Just when it looked like the end, the cavalry arrived

Some shows finished up on Friday night, some yesterday, more will end today, just a few will carry on until the bitter end, tomorrow. Of course, the Free Festival actually added on a day to finish tomorrow! I know the Gilded Balloon finishes today, saw it on Facebook. I only went to one show there this year and I’m not sure if the Library Bar, a usual Fringe haunt of mine, was open as I never enquired.

Today, the final Sunday is the first time I’ll set hoof in the Pleasance Courtyard this Fringe! Usually I would have a casual wander through whenever I’m passing. Yes, today is the day Tim Fitzhigham is the Cabaret Bar (in fact it’s some years since I last saw a show in that particular room). Oo, I do hope he’s good, no, surely he won’t disappoint! He mustn’t! At least, I have the magnificent The Elvis Dead at quarter to midnight to end the night, and possibly my Fringe if there’s nothing I fancy tomorrow.

I know The Elvis Dead will be magnificent because one, I’ve seen it before, and two, Rob Kemp is awesome. I just saw his other show at the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club yesterday, Rob Kemp:Agenda (WIP) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Have I explained about WIP before? WIP is short for Work In Progress, ie don’t expect great things, the performer will probably be following their notes, losing their place, saying punchlines first,

《at that point my buzzer went, a fellow Tim Fan had arrived early to go to the show, so being a congenial host I paused in my writing…… so now it’s a few hours later》

Rob Kemp did all of the aforementioned, but, he was so likeable it just added to the charm of the show. It almost felt like a privilege to hear his words, his story was frank, funny and moving. And if you’ve seen Big Trouble In Little China it helps – he references it, oh, two or four times! In fact, just watch it if you can find it anyway, it’s a lot of fun, a very Eighties movie. Agenda was great and it would be good to see it again once he’s honed and polished it, but it’ll never be more honest than when I saw it as a WIP.

On to Tim Fitzhigham, yeah, his show Tim Fitzhigham: Here Now is not even at WIP stage really, more just at pre-planning, not like that would be a problem for this raconteur, anyway. He had his notes beside him and a watch to see how long he could keep going, being Tim he overran a tad but no-one, apart from a few that had a train to catch, minded. Plenty of us were obviously regulars to his shows, one group have been coming over from Portugal for ten years to see him at the Fringe; he had a great anecdote about meeting up with one of them in Portugal. Tim also recognised a chap at the end of the front row who had been his tech guy fifteen years ago, ah, he sucks us all in!

it was like Tim was a manic high from finally being back on an Edinburgh Fringe stage again. He had so much to share with us, his joie de vivre was infectious, there was new stuff and condensed classics, he even finished with his traditional final show party piece! One story we hadn’t heard before was about his Venezuelan adventure – I can’t believe he hasn’t done a whole show about it, he really should, I want to know more!!

Well, time is marching on, I could go have a drink at Stramash before heading to Monkey Barrel 4 for The Elvis Dead. I wonder what sort of music the band will be playing?

Toodle pip!

A Fringe beyond zero

Alas, I didn’t get to see The Flop: A Band of Idiots last night and it was their last night, unless, like many things in this fluctuating Fringe, they decide to do more shows (pretty please?!) Nah, it’s unlikely, at least I have the third Private to see today, Christian Brighty: Playboy. Its like a minibusload of absurdists came up for a week and now they’re all packed ready to head back south just as soon as Christian has taken his bow and said his thank yous. Him and his stuff will be bundled into the bus and with ringmaster, Dan Lees at the wheel, they’ll be gone. Imagine if the outside of the minibus reflected the minds of those inside?!

I had been intending to head to Stramash after the show, wow, drinking and dancing in a no doubt busy room, a blast from the past. How would Stramash be now? Well, it was weird going to the bar, rather than six deep around it, there were two queues stretching across the room. To folk entering it wasn’t immediately obvious so they’d head straight to the open space at the bar, then they’d kinda look round at us, it would click that we were stood in a line, “Er, is this a queue for the bar?”,”Yup!” and they’d head the other way to find the back of it. God, it was interminably slow. Now Stramash has an upstairs balcony area that I’ve rarely been in, I was pretty certain there was a bar up there but not 100% certain, striking up a conversation with a chap alongside me in the other queue I ascertained yes, there was a bar upstairs but the queue was even worse up there, that’s why he was queuing where he was. Considering how quickly my drink (a pint of Holyrood Pale Ale, very nice) was bought and paid for, I don’t understand why it took around twenty minutes to get it! It looks like Stramash has gone cashless, everyone was paying by contactless or their phones, so no fumbling around for cash and change.

It was busy but the doormen were making sure everyone was using the CheckIn Scotland app on entry. I guess its become another habit for some, click in and mask up. I did notice a few folk keeping their masks on awhile once inside, like they couldn’t really believe it was okay to remove them. It is a bit confusing, different places have different rules, many folk I think keep masks on until they’re pretty its ok to remove them. Some Fringe venues are fine with unmasking during performances, well, if there’s a bar many will have brought a drink in. Some venues do make an announcement asking that folk stay masked (half then have to put their masks back on), yes, it’s confusing.

Assembly Roxy has attendants at the door to enquire the size of your bubble and then lead people to appropriate seating. Similar was done at Monkey Barrel Comedy Club; they also have a temperature scanner there (only one I’ve seen so far) and they administer a squish of hand sanitiser to everyone who enters. Many venues certainly started the Fringe with seating spread out in groups of twos and fours, I wonder if some have made the spaces between smaller now to accommodate more seats; certainly some venues now have the usual rows of seats. Some folk do look uncomfortable when strangers sit right next to them, but as the In Person shows are selling out a fair bit, it happens, are they thinking “would it look insulting if I put my mask back on?”?

So, back at Stramash, pint in hand I found a good spot to watch the band come on for the second spot, a band called The Kennedy’s Project. I almost spilled my drink – it was the band from Waverley Bridge! It was great to see them indoors in a proper venue and, my, they were good, really good. As usual both the rhythm and lead guitarists shared out the vocal duties, as their voices suit very different songs it works well across the songs they cover. The crowd (and me too) loved them, plenty were on their feet dancing. Highlights for me were Hound Dog, Bring it on Home To Me and, as awesome as the last time, Minnie the Moocher. My, that guitarist was hot, growling out the words, hotter than Idris Elba even!

💛

If you just stumbled accidently upon this blog post and have enjoyed it, I always post a link on Facebook, I’m Bruce T Moose. New friends and followers always welcome (and no, the T isn’t for The).

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!

It’s hot in the city!

To quote Billy Idol, it’s hot in the city tonight, one more day of gloriousness, then, here comes the rain again, along with cooler temperatures. Will it improve again by the start of the Fringe? Hope so, I fully intend to start my Fringe atop Arthur’s Seat watching Barry Ferns – as long as it’s not wet. It’s been so nice for so long now, and with restrictions on holidays to hotter climes chopping and changing so much, Portobello beach hasn’t been this busy in years; the eateries along the Prom are doing excellent business.

I’ve been noticing on my walks in the Park that it looks like being a bumper year for cherries, yay. This evening as I walked off my tea I realised the somewhat screechy birds way up high were swifts; I knew that they were around at that time of the evening but I’ve never heard them like that before. There were quite a number of them having fun swooping around, chasing each other. A good excuse for me to pause awhile and just enjoy the spectacle overhead.

My tea? A lamb hotpot pie courtesy of Brewsters along with lots of steamed broccoli and carrots. Brewsters pies are very nice, they started doing chicken pies and now there’s occasionally lamb hotpot, steak and ale or steak and kidney, all very tasty with perfect pastry and no scrimping on the meat content. Tonight I washed it down with a bottle of ginger beer, also bought at the Farmer’s Market. Slim Hat are a new venture by a young couple living in the Old Town, this truly is a local product! It is as the label says, an authentic ginger beer, with a good kick to it, I wish them well.

Alas, anyone thinking of buying some at the Farmer’s Market to take into a show at MultiStory will be disappointed as there’ll be strict rules in place that no food or drink may be taken on to the site. This did make me wonder when I read it, as many carry water bottles round with them during the Fringe usually – will these too be banned? Seems harsh. Not that it will probably bother me as I most likely won’t be in there, being a solo Fringer (see my last post), nor am I likely to be seeing any shows at the Gilded Balloon this year as the same silly two or four bubble policy is in place. Mind, I’m not that bother at the moment as a cursory glance over their shows so far didn’t turn up anything I fancied.

I do hope the other venues don’t have similar policies, I would like to see some real live shows! Oo, I do have one show booked! It’s not actually through the Fringe website, but, as it’s John-Luke Roberts at the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club in August I’m counting it as Fringe. I have done some perusing of the Fringe programme online but it really isn’t as enjoyable as going through a physical paper one. I do hope they go back to a physical programme next year, it’s much more agreeable and I get to keep a copy as souvenir and reference book.

Well, it’s very late now, so I should be toddling off to my bed. I shall leave you with another selection of recent photos, enjoy!

Sunset captured on a gallivant along the East Lothian coast.
Okay, so I may have tinkered with this a bit! I had The Twilight Zone by Rush going through my head at the time.

The Tuck returns.

Hello peeps, today I am a rather poorly moose, though not half as ill as I felt yesterday, couldn’t hardly raise my head 😩. In my fevered condition my mind wandered (it does that a lot anyway, my little legs would be knackered if they had to actually go along too) to a name – Thom Tuck. Ah, where is he this Fringe? After being An August Institution last year I haven’t actually noticed him anywhere in this year’s programme. Hmmm. So having hauled myself from my sick bed and breakfasted on porridge with honey and raspberries I investigated……

Oh yayyy! Phew! The Tuck is back! He’s hosting the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society (ACMS) with John-Luke Roberts late night at the Monkey Barrel Comedy Club. I shall definitely popping along to that. Tuck and Roberts together? That’ll be bonkers enough, never mind the guests! So, if he’s doing that late night, what’s he doing the rest of the time? Oo, he’s in one of those all comedians plays Courtroom Play: A Courtroom Play at 12.25 in the afternoon, plenty recovery time from the late night. Ah, just looked again at ACMS it goes on til 2.30 in the morning, every morning of the Fringe (Wednesday nights are quiz night), Tuck’s going to be tuckered out by the end of August 😆

I’ve also discovered he’s putting in a couple of appearances at the Comedy Club 4 Kids. A lot of comedians do it now, why not? The fans of the future and a different perspective to more adult-honed shows. In fact I’m rather miffed as Thom’s first date also has Brendon Burns and Colt Cabana there and I’m busy that day, grrrr. Brendon Burns for kids, I have to see that sometime!

Burns and Cabana are back with their Comedy and Commentary to Bad Wrestling Matches late night at the Monkey Barrel, hmmm, just a five minute overlap with ACMS, interesting! I’ve never been but have it on good authority that it is worth seeing. Brendon himself has downsized again, not quite the free fringe but Pay What You Want (or £6.50 ticket in advance) at Heroes@Boteco, apparently his twentieth solo hour! I shall be there.

Time for my lemsip, toodle pip!