there to see Nestter Donuts with support from Diogo Augusto, and the trip began.

Loud doesn’t come close, ear-splitting, the backing track for Diogo Augusto was intense, I’ve never done it before, but thank god for a spare tissue to stick in my ears. The guitar was pretty low in the mix so was hard to made out a lot of the time, maybe if he’d just turned down that infernal backing track. Aside from the music he seemed quite a funny Portuguese chap, definitely preferred the stand-up bits, haha. I realised it did seem like some odd Free Fringe show I’d stumbled upon; the headline act stripping down to his undies at the side of the stage to put on his leopard print unitard did nothing to dispel this thought (personally I reckon Ms Smit wears a unitard much better than Mr Donuts).

the artist prepares

Nestter Donuts was another solo act, he sings while playing electric guitar, bass drum and high hat; he has two large Spanish fans as stage adornments (trying for a kinky boudoir look?!) He describes his music as flamenco trash, a fair description, there’s flamenco stylings in his singing and guitar. There’s also a lot of bizarre, like getting an audience member up to sing the words for his song Meow Meow (those are all the words and boy, did she go for it, obviously a fan). A strange act that somehow compels you to keep watching, thank god I was able to avert my eyes away at the end, most of the few there did – he’d pulled the unitard down and his undies, yes, deliberately! Ye gods! Ridiculously unexpected that was.

More sad news, the Scat Rats won’t be playing Binkies after the Fur gig on Tuesday night, good news is it’s the Willie Dug Duo, or at least that’s what Binkies have their website, hmmm. Unexpected good news, I should be picking up a new toy that I bought on EBay tomorrow. One of those quick ganders that threw up a beauty, I won’t actually say what it is, don’t want to jinx it, maybe I’ve already done so by just mentioning it. Yes, it’s paid for but you do hear things.

Anyway, my tea’s almost ready, I can smell it, yum.

Toodle pip!

P.S more pics and vids on Facebook and Instagram

I’ve been away, did I miss much?

Hello! I know it’s been a wee while, I’ve been down in the old country doing family things – what a time to be out of Edinburgh, eh! In case you somehow missed it, our queen Queen Elizabeth II died on the 8th September at Balmoral, three days later the Queen’s coffin was brought down to Edinburgh by hearse to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, from where it was taken the following day by procession up the Royal Mile to St Giles Cathedral. Her Majesty’s coffin stayed in St Giles for 24 hours, so that folk could pay their respects, before being flown to London. Many thousands came to Edinburgh to bid farewell to a much respected and admired lady, the queue reached right back to the Meadows apparently.

Queen Elizabeth II will be a tough act for King Charles III to follow, I wish him well in what may well be turbulent times. She was a strong figurehead for the United Kingdom, without her the status quo has been shifted, there may well be a few aftershocks before a new equilibrium settles in. Will some take this opportunity to make the changes that they’ve said would happen after the Queen’s reign came to an end?

So, I was down in Yorkshire for a while, a place name I usually precede with “deepest, dampest”, well it’s not so damp at present and water levels are far from deep, see how low one of the local reservoirs is…..

Yup, seriously low.

When the water level was low was in the mid seventies, the area below the road bridge was littered with looted safes, shot guns and the like! Now if we trot back up to the bridge and look upstream from the dam wall, you can see the much, much older bridge I was standing on to take the above photo.

The old packhorse bridge is usually well under the surface. It’s like a local barometer, can it be seen just under the surface? Oo, the top of the arch is visible; this view of it is extremely rare, possibly the first time there’s only been the smallest of streams trickling below it. It’ll take an awful lot of rain to refill the reservoir, anyone know any good raindances?

I came back up to Edinburgh on Friday after a longer stay than I’d intended, the Scat Rats were playing Stramash so it was definitely time to head north. What a gorgeous day for travelling (unlike the journey down) and at the end of it a lovely pint of Stewart’s and great sounds, yay! As I was leaving Stramash afterwards I asked the lads if they could confirm a date down in the Edinburgh Gig Guide of a midnight set in Whistlebinkies on the 27th – err, not in their diary! Then I mentioned it was the same night that Fur are playing the Mash House, oo, that perked them up, indeed yeah they’ll be playing that night! Goodo.

The Rats were out to play again on Saturday afternoon in Binkies; a new ale for me to try, mmm, so good I treated myself to a pint. And yay, Mr Marah is out again tonight with The Buccaneers, midnight at Stramash; before them it’s Nicole and the Back-up Crew, so thats four sets for some folk tonight. Maybe one time there could be a big mash-up of the two bands right through, I’d love to see that! To take me up to ten o’clock I’m shortly off to see See How They Run at the flicks, the trailer looks wonderful.

Best be off now, toodle pip!

The Fringe of ’22 is over

Its all done for another year, everyone’s left town, so many venues already look like there’s not been anything happening at all, even the streets are looking cleaner (yes, the binmen went back to work yesterday – was it really a strike or a dirty protest against the Fringe?!). At least I was able to console myself watching the Scat Rats yesterday evening in Whistlebinkies, and at the reasonable time of half nine! It’s Scotty boy’s birthday today, I’m sure there’ll be shenanigans afoot; just as long as he’s recovered by Friday when there’s a double dose of Marah and Rough – at five in Binkies, then down in Stramash at seven, sweet!

Anyways, you probably popped in for some end of Fringe waffle, like, did Accordion Ryan do a new song? Yes, he did and very good it was too, all about him seemingly giving off long term relationship vibes when, well, sometimes it’s nice just to have a bit of fun! Another clever, funny, slightly bittersweet song. It was a brilliant last show, a total blast, it’s gotta be ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. As is the usual with these things venue staff came along for a final send-off, I’m sure Ryan brought plenty of sunshine into their lives this last month (mine too!)

Earlier that evening walking up Blair Street I noticed that the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society Awards 2022 were taking place that night, obviously I had to get a ticket, what better way to round off the Fringe (especially in case nothing turned up on Monday)? Needless to say it was very silly, rather anarchic and quite random, like any evening at the ACMS. Thom Tuck managed to keep some semblance of order (Professional), or did a good impression of doing so. Throughout the show various nominees for Best Song went up and performed, my favourite was definitely John Robertson’s, short and very much to the point BINS!! As this was ACMS Awards there wasn’t actually an award for Best Song, of course not. The whole thing was done and dusted by around two thirty, a very reasonable time, considering.

announcing the winner of the Least Likely award

Monday? The few flyerers left descended on the remaining Fringers, by god, they had one last show to flyer and they were determined to got some bums on those seats! They circled around us like seagulls going for discarded chips, saying you already had a show to go to almost felt mean. Oh, I wasn’t just saying it, I did, the chaps from Out To Lunch were quite engaging so I bought a ticket, and that was my final Fringe show, in the afternoon! No final night, didn’t even bother with Binkies Open Mic Night, this slow, wheezing demise of the Fringe is no fun. Just end everything on the Sunday night!!! The last Monday gets more tragic each year.

Out To Lunch was rather good, by the way. It’s a comedy-musical but there’s not too much singing in it. Indeed, when the first song started I’d forgotten that it was a musical it was a fair way into the play, oh and the two male actors weren’t particularly musical when they tried to sing but that just made it funnier. Emily Cairns playing Angie made up for them, she has an awesome voice. I was amused by the main protagonist Marcus Tuckwell, a failing food critic, when I realised he was coming across like the bastard love child of Bernard Black (Black Books) and Jack Whitehall! Yes, I had that going on in my head.

Must finish, I’m hungry. There may be a ranty post later, possibly; well, a Fringe round-up that may become ranty. I may even get round to some Bruce T Moose awards this year, I’m feeling a tad inspired by the ACMS, Best Song nominees welcome!

Thom took his MC duties very seriously

Zombies, rats and hot tubs

First off a big WOOHOO!! and YAY!! for those Grubby Little Mitts who won an Amused Moose Award yesterday, brilliant news, well-deserved. Second, the Fringe is coming to an end, shows are starting to wind up (sniff!) and there are a few that I have neglected to mention how much I enjoyed them, in case anyone pays attention to what makes a moose smile. Here goes…

Aidan Goatley, the loveliest man on the Fringe is back with Aidan Goatley: Tenacious in ZOO Playground 1, a slightly out of the way venue to find but still very central. If you’ve seen Aidan before you’ll know what to expect, if you haven’t, like I said, he is a very lovely guy, you do not need to fear the front row (mind, he did demonstrate that without his glasses and a change of tone, with his size and tattoos he could come across as very menacing – and then he put the glasses back on, phew!). He always tells a great story, some older stories have come round again used as springboards into new material; he’s mentioned in previous shows that he started out in stand-up with the likes of Ramesh Ranganathan but Aidan’s not bitter, no, he’s bloody tenacious! ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2

Nathan Cassidy is back with two shows, one at City Cafe (PWYC) the other at the Three Sisters (Free). I saw Hot Tub God in City Cafe in a small square room, comfy seats around the walls and uncomfy seats in the centre – there was just enough room for what audience there was to fit around the sides – like we were all in a big hot tub. Another great storyteller, more bite, snarl and sex than Aidan, whatever type of storyteller you want they’re here at the Edinburgh Fringe! I haven’t seen his other show yet but on the strength of Hot Tub God, I may well visit the Three Sisters very soon. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This morning I finally saw a show at Paradise in the Vaults, one of my favourite Fringe venues, and happy to say, it was another belter (I’ve seen some great stuff in those Vaults over the years). It was in my to-see pile as soon as I saw it in the Fringe programme, Apocalypse Kernow; great venue, zombies, Cornish, comedy – what’s not to love? Absolutely nothing! So much funny and satirical content in one hour, the writing and performances are brilliant, turns out its father and son, both are so good in their many roles. Like all the best multi-character shows various soft toys played small parts (very well, too) and the ongoing Trago Mills worker’s updates of the situation were pitched perfectly. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Enough Fringery, though this kinda is as bands don’t start playing at two in the morning in Binkies at any other time of year. The Scat Rats had told me in advance that they’d be playing Whistlebinkies on Wednesday night (just as well, a night that late requires a little forethought and Binkies made no mention of it til last minute), they did also mention the strong possibility of some level of inebriation, okay, it’s Fringe, it’ll be very late, a few drinks in would be perfectly reasonable to expect.

Back in March I wrote It’s going to be a special night a direct quote from Mr Marah the night Logan’s Close played the Running Horse in Nottingham (click on it, it should link to my post). Wednesday night was another special night, only this time it was Scott’s turn as the soberer one! I was concerned when Carl first took to the stage and sat on his stool that he would stay on it, clearly instinct kicked in and he performed pretty well considering (oh yes, there’s a couple of clips on Instagram!) He coped pretty well with the ongoing technical problems, I felt sorry for the poor girl who was on sound that night, she was doing so her best. It was indeed another fine fun performance through to around four, hugs all round and home to bed.

In other Fringe music news, did I mention the other day that Accordion Ryan had to cancel his show because his voice was suffering? Well, anyway, he did, it was. Poor guy had to cancel another two shows, but today he’s back up and running, yay! I won’t be seeing him tonight but I’ll definitely be there for his last show on Sunday (22:15 at The Counting House on West Nicholson Street), I reckon it’ll be banging!

Must go, need to eat. Toodle pip!

A few musical notes ……

It’s Friday night and I’m in playing the Miracle Glass Company‘s first album on my stereo – yes, its a vinyl record, blue vinyl! I’m now also the proud owner of their second album, that one’s red vinyl. What encouraged this bout of vinyl procurement? Seeing them play last night that’s what, with the added bonus of having their albums on sale afterwards, how could I not? And how to choose one over the other? And when would I get the opportunity to get both again? Yes, they are on Spotify but it’s not the same as having the physical records, both in gatefold covers no less!

I was lucky to spot that the Miracle Glass Company were playing one show at Pianodrome at the Old Royal High, ticket booked! The Old Royal High is a brilliant old building that’s been unused for about sixty years, for a short while it was a possible site for the Scottish parliament, this summer Pianodrome have moved in and created a pop-up venue in true Fringey style. It’s worth a pop in just for a drink and a wee peek around the open bits, while it’s possible.

cloudy with a chance of tunes

The band were playing in the Grand Hall in-the-round or more oval in this case. My, but it was such a fine performance, great songs and cracking harmonies. There sounds to be Beatles’ influences there, but I was surprised when a couple of the slower numbers really reminded me of Bad Company (haven’t hardly thought about them in years). Not sure if I still have any of their albums somewhere. Song of the night for me was Look At You Now with it’s sparseness of just Willie’s voice with guitar for quite a while before coming in with bass, drums and more vocals, exquisite.

Well, I certainly wasn’t going home and crashing after that, oh I popped in to drop off the records, then headed straight back out to Whistlebinkies where the Moaning Bones were playing from midnight til sometime after three o’clock (three sets). A rather cracking night in all, twas almost four before I lay my head down, yeah, didn’t see any of the morning today! Check out the reels on my Instagram for a clip of each.

It may be Fringe time but I’ve still been making time to catch some good music when I can, even if it is very late on. Mind, I’m not sure I’ll still be about for the Scat Rats at two in the morning in Binkies, unless I go to the ACMS that night for a couple of hours or so (It starts at midnight). And on music, I’ll mention before I forget, I caught a rather lovely show yesterday early evening at The Mash House. The chap collared me at the bottom of Blair Street as I was heading home for a spot of tea, told me it was about making the greatest album of all time, “Oh, that’ll be out next year” says I; we started chatting, he sounded interesting, so an hour later I went to see Tom GK: How To Record The Greatest Album Of All Time which was enjoyable and interesting, though at times it seemed a bit disjointed.

Tom GK has a condition that has rendered him completely deaf in one ear and partially (going increasingly) deaf in the other ear, time then, to record the greatest album of all time. The show has songs along the way and I really liked the way he spoke about music, he has a great take on explaining how he relates to music sounds and how songs are put together, I was fascinated. Tom GK is a big Beatles fan, they get referenced quite a bit, no bad thing. One particular stand out moment was his song about starting with one chord and planting it like a seed, keep coming back and checking it, then one day another chord like a shoot appears and from that a plant (song) will grow and grow. Sweet! Of course, there was the sombre message at the end to do that thing whatever it is, do it, it may not be the best in the world but make it the best you can do in what time you have. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cake devoured, coffee drunk, time to blog…

Yum, just tried a wodge of cake I made last night, an I Didn’t Intend To Make This But I Have Leftover Mixture cake. I could have just scoffed the mixture but it was very late and didn’t want the sugar rush to keep me awake, so I put it in a small cake tin and bunged the spare pear slices and halved blackberries (from the cake I was actually making) on top. Yes, I have a larger cake with a layer of pear slices halfway down in the mixture, a few pieces on the top and blackberries pushed down into the mixture. I should be good and freeze it in slices for later, I should. Why have I been baking? A special occasion coming up? No, I’ve just noticed that cakes and pastries have been seeming more delectable and appealing recently, if I know I have something at home I’m way less tempted to give in to desire.

And on tasty, delicious things, The Scat Rats were awesome again last Friday evening. Just a few in again but the lads never give less no matter the numbers; two best buds chattin’, singin’, playin’ guitar, they just happen to be doing it on a stage. I had to smile when Scott passed his guitar to Carl to fix as he’d just broken a string (amused but not surprised that Carl is handier at that stuff). While Carl got on with a re-string Scott took took Carl’s guitar for a soulful solo rendition of Tonight The Streets Are Ours, Carl did sing a few backing bits from the corner of his mouth that wasn’t gripping his pick (why he didn’t just take the pick out of his mouth I don’t know, but it made it more entertaining).

More folk did wander in over time but it remained fairly quiet, the usual way these last few weeks. Yup, this lovely summer weather is really doing for the 7pm slot at Stramash, Willie Dug was not a happy pooch the other week, I did wonder if he’d pull out of it this Friday – haha, he’s gone and got the band moved into the 10pm slot (did I get it wrong? nope, the website still shows the original timeslot, the new time is on Facebook). Oo, it’s the old favourites TBC at seven at the mo, hey Stram, how about The Scat Rats again? I’ve stuck snippets of Folsom Prison Blues and The Last Time on Instagram for your delight and delectation.

Later that same evening I was in the Spiegeltent in George Square Garden to see Tom McGuire & The Brassholes; first night of this year’s Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, that tent was buzzing. I’ve not seen them before, very lively and bouncey, as were the crowd too. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve been to anything in the Spiegeltent before that’s all standing except for the outer booths and a few rows at the back, nope.

Saturday saw the Grassmarket was very lively with the Mardi Gras, three stages and a floor space for bands too. Annoyingly, the times given for some band appearances turned out to be completely out, never mind rough guide lines, but I caught Awkward Family Portraits second set and got me their new album afterwards (they are so good, I love ’em). There were plenty of different styles on offer for folk to watch while basking in the sunshine; I didn’t go along but I’ll bet George Square Garden was busy.

The temperature rose through the weekend, Sunday evening was as hot as a normal summer’s day when I went to see Thor: Love and Thunder, so glad of the air-conditioning in there. Personally speaking, I really enjoyed it but I can see why a lot of Marvel fans won’t, too light, too silly, played for laughs; yes, Taika Waititi could have reined it in a bit. But how did he persuade Russell Crowe to do such a ludicrous accent?! Was it meant to be so funny? The guy is famous for being huffy about his acting, was this a deliberate joke back to the Robin Hood accent debacle? For me there was a lot to live in this film, Stormbreaker v Mjolnir, Jane Foster becoming Thor, Tessa Thompson being divine as ever. I’ll probably go see it again, actually, no probably there, I will see it in the cinema again.

It wasn’t just a random choice to see the new Thor movie on Sunday evening, I needed to fill the evening until going on midnight. You’ve guessed it, another late night shift for The Buccaneers in Stramash; no keyboards, which made for a much heavier, rockier sound (haven’t as yet but there will be a couple of clips on Instagram later). Earlier this week Facebook said The Buccaneers would be playing the Jazz Club at 1.30 last night, that is too late for me! The local Gig Guide shows the Buccs playing Whistlebinkies midnight on the 29th, maybe I’ll check that one with Mr Marah.

Next blog post will be Fringe related, no music – unless I hear something epic that I just have to share! It’s looming closer and closer but somehow my head still thinks it’s like a month away or so. Oh, I have plenty tickets now for the run-up week, and my calender drawn up with definites written in. Gotta go, time for a spot of late lunch.

Toodle pip!

a joy for the ears, out on Spotify now

Rats and Brassholes

It’s Friday evening, I’ve just had a rather splendid tea of spaghetti and a homemade pasta sauce – why do people buy that stuff in jars? It’s so easy to throw something together. The Scat Rats should be back at Stramash at seven o’clock but I suspect the place will be dead again, it’s still a hot and sunny out there, go figure. Oh, and the George Square Garden has opened today for the start of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, it’s probably rather busy right now. I’ll be in there myself later on, I’ve treated myself to a ticket to see Tom McGuire & The Brassholes in the Speigeltent, yay! Okay I’ve only seen bits and pieces but I’ve definitely liked those morsels, so why the heck not?

I’ve taken full advantage of Assembly’s locals offer again and bought my full allowance of six tickets. While checking through the Fringe programme I noticed that a lot of previews are only on the Wednesday and Thursday, the Friday is full whack weekend prices (guess how I feel about that, go on!); my Assembly offer tickets run through Friday to Sunday when the offer ends. And that’s another thing – they have a great long list of shows included in the offer, around two hundred, erm, certainly four of those shows don’t start until after the 7th!! That’s just a few I checked, how many more have they bumped the list up by? I only noticed because Rich Hall is back (yay) and his show is on the list, only it doesn’t start the 13th, huh? Naturally I was curious, check a few others, yup, there were more that started after the first weekend.

Turns out those Underbelly folk have decided to jump on the bandwagon and is offering a number of £5 tickets on all their shows from the 3rd til 7th. The offer is only on until midnight Sunday so I’ll have to check quickly tomorrow; this will be cheaper than the preview prices too, oo and it didn’t mention an upper limit of tickets allowed per person, interesting. Now if only the Pleasance and Gilded Balloon felt the need to attract the early-comers too. OMG, just realised Messrs Tuck and Fitzhigham are back with their Macbeth in the Underbelly this time (pricey) but this opens my options of when to see them a bit!

And on Thom Tuck, that wonderful August Institution has a show at the Monkey Barrel that isn’t listed in the Fringe programme, it’s a good job I had a peek at their own website! Will Tim Fitzhigham sneak in a last minute show at the Pleasance like he did last year? I was very lucky to spot that on the Pleasance’s own website and snaffle a couple of tickets. You’ve really got to be on the ball with these things!

Crikey, the time! The lads could be on, or having a drink in an empty bar. Toodle pip!

Another Friday evening….

Were you one of those kids who liked having music playing loudly while doing their homework? Parents constantly questioning how such a thing could be done. I wasn’t, never had the option; now, on occasion, I find watching live bands quite conducive to making notes for blog posts. The music clears away anxieties and excess clutter, ok, so it doesn’t produce one long clear stream of consciousness, more like random pop-up thoughts. If you’ve read much of this blog you’ll know that’s how I roll anyway (and if you have read much of it, thank you!).

What now follows is pretty much what I wrote in my notepad yesterday evening in Stramash while (whilst?) watching the Willie Dug Band. Like the start of the previous Friday’s seven o’clock slot, the place was dead, at least I assume so from the few that were there when I went in at the back of eight. Methinks Stramash may change the band times if this keeps up.

In Stramash just after eight, the band’s not on, must have played closer to the time slot than the Rats did last week. I wonder how many were in? The cord that’s usually still across the stairs is already down, I don’t reckon the numbers really warrant it yet. Stewart’s Citra Blonde is off so I’ve had to go for the Holyrood Pale Ale instead, interestingly I’m not as keen on it as I was, I do prefer the Citra now.

So yesterday the Fringe programme finally came out in solid form, yay. I went quickly through the entire thing last night – yes, quite a feat! It’s going to be an interesting year, many differences again after last year’s covid-embattled Fringe. Certainly many ticket prices have are up by a couple of quid, not unexpected with everything that’s going on in the world, but a bit ouchy to see all at once.

No Half Price Hut on the Mound anymore!! What?! That’s right. Apparently there will be something in place for cheap last minute tickets from the Fringe Box Office itself, no details of how this’ll work at present. I’ll miss standing, watching the display board taking an age to get round to the times I want to see, getting hassled by flyerers, “Are you looking for something to see?”,”No, I’m looking to see whether what I want to see is up there”. With no huge display board or Fringe App, how easy will it be to navigate through whatever this year’s set-up to find the ticket offers?

《the band’s on with Come Together one of my particular favourites. The guitarist so looks like Guy Martin》

That’s right, no Fringe App this year! Never thought I’d get so use to the Fringe App that I’d miss it, yes it was easy and useful, not that I actually bought tickets on it but the Nearby Now feature was really handy. There’s a lot of unhappiness about it on Facebook.

《wow, an extended jam of Sunshine, nice》

I’ve also noticed that they haven’t shown in the programme which shows are doing Friends Of The Fringe tickets, why?!? I have to log-in on my phone and find the show to check, aargh, load of bloody faff for why? Okay, I haven’t made as much use of the Friends 241 tickets in the last number of years but not being able to see at a quick glance is a negative to me.

《didn’t recognise that last song but now they’re on 54 46 That’s My Number by Toots and the Maytals, a favourite of Willie Dug.》

Its all e-tickets now and like last year all tickets bought together are tied into the e-mail receipt. Fine, except when you have four or five e-mails to check through find the right one for the show you’re about to see (it’s never the first one you open). Heaven help anyone who loses their mobile, remember how we used to be fine without them?!

《the Willie Dug Band are now on their last number for the evening, Higher, this song requires an audience response in the chorus, we gave it our all. I think he usually finishes with it but tonight, umm, did I detect a slight bitter ironic tone? Certainly that was a timecheck when he looked at his phone, wanting to get the set over with? Can’t blame him, not many came in at all, probably because it was another very warm, balmy evening so folk would want to be outside until as late as possible; a real shame as the band were good, some great longer jams going on to really get into, I enjoyed the music tonight》

Pint finished I headed home, okay so I popped my head into Binkies but it was a rather dull covers band so I wasn’t gonna waste a drink on them. I did think of going bat watching later but much later I woke up from dozing on the sofa, damn!

And it’s that time again tonight. Toodle pip!

That’s all right? I’ll say!

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

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

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

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

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

Toodle pip!

A somewhat potty weekend

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

The Kennedy’s Project on Waverley Bridge

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole giving it some sass ❤

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