And so it begins……

Well, yesterday, it did and I reckon it’s gonna be seriously busy this year. People everywhere, new road closures in the old town, flyerers already out in force, monsoon rains intermingled with balmy blue skies, my first meringue David O’Doherty, eggs benedict. August in Edinburgh!

The Phoenix, Bear and Monster were great for starters last night. If there was a quota on swearing in shows I think Nick Helm will have put the number of c**ts still available well down with just his first preview. Maybe he thought there’d be some spare with Brendon Burns not being up this year! Still as shouty as ever, belting out songs Lemmy style, but, oh my, his butt – clad in the tiniest gold sequin shorts!! There is still work to be done, like learning all his lyrics, but you know his message at the end was quite on the mark; like an episode of South Park, offensive, funny and actually quite insightful.

Ben Pope and Alice Snedden were new to me, appearing in the Pleasance’s Bunkers Two and One. Be warned Bunker Two gets extremely warm before the hour is up, be sure to have something to drink with you. I was unsure of Ben Pope to begin with, he was amusing but it somehow lacked, then it seemed bright sparks of wit would leap out randomly which to me showed more of his personality and I liked what I saw. Ben, less doing of the routine, more of you, please.

Alice Snedden truly is a monster, very funny with it, mind. I’m not particularly believing of astrology either, but she is such a Leo! And her accent is so strong, I loved just listening to it, but some folk may find parts tricky to decipher; if you thought Australians and New Zealanders sound the same, you’ll learn otherwise here, along with plenty about Alice, she’s not shy on the subject – typical bloody Leo!

Now how do I put it in my phone calendar?

Yay! Today those lovely people at Assembly finally announced that their Edinburgh Locals £5 Tickets offer was back on again this year. I wasted no time in re-checking my cuttings and making a decision which six to go for (there’s a maximum of six and up to the end of the first Sunday night). I quickly got it down to nine, but which other three to drop? Ummm.

As it’s his final tour ever (so he says), Stewart Francis: Into the Punset would have been a definite contender but that 8pm timeslot knackers up so many other shows so no; plus he’s doing a full run and is on the Friends of the Fringe 241 list, so I may get to see him later with a chum. Modern Maori Quartet: Two Worlds was a thought. Yes, I saw it last year but it is really good – and at only a fiver! On the other hand my cuz may pop up for a few days and he’d love them, and I’m already going to their Garage Party show.

Also dropped for now as it would be the wrong time of the Fringe, much more suited to be a final week show (no, I don’t know why, it just is) is the magnificently titled John-Luke Roberts: After Me Comes the Flood (But in French) drop splosh splash drip BLUBBP BLUBBP BLUBBPBLUBBPBLUBBP!!

So what has made it into my Fringe diary? The lovely Sarah Kendall with Sarah Kendall: Paper Planes, and it’s just occurred to me, yes, indeed, same time same venue as two years ago! Also from Oz The Long Pigs claiming to be “spine-tingling original theatre” showing at the Roxy, very few duds seen there. Staying antipodean, Laser Kiwi a surreal sketch circus troupe, at a fiver it’s worth a shot.

Fringe regular Guy Masterton is directing The Shark is Broken, apparently a true story set during the filming of Jaws (what else with that title?) It is at eleven on the Sunday morning which could be hard after Saturday night, but I’ll just have to force myself to go straight home after Nick Helm’s I Think, You Stink, a musical comedy horror at the Roxy. And finally those Silly Funny Boys the Sleeping Trees, I wonder if they know what it’s about yet?!

Ha, who needs 241 Monday and Tuesday? If I knew how to spell it, I’d spell a long, fruity, loud raspberry. Yeah, I’ll be well into my Fringe before they even come round (bitter? moi?)

Toodle pip!

 

So a phoenix, a bear and a monster walk into a bar….

Actually it’ll be myself going to the bar between shows 😊 Yes, the full Fringe programme is out! An intense first check through over three days, eighty two cuttings, several G&Ts and some of teeth gnashing later, I have bought my first batch of tickets: twelve previews and the Sleeping Trees’ Christmas Special. Yay!

First preview night this year will be Nick Helm: Phoenix From The Flames, Ben Pope: Dancing Bear, and Alice Snedden: Absolute Monster. Nicely spaced over the evening and not too late to bed afterwards. Nick Helm, just because! Ben Pope, umm, is it the bear thing? I have seen previous good reviews for him (and who didn’t smirk on seeing the  words pope and bear so close together?!).  Alice Snedden I know nothing about apart from the blurb in the programme but she’s a kiwi and that’s enough in my book to warrant a preview ticket.

20180825_171401And on kiwis, I’m off to the Modern Maori Quartet’s Garage Party on the Thursday night, looking forward to seeing them again (that’s yours truly with three quarters of them last year)

I don’t have a ticket yet for the wonderful Sarah Kendall, but as her previews are £8 I’m holding off in the hope that Assembly will do the locals’ tickets for a fiver thing again (just up to the end of the first weekend I think). There’s another five or six shows in that particular queue; if Assembly don’t come through for me they’ll all go into my Half Price Hut hopefuls pile.

The Sleeping Trees: Christmas Special is just on for one night so I had to, had to, had to get a ticket! Well, actually I got two, the show has the Fringe Friends’ 241 offer on it, so at £15 for one ticket (yikes), it made sense to get the second ticket – I’ll sort out a chum to chum me later.

Oo, I’m starting to get a bit excited now. Only fifty days to go!

Sweet dreams!

 

Nick Helm on Dave

I was just flicking through the telly channels when I happened upon Eat Your Heart Out With Nick Helm. Huh? Nick Helm has a food programme now?! Mr Shouty was conversing in French and later showing off his few words in Portuguese, all in lovely mild manner. Hmmm (looks into the distance, head to one side, a hazy wibbly-wobbliness takes us back, back…)

Friday 3rd August 2012, rushed home from work to get to the Pleasance Queen Dome in time for Nick Helm: This Means War. My choice, I just really like the poster, very Flashman/ Rik Mayall’s Bombardier, it worked for me. I had heard he was quite loud, quite loud?! He came on singing a Motorhead song, well, shouting it, then he seriously ripped into some of the audience, boy, was I glad we were well back in the middle of a row. One poor chap ended up on stage peeling spuds and being yelled at for most of the show, but while we felt the fear we enjoyed the show anyway.

I didn’t see Nick Helm again until 2015, well to be fair, in 2014 he only did two nights at the Pleasance Grand at £15 a pop, that’s ’cause he’d made it on to the telly in Uncle. Then in 2015, he appeared on the Free Fringe with a catchy show title, Nick Fuckin’ Helm: My Edinburgh Hour. This time, a young chap at the front who hadn’t clapped and laughed enough was made to sit behind Nick on the stage so that a more appreciative lady could gave the seat, again I was glad to be well back in the crowd! It was another very entertaining show, especially as the venue sound limiter kept cutting out the microphones whenever he sang – it’s not like Nick Helm really needs amplification in a room that size anyway!

So, his new tv show on Dave, well I really enjoyed it. Him and a mate just go places, eat loads of food and meet the chefs who cook it, and he’s quite sweet actually. There were two half hour shows together, the second had Nish Kumar as the buddy, he’s another chap who’s doing rather well these days. I saw him doing McNeil and Pamphilon’s Go 8-Bit back in 2013 and 2014, yes, at the Fringe it was theirs, not Dara O’Briain’s.

More about that later.