There’s been some ukeing goin’ on

The kitchen was a real state last evening, but that didn’t stop me from popping down to the Kilderkin for the Uke Hoot. Hey, the fridge freezer still wasn’t fully defrosted, a small pool of water was still collecting in the bottom, but not enough to spill out on to the floor if I left it for a couple of hours. Besides defrosting and cleaning it, I’d pulled my fridge freezer out from the wall to clean the floor and paint the last bit of kitchen wall. Yes, I painted behind the fridge freezer, I knew it wasn’t done and it irked me, plus there was just a small amount of paint left in the tin, it made sense.

Yes, I hooted my uke last night, it’s quite liberating! A small group of enthusiastic uke players meet up to play and sing songs, all abilities welcome, just do it with gusto and you’ll fit right in. There’s a comprehensive songbook to pick from, some of the regulars have it on tablets but there are solid copies to share around. Folk just call out tunes to play next, there was My Girl, Two Princes, Dreaming (a Blondie song I’d completely forgotten), a few Beatles tunes, of course; my suggestions were Sunny Afternoon, Runaway and Pretty Flamingo. All washed down with Stewart’s Holyrood Pale Ale (well the voice did need lubricating) at the very reasonable price of £2.30 for half a pint. It’s now £2.90 in Stramash, I guess that’s the difference between diy entertainment and getting in professionals!

I was back in Stramash last Sunday night, drinking Stewart’s Citra Blonde, a very hoppy session ale, nice but not as nice as the Holyrood Pale Ale but it is 40p cheaper for a half! The Buccaneers were playing after midnight but I went along at ten for the band before, Nicole & The Back Up Crew; never seen them before but I know Nicole has sung at a number of Fringes as part of the Blueswater Presents line-up, it seemed a good time to finally check her out.

Holy moly, ay caramba, like, wow, don’t I feel stupid for missing out til now!! What a voice, what a presence, what a cutie, Nicole Smit is the whole package; super talented and sweet’n’sassy. A quick check reveals that she’ll be performing Blueswater Presents: Queens of the Blues Live at the Jazz Bar again this year (six shows), definitely worth a punt for blues lovers. Oh, and Nicole’s at the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival in July, I’ll be checking the programme for the details when it launches tomorrow.

Nicole and her trusty Back Up Crew in Stramash

I almost felt sorry for Mr Marah having to follow Nicole on stage, but hey, Carlos was fine. The band change over was easy as two of the Back Up Crew are also Buccaneers, Simon on drums and Ewan on bass (I was a tad confused when I walked in to see Simon already setting up the drum kit to his liking), as I’ve said before the band scene here can be quite incestuous. Stage right, the harmonic player was replaced by keyboards, stage left, that’s always Carl’s spot no matter who he’s sharing the stage with. I must ask sometime if there’s any particular reason for it – his best side? superstition? Special mention must be made of the night’s rendition of LA Woman (I say this as one who loved this track to death many years ago, yes, to death, when I really could not bear to hear it ever again) the Buccs have renewed my appreciation of it’s magnificence.

You would think that it was time to hit the sack when I got home at ten to three, au contraire, I made a sandwich, a flask of hot herbal tea, dug out an old picnic blanket, grabbed my uke and headed Park-ward. At five in the morning I was sat on Whinny Hill listening to the dawn chorus, a very grey dawn chorus, occasionally joining in strumming my uke (no, I was not playing Morning Has Broken). I was gently strumming away when I sensed an audience, slowly peering round there was a fox just a few feet away from me, wow! It stayed a few minutes more then continued on it’s way. Probably going to saying to it’s friends later, “You are not gonna believe what I saw in the park earlier – a moose playing a ukulele! Yeah, how weird is that?!”

a moose with a view

Hot blondes in the Auld Toun

I think the title of my last blog post confused a few Americans – they went looking for whisky talk and found a Dutch band instead! How to get attention though, just put the word scotch in, or maybe I’ve just suddenly gotten very popular in America?! Hahaha, nah. So what’s new? Not a lot. Oh, the Uke Hoot is back at the Kilderkin on Wednesday evenings, I really should get along there one week. I’m currently trying to master a Blues Shuffle in G that I found online, it could take a while but hey, it’s a fine excuse for not doing other things that I should be doing.

I was inspired to search out some bluesy uke playing after seeing Mr Marah play not once not twice but three times last weekend. Yay for social media keeping me informed – it’s not stalking when folk put their schedule on Facebook! First off, The Buccaneers were playing the after midnight slot at Stramash on the Thursday night. I had intended to go down to Leith Arches earlier that evening as Willie Dug was playing there along with three other bands; annoyingly, after tea my little relax on the sofa turned into a big time nap til around ten o’clock, dammit. A couple of episodes of Lucifer perked me up for stepping out into the night and up to Stramash.

Carl was back in Stramash for the seven o’clock slot Friday evening with fellow Scat Rat Scott Rough. Oo, we were treated to Hot Blondes In Your Area Tonight from the upcoming Logan’s Close album, nice! This pared down version really brought out the bittersweet-sounding chords and harmonies; music to make your soul soar whilst at the same time tearing a rip in your heart. A young couple completed the romance of the song by dancing together to it, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to be enchanted for those few minutes, that moment in time.

Less than twenty-four hours again and the Scat Rats were doing an afternoon set in Whistlebinkies. I just caught the second set, it was my reward to myself for spending the previous two hours up a ladder carefully painting the final inch strip around the top of the kitchen walls. Hey, I have high ceilings, the concentration required to paint that neatly and not fall off the ladder was intense, I deserved to sit in a dark room with great music playing after that! There was a new Stewart beer on, a very nice session ale, just had the one half, you understand, just to relax after my endeavours.

And yay, I got to hear Hot Blondes again, a big reason for going along so I’m glad it wasn’t in their first set. There weren’t many in Binkies but the lads gave it gusto as always, Carl managed to break another two strings (I saw two go the previous evening!) – overexuberance?! So, a lot of the same songs always come up, but I could never be bored of listening to this pair, there’s always something to delight, a sound that’s tight but loose and always fresh.

In The Morning is sounding so good now (well, yes, it’s always sounded good but this is A+ with a cherry on top good); sitting in Binkies I realised this was the song on Friday night when I could have sworn Big Nick was there beside me enjoying it, saying, “Yep, those boys have it!” As the Rats wound up with You Can’t Judge A Book it finally twigged – Carl’s gotten a tad flamenco-ey at times, very like Nick did in the later years, that’s why he’s been hovering round.

Facebook tells me that The Buccaneers are back at Stramash this Sunday night (well, Monday 00:30), another late night. Mind, Facebook has also just told me the Close are back in Hamburg, a quick trip or will I be in bed before midnight on Sunday?

I’m sure Elsie won’t mind me sharing the latest shot of their magnificent mugs here

More Scotch, anyone?

Happy Easter! Is it moose or bunny, either way it doesn’t lay eggs!

No Park walk for me today, the place will be full of folk rolling eggs everywhere! Tonight the Park critters will dine royally on the smashed egg remains, it’s the payoff for having to hide away from the hordes all through the day. Tomorrow I’ll enjoy spotting painted pieces of shell on the slopes.

Edinburgh has gotten busy now, maybe still not to usual numbers but not far off now. The stags and hens are all back, swarming around looking for pubs. Alas, the last week wasn’t a good one for bands that I like playing locally, so I’ve been staying in and the odd evening stroll in the Park. I was so happy when Scotch the Band drove back into town after their trek around Scotland. If you read my last post you’ll know they went down a storm in Stramash, this time they were playing Whistkebinkies, a very different space, almost claustrophobic compared to the cavernous Stramash.

Ah, they were so fine, high energy, bouncing off the confines of Binkies; the crowd were fine too, dancing and singing along exuberantly. There’ll be a couple of clips of Scotch in action on my Facebook (Bruce T Moose, and if you friend or follow me there’s always links to new blog posts there). On here you’ll just have to make do with pictures and imagine the sounds and atmosphere. Gotta say, the skinny stripey trousers always put me in mind of Steve Harris back in the day, well, the eighties.

Oh yeah, I should mention I bought their latest cd Losing My Mind, I almost got it for free, well, I did, then I passed the kindness right back to them. See I didn’t have a tenner on me so was going pay by card, I hung around for one of them to find their card reader, it was hiding well away, no trace, he decided to just give me the cd, like wow! Heading out by the stairs on to South Bridge and the fresh air, it occurred to me that there were a line of cashpoints just over the road, doh. Naturally the band, though they’d vacated the pub, were still hanging around outside on Niddry Street, yay, and what a nice bunch they are. Of course, I should have asked how they came by the name Scotch the Band – oh well, next time they’re in town.

Toddle pip!

Scotch n Eggs

Friday night again, Etta James is serenading me, sweet. Had a very, very late night last night at Stramash, so I’ve been feeling somewhat jaded today. Oh, I’m not hungover just missing some sleep, I was drinking very slowly after discovering the latest price increase when I paid for my first pint – dropped down to halves after that. Mind, I would have spent considerably more if my evening had gone as originally intended and I’d gone to the Jazz Bar. Oh I went along (intending to while away a couple of hours) then went along back home, apparently everyone and their cousins had turned up for the Groove Thursdays jam session, not even enough room left inside to squeeze in a mouse never mind a moose!

Why didn’t I just go to Stramash or Binkies rather than back home awhile? Because, annoyingly both pubs had bands on that I would never willingly go see, one because I’ve had the displeasure before, and the other just really is not my thing. I’m very glad I did trot back out after midnight to catch Scotch the Band, well worth it! Phew, so glad was I, well it was late 2019 when I last saw them play and I was fairly drunk that night.

Scotch the Band hail from Holland, clad in black and white striped trousers, white shirts and braces, the drummer carries his kit slung low from his waist, no sitting around for this guy! There’s guitar and bass, and banjo and fiddle, oh and four of the band sing. Their style? Erm, party folk music? Revved up Balkan folk? It’s infectious in the best possible way. Scotch sing in Dutch and English, they sing about cheap vodka, weddings, the hair of the dog, they get the crowd singing raucously along. And after a week driving around Scotland they’ll be back in Edinburgh in Whistlebinkies, yay!

In other news, Co Co Co. were up from Dumfries at the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market last Saturday with some amazing Easter eggs.

I resisted buying one, but I did succumb to a packet of passion fruit truffle eggs and solid white chocolate raspberry eggs. OMG!! These guys know their chocolate but those passion fruit truffle eggs really are divine! (there’s a strawberry cheesecake chocolate in the pipeline that I’m really excited about)

I’ve been very controlled and just had one or two each day – until shortly after this picture this afternoon!

A little voodoo magic from Elsie

It’s very late Friday night in Edinburgh, Facebook has informed me that Logan’s Close are in Hamburg; from the pic they were let loose on the streets after their first day in the recording station working on their debut album Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi. It being Hamburg they’re posing in front of a place called Sex-House, well, of course they would, all looking fine and dandy. I wonder how the gig went last night after just travelling over there? I hope it gave them a boost for today. Couldn’t have been as good as last Sunday night at the Voodoo Rooms, though.

Ah yes, finally Logan’s Close got to play the Ballroom in the Voodoo Rooms again – and it was awesome. Not just one or two, they had three support bands to get the crowd warmed up, Julen Santamaria, Jupiter Strange and Racecar. From a low simmer the room gradually went to gently bubbling with the beats and expectation, then the lights dimmed, the lads took to the stage, from bubbling to boiling, a most rapturous reception!! Oh, the love was in the room, I think they may have been a bit taken aback by it all for a few moments before opening with Lost In You.

At the time I was taken by surprise by this choice (oh, a very lovely one, just not a song I would have anticipated as an opener) but as I recall the atmosphere, they were totally caught up in the crowd’s adoration and enthusiasm, so yeah, lost in the euphoria of it all. Next up, Never Bloom, a great live song but like the title says it’s not destined to blossom into a studio track (well, you could grab a copy of the LimbicTV session CD to hear it). Newby Merry-Go-Round was third, I remember because it was also the third song down in the Running Horse, a gorgeous number from the new album (I’m really looking forward to how the studio version will sound, I’m expecting nothing less than totally scrumptious).

Another new song to follow, Half n Half which to be honest I remember thinking was great, but that’s it, the title alone had the crowd smiling. For those outside of Scotland I should explain, a half and half (or hauf n hauf) is a whisky with a half pint of beer for a chaser. Give It To Me a particular favourite of mine was next, the opening harmonies and keyboards slither round like thick smokey tendrils reaching out before engulfing you in a hazy, intoxicating fog (well, maybe not you but it does me) with that guitar break, oh yeah.

Oo la la, Dans Le Jardin bounced and tripped along joliment, one from the album? Next song definitely was, Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi, the title track. Okay, so by this time my powers of remembering were prerty much used up, that’s it. There may have been another new song in there, and the Close “finished” with another newby about Hot Blondes. Babe Station was in there, of course, and Mock Marble Linoleum, both destined for a soak in the Jacuzzi. Classic I Want You had to get an airing, it’s not an LC gig without it, and the song about the number 33 bus? Yeah, Gouching was there with it’s luxurious rolliness.

After the brief off stage right and the crowd hollering for more the lads obliged with Eleonara (oh yay!), Girl, and what else to end with, especially on Mothering Sunday? Listen To Your Mother, of course! The band each did the obligatory solo after being introduced, the crowd went suitably nuts, oh yes, the new line-up totally rocks it.

I am so, so looking forward to the album coming out, of course that’ll be a while yet, after the recording studio there’s loads to do before it actually gets to be released, all of which costs money, so Logan’s Close have set up a crowdfunder with various rewards for pledges ranging from a digital download of the album, to a virtual pint with Carl and Scott, to a live stripped-back full band set (that’s within 150 mile range of Edinburgh, fair enough). There’s a VIP Concert Day Experience that includes “a pre-concert fry-up at their favourite greasy spoon” – they have a new favourite now? The Babelon Cafe is long gone, I wonder where Scotty gets his tatty scones now?

My donation to the coffers was pre-crowdfunder, yeah, I’m a trailblazer; currently pledges have reached 134% of the original target, so like, wow, the lads are well chuffed and, there’s still over a week to go. It helps a lot that the band were selected by Creative Scotland’s “Crowdmatch” (one of just twenty to be selected), which as it sounds, means Creative Scotland matches pledges when they reach certain milestones. If from all my rabbiting on about LC you’ve checked them out and like their stuff, please check them out again. Gonna leave you with a few pics from last Sunday night. Sorry, epic night but rubbish mobile camera.

Five long gloriously juicy years

Next month It’ll be five years since I stumbled upon Logan’s Close, towards the end of this month the new line-up will take to the road with their mini tour of the UK before heading off to Germany; what will the next five years have in store? But before they headed off to their future would they have time to chat about their past to an old moose? They did ….. in the Waverley late Tuesday night before they played the midnight set at Whistlebinkies. Yup, The Scat Rats, aka Carl Marah and Scott Rough, agreed to meet me there (a favourite pub of theirs) well, they are two lovely amiable chaps, funny, smart, easy-going; as delightful offstage as on. Unfortunately we were drinking, and still drinking at Binkies ’til after two, so I’ve had to sift through an alcohol-induced blurriness to recall anything from the conversation.

Rough and Marah have been best buds since they met playing football at eight years old, so going on twenty years. Both started playing guitar around the same time, Carl was self-learning, Scott was going to a guitar class and told Carl about it; and so the seeds were planted. By 2014, in their late teens the two had been joined by friend Mike on drums and they took the name of a lane in their hometown, Dunbar, as their moniker Logan’s Close. This bit’s hazy, finding a bass player who fitted in took a while, I think Olly was the third one and he was a perfect fit. Now they were a tidy foursome, things started progressing nicely.

I first became aware of them at the end of April 2017 when Facebook suggested I might like their video Listen To Your Mother. Oh, I did, it was cracking and I still reckon it’s a great watch, do check it out! The following month they were the support for a touring band playing Sneaky Pete’s in the Cowgate so I went along and was totally blown away by their energy and sound, yup, one taste and I was hooked! I saw them three times more that year, the final time in November was for the launch of their latest single Girl, at the Caves just off the Cowgate.

Logan’s Close at Sneaky Pete’s Wednesday 31st January 2018

As good as this line-up and sound were, Rough and Marah were after one more piece to complete the puzzle – a keyboard-player, but where to look for someone to match their sound? The gods were happy to oblige them and dropped one into their laps, late one night after a gig in Stockbridge, a chance meeting in a small supermarket. He sent them a demo and Sean Keys was part of the LC sound; as I suspected, it was Scott who christened him Sean Keys, no his surname is not Keys! That was in March 2019 and now those keyboards are very much an integral part of the Logan’s Close soundscape.

Logan’s Close at the Voodoo Rooms supporting Black Cat Bone in April 2019

Alas, in July 2019 the band said a sad farewell to Mike. Since then they’ve had various drummers, but drummers seem to be flighty things, LC wanted one who’d settle down and go steady with them. Mind, it’s been an interesting time, Alex (as seen on the Fantastic Man lockdown vid and the LimbicTV gig) was great and Simon Gibb (currently playing with The Buccaneers amongst other things) has picked up the sticks for them on occasion. They have a new drummer, yet to be seen out at play with the band and also a new bass player since Ollie left for Italy last year, interesting to ponder how this change in the rhythm section will affect the band.

Messrs Rough and Marah have been very busy coming up with a whole stack of new tunes since the lockdowns. That must have been grand, finally getting back together, bouncing ideas off each other, getting the old chemistry sparking again. I had intended to ask a bit about the process of their particular alchemy on Tuesday night, hey ho, maybe another time if I’m lucky.

There’s been a shift in their style, the lads have gradually moved away from their initial early Beatles and Sixties sound, looking back Give It To Me (released July 2019) was a clear signal of this change. Oh, there’s still the sixties sensibilites in there in the weave but much more subtly. There’s so many new songs, and what with new band members, much of the old repertoire has been consigned to the band’s history, but there’s the odd one or two that’ll be kept around. Playing as The Scat Rats some LC tunes can pop up, I presume their particular favourites (some of mine too). A couple of songs from the LimbicTV session last year will be on the new album, I’m rather excited to hear how both will have evolved since then, and with the full studio treatment too! Yes, I know which two – not telling!

Sadly Eleanora isn’t one of them, shame. Oh, I did ask where Eleanora came from – Carl having his fortune told high up on a mountain in Italy (Apparently the fortune teller only spoke Italian, so he recorded it and got it translated later). Hey, at least it’s available on the Logan’s Close Live at LimbicTV CD now on sale as a limited edition vinyl-style CD on the band’s website for a mere £10 GBP (exc. shipping). I’d like to think I had a small part in their decision to put the CD out there, you may thank me later.

That’s it from what I’ve retrieved from my sozzled memory of Tuesday night. It was a fun night, there weren’t many in Binkies but we had plenty of enthusiasm and yes, I was up dancing again! So that’s the first five years of my acquaintance with the Close, can’t wait for the next five and beyond. Whatever Marah and Rough get up to next, it promises to a whole barrel of juicy fun.

Let’s finish this with a pic of the divinely talented, exquisitely in-sync Scott Rough and Carl Marah ❤

late night in Binkies

NEWSFLASH!!! Just announced on Facebook, the Close’s debut album Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi will be recorded in Hamburg in April. Well, newsflash to you, I already knew.

Dance like no one is watching

…. Oh, but they are. I mentioned in my last post that I was up dancing to The Buccaneers last week, not just tapping a foot or swaying to the beat, full on dancing, shaking it baby! Man, it felt good. Friday night saw me in Stramash for The Scat Rats doing the early evening slot; the lads were on top form, the audience (scant as we initially were) were audibly appreciative but no one danced. I know I praise Messrs Marah and Rough a lot, but really, In The Morning was sooo good – are they getting fired up now that their mini-tour is getting closer?

Second set started with a bang, One After 909 by the Beatles (great song, a regular inclusion in Bluefinger sets back in the day), still no one dancing. The place was starting to fill nicely, everyone was having a great time tapping fingers and feet, not even Listen To Your Mother could entice anyone up (and it really should have), and then, too soon, the final song You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover. The Buccaneers finished with that in Binkies, I danced then, by god I was going to dance now, so screwing up my courage I headed over to where a vague acquaintance was showing increasing signs of needing to dance. Would she like to? – Oh no, not just us two in front of everyone. She clearly wanted to dance! – But her friends wouldn’t. Turning around there was a line of folk all itching to move more than just a shoulder to the beat, if we got up they’d follow – Really? So I asked them, will you dance if we do? Yes, hallelujah, we started dancing and they joined us, as did plenty others.

Amazing what desperation will make you do, but someone had to get the ball rolling and last night that someone was yours truly. After that the ball stayed in play and any half decent tune got people dancing, the crowd were raring to go by the time the next band came on. I took my leave and headed home some time after midnight, if I’d been wearing socks they would have been well and truly danced off! That was truly a moment of happy for me, I miss my dancing days, or rather, nights. Oh, I never chose to stop dancing but, well, places close down, friends’ lives drift apart. But Brucie, you go out to see bands plenty, why not just get up and dance if you want? Because, because, like the lady and plenty others last night, I feel the fear.

The fear is a powerful deterrent, it can be subdued by copious amounts of alcohol but that can often result in the fear plus a dose of shame the following day, not good. My fear was drilled into my psyche in my teenage years good and proper; twice, a few years apart, I learnt that others are watching, judging, mocking, condemning you as a wierd freak. I learnt that if you’re out alone, but still trying to make the best of things, without the protection of a bunch of buddies, any hyenas nearby will sniff you out. Yes, that was many years ago now, but it can be hard to shake these things off. And hey, everyone has their own doubts and fears – next time someone tells you your fears and worries are irrational and daft, ask how they feel about spiders! Now that would be irrational, to fear spiders (here in the UK anyway).

And while I’m letting off a little steam, here’s another thing ……. a relative of mine recently accused me of being obsessed with a certain band! What?! Me? At the time, I made some feeble, mumbling jokey retort. Well, he’s just a scornful old misery guts, always out to deflate others’ enthusiasm because he feels none for anything anymore. Wish I’d turned round and asked when was the last time he felt passionately about anything! Certainly never in this century. Yes, my enthusiasm when I find something I love is amusing to others, but sorry, not sorry, that’s just the way this moose is.

Must go now and tidy round a bit before I head up to Stramash for the late set after midnight – it’s The Buccaneers, yay! Will I be dancing? Who knows what the night will bring, but probably not. In the morning though, I totally intend to do something that’s really scary to me but is water to a duck’s back to others. Wish me luck!

Toodle pip!

Odd balls and green eyes

Another rugby weekend done and dusted, the French fans will all be back home again after a grand weekend away. Some arrived early last Thurday (as noticed in Stramash in my last post), some stayed to carry on the party ’til Sunday night. Oh, I wasn’t witness to it ’til after Peaky Blinders had been on telly. Yay, the new and final series of Peaky Blinders is up and running, and I wasn’t being anywhere other than in front of my telly at nine o’clock on Sunday night. By ‘eck it was good, a fine tribute to the late actress Helen McCrory, Aunt Polly, who died almost a year ago.

Only after it did I tidy round from my evening meal and get ready to head out to Whistlebinkies. For why? The Buccaneers were scheduled to play at midnight. Now if you’ve been following my posts recently you may wonder if it was worth staying up so late – this time it was definitely happening, The Buccaneers said so on their Facebook page. I’ll admit to a slight hesitancy as I drank my way through a pint of Stewart’s Edinburgh Gold at just after midnight, oh yay, the band members started turning up, that helped wake me up! And I stayed awake ’til around three having the most splendid time drinking and dancing, it was a fine crowd there, all really enjoying the music. Mr Marah was on top form, well, all the band were. From pics on Facebook yesterday I think the keyboardist, Luke Cunningham, had just been on at Stramash which could explain his being the last to turn up but it was no problem to turn in a great performance. God, I’m so lucky to have such great musicians on my doorstep!

Not so lucky as the Welsh, though, well, the ones in Swansea. Whilst the Welsh may have been beaten by England on Saturday, they will have the first look at the new Logan’s Close line-up at Hangar 18 in Swansea on Thursday 17th March – jeez, I’m sooo jealous! I’ve never been to Swansea, don’t think I haven’t been pondering on a visit! The day after it’s a drive to The Elmer’s Arms in Bristol; again, somewhere I’ve never been, some very nice pubs there so I’m informed, hmmm. Saturday 19th March sees the band trotting north-east up to The Running Horse in Nottingham, then a left turn to Liverpool and the Prohibition Recording Studio on the Sunday evening before heading home to Auld Reekie. Might as well give you the other dates, that’s their long awaited return to the Voodoo Rooms on Sunday 27th (yay!!!) and then a skip across to Hamburg and the Indra Musikclub on the 31st; again, I’ve never been to Hamburg, I haven’t been anywhere (except Yorkshire) for over two years, maybe?!

I’ve noticed that the Nottingham gig is on Super Saturday, the final day of the Six Nations Rugby this year (so called as all three matches are on the same day). In years gone by that was a pub day, often the Greenmantle or The Blind Poet, ah, we were young, up for it and very, very drunk by the end of it. This year I’ll be down at the Mothership around that weekend, Nottingham is just down the road, well, under two hours down the road, oo.

Maybe I should just appreciate that the lads are having four dress rehearsals before the big one back here, the glass half-full approach. Yeah, I’m not really buying it. Swansea, Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, Logan’s Close are coming your way, you lucky, lucky bastards!

Some snow, some Fringe, some Potts

We had snow, yay. Not much but enough for more snowmen sentinels to rise up again and a few snowboarders headed up into Holyrood Park for a bit of fun. Of course, I had to head out too, I mean, look at it …..

Unfortunately, we’ve still some very strong winds around, hence I ended up in a rather prickly bush. It was very prickly, and rather than come to my rescue, dash it, the photographer just laughed and kept on clicking!

Heading down to Dunsapie Loch I spotted a snow sentinal rising up, struggling against the gusts of wind (up to 40mph the weatherman said and I can well believe him) to stay upright. He kept losing his head but he still kept going! Had to ask for a pic with him but as his face wasn’t fully formed he couldn’t reply, but who wouldn’t want a pic with li’l old me?!

Back home drying out, I had a glance around news about this year’s Fringe Festival. Much as I enjoy cold, snowy weather I am looking forward to summer! This August will see the 75th anniversary of the Fringe; it’ll run from 5th to 29th August (plus two days of previews before the official start, hopefully). Hmmm, yeah, I remember the Edinburgh Fringe used to officially run from the Sunday for three weeks finishing on the Bank Holiday Monday, when did that change? Checking back through my programmes 2009, the start moved to the Friday before. You know, I never noticed that before!

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 show listings will start appearing on Thursday 3rd March with more coming online 7th April, 5th May and 9th June. Apparently there will be a printed programme this year but it won’t be launched until early July (my guess is Thursday 7th). The Pleasance Theatre have also announced their first ten shows for Edinburgh and the tickets are already on sale. I noticed the magician Ben Hart will be back again, never seen him but he always has brilliant posters. I am tempted to get a preview ticket, umm.

And back to cold February, it’s another Six Nations rugby weekend and the French are already in town! I knew the rugby was on this weekend but hadn’t yet checked who v. who and where; there were a lot of men sporting blue berets in Stramash when I wandered in to catch Jed Potts and Jon Mackenzie, some bizarre stag-do? Ah, of course, I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to figure it out! The French were out to play and enjoy themselves, well, there would be Friday to recover before Saturday. I hadn’t seen this particular combo before but Mr Potts has been very good every time I’ve seen him, so I popped along for a gander (and a couple of beers, of course). Yay, excellent again. I would have put a clip of them doing Johnny B Goode but I don’t have the premium package apparently, so you’ll have to make do with stills from it (If you pop over to Facebook, Bruce T Moose, I’ll pop the vid on that).

I do like a bit of Willie to start the weekend

First Saturday in February and the Six Nations tournament is under way, as I type this Ireland are currently beating Wales 22-0 in Dublin. Later this afternoon it’s the battle for the Calcutta Cup, Scotland v England, here in Edinburgh at Murrayfield. I don’t envy anyone going to the game, it’s a horrible day out there! I popped out to the Farmer’s Market this morning and grabbed a paper on my way back, I’m not setting hoof outside again today.

Everywhere in town will be busy tonight, extra so than usual with a Six Nations home game on. Mind, many will peak earlier than they envisaged they would due to lack of grub to help absorb all the alcohol – I’ve seen it so many times! I was out getting my live music fix for the weekend yesterday evening, Willie Dug and the Cosmic Gents were playing the early slot at Stramash. A shorn Willie Dug! Like nae hair – is February really the month to do that?! No Carl Marah on guitar tonight, he was up in Morningside playing a solo acoustic set (and not as Whistlebinkies’ website had shown earlier in the week playing the midnight set there with The Buccaneers, yes, another error by Binkies). No mind, the band were good.

Stramash was fairly quiet at the back of seven when I rolled up, I say quiet, quiet as in the the number of bodies in, some of the bodies were quite loud and boisterous, their weekend was well under way. There were more in by the time the band opened the second set with Come Together, always a cracking tune; followed straight on with Roadhouse Blues, harmonica to the fore, he’s rather good that harmonica player. Back on to Willie’s own stuff Don’t Mess With The Walrus is a great tale about the Walrus Cafe on Easter Road (sadly now a victim of the Covid lockdowns it seems). Only Love Can Save My Soul is always sung, sometimes a cappela, with handclaps, with tambourine, tonight was with drums then a few guitar notes before bass and harmonica finally joined in, rather bloody good tonight!

I always feel for the band in the early evening slot, folk are just starting to loosen up and jig about as the end of the second set comes closer. More folk will have drifted as well, the place is warming up ….. and the band finishes, ah, but it was good last night! I finished my pint of Stewart’s Holyrood Pale Ale and headed home. I could have written something up then, but I decided I needed more music instead. You know how it is.

Well, the rugby is done for today, Ireland beat Wales 29-7, Scotland beat England 20-17 (okay, so I paused writing this a number of times to give my full attention to the excitement on the telly), there will be much celebrating around the town tonight. And many sore heads tomorrow!

Time I ate something, I think. Toodle pip!