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I am coming to the end of my week away from work and it has just flown by. I have seen a number of shows only tonight's has really been a let down. Tonight was a late night show called "The Powder Rooms." I had been looking hard for a Burlesque show last year there were many this it seems they have fallen out of fashion. I was very lucky last year to see the wonderful Go , Go Buelequeco so anything way going to have a tough time following that. I had the charming company of Liz and Mary and despite it short comings the show was very funny. I think it tried too hard to put a story into a set of dances that really didn't need it.

I have however seen many amazing shows. I went out last Friday to see the film The Notorious Betty Paige which was informative and entertaining. On Tuesday I saw Adam Hills for the first time ever and laughed so much my face hurt. Also that day saw Rich Hall who did really well despite having a very tough crowd to deal with. On Wednesday I saw Paul Merton doing impro. I am glad to see he hasn't lost the touch at all. Earlier today by the kindness of Liz I saw the Now Show which will be board-cast tomorrow on Radio 4. That was really funny to watch. I knew it was edited by to see how much extra they give a life audience was fun again I found myself laughing really hard quite a lot.

I have also this week hosted my first dinner party at the flat. It went down rather well so I think I will be repeating the experience again some time soon. Hamish. Patrick, Liz and Mary came round I served Lasagne with courgette instead of pasta layers and filled pasta in a cheese sauce which is a very old stand by meal from university. Both I am glad went down well.

It has been really good to meet Mary in person. I know we read each others blogs and exchange comments but meeting her in the flesh has been a real pleasure.

Tomorrow is going to be so busy with an early morning show and then a night out of the town i am really looking forward to it. I am starting to think I should have booked extra days to recover but i now I would have just tried to fit in more shows. I will be back to work on next Monday and catch up on lost sleep in September.
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Well the count is in I have 21 tickets and saw 20 shows as I saw The Improverts twice. The festival fire works are on Sunday so that marks the end of all and I can start saying up both money and holiday for next years. I think if I am able I'm going to the preview week again while off work and take something off in the middle and at the end. I'm currently still recovering from all the rushing around even after sleeping most of Monday. I do love bank holidays sometimes.

I came back to work to a minor shock. One of the other PA's who went off on maternity leave is not coming back. I understand her reason but still am deeply saddened she was a great person to work with. This also leaves us rather short staff. I'm not too worried about this I don't mind the extra work, I enjoy being busy but I also want a second job to help pay off the debts faster.

I'm very excited about tomorrow I finally get to meet Livi. We have been writing on line for almost two months now. She is my partner in on MSN we met when I agreed to beta for her and that lead to trying to role play a scene. This has spiralled into a three night a week and one day a weekend writing crazy we each now have several character. I have Arthur, Tristan, Gawain and Morgain (she is a rare appearance). She writes Lancelot, Dagonet, Bors, Galahad and Gienevere. It's becoming a minor novel but still gripping to write.

Edit as pointed out by Liz we saw the improverts three times. So still 20 shows but now 22 tickets.
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I've finally got time to kill with no MSN connection to hand to be dragged back into my current online story so I got round to write up all the reviews I've had sat in my note book since last Sunday. So not to bore you all too much you can just find any on behind its cut. I've seen a hell of a lot enjoyed nearly all of them. Those I haven't I may look back on with a better understanding. Tonight is comedy night so I'm off to go find my car and park it so I don't have to walk miles after the show.

Fringe Sunday
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The Lost and Lonely Rebels
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The Mermaid and The Hare
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Miss Julie
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The Improverts
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Romeo and Juliet – Deceased with the 15 minute Tom Stoppard Hamlet
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Beyond Midnight was a disappointment in both story and players. It was such a promising idea that I could see in parts real potential but it really failed to live up to it Trestle billing. I don't think I was expecting a mask. Saying that most of the masks were rather well done rather well.

The basic story was the tale of Cinderella's daughter Amanda and her strange journey after her mothers death to I think the conclusion that fairy tales aren't truly for her. The tale was dark and gritty to be expected from going back to the original Brothers Grim tale. The ugly sisters did break and cut off toes in order to fit the slipper. The talk from the mad king of marrying his own daughter and further multination of the Ugly sisters by one loosing her nose and the other her eyes.

There was further confusion from the entrance of a boy called Boo the only unmasked player who talked of broken wings and dropped feathers as plot points. A bear who Amanda appeared to have a very odd turn with and then kill really didn't help the story line at all. The play I felt stopped rather than ended although I'm sure it could have finished at least a scene earlier and probably added more to the overall effect. I did however get to recommend shows to strangers as we queued which made me feel like I hadn't wasted the trip.

Thursday night I was surprised to find myself at The Red Shoes. The ticket it seemed hadn't arrived with the others and the first I knew of the show was a reminder popping up on my work computer. A bit of frantic phoning and a trip to the e-ticket hut on top of Princes Street Mall saw me with freshly printed ticket in hand off up to the Carlton Hotel. While waiting inline I finally found people who had seen both Go Go Burlesco and Shakespeare for Breakfast and loved them just as much as I did.

The Red Shoes was another of my twisted fairy tales. To start with the Red shoes is not a pretty story mixed with the stories of children from conflict zones you get something so beautiful but at the same time disturbing as hell. It was a 50/50 mix of original story and fairy tale woven around four people in the middle of a war zone. The reporter a women who it seems believes she has seen it all and can handle anything. The medic who believes the work he does brings him nearer to god and at night he watches soul escaping the bodies of the wounded. The solider who hides a secret but believes he loves the reporter and finally the girl with the red shoes who danced into a mind field and was lost. The players almost tango between positions and scenes. Mixing fairy tale images so the forest the girl in red shoes dances through when she can't stop becomes a field all planted with severed rotting limbs all tangle with hair. It haunts and pull with the sudden unexpected sounds of explosion and fighting. It left me both cold with horror and amazed at the power behind it.
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So far I have been to 8 shows and the next one is on Wednesday. I have enjoyed all to a greater or lesser degree. The least favourite so far was the BBC Stand up Show I think that was because I really had no great love for the headline act Stewart Lee. Sue Perkins (last Thursdays show) I really did like I think the audience was a little cool but she was on form and the jokes were the right mixture of strangely dirty and topical.

Shakespeare for Breakfast was my first serious show. I felt the way it was presented was very brave it was 5 actresses playing 13 different role in a piece called I'm Julius Caesar Get me Out of Here. A really interesting idea of sending several Shakespeare character of to the forest to see who survives the experience of reality TV.

Jeremy Lion may not be to everyone taste but I found him very funny. I'm sure the show is based around true stories of children's entertains turning up less than sober and hiding booze in the props. Highlights included Beef Richards, pass the parcel (He's forgotten the parcel so we all played with scotch instead), the birds and the bees, the teddy bears prayer and the puppet show at the end. The room was a little close and the smell of beer at times over powering but that didn't detract from the fact it was a really well presented show.

Saturday night was a real turn I'd never seen a Burlesque show before so had no idea what to expect but Go Go Burlesco really surpassed all expectations. I would recommend it to all with the warming you will see fully naked women at various points in the show, there are some truly outrageous songs and you may never see Kermit the Frog quite the same way again. saying that they had some classic Burlesque pieces of the Fan Dance and the Snake dance. It was very funny in places. The M.C. had an amazing voice, all the acts were really good at what they were doing and all were real women (in shape and presentation). I would recommend pretty close to the stage maybe not in centre front however.

Sunday was the busiest fringe day to date with 3 shows to see. Little Howard, Guy Browning and Howard Reed.

Little Howard was always going to be a weekend show because he started at 3:30 but won't have missed him even if I'd had to take a half day from work. He was brilliant as last year although this year he was being played by another actor because he was in a coma (don't ask). The show we saw was with Robin Ince paying Little Howard. There was a lot of audience participation more than last year but still just as funny. There were the typical overheard children jokes my favourite was he put yoghurt in a birds nest (the bird was a Thrust) to help with the burning sensation.

Guy Browning Liz described as a softer version of Jeremy Harding and seeing him I think it was a very apt description. He was talking about how to attract the opposite sex. It was a good talk but it was a rather hot and sticky day so the venue Pleasance Upstairs was a little too hot and I felt like passing out (I new suspect a slightly different cause of that feeling). But he did strike a cord i liked what he had to say and liked the way he delivered it.

Howard Reed unplugged was just spot on as a complete opposite of Guy. We all filled in to him playing his Uke in the middle of the stage. When the stage lights went down it seemed to catch him by surprise. He talked about why he doesn't normally like reality and some bits and pieces about his life at present. he included some of the stuff from the Stand up show I'd seen on Wednesday but it was still funny and made me laugh. he remind me a little of Eddie Izzard when he talks, the same rambling on subjects that seem unrelated but tied together in his head. Also I really enjoyed his songs about such things as semi-exocit vegetables and to the people who burgled his flat.

The weekend

Sep. 9th, 2004 12:23 am
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It's Monday lunch time I'm back at work for another week. Today us fairly quiet, the next two days will be interesting and pretty full. I'm covering for a couple of the other PA's but the managers are all heavily involved in work that keeps them out of my way. The weekend however was great fun. I spent Friday night with Hamish and Liz. We started by catching up on various weeks events it felt like an age since we'd last sat down and really talked to Hamish. Got tickets for Hellboy, not a movie I would recommend, too many bad guys not enough plot to explain any of the characters. The most noticeable thing was the continuing appearance of David the Improvert in unexpected places and the fact the house lights were left on, maybe this was to aid the people who walked out. In all the times I've been to the movies I've only ever walked out of one because my head was seriously in the wrong space to cope with it. If you've paid for the entertainment you may as well find out how it ends even if you walk away giggling just because it was so awful.

After that we wandered off to Favorite and continued talking about life, love and the universe. In Favorite we were served by i think a new member of the team. She had a minor problem understanding some of the order but did get all the important stuff right. In general it was a night of wit and laughter finished off by a trip to the car to see the stuff I'd brought earlier in the evening. I'd gone to Matalands straight from work to restock my jumper collection. I now have six new jumper and two under jumper shirts. I was showing them from the back of my car at 1:30 in the morning with the occasional slow passing police car. Liz almost took one of the soft touch woollen one. Actually I think its the one I have on today. Drove home to find another car in my usual spot indicating Patrick's company had arrived safely.

It being the first Saturday of the month it was Farmers Market day. I had set my alarm and surprised myself by actually managing to get up when it went off. Desire to take the recycling finally out of the house. We collect paper and glass to be recycled but have to take it there ourselves. I long for the day doorstep recycling is seriously considered for our area. Met Liz and the wonderful Fi at the market and discovered it was the week of the beer man. Rang Patrick far too early in the morning to ask if he wanted some, luckily he did. had to ask Fi to help pick, when the stall owner looked confused I explained I don't drink it so had no idea which would taste good. Also got the usual collection of bread-rolls, tomatoes, apple juice and Lemon cake. Got home and dissolved into a new slash site and lost the rest of the day.

Sunday was a no alarm clock day so woke up when I was good and ready still didn't get out of bed until almost midday, just in time for brunch. Scrambled eggs and toast with Patrick's company who are always wonderfully entertaining.

Sunday night was another night in Edinburgh doing festival things. this time it was watching the end of festival fireworks. They are the only ones I know that are set to a live orchestra. After much debate most of the Friday crowd agreed to watch them from Carlton Hill and take a picnic. Edinburgh weather had its usual joke on the paying public. It had been overcast all days in out part of the world and threatening rain but the forecast for Edinburgh was fine and fair so wasn't too worried. Got into Edinburgh to find Autumnal drizzle over the whole city. Knowing this was very very unlikely to put off any of our friends we stopped at Asda for a few more provisions and drove on. having all the roads around Prince's Street closed made getting to Carlton Hill a major pain but got up and located Hamish (conveniently wearing a white t-shirt for maximum visibility) and took a first real look at the city. The clouds were hovering just above the castle, a very bad sign for a display which was meant to take place over the castle roof. It was a typical Edinburgh attitude from the couple of hundred people also up on the hill, we ooh and aah at the pretty lights, clapped when they finished each section and laughed a lot when the higher displays all vanished into the clouds, the reds of some of the acts truly lit up huge portion of the clouds. Every barrage brought the fog closer in and the smoke just wasn't clearing. the waterfalls which I think we got the best views of were amazing and the loudest clapping happened after the final act caused a bird to be startled from its perch and go racing over head. We all slightly damp but stayed to chat while waiting for some of the crowds to clear before making out own ways home.
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Thursday Hangover

I'm exhausted today in no short order I've spent most of the afternoon coughing up a storm and my throat feels like someone has sandpapered it, but its the sort of well earned tried I can happily endure. Besides I have a three day weekend to fully recover. the reason for the overly tiredness is having far too much fun. I've been out Monday night and last night at various shows tonight I'm out to see an ex-boss and current boss/new friend perform. Monday night was my last Shakespeare inspired piece this time looking at two of Shakespeare's women Katherine from taming of the Shrew and ophila from Hamlet. I liked the actresses take on Katherine but Ophielia was too dragged out and over focused on her madness in an uncomfortable, ill fitting way. I;d spent an interesting 20 minutes before hand watching barmaids interpret gestures and grunts for orders admiring the skill while being ignored.

Last night was one of my few pre-arranged comedy shows Jeremy Hardey. A man I've long admired for his wit and observational humour on Radio. in person he was just as good and in some places even better. Topics ranged from his left wing politics (which he makes apologies for), his dreams of getting old and religion. His take on the war on terror started by a tattoo fly over and his glee at the fact his daughter dresses him from Top Shop. generally his comedy hit a chord by also making me think about the subjects on show.

My wonderful company for the night of Liz, Fi and their long stand friend were also on fin form. Fi left to go home after Jeremy and I agreed to go with Liz to the Improverts. this left us with two hours to waste but no real desire to go to a pub. Liz suggested crepes at Tivet (Edinburgh Universities Uni building). in the courtyard outside there are several catering vans, a hotdog vendor, a juice bar, a real bar and the Crepe van. It's very obviously a re-cycled burger van. there are Picnic tables under an awning to shade you from the rain. Part of the reason fro choosing this spot was a pit stop at the car to switch my bag for my coat. It had been warmer earlier in the evening while I;d been hanging out in the elephant house typing up some bits and pieces from earlier in the day. but late evening was cold (I've gone back to my floor length woollen black coat) so wanted to dump the bag and get the coat. My usual parking bay for trips into the city has been closed so coaches can park near the castle, I;d been forced to the edge of comfortable walking distance for anything later than midnight and i wasn't intending to leave until the very small hours of the morning. I;d waiting until after parking restriction had been lifted time wise but finding a space was annoying because all the cars that only lived on the streets at night were taking up all the usual fall back haunts. We did have a rather fun encounter after going to the car. We'd already fended off the flier totes for "Taking the Peace" by explaining we had a prior engagement but these guys were so much fun we spent a good twenty minutes just laughing with them. They are French Jazz inspired players who just got two 5 star reviews and wanted to show us. I had to explain I was wearing the wrong glasses so really couldn't see what they were going on about. Liz used her amazing maths skill to work out we were in the presents of 2 1/2 stars (10 starts, 8 players). i think they were rather impressed by that and finally left because they ran out of words. if i was more sure of music at the Fringe I may have gone but I'll Leave music in general until next year.

We took a a very slow wonder to The Bedlam to find Martin was working front of house again. I investigated to find out when he had been on stage and when he would be there again generally asking about previous part and why front of house. I have always enjoyed learning about how other people get where they are and what they want to do next. martin is rather quiet but well spoken and had some interesting stories about what he has done before and plans for after. After chatting he had to get back to sorting out clothes from the last performance I went back to drinking coke with Liz while Techie Chris talked to her. I some how wound up discussing how people on mass can be very stupid and different electoral role models with one of the door watcher and the head techie.

The show itself was sold out which for a Wednesday I was rather surprised but the crowd was lively and good nature-ad for the most part. The front row were sex obsessed Americans but easily dealt with by the five guys on stage. The line-up for the night was all male Andy, Humphrey, Dave and two other who's names escape me. i split my attention to watch the players not in the scene for a change, they occasionally catch the corner of my eye anyway but actively watching them was fun. Humphrey cracking up at "it only gets worse" was a classic. the fallen looks as it becomes obvious even with massive hints the guy playing "James Bond" will never get the weapon is Basil Brush or the base is in New Jersey. they are almost as entertaining as the main act in places. A couple of audience members got involved in freeze although the main part of the games seemed to be holding Humphrey's leg for various unexplained reasons.

Crawled into bed just after three in the morning after driving home with radio 4 playing away to keep me focus. Finally recovered enough a week later and back in the elephant house to transfer the paper copy to type.
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I feel I have truly seen a good movie or play when the images and messages stay with you many days later. The play on Friday Drag Richard III was such a piece. i was expecting men in drag performing the play, what I got was a women in drag using the play to explain the story of a friends journey from woman to man. It was a simple two person cast the women playing Richard dressed in business suit with short fashionable male hair and a strap on cock (which made several appearance) and the woman playing Anna and Queen very overtly feminine long shirt with half open lace top revealing her black bra, long hair unbound and full make-up. The deft touch of Richard's speeches of not belonging woven around a changing friendship and changing ideas.

The space used was hardly a conventional arrangement but they used it well. Walking amongst a very mixed audience pulling us all deeper into the twin stories. I briefly got to talk with the main writer and actress while I helped to unbutton a makeshift surgical gown. I could have stayed to discuss ideas all night but had friends to get back to. Even on Wednesday of the following week images and words still provoke sparks of through in my own head.
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More time killing on Friday I wanted to write about the Pleance as a setting so decided I'd had enough of Starbucks and moved here to try to set the seen. I have a feeling I maybe spending quiet a bit of time here. The Pleance feels like comedy central for the festival. the whole place is dressed up in the radio 4 logo and yellow banners. the court yard is towered over by a cartoon figured totem pole with various arms pointing to the different venues. The courtyard itself is full of tables with parasols over them. Promoters and bar staff freely mingle amongst them one passing out flyers the other collecting them up with the empty plastic glasses. This area is free from the flyer pushes or maybe they have taken a break in between waves of people.

To cope with all the extra people there are several outside bars and food stands. After dark with the sky clouds over there is a series of lights overhead.

I think the pink glasses and writing is scaring off all the people with free tickets. i don't know if I'd have any luck getting five of them or if the others would want to go. From inside the glasses after the first 10 minutes I really don't notice the pink haze any more and my eyes defiantly feel better for them. I wouldn't normally wear them out and about but because I'm writing I feel justified. I haven't seen the giant penis that was here on Wednesday yet but I have seen people carrying tooth brushes.


Never did get free tickets, did however get to see Big and Little Howard in the Howard's at home.
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It feels like its been ages since I last truly sat down to write in anywhere other than my chair at home. A few spare hours hiding out before tonight's festivities see me back in starbucks drinking Strawberries and Cream frapachinnio. I'm a little tried, this week has been full of adventures and I've managed to spend very little time at home. Its been the place I go to sleep and really nothing else. It feels a little neglected because of this and I promised myself Sunday I will have to go at tiding and sorting out.

I've been out and about doing various things since Wednesday.

Wednesday saw the start of the Fringe and my first ever fringe shows. I saved up hard in order to treat myself to going out. I've always meant to go since I started living in Edinburgh but lack of time or the I'll do it tomorrow attitude always seemed to get in the way. But I was prepared this year, I sat down with Liz after the farmers market and marked off all the shows i really wanted to see then went on line and laid out my month. Thursday the pre-ordered tickets arrived. Liz had invited me to the preview shows of two comedy acts she rated very highly on Wednesday. Malcolm another Fringe virgin also joined us to see Reginald D. Hunter "A mystery wrapped in a Nigga" and Otis Lee Crenshaw. I recommend both.

Reginald is a man trying at the age of 35 to find himself outside the groups he's been labelled into. A chain smoking man of high ideals and dreams of something truly different. He's originally American but has been living over in the UK for 7 years told us about his new lady love and what he wanted to find in life. First night meant that the show was almost ready but had a few things to sort out and over ran by about 15 minutes. This wasn't to bad he did finish up rather than simply end. Otis was due on right after in the same room so we didn't miss anything but didn't get the seats at the front Liz had suggested. Otis was this about average height man with a ridiculous beard, hip hop type clothes and a tattoo of the name Brenda up his arm. He only married women called Brenda. He is a musical comedian with a range of very adaptable funny songs, he had a sick kick on the guitar called Milon. Part of the humour is in his facial expressions when he sings so it was easy to see why sitting near the front would be a good idea. The only down side was one over loud women in the front named Elaine who really didn't seem to know when to shut up and let the rest of us enjoy the show,
The drive home Wednesday was a crawl through the think fog so I finally found my bed about 2am.

The fog is a constant of both early mornings and late evenings for the last two weeks meaning that the summer in all its glory has arrived.


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January 2008



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