The good, sad, sublime and mad

It’s been an interesting week since I last posted, some bits sublime, some ridiculously weird, some totally unexpected; it’s all left me too bamboozled to put anything down ’til now. Let’s start where I finished last time, about to head to see See How They Run, I didn’t see it. We arrived rather late, my chum wasn’t fussed about seeing it so we saw Bodies, Bodies, Bodies instead (I still haven’t seen it yet but I shall). Yeah, umm, we should’ve just call it quits and gone to Stramash early, really I could not have cared less if all they’d all ended up dead (I don’t think we were the intended demographic for it).

At least after that particular ridiculous, there was the sublime Nicole & the Backup Crew to pick us back up, and she was wearing another unitard, oh my (I’ve seen her wearing one before, I get it, very comfy, like a onesie but with sexy sass). Stramash was jumping, a great crowd. After midnight The Buccaneers took over, the crowd kept dancing, it was a lot of fun but I called it a night after the first set, hey, beauty sleep is required if I’m to stay so handsome!

A last minute decision saw me heading to the cinema on Tuesday night to see Clerks III, I hadn’t been aware it was even out, just as well I flicked right through the list! The first time I saw Clerks I was not impressed, then some time later I saw it again, much better, I loved Clerks II; I’m sure I have them both on dvd somewhere. If I can find them I can have a Clerks Day, watch them both then see Clerks III again. I enjoyed it but its definitely just one for the fans, quite poignant at times and it really points out how old we’ve all gotten (wow, Dante looks sooo young in clips from the first film!).

Sad news, Accordion Ryan has now left Edinburgh, he’s taken his two bags and accordion to Vienna. Good news, Ryan enjoyed Edinburgh and his Fringe experience so much that he may well be back next year, yay.

Wednesday saw me back at Legends for another blues evening. I missed the first band but arrived just as Jed Potts & The Hillman Hunters took to the stage; or in my head as they became, The Janitors, the mild-mannered janitor (as previously explained in this blog), the cooler slightly edgier janitor and the janitor you really wouldn’t mess with (yes, my mind does wander down some strange paths). As brilliant as ever and I do believe there was mention of an album coming soon?!

Headliners were The Cinelli Brothers who have just won The 2022 UK Blues Challenge, needless to say they were pretty damn fine – but my mind went for another walk…… Okay, so at the time it was very funny, I wasn’t drunk or nothing, I mean no disrespect, but come on, I bet I’m not the only who’s looked at the drummer and thought “porn star”. He had the ‘tache, the hair style, the satin shirt; actually I blame the guitarist/keyboard guy (they all sang various songs) he started it with his odd vaguely eighties trousers with a pattern that reminded me of curtains my Mum had in her kitchen years ago (probably the eighties). Then the other two band members, tiger print shirt and blue tinted glasses, paisley shirt and a hat straight from the seventies; obviously the director and producer of the porn movies. Like I said, they were great, it was a great evening – the deflated blow-up doll lying abandoned in the Cowgate made for a bizarre ending.

That wasn’t the bizarrest part of my week though. Oh, I had a good idea that the gig on Thursday would be different – I had no idea how different it would be! Firstly, it was in the Banshee Labyrinth, not a pub I frequent (just in August for the odd Free Fringe show, usually in the cinema room), well named as I wandered what was obviously the long way round to find the right room. Just about another dozen souls had found their way there to see Nestter Donuts with support from Diogo Augusto, and the trip began.

Loud doesn’t come close, ear-splitting, the backing track for Diogo Augusto was intense, I’ve never done it before, but thank god for a spare tissue to stick in my ears. The guitar was pretty low in the mix so was hard to made out a lot of the time, maybe if he’d just turned down that infernal backing track. Aside from the music he seemed quite a funny Portuguese chap, definitely preferred the stand-up bits, haha. I realised it did seem like some odd Free Fringe show I’d stumbled upon; the headline act stripping down to his undies at the side of the stage to put on his leopard print unitard did nothing to dispel this thought (personally I reckon Ms Smit wears a unitard much better than Mr Donuts).

the artist prepares

Nestter Donuts was another solo act, he sings while playing electric guitar, bass drum and high hat; he has two large Spanish fans as stage adornments (trying for a kinky boudoir look?!) He describes his music as flamenco trash, a fair description, there’s flamenco stylings in his singing and guitar. There’s also a lot of bizarre, like getting an audience member up to sing the words for his song Meow Meow (those are all the words and boy, did she go for it, obviously a fan). A strange act that somehow compels you to keep watching, thank god I was able to avert my eyes away at the end, most of the few there did – he’d pulled the unitard down and his undies, yes, deliberately! Ye gods! Ridiculously unexpected that was.

More sad news, the Scat Rats won’t be playing Binkies after the Fur gig on Tuesday night, good news is it’s the Willie Dug Duo, or at least that’s what Binkies have their website, hmmm. Unexpected good news, I should be picking up a new toy that I bought on EBay tomorrow. One of those quick ganders that threw up a beauty, I won’t actually say what it is, don’t want to jinx it, maybe I’ve already done so by just mentioning it. Yes, it’s paid for but you do hear things.

Anyway, my tea’s almost ready, I can smell it, yum.

Toodle pip!

P.S more pics and vids on Facebook and Instagram

I’ve been away, did I miss much?

Hello! I know it’s been a wee while, I’ve been down in the old country doing family things – what a time to be out of Edinburgh, eh! In case you somehow missed it, our queen Queen Elizabeth II died on the 8th September at Balmoral, three days later the Queen’s coffin was brought down to Edinburgh by hearse to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, from where it was taken the following day by procession up the Royal Mile to St Giles Cathedral. Her Majesty’s coffin stayed in St Giles for 24 hours, so that folk could pay their respects, before being flown to London. Many thousands came to Edinburgh to bid farewell to a much respected and admired lady, the queue reached right back to the Meadows apparently.

Queen Elizabeth II will be a tough act for King Charles III to follow, I wish him well in what may well be turbulent times. She was a strong figurehead for the United Kingdom, without her the status quo has been shifted, there may well be a few aftershocks before a new equilibrium settles in. Will some take this opportunity to make the changes that they’ve said would happen after the Queen’s reign came to an end?

So, I was down in Yorkshire for a while, a place name I usually precede with “deepest, dampest”, well it’s not so damp at present and water levels are far from deep, see how low one of the local reservoirs is…..

Yup, seriously low.

When the water level was low was in the mid seventies, the area below the road bridge was littered with looted safes, shot guns and the like! Now if we trot back up to the bridge and look upstream from the dam wall, you can see the much, much older bridge I was standing on to take the above photo.

The old packhorse bridge is usually well under the surface. It’s like a local barometer, can it be seen just under the surface? Oo, the top of the arch is visible; this view of it is extremely rare, possibly the first time there’s only been the smallest of streams trickling below it. It’ll take an awful lot of rain to refill the reservoir, anyone know any good raindances?

I came back up to Edinburgh on Friday after a longer stay than I’d intended, the Scat Rats were playing Stramash so it was definitely time to head north. What a gorgeous day for travelling (unlike the journey down) and at the end of it a lovely pint of Stewart’s and great sounds, yay! As I was leaving Stramash afterwards I asked the lads if they could confirm a date down in the Edinburgh Gig Guide of a midnight set in Whistlebinkies on the 27th – err, not in their diary! Then I mentioned it was the same night that Fur are playing the Mash House, oo, that perked them up, indeed yeah they’ll be playing that night! Goodo.

The Rats were out to play again on Saturday afternoon in Binkies; a new ale for me to try, mmm, so good I treated myself to a pint. And yay, Mr Marah is out again tonight with The Buccaneers, midnight at Stramash; before them it’s Nicole and the Back-up Crew, so thats four sets for some folk tonight. Maybe one time there could be a big mash-up of the two bands right through, I’d love to see that! To take me up to ten o’clock I’m shortly off to see See How They Run at the flicks, the trailer looks wonderful.

Best be off now, toodle pip!

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

You wait two years for a Festival ….

It’s June, the sun is shining and the Meadows Fair (or Festival, as it has become) is back again on the first weekend of the month, yay. Apparently not as big as it was before Covid, not down to Covid but our money-grabbing, anti-locals council; the usual space in the Meadows has been priced out of the Fair’s range, so it will all be in the area that was previously just an extra spill over corner. I noticed the other day that the travelling fairground has come back in it’s usual spot, it comes for about seven or eight days.

a fort, anyone?

The Meadows Fair is wonderful for spotting odd buys on the bric-a-brac stalls and bumping into old acquaintances you haven’t seen since the last time. There’s live music right through the day til six o’clock. Indeed, this year they’ve been seriously promoting the bands on Facebook, check them out at Meadows Festival Edinburgh. No mention of a second smaller stage for young, upcoming bands this year, so I don’t know if that’s happening or not. Annoyingly I have somewhere else to be on Saturday from noon, but I should manage to be up there in plenty of time for Black Cat Bone at five o’clock.

do you wanna get ahead?

I may be a tad whacked on Saturday because The Buccaneers are playing the midnight slot at Whistlebinkies on Friday night. I’m thinking of seeing the new Dr Strange film beforehand, the 8:40 showing won’t finish until 11:15 which gives a nice time to walk from the cinema to Binkies. [EDIT it was just Binkies nonsense again, I checked with Mr Marah, he was away playing on Islay] It is a good stop-off point on my home from a movie, I went to check out their Legendary Open Mic Night on Monday after seeing Downton Abbey: A New Era (very enjoyable if you’re a Downton fan – very predictable but the script is witty with the Dowager Countess getting all the best lines as usual). Why is Binkie’s open mic “legendary”? I don’t know, maybe there is a history that justifies the term, I hope so, legendary to me is a term that should be whispered by others not claimed for oneself.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival will be fully back this year, disappointingly not this month. They’ve put it back in August like it was until around 2007 when it moved to June; I much prefer it in June, there’s enough to see in August with it! I’ve now had a look at the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival programme for this year, the lovely Nicole Smit has two shows on the final weekend. Oo, it’s a great venue, the Piccolo tent, perfect for Nicole Smit: Travelling Tent Show to celebrate the music of 1920s tent shows; I don’t have a ticket yet but I shall! (at £18 it’s pricey for me, but she’s worth it)

Free to wander around will be the Mardi Gras in the Grassmarket on Saturday 16th July and the Edinburgh Festival Carnival (around the Mound and Princes Street) on Sunday 17th July. Fingers crossed for a sunny weekend! It’s starting to feel like an Edinburgh summer now, where’s my sunglasses?

There’s been some ukeing goin’ on

The kitchen was a real state last evening, but that didn’t stop me from popping down to the Kilderkin for the Uke Hoot. Hey, the fridge freezer still wasn’t fully defrosted, a small pool of water was still collecting in the bottom, but not enough to spill out on to the floor if I left it for a couple of hours. Besides defrosting and cleaning it, I’d pulled my fridge freezer out from the wall to clean the floor and paint the last bit of kitchen wall. Yes, I painted behind the fridge freezer, I knew it wasn’t done and it irked me, plus there was just a small amount of paint left in the tin, it made sense.

Yes, I hooted my uke last night, it’s quite liberating! A small group of enthusiastic uke players meet up to play and sing songs, all abilities welcome, just do it with gusto and you’ll fit right in. There’s a comprehensive songbook to pick from, some of the regulars have it on tablets but there are solid copies to share around. Folk just call out tunes to play next, there was My Girl, Two Princes, Dreaming (a Blondie song I’d completely forgotten), a few Beatles tunes, of course; my suggestions were Sunny Afternoon, Runaway and Pretty Flamingo. All washed down with Stewart’s Holyrood Pale Ale (well the voice did need lubricating) at the very reasonable price of £2.30 for half a pint. It’s now £2.90 in Stramash, I guess that’s the difference between diy entertainment and getting in professionals!

I was back in Stramash last Sunday night, drinking Stewart’s Citra Blonde, a very hoppy session ale, nice but not as nice as the Holyrood Pale Ale but it is 40p cheaper for a half! The Buccaneers were playing after midnight but I went along at ten for the band before, Nicole & The Back Up Crew; never seen them before but I know Nicole has sung at a number of Fringes as part of the Blueswater Presents line-up, it seemed a good time to finally check her out.

Holy moly, ay caramba, like, wow, don’t I feel stupid for missing out til now!! What a voice, what a presence, what a cutie, Nicole Smit is the whole package; super talented and sweet’n’sassy. A quick check reveals that she’ll be performing Blueswater Presents: Queens of the Blues Live at the Jazz Bar again this year (six shows), definitely worth a punt for blues lovers. Oh, and Nicole’s at the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival in July, I’ll be checking the programme for the details when it launches tomorrow.

Nicole and her trusty Back Up Crew in Stramash

I almost felt sorry for Mr Marah having to follow Nicole on stage, but hey, Carlos was fine. The band change over was easy as two of the Back Up Crew are also Buccaneers, Simon on drums and Ewan on bass (I was a tad confused when I walked in to see Simon already setting up the drum kit to his liking), as I’ve said before the band scene here can be quite incestuous. Stage right, the harmonic player was replaced by keyboards, stage left, that’s always Carl’s spot no matter who he’s sharing the stage with. I must ask sometime if there’s any particular reason for it – his best side? superstition? Special mention must be made of the night’s rendition of LA Woman (I say this as one who loved this track to death many years ago, yes, to death, when I really could not bear to hear it ever again) the Buccs have renewed my appreciation of it’s magnificence.

You would think that it was time to hit the sack when I got home at ten to three, au contraire, I made a sandwich, a flask of hot herbal tea, dug out an old picnic blanket, grabbed my uke and headed Park-ward. At five in the morning I was sat on Whinny Hill listening to the dawn chorus, a very grey dawn chorus, occasionally joining in strumming my uke (no, I was not playing Morning Has Broken). I was gently strumming away when I sensed an audience, slowly peering round there was a fox just a few feet away from me, wow! It stayed a few minutes more then continued on it’s way. Probably going to saying to it’s friends later, “You are not gonna believe what I saw in the park earlier – a moose playing a ukulele! Yeah, how weird is that?!”

a moose with a view

Hot blondes in the Auld Toun

I think the title of my last blog post confused a few Americans – they went looking for whisky talk and found a Dutch band instead! How to get attention though, just put the word scotch in, or maybe I’ve just suddenly gotten very popular in America?! Hahaha, nah. So what’s new? Not a lot. Oh, the Uke Hoot is back at the Kilderkin on Wednesday evenings, I really should get along there one week. I’m currently trying to master a Blues Shuffle in G that I found online, it could take a while but hey, it’s a fine excuse for not doing other things that I should be doing.

I was inspired to search out some bluesy uke playing after seeing Mr Marah play not once not twice but three times last weekend. Yay for social media keeping me informed – it’s not stalking when folk put their schedule on Facebook! First off, The Buccaneers were playing the after midnight slot at Stramash on the Thursday night. I had intended to go down to Leith Arches earlier that evening as Willie Dug was playing there along with three other bands; annoyingly, after tea my little relax on the sofa turned into a big time nap til around ten o’clock, dammit. A couple of episodes of Lucifer perked me up for stepping out into the night and up to Stramash.

Carl was back in Stramash for the seven o’clock slot Friday evening with fellow Scat Rat Scott Rough. Oo, we were treated to Hot Blondes In Your Area Tonight from the upcoming Logan’s Close album, nice! This pared down version really brought out the bittersweet-sounding chords and harmonies; music to make your soul soar whilst at the same time tearing a rip in your heart. A young couple completed the romance of the song by dancing together to it, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to be enchanted for those few minutes, that moment in time.

Less than twenty-four hours again and the Scat Rats were doing an afternoon set in Whistlebinkies. I just caught the second set, it was my reward to myself for spending the previous two hours up a ladder carefully painting the final inch strip around the top of the kitchen walls. Hey, I have high ceilings, the concentration required to paint that neatly and not fall off the ladder was intense, I deserved to sit in a dark room with great music playing after that! There was a new Stewart beer on, a very nice session ale, just had the one half, you understand, just to relax after my endeavours.

And yay, I got to hear Hot Blondes again, a big reason for going along so I’m glad it wasn’t in their first set. There weren’t many in Binkies but the lads gave it gusto as always, Carl managed to break another two strings (I saw two go the previous evening!) – overexuberance?! So, a lot of the same songs always come up, but I could never be bored of listening to this pair, there’s always something to delight, a sound that’s tight but loose and always fresh.

In The Morning is sounding so good now (well, yes, it’s always sounded good but this is A+ with a cherry on top good); sitting in Binkies I realised this was the song on Friday night when I could have sworn Big Nick was there beside me enjoying it, saying, “Yep, those boys have it!” As the Rats wound up with You Can’t Judge A Book it finally twigged – Carl’s gotten a tad flamenco-ey at times, very like Nick did in the later years, that’s why he’s been hovering round.

Facebook tells me that The Buccaneers are back at Stramash this Sunday night (well, Monday 00:30), another late night. Mind, Facebook has also just told me the Close are back in Hamburg, a quick trip or will I be in bed before midnight on Sunday?

I’m sure Elsie won’t mind me sharing the latest shot of their magnificent mugs here

Five long gloriously juicy years

Next month It’ll be five years since I stumbled upon Logan’s Close, towards the end of this month the new line-up will take to the road with their mini tour of the UK before heading off to Germany; what will the next five years have in store? But before they headed off to their future would they have time to chat about their past to an old moose? They did ….. in the Waverley late Tuesday night before they played the midnight set at Whistlebinkies. Yup, The Scat Rats, aka Carl Marah and Scott Rough, agreed to meet me there (a favourite pub of theirs) well, they are two lovely amiable chaps, funny, smart, easy-going; as delightful offstage as on. Unfortunately we were drinking, and still drinking at Binkies ’til after two, so I’ve had to sift through an alcohol-induced blurriness to recall anything from the conversation.

Rough and Marah have been best buds since they met playing football at eight years old, so going on twenty years. Both started playing guitar around the same time, Carl was self-learning, Scott was going to a guitar class and told Carl about it; and so the seeds were planted. By 2014, in their late teens the two had been joined by friend Mike on drums and they took the name of a lane in their hometown, Dunbar, as their moniker Logan’s Close. This bit’s hazy, finding a bass player who fitted in took a while, I think Olly was the third one and he was a perfect fit. Now they were a tidy foursome, things started progressing nicely.

I first became aware of them at the end of April 2017 when Facebook suggested I might like their video Listen To Your Mother. Oh, I did, it was cracking and I still reckon it’s a great watch, do check it out! The following month they were the support for a touring band playing Sneaky Pete’s in the Cowgate so I went along and was totally blown away by their energy and sound, yup, one taste and I was hooked! I saw them three times more that year, the final time in November was for the launch of their latest single Girl, at the Caves just off the Cowgate.

Logan’s Close at Sneaky Pete’s Wednesday 31st January 2018

As good as this line-up and sound were, Rough and Marah were after one more piece to complete the puzzle – a keyboard-player, but where to look for someone to match their sound? The gods were happy to oblige them and dropped one into their laps, late one night after a gig in Stockbridge, a chance meeting in a small supermarket. He sent them a demo and Sean Keys was part of the LC sound; as I suspected, it was Scott who christened him Sean Keys, no his surname is not Keys! That was in March 2019 and now those keyboards are very much an integral part of the Logan’s Close soundscape.

Logan’s Close at the Voodoo Rooms supporting Black Cat Bone in April 2019

Alas, in July 2019 the band said a sad farewell to Mike. Since then they’ve had various drummers, but drummers seem to be flighty things, LC wanted one who’d settle down and go steady with them. Mind, it’s been an interesting time, Alex (as seen on the Fantastic Man lockdown vid and the LimbicTV gig) was great and Simon Gibb (currently playing with The Buccaneers amongst other things) has picked up the sticks for them on occasion. They have a new drummer, yet to be seen out at play with the band and also a new bass player since Ollie left for Italy last year, interesting to ponder how this change in the rhythm section will affect the band.

Messrs Rough and Marah have been very busy coming up with a whole stack of new tunes since the lockdowns. That must have been grand, finally getting back together, bouncing ideas off each other, getting the old chemistry sparking again. I had intended to ask a bit about the process of their particular alchemy on Tuesday night, hey ho, maybe another time if I’m lucky.

There’s been a shift in their style, the lads have gradually moved away from their initial early Beatles and Sixties sound, looking back Give It To Me (released July 2019) was a clear signal of this change. Oh, there’s still the sixties sensibilites in there in the weave but much more subtly. There’s so many new songs, and what with new band members, much of the old repertoire has been consigned to the band’s history, but there’s the odd one or two that’ll be kept around. Playing as The Scat Rats some LC tunes can pop up, I presume their particular favourites (some of mine too). A couple of songs from the LimbicTV session last year will be on the new album, I’m rather excited to hear how both will have evolved since then, and with the full studio treatment too! Yes, I know which two – not telling!

Sadly Eleanora isn’t one of them, shame. Oh, I did ask where Eleanora came from – Carl having his fortune told high up on a mountain in Italy (Apparently the fortune teller only spoke Italian, so he recorded it and got it translated later). Hey, at least it’s available on the Logan’s Close Live at LimbicTV CD now on sale as a limited edition vinyl-style CD on the band’s website for a mere £10 GBP (exc. shipping). I’d like to think I had a small part in their decision to put the CD out there, you may thank me later.

That’s it from what I’ve retrieved from my sozzled memory of Tuesday night. It was a fun night, there weren’t many in Binkies but we had plenty of enthusiasm and yes, I was up dancing again! So that’s the first five years of my acquaintance with the Close, can’t wait for the next five and beyond. Whatever Marah and Rough get up to next, it promises to a whole barrel of juicy fun.

Let’s finish this with a pic of the divinely talented, exquisitely in-sync Scott Rough and Carl Marah ❤

late night in Binkies

NEWSFLASH!!! Just announced on Facebook, the Close’s debut album Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi will be recorded in Hamburg in April. Well, newsflash to you, I already knew.

Dance like no one is watching

…. Oh, but they are. I mentioned in my last post that I was up dancing to The Buccaneers last week, not just tapping a foot or swaying to the beat, full on dancing, shaking it baby! Man, it felt good. Friday night saw me in Stramash for The Scat Rats doing the early evening slot; the lads were on top form, the audience (scant as we initially were) were audibly appreciative but no one danced. I know I praise Messrs Marah and Rough a lot, but really, In The Morning was sooo good – are they getting fired up now that their mini-tour is getting closer?

Second set started with a bang, One After 909 by the Beatles (great song, a regular inclusion in Bluefinger sets back in the day), still no one dancing. The place was starting to fill nicely, everyone was having a great time tapping fingers and feet, not even Listen To Your Mother could entice anyone up (and it really should have), and then, too soon, the final song You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover. The Buccaneers finished with that in Binkies, I danced then, by god I was going to dance now, so screwing up my courage I headed over to where a vague acquaintance was showing increasing signs of needing to dance. Would she like to? – Oh no, not just us two in front of everyone. She clearly wanted to dance! – But her friends wouldn’t. Turning around there was a line of folk all itching to move more than just a shoulder to the beat, if we got up they’d follow – Really? So I asked them, will you dance if we do? Yes, hallelujah, we started dancing and they joined us, as did plenty others.

Amazing what desperation will make you do, but someone had to get the ball rolling and last night that someone was yours truly. After that the ball stayed in play and any half decent tune got people dancing, the crowd were raring to go by the time the next band came on. I took my leave and headed home some time after midnight, if I’d been wearing socks they would have been well and truly danced off! That was truly a moment of happy for me, I miss my dancing days, or rather, nights. Oh, I never chose to stop dancing but, well, places close down, friends’ lives drift apart. But Brucie, you go out to see bands plenty, why not just get up and dance if you want? Because, because, like the lady and plenty others last night, I feel the fear.

The fear is a powerful deterrent, it can be subdued by copious amounts of alcohol but that can often result in the fear plus a dose of shame the following day, not good. My fear was drilled into my psyche in my teenage years good and proper; twice, a few years apart, I learnt that others are watching, judging, mocking, condemning you as a wierd freak. I learnt that if you’re out alone, but still trying to make the best of things, without the protection of a bunch of buddies, any hyenas nearby will sniff you out. Yes, that was many years ago now, but it can be hard to shake these things off. And hey, everyone has their own doubts and fears – next time someone tells you your fears and worries are irrational and daft, ask how they feel about spiders! Now that would be irrational, to fear spiders (here in the UK anyway).

And while I’m letting off a little steam, here’s another thing ……. a relative of mine recently accused me of being obsessed with a certain band! What?! Me? At the time, I made some feeble, mumbling jokey retort. Well, he’s just a scornful old misery guts, always out to deflate others’ enthusiasm because he feels none for anything anymore. Wish I’d turned round and asked when was the last time he felt passionately about anything! Certainly never in this century. Yes, my enthusiasm when I find something I love is amusing to others, but sorry, not sorry, that’s just the way this moose is.

Must go now and tidy round a bit before I head up to Stramash for the late set after midnight – it’s The Buccaneers, yay! Will I be dancing? Who knows what the night will bring, but probably not. In the morning though, I totally intend to do something that’s really scary to me but is water to a duck’s back to others. Wish me luck!

Toodle pip!

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!

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!