Well, and here we are with just three days left of shows. The Magic 300 is almost within Dave’s grasp, he is dogged, determined and will not be denied (unless something goes pear shaped and I don’t mean my expanding bottom half).
Today has been an easier one than yesterday, mainly due to being in and out of the same room from ten past one onwards. Before that Dave had had a bit of disappointment, as a couple of shows he’d tried to see didn’t quite work out so instead he’d tucked into two Free Fringe shows at the Counting House.
Firstly, a repeat showing of Scotland’s Referend-uhm? This show is presented by a chap of mixed heritage and parentage (by this I mean he was brought up in Scotland by an English mother and a Welsh father). Dave Nelder has the right to vote on the referendum but has not yet decided which way to choose. Can we help him decide?
Next up at The Counting House yet again, for Ellie Taylor’s 12 noon Elliementary, a full hour of Ellie’s views on life – Dave said it she was very good so probably worth a look see and a lunchtime pint!
So Dave had had ten mins top to get himself down from the Counting House to the Pleasance Courtyard (PC), which according to Google Maps is eight minutes of anyone’s time and he still had to find me in the queue for the Cabaret Bar for the 13.10 Best of Edinburgh’s Showcase Show AND find a few seconds to have a wee!
To backtrack a little – even though I had been updating this page till 4.28 am THIS MORNING, I had risen when the phone alarm went off at 8.30 am, showered, dressed, kissed Dave goodbye as he went out the door just after nine, had a few words with Lynn our sainted landlady, then set off with a package and a mission to find a post office so that I could post my youngest son’s birthday present. I was also going to wander over to the craft fair at St John’s (at the very far west end of Princes Street) to hunt for some gifts.
I managed (eventually) to get the parcel posted and walked over to Princes Street, sitting down in the sunshine on a bench near the foot of The Scott Monument to write up some postcards. Just by the craft fair is Henderson’s at St John’s – a lovely veggie/vegan cafe where I had a spot of breakfast. A couple of gifts later, I wandered back down Princes Street, found a postbox (gold painted in honour of Sir Chris Hoy’s gold medals in the last Olympics) and posted my cards.
Then, with not a lot of time to spare, I got myself over to the Pleasance Courtyard (via Piemaker of course – picking up two sausage rolls for the Festival Machine and a veggie pie for me) in time to queue for the aforementioned 13.10 pm show., while also trying to keep a look-out for Dave catapulting in off the street and no doubt looking for me and sustenance. Amazingly, the sun was burning the back of my neck as I stood there – unfortunately this weather was not to last long.
The Best of Edinburgh Showcase Show comprised the lovely Jason Cook (whose show Broken we had already seen) who was MCing this gig and his guests were Nick Revell with some accurate observations around BBQs amongst other subjects, Mark Simmons (who Dave just adored because he is a devotee of one liner word play/puns), Chris Kent with his lovely Irish brogue and stories about night terrors and last but certainly not least, Dave Callan, who danced up a storm with the support of two very lithe ladies. I’d never seen him before and to see a large, long haired, bearded man in a red velvet jacket dancing about the small stage like a electrified Viking was something slightly unexpected! Absolutely fab, we loved it!
A twenty minute turn around later (we were to be quite impressed by the room management of this space – tight turnarounds, getting punters in nice and early, no time wasting!) we were back into the space for Matt Forde and his 24 Hour Political Party People. What a great hour this is – Matt has sharp political commentary, great impressions of our party leaders, and plenty of insights into their mannerisms and motivations! Well worth the time!
A magic show next in Neil Henry’s Impossible. I spent most of this show whispering wide-eyed to Dave “How does he do that??” He spent most of the show laughing at my gullibility but acknowledging that most of it was very clever stuff. I’m not going to recount what we saw – to keep the mystery. Go and see for yourself! We came out of this show at ten to five only to find it was absolutely throwing it down with rain, and this didn’t let up for several hours!
A thirty minute changeover this time to give Jeremy Paxman time to set up his golden wheel of chat (“What is that?” you ask – as if I would tell you!) and then it was time for his show Paxo. I have to admit, Paxman has never been a huge favourite of mine; he was bearable on Newsnight – we all love to see politicians squirm, but he gets on my nerves in University Challenge – anyone can be smug when they’ve got the answers in front of them can’t they? However, the show was fine, Paxman proved himself capable of a decent gig and is apparently sold out for the rest of his run.
Twenty minutes later we were in Tom Binns Has Not Been Himself. What a brilliant show. Tom Binns gave us straight stand-up, telling us about the “little voice in the back of his head” that gets him into trouble all the time. Alongside this we had two of his alter-egos, Sunderland psychic Ian D. Montfort and hospital radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury. Classic stuff, especially Ivan, who, when I looked around, had people completely doubled over with laughter. If this doesn’t make you roar – there is literally something wrong with your funny bones!
Another quick turnaround and it was James Acaster’s turn to entertain us with his show Recognise at 8pm. Dave loved this show for the brilliant piece of narrative writing that it was – and I started off listening well enough – however the previous late night (and early morning!) and my wanderings around town (nearly three miles in total) combined with the (by this time) warm room got the better of me, and although I don’t think I actually dozed off, I felt my head nod and I definitely tuned out for a bit and lost the thread. Sorry James, no reflection on you at all.
Out quickly into the queue for Seann Walsh and his show Seann 28. This show – what can I say? I loved it. Seann knows how to put an anecdote across like no other and the room was in stitches for large parts of this gig. The guy sitting next to us (who had kindly signed Dave’s World Record Witness Statement for him) had a wonderful high pitched laugh which kept setting us off every time we thought we’d got ourselves under control. Starting with a great piece of video, Seann told us about his issues since moving in with his girlfriend – and then gave us her side of the story (in a letter she has written to enlighten us). This one is highly recommended by me – beg the Pleasance for a ticket, and if they are sold out, get yourself on the waiting list for returns.
The last show for me tonight, still in the Cabaret Room of course, was The Comedy Zone. Mcd by Steve Bujega, this was an hour and a half show with Jack Barry, Alex Smith (with his guitar) and Adam Hess. All good stuff and well worth a view.
I then took myself off home to bed and blog while Dave stayed on for the Late Show running from 12.20 till 2 am (only it ran twenty minutes over at the end so he’s not long back)! MCing the gig was Addy Van Der Borgh, and the line-up was Michael Fabbri, Tom Stade, Archie Maddox, Michael Mittenmeier and the wonderful Craig Campbell headlining. Generally a good end to the evening, despite a few drunks at the back doing their best to heckle Mr Campbell.
Running total of shows: Dave – 271! Carole – 205!
I don’t have ANY shows until 6.30pm tomorrow as I have a long early birthday lunch with several members of the Mad Chicken People Facebook Group at Browns over on George Street. Dave will be making notes as he goes along for me to blog later tomorrow night.