Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Edinburgh Fringe and all that Jazz

On Saturday we went for lunch at a jazz venue to listed to Ian Millar (tenor sax) and Dominic Spencer (piano) for a relaxing time with the best pop video ever - evidently Dominic Spencer is a keen photographer and the video was videos of the highlands and islands.

The big Cambridge University Jazz band were completely different - very fast paced and engaging. The MC said they were not music students, "many of us are scientists....and one is a biochemist!"

And the Oxford Gargoyles were an a capella jazz group - a highly original performance including a take on Austin Powers.

"Four Poofs and Piano" might sound like a show about furniture but in fact it is the much underused band on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. Their repertoire is extensive and varied and at times absolutely outrageous. They have a song about the question you need to ask on a third date ("Do you take it up the ****?") and then said they wanted some audience participation. In the event they only wanted us to sing along.

Shappi Khorsandi's show was well worth seeing. She adapeted it to the audience and toned it down a bit because of the 12 year olds in the front row.

The street performers were a mixed bunch - the most spectacular act was Frankie G who also does a different act under the name Derek Derek - his act included escaping from bondage while balancing a lighted torch on his nose.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Shop Signs - Edinburgh Blog

Shop Signs

Edin burger

Do you have the balls to wear this? (on a kilt shop)

Battered mars bars £1

And the Church of Scotland had its deliberately austere building opposite the ornate Episcopalian church enlivened by a tennis picture with the caption “love all”. What was missing was the asterisk “* with the exception of homosexuals, single mothers, communists and most of all those infernal Episcopalians opposite!”


Friday, August 10, 2007

Under Milk Wood – Edinburgh Blog

Under Milk Wood – Edinburgh Blog

The Plant Life production was the best I have seen. I have only ever heard it on the radio before. However I enjoyed it despite the inability of the cast to pronounce “sago”. I think they were wise not to attempt Welsh accents and the presentation was impressive – as was the poetry of course.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dougie C – Edinburgh Blog

Dougie C – Edinburgh Blog

The history of Magic. Impressive prestidigitation. His act started out very tame and standard but then it became apparent that the simple tricks were just a diversion as he was building up to some very clever stuff. He even did the “catch a bullet in your mouth” stunt, except he did it with a paintball.

He also described the classic Indian Rope Trick – a rope appears to disappear up into a cloud, a small boy climbs up it, the magician follows him up and hacks him to pieces with a sword, climbs down the rope, puts the bits together, gives them a good kick and the boy comes back to life. He then did some very clever tricks with rope but not that one – no children were dismembered during the course of this act which was free.


Luke Wright – Poet and Man – Edinburgh Blog

“One of the first rules of stand up comedy is not to paraphrase Simone de Beauvoir” The only stand up comic with a bookshelf to which he referred during the act. The act was divided up into chapters and he kept the audience interested and involved for an hour. I even found myself buying his CD afterwards and other members of the audience walked away with “I glassed a swan” badges – a reference to one of the more surprising stories in his act.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Stewart Lee

Stewart Lee demonstrates the funniest moment on TV - David Jason falling over. And questions whether this is really the funniest the public could have chosen

“41st best stand-up ever”

His mother, however, thinks Tom O’Connor is a much better comedian as when she saw him on a cruise ship he went to a guy in the front row and aked him what he did for a living
“I’m in oil”
Back as quick as a whippet came Tom O’Connor: “Are you a sardine?”

He derided Channel 4, Big Brother, Russell Brand (boo!) and Carphone Warehouse for their pretended opposition to racism.

He went on to the issue of “political correctness gone mad” and quoted Richard Littlejohn’s objection to the police describing a murdered teenager as “a woman working as a prostitute” Richard Littlejohn insisted that she was not a woman but a prostitute. Stewart Lee had Littlejohn sneaking into the graveyard at dead of night to laboriously chisel on her gravestone….
“not a woman who worked as a prostitute”
“a prostitute”
“Richard Littlejohn”
“Not a man employed as a cunt.”

He also talked about the world before political correctness.
An Asian boy in his class at school was never called by name, but only ever as “black spot.”
People clubbed together to stop a black family moving into their street.
And the Conservative Party won the Smethwick by election on the slogan “if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour”


Sunday, August 05, 2007

David Zanthor - Edinburgh Blog

David’s act is a satire on magic shows with some genuine prestidigitation thrown in. He also has a myspace presence with an astonishing number of friends. A fair amount of his act involved talking about the state of his marriage in between a range of tricks most involving audience participation.

He made helpers from the audience feel welcome. He didn’t ridicule them and showed them how to do tricks. This would no doubt get him expelled from the magic circle.

It was a free show and well worth the time. The climax is surprising :)


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Street performers - Edinburgh Blog.

The slack rope looks a lot more dangerous than the tight rope but the guy who was doing it spent his time casually chatting to the audience and telling jokes while juggling. It was impressive and great to be able to sit around a table – actually a barrel – outside a pub and watch it. A lot of the street performers’ art is in building up the audience response – telling them when to applaud and teasing them into applauding – but some of the acts are well worth the applause.