Here, there and by the sea

Another trip back home’s over. That was a good one! Plenty catching up, walking, playing games, going out. A trip to Hebden Bridge and a pop into Halifax. I love an old fashioned indoor market and the one in Halifax still delights me! It’s not what it was years ago, but it’s still bustling with life and variety. It would be a very sad day if it were ever to close, I find myself looking up at the architecture and appreciating it now. They’d never build anything like that anymore!

And being in Halifax, I decided to see how the Piece Hall is looking these days …… hmmm, I’m divided. I can understand why modern marketing types would do what they’ve done in the most recent redevelopment (modern is all) but I much prefer the 1970’s version. I noticed all the stairways have glass doors now to keep the weather out, so no longer draughty and cold but aesthetically? Nah.

Closer to my Scottish home now, and I read the news today that Ollie Turbitt, bass player extraordinaire, is leaving Scotland and Logan’s Close for new adventures in Italy. I do hope the lads will manage to set a farewell gig for him, that would an awesome evening! Thanks to the interwebby I caught Carl Marah (LC’s lead guitar and singer) playing a set with a wonderful singer/songwriter Kirsten Adamson. She has great voice, full of warmth, like an audial hug! One to catch when live shows come back into fashion.

On live shows and fringes, not only is the Fringe back on in Edinburgh, there’s also gonna be Fringe By The Sea in North Berwick, running 6 -15th August. Fringes everywhere! I’ve had a quick scan of the prog and see that Scottish pocket legend Lulu Is playing the Belhaven Big Top on the first Saturday evening, nice, but the cigar may go to Dr Salad at the Glenkinchie Lowland Stage .Why? Turns out one of these purveyors of heavy romance is one Scott Rough (LC’s other guitarist and singer); he’s scratching an itch the LC sound doesn’t reach. I’ve checked their sound out and it is not displeasing to me!

Must go and walk up Arthur’s Seat while it’s not raining, I need to get back into the climb up and down if I intend Mr Ferns up there next month. I shall leave you with snaps from the old country.

Check this one checking us out! That’s one odd cowish looking sheep if you ask me!

One of the arcade entrances into Halifax Borough Market.

If you can’t win, lose spectacularly!

I don’t know about you, but personally I really enjoyed Eurovision 2021, well done to the Netherlands for pulling it off so well! The staging of Eurovision can never be easy, but all the extra faff whilst keeping up the spectacularity of it too? It was a real triumph after the last year and all it’s toils, people coming together and working towards a unifying goal. The cheers and support in the room when James Newman decided to stand up and own his nul points clearly showed the solidarity felt by all those there. The tension as the results of the public vote locked one country after another into their final scores; the shock, the disbelief, the elation on display was electric (probably the biggest surprise for me was the lack of public votes for Malta, only 47 points!). I just really didn’t want the Swiss song to win, so that was my moment of joy, I quite fancied France to win, but hey, I’m happy Italy took it home.

Afterwards, on Sunday the autopsy began, too late of course for the Sunday papers, but online the vultures were up and circling around, by Monday the pitchforks were out. You could be forgiven for thinking the UK, as a one, hates Eurovision if you look at the comments on social media – funny how the haters always shout the loudest, or seem to, the rest of us just don’t really bother responding to their bile, like it would change their minds, ha! They’re not the smartest bunch but they are often very egotistical. Dearies, Europe doesn’t hate you, Europe voted for songs they liked, Europe was indifferent to the UK entry, to say Europe hates us is rather conceited to think they think that much about us!

Many were taking our nul points very personally. Why didn’t the UK get anything from the Judges Panels? Well, there were 26 countries competing in the Final and each panel had 10 scores to award, so every time 16 countries received nul points; it’s not that inconceivable that at least one country won’t get any points. Germany and Spain didn’t make it to double figures, and they got nul points from the Public same as us. I really felt for the Netherlands – our genial hosts and they didn’t muster any love from the Public. I wonder, are the Press and social media in other countries as bad as ours? Looking for someone to blame for a poor showing. Brexit, of course, was mentioned time and time again as the reason for all the “hate”, as one wag said, “Some people would blame Brexit for it raining in a British summer”, he’s right, they would.

There’s always the moan that it’s all political now (duh, it’s been political for ages), and, oh, those countries always vote for their neighbours (agreed Greece and Cyprus always get full marks from each other). So it couldn’t just be that songs on the continent get heard more widely? The singers and bands chosen to represent their countries will also be popular in neighbouring countries, the songs will have had plenty of radio airtime spreading them far and wide. Watching how the scores panned out I actually think there was less political voting than there’s ever been, this was Eurovision back on, people were just voting for what they liked. The UK song only made 22nd on my score sheet! It wasn’t good Eurovision fare, it wasn’t ticking many of the necessary boxes (like, how could I give much for what he was wearing?! performance ok, panache, none).

The boxes? Well, this year I had boxes for the song, the visuals (outfit and backgrounds), the performance and pazzazz; out of 15 each for the first three, 5 points max for pazzazz, so a total of 50 to go for. No, Eurovision isn’t just about the songs, it’s about the spectacle, the look, performance, a special sparkle, well it is for me. A great song may not shine because of a poor performance, but a poor song delivered with oomph and panache can soar. As Billy Flynn sings in Chicago, “Give ’em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle ’em.” Yes, I do happen to take my scoring seriously, go ahead, my friends always ribbed me about it. I also make little notes about particulars….

Russia had, “Ye gods! The start!” Norway got, “Captain Sensible with wings and devil guards” Germany has a scrawled,”Yay! Sparkly ukulele, quirky, tap dancing” (see there’s performance and pazzazz there), Finland was, “V different, a good moshing song.” I took snapshots of the telly showing the results of the Judges scores and the Final scores, and I noted the Public scores. Interesting facts that appeared before my eyes – Greece performed 10th and then came 10th with the Judges, Public and Overall (I broke the run with 7th); the Netherlands did the same in 23rd (24th for me). My top 3? Portugal 3rd, Malta 2nd and France 1st.

So can the UK ever win again? Not while they try to write a Eurovision song, just a good pop song would be better. And not sung by the usual type, go for someone fun, known in Europe, not a ballad, good old rock’n’roll, a toe-tapper. If we have to go big and ballady, then get Jack Savoretti to do it! Come on, Candlelight would have been perfect! Otherwise, I reckon I know a great wee band who write cracking songs with wide appeal, a throwback sound of the 60s beloved by many on the continent as the band’s trips over to Germany, Italy and Netherlands can attest. Hey, and when Scotland gets independence, if Scotland wants it’s own Eurovision entry, the lads would be the perfect choice. Would they do it? Hmmm. See, I’m ready for it, Eurovision goes psychedelic!

Groovy, baby!

So Close so fine

Last Saturday night was the best Saturday night in the last year, possibly the top night of all nights in the last year. Yes, the lads were rather good! Logan’s Close really knocked it out of the park. Two hours of music and banter all wrapped in a psychedelic haze – bloody excellent!

Hats off to LimbicTV, the set up and production were excellent (not that I know anything about these things). The layout looked good and there were lights and cameras galore to capture all the action then mix it up with trippy video effects (I really liked them!), and there’s Dave, the laidback but authoritative voice, great with the banter and keeping the Close on track and sounding awesome. Well, it all impressed me.

Should you choose to check out what has me still buzzing almost a week later (aren’t you curious?) that’s Logan’s Close on LimbicTV (Live from Aluhpasonics), not only will you hear great music, there’s chat on such diverse topics as Scott’s fashion choices, local cuisine (Dunbar fish suppers and Pizza Crunch) and liquor of the gods, well, fortified wine of some monks, Buckfast. Like Dave, I was also at Glastonbury in 1986, such a shame I didn’t bump into him and all that buckie!

Did I mention how good the music was? The band were clearly enjoying finally playing live together, Carl and Scott both had new guitars to have fun with and their vocal harmonising is none the worse for all the time away, I assume Ollie was having fun (dressed all in black including a black facemask in a darker bit of the studio) on his six string bass, Alex on drums was wearing his trademark hat, Sean not only had his own keyboard but the studio piano as well, making full use of both (to think I was initially a tad dubious about the addition of a keyboard player, he’s a perfect fit in their sound).

Fifteen tasty treats, yum, some old, some new, two borrowed, a smorgasbord of sound to feast on. For starters they served up Eleonara, a new one, fun, catchy, a delight. Second was a song I’ve heard them play live before, I thought it was called Never Blue, err, no, turns out it’s Never Bloom, well, you know how it can be at gigs! It’s a cracking rendition of it whatever the name, lots of space in it (something I really like about Logan’s Close, they don’t overcrowd their sound).

Next up were Worked A Treat and Girl. The visual effects are amazing, layering two members of the band over each other, add it a psychedelic swirl of colour, wow! Loved the kaleidoscopic bits during Girl, was Scott able to see them on one of the screens? Did it disturb his concentration or did he just forget the words? Yes, I noticed but he covered it well.

Song five was Gallus Laces which I do reckon I’ve heard before, or it could be that it reminds me of the ambience and lackadaisical sound of Fur, a band I saw in Sneaky Pete’s a couple of years ago. I actually just went because the Close were supporting them but happily made a fine new discovery. Fur were meant to be back up in March but have had reschedule the gig to November.

Next song Babe Station was sublime desolation! When Carl sang the first two lines it immediately took me back to when I first heard Rodriguez, that same plaintive bleak but beautiful sound. The Close should definitely put out this track, please, please, like this, nothing added nothing taken away. Another newby followed, one Mock Marble Linoleum, good solid, a vague early Deep Purple feel to it. Fine but nothing special. Almost an hour in now and the band played Paralysed a regular live number for them, the visual effects go nuts, strobe city! Intense.

Give It To Me had Sean over on the piano for the intro, he’s rather good, you know. This is one of those goosebump tracks, the deliciousness of the guitar break gets me every time. We’re on the home straight now, In The Morning, I Want You, Listen To Your Mother, all sheer class. Scott really let loose on I Want You, as Dave said after it “What I love about you, Scott – you’re prepared to testify” Indeed, amen to that.

Oo, I was so pleased they played Fantastic Man next. This is a cover of a song from the late 1970s by William Onyeabor, the Close did a lockdown video of it early last summer, it was such a ray of sunshine! Last year’s single Lost In You was the last song and blimey, I love this song anyway but this was astounding, I want this version. I defy them to ever play it better than that! What a finish. But, of course, this is the current version of a live gig, so one more tune was in order, but what? A good old classic that the lads regularly play Please Don’t Go, one to go all out on, they did and so did the visual effects!

Now if they could compile a CD from this gig – I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s wishing for this! I wonder what the band thought when they watched it later?! If you watch it, do let me know what you think. It’s late, time I bid you adieu.

Adieu, dear hearts 💛

It’s getting Closer

Saturday afternoon and I’m feeling rather chipper, it could be the effect of having a second coffee (I’m such a rebel) or the impending Live Stream courtesy of Limbic TV of the brilliant Logan’s Close. It’s at 20:00 local time, but if you reading this after 27th March 2021, you’ll probably be able to watch the video at Limbic TV on Facebook. Like the Free Fringe, it’s free but if you enjoy the music please show your appreciation and donate if you can.

Many folk here in Scotland are probably still feeling rather good today after last night’s rugby match – Scotland beat France!! It was the Six Nations Game that had to be postponed because of positive Covid tests. I didn’t realise it was on (I’d known it was finally going to happen but had assumed it would be at the weekend) until I noticed a friend on Facebook had posted “Come on Scotland.” I was pondering what may have induced this rallying cry when it dawned that I should probably check the telly, phew, only twenty minutes in. By ‘eck, it was a bloody good game, and tense right to the very end. I reckon there were a lot of tellies being screamed at for the last five minutes – by the people who weren’t almost faint from holding their breaths.

The evening’s fun didn’t end there, channel-hopping I came upon Elton John talking to Graham Norton very candidly; the two had a good rapport making for a great watch. Mind, it did mean I didn’t get round to doing the washing up, oops. No, I couldn’t do it after that because then it was time to flick back over to BBC1 for Graham’s Friday night chat show. So did I wash up after that? No, because I intended to go to bed. Intended, but ended up staying up to watch Crimson Peak even though I’ve seen it before. It’s just so sumptuous! And it has Tom Hiddleston in it.

I should go, I require some ingredients to make a salad to go with my chicken wings and curly fries for tea. Haven’t had curly fries in years! In fact the only time I’ve ever had them was in an Aussie theme pub here in Edinburgh, served in a little tin bucket, they were sooo good! We had them every time we were in there after that, until the place closed down and re-opened as an Irish bar, boo! So Brucie’s to do list, have tea and do the washing up before 8 o’clock, in time to open a beer and tune into Logan’s Close at Limbic TV.

Oh yeah, if you want to find out a bit more about Carl and Scott (singers and guitarists) check out the podcast Whistling in the DARC #050 from earlier this week. Another excuse to crack open a beer or two (it runs for at least ninety minutes) and see the boys chatting.

I heard it on the radio

This morning it was the first anniversary of Ken Bruce doing his Radio 2 show from home. He was mentioning it as I tuned in just after the start. I do like Ken Bruce, such a lovely voice and manner, a real gentleman. His music quiz PopMaster is a highlight of the morning, it gives me a reason to be out of bed before half past ten; I very rarely hear anything of Zoe Ball these days (the breakfast show until half past nine). Each day two contestants answer ten questions on pop music, the winner goes on to play Three-In-Ten (three UK chart hits by a particular band in ten seconds) to win a digital radio. Failure in this latter endeavour gets them a Bluetooth speaker; the runner-up gets a consolation prize of a One Year Out t-shirt, so called as one of the ten questions is to give the year that three singles charted, answers given often lead Ken Bruce to commiserate “One year out!” – said so often they made a t shirt of it!

About an hour later Tracks Of My Years can be interesting, depending on who’s choosing! Each week a celebrity picks two tracks every day and chats with Ken about their relevance between the two being played. This week it’s Sanjeev Bhaskar, so I’m paying attention, I’ve liked him since I first heard Good Gracious Me on Radio 4 in 1996 (yes, it’s another show that was on Radio 4 before going to BBC Two). A few weeks ago it was Adam Hills choosing his tracks, that was very entertaining and informative. Great to hear The Goodies’ Funky Gibbon in there with a really lovely anecdote about meeting two of them at the Edinburgh Fringe (a quick squirrel through my Fringe timetables showed it was in 2006, I saw both his and the Goodies show).

Tracks Of My Years is like the Radio 2 cousin of Desert Island Discs. I’ve spent plenty of time pondering on this and have decided it would be easier to pick my TOMYs than my DIDs. Why? Well, the TOMYs are more fixed it seems to me, those are the tracks you pick as having particular relevance to your life at various points, they are what they are from your history. DIDs are significant moments too, but chosen as the only eight tunes you’ll have to listen to for a long time, music for company, to keep your spirits up, to help keep you sane. See that’s why there’s a lot more pressure on those choices, TOMYs is just a bit of reminiscing with Ken!

There’s also the Inheritance Tracks feature on Saturday Live on Radio 4; a small feature that has grown legs and now has a podcast of it’s own. Every Saturday morning a celebrity shares two tracks, one they’ve inherited from a previous generation (often something a parent listened to a lot) and then one that they would pass on to the next generation. I’m not sure what I’d pass on but probably my inherited track would be Mockingbird Hill, I don’t remember who by (oh, I’ve trawled through Google, trying to find the version we had, to no avail!). It was one in a stack of 78 rpm records from our parents’ youthful days; as I recall it, they were just gathering dust in a cupboard (the records not our parents) until my siblings and I happened upon them, claimed them as ours and relocated them to beside the old Bush record player in our playroom. Oh, how we loved playing them and singing along with the likes of Frankie and Johnny or The Three Caballeros. Hmm, we were easily entertained young mooses!

I paused there for my tea. A dozen distractions later……the train of thought has been seriously derailed. Bugger! The kitchen needed cleaning after an interesting reaction when red wine met hot lamb fat and juices. I had to drink the rest of the wine to recover and got sucked into watching the telly. Oo yeah, something did occur to me while I was cleaning up – a track that would be a TOMY and a DID, even possibly my Inheritance track to pass on, Logan Close’s Listen To Your Mother, it ticks all the boxes. I do hope the lads play it on Saturday night, yes, that’s right, this coming Saturday night (27th March) the lads are doing a live stream event on Facebook! Yay! News good enough to make a moose smile!!

G’night! Sweet dreams!

So great I watched it twice, huzzah!

Apart from that fingernails bit, eewww. The Great has been such a romp, perfect Sunday evening viewing, everything about it is so sumptuous. I may have to gorge on it later once the series has finished, a banquet with ten courses, yum! I’ll need some popcorn and raspberry ripple ice cream for that (no, not in the same bowl).

It was this time last year I was back in from seeing Logan’s Close at the Caves for the release of Lost In You. It’s been a lonnng year since then. Some are getting excited at the news that the end of Covid restrictions may be in sight, but I don’t reckon it’s as straightforward or as timetably as folk want to believe – look at what happened to the Christmas Grace. Yes, the vaccines are being rolled out but I reckon there will still be some social restrictions in place, more than the general populace will be happy with. Call me a pessimist but hey, at least I’ll be mightily impressed if I get to be in a packed room to see the Close before the end of the year, I’m just not holding my breath.

Who knows what form any Fringe that takes place will be?! And, of course there’s the new bother of post Brexit paperwork and costs for acts coming over from Europe. Creatives have gotten creative online, will the cost of a month in Edinburgh seem worth it any more? Especially if there’s no physical Fringe for a second year. Will the new generation of creatives look on the Edinburgh Fringe as too cumbersome, expensive and old hat? Has it had it’s day? Will it rise again like a phoenix or be like one of those tawdry, tired old seaside towns that you know would have been magnificent back in the day but, sadly, not any more?

Oo, that got maudlin. Here’s to better times, however they may present themselves. Here’s to one day being able to stumble upon a great band playing live in a pub. Here’s to hugging a long-not-seen mate.

God, I so miss hugging 😔

Y’know, 2020 wasn’t all bad….

Saw yet another strand of tinsel as I downward dogged this morning, that’ll be the twelfth since my last blog post! It lay there glinting mockingly at me, bold as brass it was, well not any more. Oh, and we didn’t get the promised snow, so I closed the curtain again and went back to bed. There has been more snow outside of Edinburgh but nothing in the city, just freezing temperatures.

Listening to the news, it’s sounding like we’ll be lucky if we can do anything at Easter nevermind Mothering Sunday here in the UK. That’ll be another of my annual trips to the old country cancelled, I’ll have forgotten the way down soon! Yeah, 2021 isn’t looking that much better than 2020 so far. How depressing! So, to brighten the mood I decided to look back through 2020 and find my highlights, surely there were some?!

First off, Esther – our wee beastie o’the loch. I reckon she’ll be a highlight for a few Edinburgh folks grateful for the distraction. It’s been so good to watch this beautiful wild creature so close by. Hopefully she’ll be okay after all the recent weather, Dunsapie Loch has been frozen over a fair bit this last month. From otters to rabbits….

Way back last January I went to Jojo Rabbit three times at the cinema. Those were days, open cinemas, me with my unlimited card going to see two films in one evening, Nando’s chicken wings in between (will Cineworld reopen at all now?). Jojo Rabbit is such an outstanding film and a proper cinema film too. God, I miss going to the cinema, that sense of occasion (as a young moose a trip to the cinema was an event, that feeling has never quite left). The whole cast of Jojo were brilliant and Taika Waititi cemented his place as my favourite director and all-round amazing film person.

Thinking about it, I guess all that time spent in Holyrood Park, walking around, lying in sunny nooks reading, that was pretty special. We did have long spells of great weather in 2020, I did most of my reading outdoors. Highlights bookwise, finally reading Errol Flynn’s autobiography (an amazing glimpse at another time and place) and John Robertson’s The Little Town of Marrowville, I expected it to be good and darkly humorous but wow, it exceeded all my expectations! Yes it’s a kid’s book, but it’s a damn fine one.

Not Eurovision 2020 was a day of Eurovision treats for the fans on radio and tv. In the evening Graham Norton guided us through the main Not Eurovision Show, which just felt like one big love-in around the world (as Australia is now in it, yes I make that around the world). I thoroughly enjoyed a day of reminiscing, music, dancing, oh, and prosecco with pear juice.

2020, a shorter but sweetest year yet for Strictly Come Dancing. Bill Bailey with Oti was a worthy winner, confounding the initial assumptions of so many viewers with his capacity to learn and ability to dance. Their routine to Rapper’s Delight will go down in Strictly history. I learnt you could video chat on WhatsApp in November – yeah, Strictly brings out that need to share!

Fringey goodness was found online. April and May saw the magnificent Will Seaward online re-telling his Spooky Ghost Stories sometimes with live accompaniment courtesy of Jam With Humans. Yes, it was back in the early lockdown days, things went a bit wonky, not always online just somewhere in the vicinity, but no matter, it was great to see the maestro weaving his wondrous tales again.

The nearing of the NonFringe saw me checking to see what the Sleeping Trees were up to, if anything. Oh bugger! I’d missed getting to see MAFIA? by about ten days! Joys, I did get see SCI-FI? again. So is there a recording of WESTERN? somewhere? I’d love to see that again. Pretty please?! I could read MAFIA? by purchasing a copy the recently published Sleeping Trees at The Movies – Blueprints for Devised Comedy, but it just wouldn’t be the same as seeing it. But the best was yet to come – a Christmas Living Room Adventure! Oh yay, The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington was the highlight of my Christmas, yes, even above my Christmas Lunch Roll! That first sighting of the great white whale will stay with me forever.

Anything else, Brucie? Well, there was the small matter of Logan’s Close at the Caves for the release of their latest opus Lost In You at the end of February, like, a truly epic night! Best I’ve seen them yet; there was a gig planned for the end of this month but it has, of course, been cancelled. Lead guitarist and singer Carl Marah took to singing Bob Dylan to his washing machine in April, strange behaviour but captivatingly beautiful.

My top highlight of 2020? The Close’s Lockdown Cover of Fantastic Man by William Onyeabor. Having since put the original on one of my Spotify playlists, I love what the lads did with it even more; they’ve taken the best parts, condensed and Closified it into a summer classic of their own. Their video is rather fine too, and usually if I leave YouTube running afterwards it goes to a film of roller dancers skating to the original with some seriously cool moves (yes, I’ve watched both plenty of times after I’ve done online exercises – hey, its good cool down music).

So, wow, 2020 wasn’t all bad, and I did two seasons of Preacher and three of Lucifer, plus my uke playing is slowly coming on. Dear reader, I hope you too can look back and recognise your own highlights of 2020, to paraphrase Aidan Goatley, What made you happy in 2020?

Toodle pip!

Just a smattering….

Wow! This morning Edinburgh awoke to a smattering of snow! Most of it was gone by midday (as is usual here) but it was still about on the hillsides and well-insulated rooftops. The paths around Holyrood Park were a tad on the slippy side, so folk were having to choose between sliding on the path or in the surrounding mud. It all made for some rather cautious walking!

Mind, the longer effort was worth it for the view of Dunsapie Loch, still as a millpond, with a perfect reflection of Crow Hill and Arthur’s Seat in it…….

I was a bit disappointed the otter wasn’t around but just when I’d reached the other end of the Loch, I looked and saw that she had appeared. Yes, I trooped back round to see her! I couldn’t help myself, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to watch an otter blithely swimming and diving about in the wild. She’s gorgeous and she knows it.

Speaking of gorgeous, Logan’s Close have announced on Facebook that they’re intending to record their debut album next year. Oh yay! A whole album of rich musical gorgeousness, can’t wait!! In the meantime, they’ve come up with a line of sexy, stylish T-shirts and bags for the fans (about time!); personally, I think they should do badges too – yes, I do need badges, preferably not stinking, mind 😊

Toodle pip!

Happy?!

In 2019 the loveliest man to grace a Fringe stage was back again with his new show Aidan Goatley: Happy Britain Part I, naturally I went along. Happy Britain? He told how he came up with an idea of going to the centre of every county in the UK and asking the first person he met, “What makes you happy?” Part I? Well, you know, life, best laid plans, et al, there was to be a Part II this year, and a book too! God only knows when that’s gonna happen now!! Mind you, his wife is a vicar so she could make enquiries!

The show was as good as expected – that being an engaging, charming, thoroughly entertaining hour that went by way too quickly for my liking. I could have happily sat another hour in that state of warm, fuzzy cheeriness (oh and the room did have good air conditioning – a bonus). The pic is from Mr Goatley’s bit in the Fringe programme. I think his attire may be a reference to Arthur Dent in HHGTTG, I seem to vaguely remember something, but I could have dreamt it.

Some time later I found myself musing on Aidan’s question, indeed, what made me happy, really happy? Where was my happy place? Could I answer that without resorting to flippancy? You see, though I always do my best to present myself as a jovial and happy-go-lucky chap, I am no stranger to melancholy; I knew I’d been slowly sinking into the doldrums for some time, my spark wasn’t very sparky anymore, more like an ember. Oh sure, Edinburgh in August (when there’s a Fringe on!) but what about the rest of it? I mulled over it for some time, if I could figure out the true honest answer could I use it as a compass to lead myself out of the doldrums on to firmer ground?

Actually, it’s the reason why I like the Fringe so much, it’s that blissed out fuzziness of witnessing a great feelgood show (usually accompanied by a goofy smile). It’s sitting listening to Aidan’s stories, it’s watching an hour of surreal sketches about three sperm, it’s the fun of watching a troup of actors allowing themselves to be dictated to by a roulette wheel of absurd scenarios.

And it’s being at a Logan’s Close gig, any time of the year. Oh yeah, there’s my Happy. No wonder this year’s been hard – I haven’t seen them since January! And on bands, one of my most memorable happy times was at the Fringe in 2005, late night in the Debating Hall at Teviot watching Bill Bailey’s band Beergut 100. The sheer exuberance of the band and the crowd was intoxicating, and when Kevin Eldon sang a seriously punked up The sun’ll come out tomorrow oh my heartses! The room was a big sweaty blob of happy!

As a young moose I used to daydream, as so many do, about being a great performer, acting or singing, both, I’d be amazing!! Once we get past the time of when our dreams were meant to somehow be happening (with no effort from ourselves), it’s woulda, coulda, shoulda. Then, one night, I don’t remember when, who or where, but I do remember having an epiphany, I was Audience – being a great audience is important, without an audience what is a show? I shouldn’t be looking up wishing I was the one on the stage, that’s not me; I’m the one giving my undivided attention, watching, listening, absorbing the atmosphere; I’m the one whooping and cheering and clapping, showing my appreciation to the performers.

Oo, that got a bit profound there! Thinking on it, I know it changed my perspective and my being. Would recognising my Happy bring on another change? Then 2020 came along and the whole world has been spun off kilter. Will Aidan ever get to do his Part Deux? Will hugging ever come back? There’s a great deal of Happy in hugging.

Bonne nuit, mes amis 💛

….meanwhile in lockdown

Kia ora, dudes! Day Whatever of lockdown. Today I’ve come to a decision to be more impetuous! Yeah, I know you all see me as a carefree, live for the moment kinda moose, but not really. I may not post that often but that’s because I put it off to do other stuff (like faffing, watching telly, surfing YouTube and occasionally some cleaning). My table is covered in bits of notes for blogging ideas that I haven’t got round to writing; when something grabs me I don’t rush to share it, my head goes, No, take a note, think about it, write it up later. Needless to say, impetus lost, I don’t. Listen Head, shut up, if ever there was a time for some impetuosity it’s now. There’s nothing that needs to be done that can’t wait. That picture taken on a walk? Share it! Great vids on YouTube, resurfaced memories, Fringe friends up to stuff? Don’t write a note, write a blog post!

A few notes lying around – Jäähyväiset! (I think that’s farewell in Finish), a voodoo octopus, lamb with anchovies – dauphinoise potatoes, The Trap Pleasance Over the Road 2, Jam With Humans, Will Hay, zombiesaur. Guess the ones relating to Will Seaward! I’ll get back to those later 😂😂 See? Did it again.

Today a Facebook friend shared an episode from 60 Second Docs by an artist Mike Bennett from Portland, Oregon who makes great pieces of cartoon art from recycled wood and paints then sets them free into the wild! Well, he puts them out for people to enjoy and raise spirits. He’s raised money for local charities with his artwork, a really nice guy. The artwork is quite Seussical, not in style but in flavour, mischievousness and joie de vivre. Check it out!

Another share (obviously up rather earlier than me) was a brilliant video by Tusk Puppets for the New Zealand Police Facebook page. Hmmm, the NZ Police page has good stuff, some great kiwi humour on there to brighten up lockdown. And bubbles! I haven’t heard mention of bubbles here in the UK, I love the concept, bubbles, it’s a cheery word, not all doom and gloom. Yes, I feel more content now, visualising my bubble around me, gonna float along next time I’m oot. Anyway, Tusk Puppets have written and performed a great little number called “One day I’ll go outside again”, it quite rocks out towards the end!

From there I wandered through the New Zealand Police and Tusk Puppets Facebook pages (my tablet sneakily changes Tusk into Rusk, it just tried to do it that time too😄) where I found a video of a lovely lady tap-dancing with a puppet from Tusk, oh my, impressive! (makes me wish I’d kept up my own tap-dancing from my youth).

Whilst I’ve been tapping away, my friend has also shared a vid by the lovely Carl Marah of Logan’s Close. He’s singing a Bob Dylan cover to his washing machine, I think he may be taking lockdown hard!

Well, I suppose I should head out for my daily trot around the park. It’s great how many people are there everyday now and not just at the weekend, yes, there are quite a few folk out but everyone seems to be generally adhering to social distancing rules. Guess we’ve all been appreciative of the lovely sunny weather we’ve been having recently (yes, that’s right, lovely sunny weather in Edinburgh, Scotland) and that we have an awesome piece of rugged parkland close by the Southside.

I shall leave with another artwork of Edinburgh in smithereens by Pete Standen. Oh, and I’ll stick a piece of graffiti I came across on a walk last week (yes, something I’ve sat on to use later), look twice, there’s something really quite sweet there!

20200408_144805