Some bad news, sad news, good news and reviews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toodle pip!

On top of the world! Well, Edinburgh.

A barrelful of funny

Today I saw my top show of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, oh yeah! I really doubt I’ll enjoy any show more, mind there is still time for some late arrival to come and sweep me off my feet. Luke Rollason: Bowerbird (WIP) in Monkey Barrel 1 on Blair Street, so so brilliant!! Okay, the guy has an immediate headstart on being surreal just from how he looks (that may sound bad but I bet he’d agree) and the bright orange attire seems to me a choice to keep jarring on our senses.

I only rolled up five minutes before the show show due to start, well, I had a ticket, but the room was nearly full and Luke was on stage with a large lampshade covering his head, like a standard lamp from the early 70’s (when I was young most homes had a standard lamp in the front room, usually with a tassled shade, I was so jealous when a sibling inherited our grandfather’s standard lamp – it had a little book case at the bottom), I wondered how long he’d been up there. He spent the first while of the show with it still on his head too. Then he took it off and we could see his eyes.

Luke Rollason’s eyes, well; I think he was a dog in a few former lives, his eyes are so expressive, from pure unadulterated glee to proper puppy sorrowfulness. The mind behind those eyes is inventive and sharp; the humour is absurd, surreal, just plain silly but never mean or cruel, there’s a joyous innocence to it. The show was maybe a reflection of how he spent his time in lockdown and I don’t mean writing the show, I mean having long conversations with kitchen utensils and dreaming up other uses for household items – didn’t we all? Most of us don’t have the ability or temerity to follow our amusements further.

There wasn’t a wasted moment in the show while it quietly built up to such an end that my chuckles were like waves on a beach, never actually stopping, with louder guffaws bursting out suddenly. I came out of the show feeling so chilled but warm with happy and giddy with joy.

Outside the venue was the third Private, Christian Brighty, handing out flyers for his show Playboy which will be on in Monkey Barrel 4 from 20th to 22nd (I have my ticket!). I’m looking forward to his solo offering; this is like the year Bud and I saw all three of the Penny Dreadfuls do solo shows, it really showed what each of them brought to the mix. No pressure, Christian, but Luke has set the bar very high!

A duo of monologues

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

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

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

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

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

Some nonsense is good, some is just nonsense.

Yesterday I caught three more shows, a lot of sitting around in darkened rooms, so I had a brisk walk around the Park and a strong coffee beforehand. Ah, I haven’t had a coffee yet, excuse me. That’s better, I’ll crack on. The third show I saw and am gonna give third place in ranking was Drown Your Sorrows in theSpace @ Symphony Hall. It wasn’t a good start when the music was too loud for the actors to be heard! Luckily the music wasn’t on long but even then some of the lines seemed a tad gabbled; what ever happened to enunciation and projection?! Mind, this was their first night so hopefully some director’s notes will steer them right.

Sorry, but much as I wanted to enjoy it, I did find it a bit lame. Oh, some in the audience, one area in particular, found it immensely funny – maybe they were in the sweet acoustic spot! Oh, it wasn’t all bad, the plot was okay and a few great moments and ideas. I bet in a normal Fringe year they’d be out flyering in the dinghy on the Royal Mile, oh they should do that anyway, grab any attention they can!

In second place I’ll put Kate Smurthwaite: The Last Mayor of Fihalhohi. She was in the Cinema Room at the Banshee Labyrinth, a small but sweet venue with well tiered, comfy seats. Having been pre-warned about the Banshee Labyrinth’s system, I turned up very early so that I could collect a “ticket” and head back into the sunshine awhile. It’s a PBH’s Free Fringe venue but the bar room and nooks and crannies, especially this year, are too small for the amount of people who might be wanting to hang around to catch a show (the shows here are always very popular). “Tickets” are available for each show up to an hour in advance from the man at the door, that way they can say when there’s no seats left (sometimes within five minutes the tickets being up for grabs), a much more civilised way than an arm across the venue doorway just after your friends have all got in and you’re left out!

That’s a great surname Smurthwaite! What with that and Fihalhohi in the show title, I had to go check it out, plus the blurb, “the most mind-blowing lockdown story you’ll ever hear”. It’s certainly a lockdown story that’ll be very hard to beat, it’s almost like a Bond movie – exotic islands, dramatic action, intrigue, a villain, a go-to guy, and, of course, some saucy shenanigans. It is good tale but one little niggle – as the time went by the narration became a bit clunky, like a slide projector clunking between slides. It may well have just been me that noticed it, but I suddenly had a vivid recollection of a teacher telling me that while my story was good, I should come up with other ways to say “and then”, funny the things that come back to you! Niggle aside, I did enjoy it, she is quite a lady!

My top spot for yesterday goes to Rob Duncan and Dan Lees: Extreme Nonsense. I was looking forward to this show – Dan Lees is one half of The Establishment, an absurdist duo who’ve been entertaining/disturbing me for a few years now. You’ll spot the title has just two names in it but there was another on stage with them, one third of Privates! Oh yay! These three gents are all very tall which added to the comedy as there was a large beam across the ceiling just above the front area of the stage – rather lower than all of them! Dave Alnwick must not be as tall as them, that or he kept well back from it! Once again I was in the cellar bar at the Canon’s Gait, in the same seat too (do other folk also tend to gravitate to seats they’ve sat in before?).

A seriously silly show! Not to everyone’s taste, these guys really know their absurdities. Some of it can almost come across as sinister and creepy, it doesn’t help knowing you have no clue what they might do next, well, maybe another refrain of “Call me Daddy”? Dan plays guitar for the songs, then Tom joined in on violin, he was rather good, I won’t say what he pulled out of the Gents loo at the side of the stage but he was rather good on that too! To be fair to the other shows I’ve reviewed, there were a few misses in this for me – they were too absurd?!

Hey, this means that though Privates have not brought their new show up to the Fringe, I will get to see all three of them! The other two thirds of Privates are up with their solo shows, yes, of course I have tickets. Anyway, must dash, I have a show to go to!

I just noticed the date…..

Whoa! Friday the 13th, that snuck up quietly! I wonder if today’s topic at Stand-Up Philosophy will be something about being superstitious? I’m not particularly superstitious myself, I’ll happily walk under a ladder, on the other hand I always salute the first magpie I see any day, even if I have to do it surreptitiously. Will there be any Fringe performers being extra exact in any little rituals they may have, to overt any bad luck floating around looking for victims today?

There’s a young chap, David Alnwick, who’s got three different magic shows in three venues every day for the full run of PBH’s Free Fringe – Friday the 13th could be just the day to see his show Nightmare Magic! That’s his last show every day at 8.20pm in Banshee Labyrinth (did he want specifically want that venue for that show? The names do fit so well). Oo, he’ll have started his first show of the day Super Chill Magic in the back lounge at Pilgrim Bar. After a chilled beginning, he’s ready to show off some Exceptional Magic in the Canon’s Gait cellar bar at 5.20pm.

How long before he does the wrong act in the wrong bar? Starts one magic trick that somehow morphs into a different one halfway? Smashes a bunny with a hammer? Sorry about that last one but it popped into my head as soon as I started thinking about mishaps of an overworked magician. I’m sure there’ll be no rabbits in any of his shows and he’ll be young, eager and bright enough to sail through a Fringe doing sixty plus shows! Yeah, I have to give at least one of them a go. I wonder if anyone’s been to see all three shows in the one day? Hmmm.

Toodle oo, mes amis.

○ □ ~ + ☆

I have now seen David Alnwick’s Exceptional Magic and indeed it is! I definitely intend to see his evening show now, and have been warned to get the Banshee Labyrinth an hour early to grab a “ticket” to get in, apparently they can disappear very quickly (like magic!). He does like to get folk up to help out in Exceptional Magic but no worries, he’s a lovely chap. The seating in the Canon Gait’s cellar bar is different from previous years and better for it, I reckon. You’ll get why I used those symbols above if you go to see the show!

I’ve seen some things, you know!

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

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

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

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

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

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

2021: To flyer or not to flyer?

Yay! The sun’s oot today. Hopefully the clouds will all just blow past with releasing their loads. I did venture out in the rain briefly yesterday afternoon, well wrapped up against it (think vampires covering up to go outside in sunlight, I’m like that with rain) and, would you Adam and Eve it – there were flyerers out on the Royal Mile! Bless them, brolly in one hand, flyers in the other, trying to be enthusiastic in the rain. Turns out they were all one comedy troupe, The Manchester Revue, up at the Fringe until the 14th. And where were they putting their sketch show Free Shot On Entry? Ah, theSpace Triplex, I mentioned I may have a problem booking a ticket for Triplex …….. they know about the glitch and hopefully it should be sorted, especially with more seats being allowed to be sold now.

I had wondered when I would spot my first flyerer as I know some are dubious about whether flyering is a suitable option in these current covidian times, moving instead to speaking to folk and having a QR code on hand for scanning show details on to their phones. Whilst I can see that it is a good idea, and less paper usage too, it would mean yet more staring at a screen! How many hopefuls will be out on the streets today enjoying the sunshine? I shall chat, see if a show interests me, if so, then I’ll take a flyer.

I’ll be heading soon to see my second show The Return of Sherlock Holmes on at the Gilded Balloon in the Dining Room. Yes, the Gilded Balloon quickly rejigged their seating arrangements for the glorious 9th and now have single seats, woohoo. There’s a lot of re-jigging going on as more shows come up, more seats are available, dates changing as things open up. BEWARE Fringe goers, some media platforms don’t keep up with the changes, as myself and a horde of others found out last Sunday!

Did I mention before that there’s some discrepancy as to when Barry Ferns is going to on Arthur’s Seat? Happily I now know others have spotted it too, I did not dream it (always that niggly self-doubt!). Sunday midday turned out to be fine (the forecast had been for some rain) so fortified with a strong coffee I headed up in the Park, it was quite a warm day in fact. Phew, just made it on to Arthur’s Seat for one o’clock …… erm, okay, no Barry. It wasn’t particularly windy but I checked over to see if he was further down at his lower stage setting, nope. It became apparent that while there were plenty of the usual walkers just up for the view, there were plenty up for a show! Ah well, it was a lovely day to be up there. Maybe it’s all part of a plan so he has the fittest audience on the Fringe!

Must dash now!

A new Fringe show: Waiting for Barry
Arthur’s Seat – the venue with the best views in town and great air conditioning 😆

They made me an offer I couldn’t refuse

The rain gods realised it was 241 Monday at the Edinburgh Fringe, oh yes! It may not be much of a 241 Monday but the rain gods were gonna christen it, a full-on dunking. Finally around mid evening they got bored and allowed the skies to finally clear – just as well as I had to queue outside for a show, that started 30 minutes late (technical lighting problems). Yes, I went to my first show today! Well, the lovely people at Assembly were doing a Locals offer – half price tickets for a select few shows for the next few days. Naturally, I had to check the list, nothing that really tickled my fancy, but Guy Masterton, Fringe institution, was doing a one man show, definitely worth a shot!

So there I was at the back of nine o’clock sitting in the magnificent Palais Du Variété spiegeltent in the Assembly George Square Gardens. I took a moment to have a good long look around and savour everything. Really, you couldn’t have a fringier start to a Fringe – a wet, wet day, an atmospheric spiegeltent, and Guy Masterton performing Under Milk Wood (abbreviated, or he called it, Semi-skimmed). I’ve never seen it or read it before, the little I knew about Under Milk Wood never appealed to me, but this, it seemed was finally the time to try it, taste it and see!

How was it? Very theatrical, darling. But it worked – thinking back on it now, I could almost believe I saw it with a full cast of actors, the stories in black and white vignettes on film. Guy Masterton is a masterful storyteller, riveting to watch, yes, a bit theatrical for me, does that say more about me or him? I am very glad I went, I experienced something a little out of my range (hey, these days I eat salad mixes with tomatoes, cucumber and celery in them, would never have done that twenty years ago!). I really appreciated some of the lighting effects, white spotlights from below sending dark silhouettes on to the red background (very Lynchian) and when they flicked from side to side to have the effect of two people arguing, I loved it. I found myself thinking that the shadow might actually start acting apart from him, move independently, even attack him! Yes, the shadow play really did a number on me – was that Masterton’s intention with the effects?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen him perform before. I’ve seen plenty of his Fringe work as producer and director, best known are, 12 Angry Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Odd Couple and more recently The Shark Is Broken; all rather excellent. Oh yeah, on my wander home after the show tonight I passed Pip Utton, another Fringe institution who’s had a number of his shows directed by Masterton.

Must go lie down and sleep now. Ah, it feels my Fringe has begun now! A few photos from this evening for your delight and delectation.

No paradise nor bedlam this year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this the way to Arthur’s Seat?

I was asked yesterday afternoon as I was about to unlock my tenement front door. Why yes, madam, and I hope the looming clouds don’t shed their load until after you’ve enjoyed the wonderful panoramic views and are back down. Judging from when the rain started she may have made it halfway back, and with no brolly or rain jacket -soggy! Before that I’d passed a family standing on the street debating whether the hotel they’d found was the right one, I almost turned back to enquire the name of the establishment they were looking for but then I remembered that I never remember the names of the hotels in the area, so I silently wished them luck and continued on. I should try and learn which is which as there’ll soon be plenty of confused travellers wandering around.

I’d been out to put some of my Fringe Fund in my bank account as so much stuff will be card or online payments this year. There was also a package from Amazon to be picked up from a locker in Waverley Mall, trickier than I thought! I followed the directions to where it should be but couldn’t see any lockers, perhaps I was approaching it wrong? Back to the entrance, followed the directions again, nope. It didn’t help that the instructions said that the lockers were next to an I Love Scotland shop that clearly isn’t there anymore! Doh. Finally I did the unmanly thing and asked a security guard, oo, I was so close to them the whole time! A sign or two would help, they are tucked away somewhat, I feel certain that I’m not the only one unable to see them.

Back outside the mall on Waverley Bridge another fine guitar band were rocking and playing the blues. See, Waverley Bridge has been closed as a thoroughfare for a while now, so bands have taken to playing at the Princes Street end (probably one of the very few pluses about the council’s Spaces for People).

《big pause whilst I catch up with a friend over lunch, a wander and a coffee》

After my friend toddled off home I decided to have one more treat and went to Ciao Roma for an ice cream, a single scoop of passionfruit cheesecake in a cone, yay. As its been a gloriously sunny day I headed to Waverley Bridge to see who was playing. It was the lead and rhythm guitarists from one of the bands that plays there quite a bit. They were rather good so I stayed longer than intended. Vocal duties were shared between them, two very different voices, really can’t call which I preferred. Mind, the final number, a sublime bluesy version of Minnie the Moocher sung by the lead guitarist, oh yeah, he really delivered it with style. So, basically, if you’re passing by the east end of Princes Street in an afternoon, be prepared to get waylaid a while by some great sounds!

Aaanyways, back to yesterday. The band waylaid me, had to leg it up Cockburn Street and down the Royal Mile to grab a coffee from my new favourite barista, Roy – he closes at 3pm. Lovely chap, makes a damn fine coffee! He’s in one of the old red telephone boxes outside the chemist, just up from John Knox House. He opens up really early doors, 7am I believe (I haven’t risen that early for some while). Coffee procured I headed off and checked the latest menu boards outside a couple of local cafes, indeed early glances had not deceived, they were now doing eggs benedict. Annoyingly, closer inspection revealed that they’re using ham rather than bacon, no no no. Ham will not do for this moose, as won’t a base of anything other than a muffin (that’s a no to wanky “toasted artisan bread” Rocksalt). Which reminds me I should revisit Em’s Kitchen, they’ve had a refit so I should check that their eggs benedict hasn’t suffered from the changes.

Ah, changes, the Sturgeon’s been at it again. Scotland’s going “beyond level zero” on Monday 9th August; er, zero mean zilch, nada, a big fat nothing, still having face masks as a legal requirement in the same indoor settings (also “likely to be mandated in law for some time to come” from the lips of the Sturgeon herself) and having to provide contact details in all the same hospitality spaces as now, isn’t nothing nevermind past nothing! Not that I have a problem with keeping some safety measures in place, but calling it level zero and beyond?!? It’s not, its more like level 0.5.

Mind, even the deputy first minister is unclear about what will be allowed next week, he said on morning television today that “vertical drinking” would not be allowed (you maybe wondering, like me, wtf is “vertical drinking”?) that’s apparently standing drinking at the bar in a pub, Mr Swinney agreed that people would have be masked while ordering a drink at the bar and would not be allowed to stand and drink it there ………. hours later a government official confirmed this was not the case, drinking at the bar will be allowed. There’s also still confusion on mask wearing in nightclubs when they re-open (in five days time) apparently the government are still working on this one! The Sturgeon claims to be very cautious about bringing in Covid passports, hmmm, saying that could be to gain public sympathy for having to make such a difficult decision before it’s announced (cynical, moi?).

What will the changes on the 9th mean for the Edinburgh Fringe, and I guess the International and Film Festivals too? If social distancing has gone can they sell tickets for all the spaces left empty so far? Will venues with two or four people bubble policies drop them? Or at least, will capacity numbers be increased? Interested parties, Fringers and Fringees, want to know!

Ah well, that time again. Bon nuit!