I’m just a tad excited

It’s finally here!! Logan’s Close are back in Sneaky Pete’s tonight! Yay! And what a build-up to it over the weekend, couldn’t move without bumping into good music! Friday was the Scat Rats in Binkies, plenty folk were in after office parties, so plenty dancing, myself included.

Saturday evening was back to Binkies for The Moanin Bones on excellent form. After their first set I headed down to Stramash for Black Cat Bone, they were fine but I just wasn’t feeling it so back to Whistlebinkies I headed to catch more of the Bones. As if that wasn’t enough of the talented Mr Buckley, I caught his second set in Stramash the following evening, solo this time. There’s a clip of a rather fine bit of California Dreamin’ on Instagram.

After he was done I nipped over the road to Bannermans for Jed Potts and Nicole Smit playing in the front bar. Yay, another pub with Stewart’s ales and they had Kilted Kiwi on, sweet! (much preferable to Stewart’s festive offering this year). Bannermans is not a place I go in much, I’ve seen the odd band there and if you like your’s metal it’s definitely worth a visit. It was quite a cosy setting on Sunday evening, not metal instead blues and honky tonk, marvellous.

Sometime after ten I trotted back over to Stramash for The Buccaneers, see it pays to keep a watchful eye on social media for who’s playing where. I noted Mr Marah had a new shirt on, apparently he found it in Armstrong’s an emporium of vintage clothing, well-known in Edinburgh for the place to look for something with style.

Well, it’s time to have a nibble or two before I head along to Sneaky’s. Do check out my Instagram @bruceonthefringe for clips of my favourite Edinburgh bands. I’ll leave you with the lovely Nicole and Jed….

Strictly can wait – I have a date

It’s been a week since Logan’s Close released Heart-shaped Jacuzzi, today I realised I’d been whistling it as I headed home from the Farmers Market (just a couple of bits from it over and over and over again). Oh, I inadvertently hum and whistle a lot, only realising I’m doing it when someone gives me a look. People don’t whistle so much anymore, at least not around here, hardly at all I’d say, which is a shame, well, I think it is.

This week saw more new Edinburgh music splash into the streams, yesterday Jed Potts & The Hillman Hunters released a new album Swashbucklin’ (also available in solid form, CD and vinyl). Their gig next week that’s part of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival Autumn Series is now the official album launch show, coincidental timing I gather, at least it saves on organising another show for it (it does seem that the album release date is possibly a tad earlier than expected?) The show is at Leith Dockers Club on Thursday 3rd November; I have no idea where Leith Dockers Club is, presumably in Leith, but am definitely considering getting a ticket.

Mr Potts will be playing at Stramash this evening as part of Nicole & The Backup Crew, unusually they’re playing the seven o’clock slot, yes, I shall be trotting along. I’ll be back there on Sunday evening too for the Handsome House Jam; the Handsome House Band play on the first and last Sundays of the month and invite a guest musician to jam with them – on Sunday it’s Carl Marah, yay! So glad I wondered who the guest was this week, I often don’t think to check.

And as if that wasn’t enough fun for one weekend, Monday night Stramash have the Moanin’ Bones on at ten o’clock at their Hallowe’en Haunted House Party. It’s been a wee while since I last saw them, well looking forward to that! I may even get spookified for the occasion.

Meanwhile back at the Close …… their December show at Sneaky Pete’s sold out a few days ago, but our lads aren’t going to have anyone miss out on their juicy goodness – Logan’s Close will be back in Sneaky’s the following evening (so thats Tuesday 13th) to do it all again!

Must go eat. Toodle pip!

A cobbler, a duke and a bear ….

I’ve been back down in deepest, driest Yorkshire again, yup, those reservoirs aren’t looking any fuller. Oh, there’s more rain now but not nearly enough to make a difference, just enough to get soggy while dog walking.

Fun fact I discovered – Halifax once had a zoo! What?! Yes, a zoo that even had a visit from the King and Queen! That was King George V and Queen Mary back in 1912. It had hundreds of animals including lions, monkeys, an elephant, llamas, a pelican and two bears, one russian and one grizzly. It’s because of the grizzly that I became aware of the zoo’s existence, that and the desire to go explore the drinking establishments of Halifax, from the ancient to the barely out of the wrapper.

Halifax has a fine variety of pubs and bars for all tastes, old pubs like Lewins, the Plummet Line, the George, very very old pubs like the Union Cross and charming newbies like The Victorian (okay to me it still feels new but I’ve just realised its been there about seven years!) There was one pub I didn’t get the name of, they just refer to it as the Ikea Pub and I could see why; hmmm, probably more bar than pub. Actually more like Habitat was, than Ikea is now, but I’m sure you get the idea.

From there we trotted through the market (Halifax Borough Market to give it it’s full name) to Dukes in Market Arcade, very very new this one and I liked it very much. I love the style and decor of the place, it has a lovely friendly, quirkly feeling to it, the setting within an old Victorian arcade helps, that and the interesting selection of beers. Next time I’m down and in the market….

After Dukes we headed straight over to the Meandering Bear, I know this because i)the photo of the pump clip was taken after four o’clock, that’s when the Bear opens, ii)I remembered (i) when Dukes pointed out that the final pic on my Instagram post wasn’t one of theirs. So the story behind the name? The aforementioned bears escaped from the zoo and while the russian bear was quickly caught, the grizzly went on a long walk around the district before it was finally recaptured. Drinking in pubs can be educational!

Enough about pubs in Yorkshire – Logan’s Close are finally getting round to doing a gig in Edinburgh, yay, yay, and triple yay! In Sneaky Pete’s on 12th December, crikey it’s been a while since I last saw them in there. Very excited about that but there’s even more!! On the 10th of this month the lads announced that their first single Heart-shaped Jacuzzi from the new album will be digitally released on the 21st, wowzah ❤ And as if that wasn’t enough to get the fans excited, four days later they gave us a wee taster of the video, oh my heartses!! It looks sooo good, how to ratchet up the anticipation 👄

So that’s Logan’s Close, new single Heart-shaped Jacuzzi out on 21st October on a music streaming platform near you, do yourself a favour and check it out. Methinks the Scat Rats will be on fine form at Stramash on Friday, yes, it’s their usual seven o’clock time. I had wondered if they would be playing as there’s still nothing for Friday night on the website, but Stramash have now put the week’s band list up on Facebook – huh, the Rats are playing late tonight as well, what!? Much as the heart is willing, my body needs to sleep, I’ll be seeing them on Friday. Sweet! 《Update. I did go see the first set, excellent as per usual, maybe a wee clip will find it’s way on to Instagram. Oh, and the video will come out a bit later after the single》

Toodle pip!

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!

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!

It’s been quite fair all in all

It’s a mizzly, drizzly day out there today but, hey, after the last week the plants need it. The weather even stayed nice over the Meadows Festival weekend, breezy but sunny. They built it and, indeed, the people came.

Arthur’s Seat just peeking over the tops of the trees there
a sunny Meadows Festival

The stalls were back with the usual unusual, the food vendors all did roaring trades, local success Stewart’s Brewing ran the beer tent, and there was live music in all three corners of the main area on the Saturday. The stage for upcoming bands was back, Out of the Bedroom Open Mic was another, and of course the Main Stage, the latter going on through Sunday too. The one problem with spending much time there is the time wasted standing in the queue for the loos, always long! The Meadows don’t have any bushy areas to disappear into, but, just a short saunter away is the Dagda Bar very handy for relieving one’s bladder and thirst without the long waits in line.

the usual unusual – a parrot and his boy
the usual unusual – vital in every kitchen!

Sunday evening saw me trotting up to Whistlebinkies to catch a duo I’ve been hearing about on social media that’s really had me intrigued – Harp & Guitar. Bart from The Kennedy’s Project has teamed up with harpist Dara Watson to create some amazing blues sounds! I arrived just as they were playing Wicked Game, oh boy, sublime, no need for vocals, just guitar and harp, beautiful.

just guitar and harp, beautiful

Most of the set was instrumental with Bart adding his low gruff voice to the odd one. A Little Drop of Poison from Shrek 2 was in there, a great choice as Bart sounds more than a little like Tom Waits; Minnie the Moocher put in an appearance too, onbe he often plays with the KP. You can catch a bit of their take on Havana on Instagram, yes I’ve recently taken the plunge! That’s on there and there’ll be other stuff not on here, please take a look and follow me, please! (it’s bruceonthefringe or Bruce T Moose)

On that note I shall sign off to take some exercise, it’s not looking quite so damp outside now. I’ll leave you with a couple of pics taken in the Park a couple of days ago. Toddle pip!

I’ve never been to Barra

….. so Barra came to me, well, Storm Barra popped round. Luckily Edinburgh rarely gets the brunt of any bad weather, some poor sods had only just had their power reconnected after Storm Arwen to lose it again! (who chooses the names for storms?!) Arwen caused a right kerfuffle around the UK, she came the last weekend in November and set quite a high benchmark for the rest of the storms this winter! Storm Barra was never going to be as badass but he gave it go.

As I said, Edinburgh never gets hit as hard as other places, bad weather here is really just crappy weather, but, of course, folk will moan like it’s the absolute worst! Arwen brought Edinburgh cold high winds, some rain, and left a smattering of snow; I would have enjoyed a toddle around Holyrood Park but was booked to leave Edinburgh first thing on the Sunday morning, shame. At least there was snow where I was headed, and it was the easterly, powdery stuff, yay, and not so much as they had around Tan Hill in North Yorkshire, so getting about was fine.

The Tan Hill Inn, previously famous as the highest pub in Britain (1,732ft or 528m above sea level) is now famous for having a three day lock-in thanks to Storm Arwen. She brought 3ft of snow, but the high winds caused snowdrifts up to 9ft deep and downed a power line blocking the road, the pub was completely cut off – with over sixty folk inside, including an Oasis tribute band who’d been playing on the Friday night. The story made the news around the world, yesterday the pub’s Facebook page had an estimated audience size of 48M-56M, like wow! The tribute band Noasis (soon nicknamed Snoasis by the press) kept their fans updated on Facebook, finally announcing “Noasis have left the building”, hey, the story even got a mention in RollingStone.

This highest pub in Britain thing got me wondering about where the highest pub in Scotland is, the Highlands, surely? And how much higher could a pub in Yorkshire be than a pub up in the Highlands? It turns out, the highest pub in Scotland is nowhere near the Highlands, it’s actually way down in the south west in a village called Wanlockhead, goes by the name Wanlockhead Inn (no The for this Inn) and it falls 201ft short of the overall British title. Oh, and it’s not the second highest pub in Britain neither, that goes to The Cat & Fiddle in Cheshire at 1689ft above sea level. Have many folk visited all three as a thing, I wonder? Some years ago I may well have made it a challenge to myself, for now I’ll content myself with battling the wind blowing down the Cowgate!

I left Edinburgh after Arwen had swept through town and returned in time for Barra turning up. My trip away was also bookended by Carl Marah playing at Stramash, first with the Willie Dug Band ( I was going to see Willie Dug anyway, Carl was an unexpected bonus!) and then with his fellow Scat Rat, Scott Rough. After a full-on week it was so good to have a pint and listen to my favourite duo, the lads were on great form. I recall their rendition of Norwegian Wood was particularly fine, oh and they finished the first set with Del Shannon’s Runaway, don’t reckon I’ve heard them do that one before.

If I had to be stuck in a pub in the middle of nowhere for three days with a band, Logan’s Close would be my first choice, yes, above all other current bands (if we’re going full fantasy line-up, I’d need more time to think about it). As long as there was enough food in for full scottish fry-ups, oh yay, breakfast serenades!

I leave you with an attempt to replicate the plight of the Tan Hill Inn….

They’re back, well, 2 out of 3, anyways

How nice to see the lights back on inside The Waverley as I strolled past yesterday evening! Mind, whilst it was good to see the pubs on the Royal Mile open again, it looked kinda sad, the few occupied tables in each one. A few more establishments have followed on The Scotsman’s Lounge example and built large wooden structures for their outdoor clientele, these looked quite busy, well, it was quite a pleasant evening. Yes, even though it was a Monday night, folk were out to celebrate the latest easing of restrictions, ironic that most were drinking outside rather than inside. The pubs with little or no space for outdoor drinkers must have been rather pissed off!

The Grassmarket was feeling it bit more like it’s old self, a few gaggles of shrieking females, drunken friends hugging each other goodbye, a lass sat crying while her mates tried to console her. Yeah, almost like the old days, well, nights, almost, the pubs had to close by half past ten.

I did check that half ten was correct on the BBC newsite on my mobile – just in from there, the Edinburgh Tattoo has been cancelled again. Despite spending a lot of time and effort to make it work this year, the organisers have said the financial risks are too great and could have put the entire future of the Tattoo in jeopardy. Sad but not really surprising news.

Other news, it’s Eurovision on Saturday, yay! The first semi-final is on telly tonight, the second on Thursday, guess I’ll have a good ganders at those, then probably be very disappointed about songs that don’t make it through to the Final. I have to share these pics with you, taken on Saturday, this high street shop seems to be embracing a retro Eurovision style (the young shop assistant couldn’t figure what was so amusing about these dresses and why I was taking photos of them, bless).

Twas the Friday before Christmas….

It’s very late on, it’s quiet outside except for the occasional car sploshing past in the rain. Usually on this particular Friday night it would still be noisy and boisterous out in the streets. Ah yes, Mad Friday, the final Friday night before Christmas, many will be out straight after the working day ends, every pub is packed out. People are partying like it’s 1999, again! The streets are busy with roving pub crawlers heading to their next drink – Mad Friday is not an evening for moderation (the amount of alcohol consumed on this one day in the UK must be quite staggering!) But this is 2020, Mad Friday has been lobotomised, not even the junkies are out yelling at each other tonight.

Departure Day for Christmas is getting closer and blurier. Oh, we’re still being told that we can have the five days grace to see family for Christmas, but, make that BUT, they don’t think we should be making use of this liberty. One problem, trying to guilt-trip never works on the people it’s intended for, people who don’t give two hoots won’t give two hoots! Instead, the law-abiding worriers will worry more, case in point, my dear old Ma.

Will I get down to deepest Yorkshire? I hope so, I do intend to go still – ask me again on Monday and I may answer differently. With all this uncertainty around I decided I should make me a Christmas cake! Cake baked Thursday, almond paste (probably marzipan to you) made this evening. No, I would never consider shop-bought marzipan, homemade almond paste is way way better!

My efforts so far ………

See, apples green, oranges orange, got that?

I’m in the wrong place, Gromit. No wonder l feel out of sorts, bloody Covid, I should be a couple of hundred miles south in darkest Yorkshire. I haven’t spent the second weekend of October in Edinburgh for eons! It’s one of my annual pilgrimages back to the old country. Some would say I should have just gone down but, having left the decision right up the night before I would have gone, the family all agreed best to leave it. The law may be an ass, but annoyingly my tribe are way too law-abiding for our own good at times!

My disgruntledness hasn’t been helped by an article I saw this week on Facebook from the local paper; the headline read “Curbs on amplified music, concerts and fireworks proposed for Edinburgh’s Old Town”. What! Are they having a laugh? Mind you, reading stuff in the local paper is like hearing about stuff from my mother – not necessarily the actual facts, just something with a resemblance of them. It’s written to read like everyone in the Old Town area came together and all agreed, no more fireworks, castle concerts, and we don’t care for the Tattoo either, really? A number of people compiled this ducument, by no means should it be taken as the views of all Old Town residents. See, that irked me but what really got my goat was when the article went on to say that this group also have “a radical solution …. to ban all amplified music in the Old Town, from …. individual pubs”.

I was annoyed with the way local pubs in the local music scene were being linked to the council’s greed for the tourist buck and everything else that’s bad about inner city living; the night-time noise in the Grassmarket area is from drunks spilling from the other pubs, the live music venues really don’t add anything much to that hullabaloo. I was so incensed I almost wrote a comment (having read the Comments section of the local rag posts, I know the savagery of the regulars and how adept they are at missing others’ points). Almost, then I noticed a Facebook friend had already pretty much made my comment for me, oo, and indeed there were already two replies that would exasperate anyone level-headed.

Would my friend reply back? From reading through all the comments I discovered the first reply was from a serial ranter with a rather smug, patronising attitude towards any dissenting views; please, don’t rise to it, I prayed, he’s so not worth it. Ha, no reaction back (I bet that irked him), but a good handful of likes in support of our local music scene. Crickey, if these recommendations were implemented it would be a serious blow to Sneaky Pete’s, Stramash, Bannermans, just to name a few. And if that happened where might the new puritans strike next?! Oh, I do get the need for some restrictions and noise controls, absolutely, but not by people who don’t know apples from oranges!