Odd balls and green eyes

Another rugby weekend done and dusted, the French fans will all be back home again after a grand weekend away. Some arrived early last Thurday (as noticed in Stramash in my last post), some stayed to carry on the party ’til Sunday night. Oh, I wasn’t witness to it ’til after Peaky Blinders had been on telly. Yay, the new and final series of Peaky Blinders is up and running, and I wasn’t being anywhere other than in front of my telly at nine o’clock on Sunday night. By ‘eck it was good, a fine tribute to the late actress Helen McCrory, Aunt Polly, who died almost a year ago.

Only after it did I tidy round from my evening meal and get ready to head out to Whistlebinkies. For why? The Buccaneers were scheduled to play at midnight. Now if you’ve been following my posts recently you may wonder if it was worth staying up so late – this time it was definitely happening, The Buccaneers said so on their Facebook page. I’ll admit to a slight hesitancy as I drank my way through a pint of Stewart’s Edinburgh Gold at just after midnight, oh yay, the band members started turning up, that helped wake me up! And I stayed awake ’til around three having the most splendid time drinking and dancing, it was a fine crowd there, all really enjoying the music. Mr Marah was on top form, well, all the band were. From pics on Facebook yesterday I think the keyboardist, Luke Cunningham, had just been on at Stramash which could explain his being the last to turn up but it was no problem to turn in a great performance. God, I’m so lucky to have such great musicians on my doorstep!

Not so lucky as the Welsh, though, well, the ones in Swansea. Whilst the Welsh may have been beaten by England on Saturday, they will have the first look at the new Logan’s Close line-up at Hangar 18 in Swansea on Thursday 17th March – jeez, I’m sooo jealous! I’ve never been to Swansea, don’t think I haven’t been pondering on a visit! The day after it’s a drive to The Elmer’s Arms in Bristol; again, somewhere I’ve never been, some very nice pubs there so I’m informed, hmmm. Saturday 19th March sees the band trotting north-east up to The Running Horse in Nottingham, then a left turn to Liverpool and the Prohibition Recording Studio on the Sunday evening before heading home to Auld Reekie. Might as well give you the other dates, that’s their long awaited return to the Voodoo Rooms on Sunday 27th (yay!!!) and then a skip across to Hamburg and the Indra Musikclub on the 31st; again, I’ve never been to Hamburg, I haven’t been anywhere (except Yorkshire) for over two years, maybe?!

I’ve noticed that the Nottingham gig is on Super Saturday, the final day of the Six Nations Rugby this year (so called as all three matches are on the same day). In years gone by that was a pub day, often the Greenmantle or The Blind Poet, ah, we were young, up for it and very, very drunk by the end of it. This year I’ll be down at the Mothership around that weekend, Nottingham is just down the road, well, under two hours down the road, oo.

Maybe I should just appreciate that the lads are having four dress rehearsals before the big one back here, the glass half-full approach. Yeah, I’m not really buying it. Swansea, Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, Logan’s Close are coming your way, you lucky, lucky bastards!

Some snow, some Fringe, some Potts

We had snow, yay. Not much but enough for more snowmen sentinels to rise up again and a few snowboarders headed up into Holyrood Park for a bit of fun. Of course, I had to head out too, I mean, look at it …..

Unfortunately, we’ve still some very strong winds around, hence I ended up in a rather prickly bush. It was very prickly, and rather than come to my rescue, dash it, the photographer just laughed and kept on clicking!

Heading down to Dunsapie Loch I spotted a snow sentinal rising up, struggling against the gusts of wind (up to 40mph the weatherman said and I can well believe him) to stay upright. He kept losing his head but he still kept going! Had to ask for a pic with him but as his face wasn’t fully formed he couldn’t reply, but who wouldn’t want a pic with li’l old me?!

Back home drying out, I had a glance around news about this year’s Fringe Festival. Much as I enjoy cold, snowy weather I am looking forward to summer! This August will see the 75th anniversary of the Fringe; it’ll run from 5th to 29th August (plus two days of previews before the official start, hopefully). Hmmm, yeah, I remember the Edinburgh Fringe used to officially run from the Sunday for three weeks finishing on the Bank Holiday Monday, when did that change? Checking back through my programmes 2009, the start moved to the Friday before. You know, I never noticed that before!

Edinburgh Fringe 2022 show listings will start appearing on Thursday 3rd March with more coming online 7th April, 5th May and 9th June. Apparently there will be a printed programme this year but it won’t be launched until early July (my guess is Thursday 7th). The Pleasance Theatre have also announced their first ten shows for Edinburgh and the tickets are already on sale. I noticed the magician Ben Hart will be back again, never seen him but he always has brilliant posters. I am tempted to get a preview ticket, umm.

And back to cold February, it’s another Six Nations rugby weekend and the French are already in town! I knew the rugby was on this weekend but hadn’t yet checked who v. who and where; there were a lot of men sporting blue berets in Stramash when I wandered in to catch Jed Potts and Jon Mackenzie, some bizarre stag-do? Ah, of course, I can’t believe it took me as long as it did to figure it out! The French were out to play and enjoy themselves, well, there would be Friday to recover before Saturday. I hadn’t seen this particular combo before but Mr Potts has been very good every time I’ve seen him, so I popped along for a gander (and a couple of beers, of course). Yay, excellent again. I would have put a clip of them doing Johnny B Goode but I don’t have the premium package apparently, so you’ll have to make do with stills from it (If you pop over to Facebook, Bruce T Moose, I’ll pop the vid on that).

I do like a bit of Willie to start the weekend

First Saturday in February and the Six Nations tournament is under way, as I type this Ireland are currently beating Wales 22-0 in Dublin. Later this afternoon it’s the battle for the Calcutta Cup, Scotland v England, here in Edinburgh at Murrayfield. I don’t envy anyone going to the game, it’s a horrible day out there! I popped out to the Farmer’s Market this morning and grabbed a paper on my way back, I’m not setting hoof outside again today.

Everywhere in town will be busy tonight, extra so than usual with a Six Nations home game on. Mind, many will peak earlier than they envisaged they would due to lack of grub to help absorb all the alcohol – I’ve seen it so many times! I was out getting my live music fix for the weekend yesterday evening, Willie Dug and the Cosmic Gents were playing the early slot at Stramash. A shorn Willie Dug! Like nae hair – is February really the month to do that?! No Carl Marah on guitar tonight, he was up in Morningside playing a solo acoustic set (and not as Whistlebinkies’ website had shown earlier in the week playing the midnight set there with The Buccaneers, yes, another error by Binkies). No mind, the band were good.

Stramash was fairly quiet at the back of seven when I rolled up, I say quiet, quiet as in the the number of bodies in, some of the bodies were quite loud and boisterous, their weekend was well under way. There were more in by the time the band opened the second set with Come Together, always a cracking tune; followed straight on with Roadhouse Blues, harmonica to the fore, he’s rather good that harmonica player. Back on to Willie’s own stuff Don’t Mess With The Walrus is a great tale about the Walrus Cafe on Easter Road (sadly now a victim of the Covid lockdowns it seems). Only Love Can Save My Soul is always sung, sometimes a cappela, with handclaps, with tambourine, tonight was with drums then a few guitar notes before bass and harmonica finally joined in, rather bloody good tonight!

I always feel for the band in the early evening slot, folk are just starting to loosen up and jig about as the end of the second set comes closer. More folk will have drifted as well, the place is warming up ….. and the band finishes, ah, but it was good last night! I finished my pint of Stewart’s Holyrood Pale Ale and headed home. I could have written something up then, but I decided I needed more music instead. You know how it is.

Well, the rugby is done for today, Ireland beat Wales 29-7, Scotland beat England 20-17 (okay, so I paused writing this a number of times to give my full attention to the excitement on the telly), there will be much celebrating around the town tonight. And many sore heads tomorrow!

Time I ate something, I think. Toodle pip!