Here comes the rain again

Today is the start of the second week of the Edinburgh Fringe, the day that a lot of full run shows take off; if not today, tomorrow or a few take Wednesday off. Certainly all the Just The Tonic shows are not on today – are they all having like a huge works party somewhere?! Thunder rumbled through yesterday evening and night heralding the end of the heatwave, this evening we have torrential rain forecast from around nine o’clock onwards, settling down to steady rain from first thing Tuesday morning until sometime in the early evening. All the wetness should be cleared by Wednesday when most shows are back on, it’s how it often goes, an August institution.

Another August institution is the ever delightful Thom Tuck, who is, of course, here again, yay. Indeed, I just went this afternoon to see his show, Thom Tuck: An Even More August Institution. He’s only doing it for three days, this was the first one – almost like he knew in advance that the weather would be rubbish, so folk would want to head indoors! Well, he knows how August in Edinburgh pans out, he’s been here for plenty of them, and his show this time features a number of tales of Fringes past. I could have quite happily sat listening to him for another hour, the man is witty, erudite, silly; always a pleasure ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thom did mention that he studied philosophy at university, couldn’t help wondering if he’s ever a guest comedian at Stand-up Philosophy? I’d definitely go to that, the chap could wax lyrical on anything I reckon. I have actually been to Stand-up Philosophy once already this Fringe but it is one of those, a different show every night. The afternoon I went along the topic was identity, the host had three comedians lined up to do short pieces on the topic, after each he’d join them to chat and get questions from the audience, it’s an interesting idea for those wanting something a bit different from stand-ups. ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Late morning today I went to see Rachel Creeger at The Globe Bar (PBH’s Free Fringe) on the basis of seeing her doing Stand-up Philosophy. Good choice, she comes across well; the raconteur style of stand-up rather than jokes, and there is plenty to laugh about in her stories. Probably not to everyone’s tastes but I had a lovely hour in her company, oh, and she’s an orthodox Jew, there’s a few mentions about food – you will be feeling hungry by the time you head out. ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Just time for another mention before I head out to see Aidan Goatley, a show that I saw as a WIP last year Rob Kemp: Agenda. Until this year I don’t think I’ve ever been in The Hive in Niddry Street, in the last two weeks I’ve seen three shows there, all great. The Hive rooms are an extension to the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club, so tickets can be bought in advance or PWYC at the end of the show. Anyways, Rob Kemp: Agenda is a great show, he’s great, great legs too. This is an autobiographical show about Rob dealing with societal expectations versus his identity as a man who likes, when the mood takes him, to wear sequins and make-up, a pansvestite (his term). It’s honest and blunt, also very funny and touching, loved it last year, loved it this time too ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Must dash. Toodle pip!

Silliness, Inc.

Come on, moose, focus! No playing out in the sun ’til you’ve written up a few more reviews. Well, as I stuck that pic up of The Establishment poster form 2017 at the end of my last post, let’s start with them. Yesterday I caught up with Neil Frost’s and Dan Lees’ latest Fringe offerings. The Establishment may have disestablished itself but these two have plenty going on. I had already PWYC for Neil Frost: Nan’s House of Fun, then just a couple of weeks ago I spotted that The Flop: A Band of Idiots was back (I failed to see it last year, yes failed, I did try hard) at Banshee Labyrinth, yay.

Neil Frost is at the Blundabus, a fitting setting for such an anarchic silly sense of humour. It is a small venue and he will talk to you wherever you choose to sit, but he’s very lovely and friendly so don’t let that put you off seeing this delightful show. You may wonder five minutes in what the show’s title is about, he’s still on his first riff dressed up like a scary psycho mouse, it’s actually a bittersweet look back at parts of his childhood. Neil Frost is obviously around ten years younger than myself as he thought Timmy Mallet was great in the 80s, really, he wasn’t. The show is on at 8pm in the Blundabus, which is next to the Potterow underpass (its passed by all the time by folk going between the Old Town/ Cowgate area and the university area around Teviot); definitely worth pausing there for 45 minutes to recharge your funny bone ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The Flop: A Band of Idiots wasn’t listed in the Fringe programme (it is now in the online version) but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt these last few years it’s that the Absurdists like to keep folk on their toes, always check the free fringe stuff regularly, the silliest comedy is worth the hunt. The Flop are the other half of The Establishment, Dan Lees, a third of Privates Tom Curzon and Cammy Sinclair, three gents who can make you laugh just by standing still. What a wonderfully musical and cathartic hour! Again, some friendly audience interaction, the front row seats are not to be feared, embrace your inner child and have fun. Besides being rather good at physical comedy our trio are musicians also, Dan on electric guitar, Cammy on percussion and Tom on strings, yes, he’s brought his double bass along again and a violin. If you’re not grinning from ear to ear by the end of the show, well, there’s no hope for you, I’m afraid.⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

The Flop: A Band of Idiots is the perfect follow-on to Neil Frost: Nan’s House of Fun, and time for a beer or two in between. Be warned though, like last year this is going to get very popular so head to Banshee Labyrinth up to an hour before and pick up a token from the bar to ensure you’ll get in; they’ll appreciate it if you stay in there drinking but you can toddle back a while.

And while I’m talking silly, Grubby Little Mitts at Assembly George Square Studio 4 at 14:45 is very silly. Sullivan Brown is a lovely chap (Russian Roulette) and this year he’s up with a new show with Rosie Nicholls, obviously I was going to see it. Funny, subversive, charming, dark, daft; Sullivan does blustering magnificently and Rosie is marvellous, I like her, excellent character acting both of them, the two make a great team. The chaise longue plays its part well and doesn’t seem to mind being pushed and nudged around, I wonder did it come up with them or did they audition local chaise longue for the part? Oh, and this show may make you think twice before ordering a coffee anywhere later. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Now where’s my sunblock?

Toodle pip!

Another sunny day in Fringeland

It’s another glorious day in old Edinburgh town, gonna be hot today, maybe I should escape the Fringe madness for a couple of hours and go down to Portobello beach, soak up a few rays. For the Fringe acts this is the day it gets real – the giddiness of arriving in Edinburgh, previews, first weekend going wild, the packed houses of the 241 days, that’s all done now. Of course, apart from the initial Yay! We’re in Edinburgh! the PWYC (pay what you can) shows and the Free Fringe hit reality sooner, especially as folk (myself included) will have been making the most of the cheap offers, but now the pendulum swings the other way. The free Fringe shows puts the punters in charge of how much a show is worth, do they pay a tenner for a show that turns out to be rubbish or see a show that may turn out to be really good and worth every penny of that tenner? Or fiver or fifteen pounds if you’re really flush.

Today is also the day the Half Price Hut usually opens for business, sadly it’s no longer on the Mound and open until nine o’clock in the evening so that revellers can decide on a whim to take in a show as part of their evening. Instead, this year the day’s offers will be posted online and must be bought by six o’clock at the Fringe Box Office – am I the only one that thinks this is rather rubbish? For starters, the Fringe was going to make itself more popular with locals, hmmm, be at work, get home, eat, maybe a change of clothes, catch the bus into town and have already decided what you want to see, all by quarter to six?? (There will be a queue at the box office, let’s face it) Sorry, if you have a day job to go to and don’t live in the very centre of town you can forget HPH-ing for a fun evening.

The Hut’s old location also gave flyerers somewhere else to hang around, ready to give punters that extra push towards their show, the Royal Mile is packed enough as it is. There were obviously staff rotas for up until nine previously, so why not until nine now to help manage the crush there’s going to be late afternoon? Anyone who’s been on the Royal Mile in the last week knows it’s back up to peak capacity already in the afternoon; the times and place may deter some from bothering to get HPH tickets. I get that the old Hut was past it’s sell date and the Fringe don’t have the funds right now to get another one, but surely there’s a business in Edinburgh or Scotland that would like the publicity and prestige of putting up the dosh for a new hut? We need a new hut and laserboard, next year will do.

End of unexpected rant. Normal service will resume next post.

Toodle pip!

coming up next time, the Establishment comes apart!

Twenty One Returns

That is to say, there are a number of shows that did make the effort to come to Edinburgh last year, that are back again, some did come as WIPs (Work In Progress) in ’21 so there will be changes to them. I’m excited to see Rob Kemp: Agenda in a couple of days, that was excellent last year, I wonder if I’ll spot the changes. All three Privates are back with last year’s shows, alas, again no actual Privates show even though they do have a new show Great Ideas by Geniuses, which was premiered at the Brighton Fringe earlier this year.

Due to extremely popular demand last year I didn’t get to see Tom Curzon in The Flop: A Band of Idiots but this year I’m determined (he was in another show last year which I did see but thats not being repeated). Luke Rollason and Christian Brighty were both at Monkey Barrel last year so I was able to get tickets in advance to ensure seeing them. Christian has moved over to the Pleasance Courtyard (Below), let’s start with him.

Christian Brighty: Playboy is a brilliantly silly show with plenty of bawdy Carry On style humour. One obvious change from last year – no bows and arrows left on any seats for the audience to fire at him, shame! At least in Pleasance Below there’s quite a gradient up to the tech desk, so the avian messengers had easier downward flights to the stage. Pingback back time, if it works, see last year it was A win by a gnat’s crochet for young Brighty (click on the highlighted bit to see last year’s review), could he do it again?

Well I’m pretty damn certain there was no talking armchair in Luke Rollason: Bowerbird last year! It even has a wee segment to itself when it invited someone to sit on it (the guy at the front wouldn’t, nothing would persuade him, Brighty boy was in the audience and obliged the armchair), then Luke reappeared, kind of like those little odd bits in The Young Ones, remember them?! I did think he spoke more this year, as I previously noted that it seemed almost weird when he did talk. I’ve checked and my review from last year still stands, he is A barrelful of funny. Another pingback there, do let me know if they’re not working.

But which one won the battle of the Privates this year? Oo, gonna have to say Luke Rollason: Bowerbird (and that’s not just because he had badges at the end!). Mind, if you go to either of these shows and enjoy it, then do check out the other.

This evening I trotted up to Cabaret Voltaire to see Alex Farrow: Philosophy Machines last year it was Philosophy Pig – a man who doesn’t stray far from his favourite subject! Another interesting and entertaining show, oh, he did get in a mention about Andrew Nagel and his book again (well, I do recall his liking for bats). Last year Philosophy Pig did very well with plenty full audiences, mind that was a smaller room, but I’d say go for the Pay What You Can in advance option, this chap could get very popular again!

I’ll put this up I’ve seen some things, you know as it has my review of Alex Farrow: Philosophy Pig in it along with my reviews of The Return of Sherlock Holmes and Stand-Up Philosophy which are both back again. I’ve noticed that the company that put on Embassy Stomp are back again, hmmm. And John-Luke Roberts’ show was my favourite at that point of the Fringe. Ah well, it’s very late, to bed!

Red hats, chest freezers and an owl

Wow, it’s Sunday, pretty sure it is, yup, my Fringe calendar shows that I saw BriTANick last night and indeed I did. This afternoon I’m staying in to fill you guys in on what I’ve enjoyed so far. What? Staying inside on a lovely Sunday afternoon when the town will be heaving with Fringey things? Well, exactly, it’ll be heaving out there and I have to write something down, all these shows are starting to merge into each other in my head, some were perfectly bizarre enough on their own without added plots. I have been out earlier in Holyrood Park, I headed up by the lesser walked Lang Rig, round to Nether Hill and down the steps, a bracing walk on such a windy morning. Washing up from the last three days finally done, I have strong coffee and a punnet of cherries to help me along.

So, how was Fritz and Matlock? Pretty good. Two friends have managed to accidentally get locked in a house basement while putting a dead body into a chest freezer down there; they’ll be unable to get out for sometime. The house belongs to Fritz’s granny and the lads have been growing marijuana in the attic, dubious characters; this is drama and dark comedy about dependency within relationships, with occasional illumination from the chest freezer. Its well acted, well written and well conceived, it struck a chord with this moose.⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Pleasance Courtyard in The Attic)

I was back up in The Attic the following morning for Who Here’s Lost? an utterly delightful monologue by Ben Moor. The hour slips away as our narrator tells a tale about going on a road trip with his ex-mother-in-law who is dying from cancer; it’s funny, heart-warming, surreal, recognisable, beautifully eloquent. I really enjoyed it and intend to pop up to the Courtyard just after he’s finished one day as I want to buy the book of it (didn’t have any cash on me at the time), oo, and there’s a badge too, yay ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

From the Pleasance Courtyard I headed to the Pleasance Dome for The Man Who Thought He Knew Too Much by the Voloz Collective. The blurb in the Fringe had “Chaplin meets Hitchcock meets spaghetti western ….. live music ….. Lecoq-trained physical theatre company” how could I not see it? (great promo pic too, quirky, intriguing) Live musical accompaniment can really enhance a show, this guy played keyboards, guitar and harmonica (well if you’re gonna get a musician in, might as well get one who can play a few instruments). Could the Voloz Collective deliver what seemed promised? Yes, and how, with impeccable timing and nuances. Physical, comic theatre at its best, and that red hat amid the grey, loved it. Definitely gonna be one of my top shows this year (yes, three weeks still to go, it’s that good) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

While I’m on about the best ones so far let’s stay in the Pleasance Dome and go back a day to when I saw Crybabies: Bagbeard. Picked because the blurb said Absurdist and “a sci-fi infected narrative sketch adventure”, the pic was too dark to inform further. By George, my fringedar was right on the bullseye with this one, these lads are great. Right from the first scene, so, so funny and inventive, and the owl. I lost it when the owl appeared, not just because it was a ridiculous costume (that looked more like a strange bat to me) but it looked like John-Luke Roberts had just wandered into their show (it so looked like something he’d come up with and the chap is not dissimilar to him). And Victor Valentine – this character (and only when he was playing this one character) so made me think of the crazed FBI agent in one of my favourite films The Frighteners.

Crybabies:Bagbeard is hilarious, ridiculous, sweet, quite bonkers, there is a very good, clever plotline in there amongst the laughs. Another top Fringe delight for me. So what if there was a slight technical mishap, it was the first preview and they handled it well ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Must finish here just now. I do need to eat before my next show.

Toodle pip!

It’s started, cue the drizzle

Yes, it’s Preview Wednesday and right on cue the sky is completely grey and a gentle drizzle is alternating with a fine mizzle (the wetness just hangs in the air more with a mizzle, drizzle goes downwards). As this is a Brave New fringe my old habits are being reassessed for compatibility. For instance, I haven’t left Shakespeare For Breakfast til later, first morning in, bang! Seen. Actually it was more like Shakespeare For Brunch, this year they’re putting on a second performance each morning at 11:15 – rather good for folk who could never be up and at a venue by 10:00. Different venue again this year, an old favourite of mine, Roman Eagle Lodge or as it’s proper title C Aquila.

Ah, back queuing up those stairs to the very top room, but what’s this? The croissants weren’t just left on the seats, they were by the coffee (or tea or orange juice) at the entrance! While I applaud this change, no more wasted croissants, it does mean I don’t get to grab a few left ones as I’m leaving. How was the show? Very different to previous SfB productions, first and most obvious there’s only three players, one of whom is definitely much older than the usual demographic (not that there’s anything wrong with that, he’s probably younger than me actually); I don’t think I’ll be the only regular who’ll be like, oh, ok, not the same vibe. But it is cheesy in parts, some good groans, some not so good groans, great opening song, the usual bit of audience anticipation (just the one bit for one audience member).

This year’s breakfast dish is The Winter’s Tale, they asked the audience if anyone knew it, erm, I did it at A-level but remember only a smidgen, wasn’t about to admit to it. Oh, exit, pursued by a bear, I remember that, of course! Actually, once the story got underway a lot of it did come back to me but I couldn’t seem to recall Leontes hiring a private detective to look for his daughter, hmmm. Yes, Shakespeare with added film noir, oh and a ukulele (yay! There was a guitar played too in the play but ukuleles are way cooler). Not the best SfB production I’ve seen but it ranks pretty high, and bear in mind that was the first day. I’ll give it just a smidgen off four stars.

That wasn’t actually my first Fringe show this year, I saw that yesterday. Monkey Barrel Comedy decided to start a few previews early, it was a fairly easy choice to pop my Fringe22 cherry with John-Luke Roberts: A World Just Like Our Own, But…. He did not disappoint! On stage with just a washing machine with an old slimline corded phone in the powder tray, he told us about so many worlds like our own but for one thing, there were an awful lot of them, of course I remember it was very, very funny but few actual details. Two that really stuck with me were a world where corpses are buried feet first, so that if there’s a zombie outbreak it would like a game of Zombie Whac-A-Mole as they rose up; the other involved a cat and little red laser dots, I’ll say no more on that one.

The phone was there to enable other John-Luke Roberts from other worlds to phone him, he’d ask them about their worlds and whether they were happy. There is a reason for the washing machine but you’ll have to see the show to find that out, it is integral to the arc as JLR slowly reveals more, silliness and absurdity mix with pathos and profundity. I love this man that he can make me weep tears of laughter and recognition. A definite ☆☆☆☆☆

I’ve actually just finished this post off much later in the day as I had to shoot off to see another show. It was Fritz and Matlock in the Attic at the Pleasance Courtyard, more details next time; just mentioning it because I saw it purely by luck. Coming out of Shakespeare For Breakfast I debated whether to head home via the Royal Mile or the longer way by Teviot Square, the long way I decided. I fell into conversation with a girl with a small inflatable cow in her bag (as you would), of course it was to do with a show, would I like a free ticket? I wasn’t entirely sure it would fit into the day’s schedule but I took it, and phew it did, quite nicely in fact.

More from me about today tomorrow, I’m not too sure how or when as I have five shows lined up. I’ll probably put the odd pic up on Instagram and Facebook (Bruce T Moose). I’ll leave you with an old pic inside Roman Eagle Lodge, and yes the old stair lift is still there. Toodle pip!

Stannah Stair Lift to heaven?!

I had my cake …..

Yes, I bought a couple of conference pears and a punnet of raspberries and set to work. If you plan to try this yourself be aware that all the added moisture from the sliced pears means that the middle of the cake will take longer to cook. Oo, thinking of yummy food, I’ve just remembered that I took photos at the Farmers Market yesterday morning, post-it reminder to do a thing with them in the morning. Well, I’m popping oot soon as the lovely Nicole Smit is at Stramash tonight with her Back Up Crew, just a half pint of something, honest; a sweet ending to the month.

I did think I’d be warning about a wet start to the Fringe, the forecast a few days ago was bloody awful for Tuesday and Wednesday (kinda expected, you know) but as it’s got closer the amount of rain predicted to fall has seriously declined to You might want to have a brolly.

My cake was delicious, thank you. First little try was fine, above is the cake slightly warmed in the microwave then passionfruit and mango coulis drizzled around it. A trip to Madeira a few years ago really opened my eyes to the delights of passionfruit, especially with cake!

I’ve realised I can cheat a little this year as a number of shows I saw last year are back this year – I could do pingbacks to last year’s reviews and hope standards haven’t declined since then (for most, a couple have hopefully improved). Straight off I will say that Shakespeare’s Fool and Watson: The Final Case are back and jolly well worth seeing. Yes, I am wholeheartedly recommending these two shows, bloody marvellous they both were! Right at the bottom of this page there should be a search bit, if you can’t wait to see what I wrote about them.

Okay, so I may have had another piece, with more coulis!

Must dash. Toodle pip!

A hard act to follow

The National Theatre Live had a new screening last Wednesday, nice timing to whet the appetite for some theatrics at the Fringe, only eight days away now! Apparently it was the highest grossing event cinema release in the UK, not surprising as the star (and only person in it) is Jodie Comer of Killing Eve fame; Prima Facie is her West End debut and boy, she is bloody tremondous in it! A hundred minutes of monologue and she kept us hanging on every word – a high bar for any one to reach in the next month.

Jodie Comer plays Tessa a brilliant young barrister who specialises in defending men accused of sexual assault, the start of the play sees her swagger and treat the job like a sport to be won, winning points (there’s something of a reminder of Villanelle); then, after being raped by a male work colleague, she comes the realisation that someone else will be trying to score all those same points if she presses charges.

The set is two large, grand wooden tables and leather chairs which Comer moves around herself during her monologue, she also has slight changes of clothing to gracefully and unobtrusively manage whilst speaking. She takes books and ledgers down from the walls to later replace them again, files light up signifying the number of cases of sexual assault, but our eyes stay on Comer and her brilliant performance. An amazing piece of theatre but it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of the truth of how courts work and how little truth can mean in a court of law.

Now I did say at the end of my last blog post that that would be it on local live music for a bit, but last Friday night was a tad special at Stramash. I mentioned that the Willie Dug Band had been moved from the 7pm slot to the 10pm slot; it was Willie Dug‘s other band the Miracle Glass Company who were playing on Friday, and boy they were good. I got into them thanks to a playlist by Logan’s Close on Spotify that I listened to a lot during the first Lockdown (I was being cheap and listening for free). The MGC are back playing together again and have two gigs next week, if it wasn’t the start of the Fringe I would have tried to get a ticket. Oh well, there’ll be more opportunities.

Last night saw the end of the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival and I saw the ever delightful Nicole Smit and her Travelling Tent Show. Unfortunately it was a drizzly evening so I stayed under one of the big umbrellas until the queue had gone and I could dash straight into the Piccolo Tent. It’s rather nice in there, red velvet drapes on the walls and well-padded tiered seating (There used to be another old spiegeltent, the Bosco, which just had wooden benches, rather numbing on the bottom!) Locals the Tenement Jazz Band were backing our chanteuse; there was also the bonus of Kat Brooks singing a few numbers and shimmying around in white fringed dress (oh my!). Blind Boy Paxton popped in for one song, it was quite a show all in all.

The Assembly George Square Garden stays open this week, hoping the footfall won’t fall too much between the Festivals. The other bar area in Teviot Square is up and running too, it opens a few weeks early so that all the graduates have somewhere to celebrate straight after walking out of the McEwan Hall (literally next to it!). This shows the power of advertising – I really can’t say whose beer garden it is! I walk past it a lot, every year, but to me it’s just “the bar bit in Teviot Square”, I assume one of the big names has it?! The Pleasance Courtyard are busy getting ready, the big 33 sign still wasn’t up yesterday.

The town is getting busy now, not long to go. Must dash, just noticed on Facebook that The Scat Rats are playing Stramash tonight, something of a departure for them, on a Monday!

Toodle pip!

《Didn’t click hard enough last night – it’s been hanging half published, oops!》

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

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!