300 not out! Who’d have thunk it!

Did someone have a bad case of insomnia in the early hours?! Why do I ask? First off, I’ll level with you, this blog doesn’t have a big following, to describe it as small would be generous, hey ho, I’m hardly doing it for fame and fortune! If I brighten up someone’s day, give a little light insight into Edinburgh and it’s Fringe, I’m good with that. Anyways, when I checked in on my blog this morning the stats page showed that one person (in the UK) read twenty posts in the time since midnight. If you’ve come back for more, hello there, and if that insomnia is chronic, there are another 280 posts for you during those long, sleepless hours, maybe some of the duller ones will help you nod off.

I said the numbers involved because this happens to be my 300th blog post!! Yup, hang out the bunting, bake a cake, call a psychiatrist, that’s a lot of musings. Maybe I should pop out, get a few more pears and make that cake that I tried out last week (no, I didn’t freeze any of it, it all got guzzled down); doesn’t everyone keep a supply of eggs, marg, caster sugar and flour in? Kitchen necessities, don’t you know. 300 is an odd number, there are noughts involved so that’s like a landmark, but it’s not as standout as 100 or 500, know what I mean? At least it shows I’ve stuck with it, I don’t think my family and friends thought it would last long, just a daft bit of nonsense.

A little investigation showed that my reader read through all my posts from last August, hmmm. A Fringe fan? Or they randomly came across my first post of last year’s Fringe and carried on reading? A performer having a read how last year went? A Fringer checking me out, they like my style and now want to give me a free ticket so that I’ll review their show! Hey, it could be, don’t laugh there. Just last month I was offered a free ticket in order to get a show reviewed, yes, me! I felt quite flattered, then I read the contact form again. It was obviously a standard letter sent to any number of reviewers at the Edinburgh Fringe, hey, at least they’d picked up on me, that’s something.

Did i take them up on it? No, why? It’s a free ticket! Look I really umm-ed and ahh-ed about it. First off, it’s a play in that venue, the venue that really sucks, the venue I’ve never seen anything half decent in, St Augustine’s or as it’s called in August Paradise in Augustine’s (it really isn’t). That was almost enough right there, then I read the play description again and well, it’s obviously a very serious drama, a social commentary, sounds really earnest, not really my bag. Okay, so I’d be there to review it, but that little inner voice niggled and jabbed away at me. They’re only doing a short run, anyway, what difference would a review by me have made? I almost took up the offer just to put two fingers up to my negative fish.

All this is not to say I would turn down any other offers of free tickets, I’m available for reviews after Saturday 6th, just saying. I’m seeing sixteen shows up until then, Sunday may need to be spent chilling somewhere quiet if I’m not stuck at a keyboard typing furiously. I do wonder whether I’d feel slightly obligated on a free ticket, could I be a hard-nosed hack telling it like it is? (my nose is actually soft and squishy) I’m up for finding out.

Now I must pop out for some fruit, 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

Rats and Brassholes

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

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

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

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

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

Another Friday evening….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

《wow, an extended jam of Sunshine, nice》

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all right? I’ll say!

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

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

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

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

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

Toodle pip!

Movies, music and a little light rain

Last night I went to see Top Gun: Maverick, nothing unusual there, I am a regular cinema-goer; the thing is, I’ve never particularly liked Tom Cruise and I’ve never watched Top Gun all the way through (even on telly, the bits I’ve seen have never enticed me to sit and keep watching). I still don’t get the guy’s appeal, but Top Gun: Maverick was an enjoyable watch even if it was fairly predictable. Yes, yes, the flight scenes were great but that’s only as expected from a Tom Cruise movie.

I saw a much better film on Sunday afternoon, I was dragged along for company (why are some folk unable to go to the cinema on their own?!), certainly wasn’t expecting to enjoy it I as much as I did. The movie? Good Luck To You, Leo Grande a film about a retired widow who hires a sex worker so that she might finally experience all the things she missed out on through her very unfulfilling marriage. It helps that the widow is played by Emma Thompson, who once again turns in an amazing performance; and Daryl McCormack as Leo, he’s well grand, acts as fine as he looks (in his case I can see the appeal).

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande is intelligent, funny and frank, hats off to Katy Brand for creating and writing such a great grown-up film. All the self-doubts, fears, overanalysing of Emma Thompson’s character will be well recognisable to many, myself included; oh, to have been more gungho and fearless through life. The denouement of the film was perfect and completely satisfying (he said with a wink), of course I say this as a moose, what older human males will make of it I really couldn’t say.

The cinema wasn’t my only outing on Sunday, in the evening I went along to La Belle Angele for the launch of Nicole Cassandra Smit‘s debut album Third In Line (that’s Nicole as in the one with the back up crew). Tonight the crew weren’t backing her, instead they were all out front in the audience. Wow, she sure gave a captivatingly awesome performance with a fine brass section on the side. The album will be released on 8th July, there’s already a single off it on Spotify. Yeah, I really should get on and book a ticket for her show at the Jazz Festival.

Let’s just go back one day further to Saturday, a fine afternoon – until I trotted along to Waverley Bridge to see if The Kennedy’s Project were playing. They were, with extras, and they kept playing through the shower, it went on for a good (or bad?) ten, fifteen minutes or so, but it was fairly light. Lucky for me the person behind put up a brolly which nicely sheltered me from much of the precipitation. The band retaliated against the weather with Have You Ever Seen The Rain? (I’ve put a clip of it on Instagram, you can indeed see the rain on it). The extras? Dara Watson trying to keep her harp relatively dry (yes, she from Whistlebinkies a few weeks back with Bart from TKP) and Jay Supa (frontman for Supa & Da Kryptonites).

Even after the sun came back out during Hound Dog, the rain refused to give up for a while, not that anyone was driven to seeking shelter elsewhere, most stayed to watch. Finally the band outplayed the rain and finished the set in glorious sunshine. Ah, the joys of a Scottish summer!

was it something I said, guys?

A is for Aidan, Alex and Arthur

Just fourteen days to go before the solid-form, paper Edinburgh Fringe programme is finally released. Can’t bloody wait!! I’ve tried having a look around it online but it takes so long to get anywhere, and all that clicking back and forth for more information, can’t be doing with it. See, you can look in the paper version and there’s everything immediately in one glance, the blurb, the venue, the dates and all the varying prices, all there together, no messing. Checking online I’d still have to write all the details down, all that scribbling would take a long while and use paper anyway.

Yes, I took a peek yesterday, when I clicked on Browse What’s On it said there were 3196 results; I filtered out the Online shows and it came back with 3124 results; then I took out Children’s Shows, Events and Exhibitions (apparently there’s 199) leaving me with 2925 to browse through. And that’s another thing, I thought I’d just look through to the end of the A’s, then the next time I’d pick up with the B’s – there’s only previous and next choices of pages, no way of jumping straight to page 30 to the start of B (If there is a way it’s not obvious).

Actually the first shows listed are the ones with numerals at the start, about 30; one for the night owls is 2am at The Jazz Bar. The A’s always have a few beginning AAA to get the first listings, followed by a few Aaaaaaaaaargh…. shows (round about that number of a’s, I didn’t bother counting). I noticed Henry Naylor has a new show, Afghanistan Is Not Funny, this time he’s performing himself; and his one woman play Angel from 2016 is back again.

Joys, Mr Goatley is back with Aidan Goatley: Tenacious but not at the Sweet venue in the Grassmarket this year, he’s on at ZOO Playground at High School Yards instead. Also back is one of my finds from last year, Alex Farrow, still with Laughing Horse but in Cabaret Voltaire this time. Oo, I had a disagreement with a chap the other week who said that the Liquid Room was on the left-hand side near the bottom of Blair Street (it’s not, it’s on Victoria Street) he was obviously thinking of Cabaret Voltaire, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember it’s name at the time! Last year his solo show was Philosophy Pig, this year it’s Alex Farrow: Philosophy Machines, he may not be teaching philosophy any more but he’s not ready to give it up yet, and if there’s comedy to be mined from it, well.

Arthur Smith is back, of course. He must be in the running for longest-running Edinburgh Fringe act by now. Hmmm, I must check that out sometime but not right now as its way past my bedtime, so I’ll bid you good night.

Good night!

A somewhat potty weekend

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

The Kennedy’s Project on Waverley Bridge

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole giving it some sass ❤

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

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!