Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Chocolate Ocelot's Fringe - Tuesday

Eyelashes: none anywhere.

Am woken in middle of the night by unwelcome shouting outside and above our flat, as if young (obviously) and foreign (possibly) people were running up and down the stone stairwell and then shouting to each other from the open doorway of their apartment above ours. Los bastardos.

Apparently fail to meet obligations re: scheduled sauce session. Do not even realise invitation to sauce is being extended until much later – was far too engrossed in adventures of Robert Langdon at the time. Instead gratefully settle for rub of aching shoulder, proving am both married and old.

Breakfast consists of local shortbread and last two chocolate hobnobs – the biscuit of champions.

Take over an hour to write up blog of Monday. Have not yet mastered art of précising. Half-wish I could have carried laptop around yesterday and blogged as we went, but stupid battery would have given out after 5 minutes. Treacherous device.

First show is The Ukulele Project at Scumbelly – turns out to be two young men and two young ladies, a spirited junior version of the UOoGB. Very good.


Hanging around in Scumbelly for another of Herself’s many, many toilet breaks (am coming to the conclusion that we have markedly different liquid intake requirements), see a flyer for The Dog Eared Collective, which we need for scrapping. Picking it up, spot actual Dog Eared person herself handing out the flyers further along the room. Nip over and say hello. It is the one that looks like my cousin Lindy, possibly. She is very nice and friendly. Say we enjoyed show yesterday and tell her we’ve seen them before. God, I am such a sad stalker. Write email address down in her little book, so can be informed of London gigs. It seems almost all the performers here carry a little book, for the writing in of email addresses. The film people we met in Dead Head Comics did. Talking to nice Dog Eared Lady makes up a bit for not talking to Timandra yesterday.

Then off to Surgeons Hall for The Oxford Alternotives. What a name. Like the Be Sharps in The Simpsons. Very good, very young a capella group. Mixed boys and girls, which is much better. Have seen some all female ones and they sound so weak. The little monkey-faced lad is particularly entertaining.


Then back to Scumbelly for The Fitzrovia Radio Hour. Brilliant. Love the way they do all the sound effects as they go along. Think the two girls look lovely. Wish my hair was like theirs. The Mud Men Of The Thames and The Man Who Was TenMinutes Late are splendid Quatermass / Appointment With Fear parodies. Not too silly, which was nice. Well done to JT for recommending them when Arthur Smith cancelled his show.


Have just made up a song called ‘Lasagne’. Basically, you hum the tune to ‘Tequila’, and then go ‘Lasagne’ instead. Genius.

Can hear American tourists talking outside flat window. How do they manage to talk so nasally? It must surely strain their mucus passages.

Have interesting conversation with Herself about our relative daily water intakes. Mine being a couple of cups of tea and a swig of Coke, hers being several litres of water, which she carries at all times. This explains the many, many toilet breaks. Some discussion ensues concerning our relative bladder sizes and the impact of uterus and ovaries on female bladder retention.

Down to Just The Tonic on Cowgate for Simon Donald off of Viz comic. The venue is yet another subterranean vault converted into a series of bars, toilets and performance areas. You have to climb down some steep wooden steps without bashing your head on the stone archway above for this one. Dr Foot has already seen Simon Donald, and has warned us that his reminiscences and anecdotes about Viz are more entertaining than his comical characters, and he’s more or less right. The characters are lightly funny, and it’s quite interesting to see how each one is a bit like Sid the Sexist, or Mr Logic, or Spoilt Bastard, but they’re not quite up to Steve Coogan standards. Once again, as in so many shows here, there is audience interaction; this time it is a hapless girl called Sarah who must endure banter with all five of Mr Donald’s characters, the poor mare. Am so glad have mastered the art of sitting well back in the shadows.


Simon Donald has overrun a bit, and then we get lost in the vaults of Just The Tonic, so we must trot to The Pleasance for Jonny Sweet. Herself is mental about being late and starts to motor through the crowds on Cowgate like a greased staffie. I discover that my fast walk is the same speed as her trot, so manage to keep pace with her without looking too foolish.

The Pleasance is as crowded as ever, but manage to locate correct venue with a few minutes to go. It’s that weird portakabin in the main courtyard with all the windmill things stuck on the outside.

Jonny Sweet’s show is a similar format to the Mostly About Arthur one from last year, but even more built around a laptop slideshow this time. He gets a lot of mileage out of his handy Mac, flipping around different files when his presentation on the decommissioned HMS Nottingham comes up short by some 15 minutes. The best bit is right at the end when he takes the laptop backstage but leaves the projector on, so we can see him on the webcam typing up some post-show notes. Most charming. I like the way he gives almost everyone a warm hug when they come in at the beginning. We manage to avoid this though.


Then wander all the way over to the Assembly Rooms on George Street for Richard Herring. The Assembly Rooms are a step up for him this year, and a welcome escape from his regular venue at the Scumbelly. The queue is very long, stretching down George Street. Show itself is entertaining as ever – it’s a rehash of a previous show, but fortunately we’ve not see the original Christ On A Bike, so am not sat there trying to identify all the old material. He seems as podgy as ever – wish he’d lose some weight. Interestingly, as he often bases the shows around his personal life, he doesn’t bang on about being single for once, so he really must be in a relationship, as Herself claims. Good for him.


Finish with Mr Herring and back to flat. Listen to the Edinburgh Tattoo warm-up taking place a scant few metres beyond our window. It’s weird - there’s a sort of Ken Bruce-voiced fella who not only narrates the show itself (Here’s the massed pipes and drums of the Scots Guard! and all that), but also reads out all the dedications and happy birthdays for the audience as they file in before the Tattoo proper kicks off. That’s fair enough, and doubtless makes some old person’s day, but then it gets slightly odd, when he starts to ask if there’s anybody here from Australia, then New Zealand, then South Africa, then America, then Canada, then France, then Germany, then Poland, then Russia, then China, then India, then Japan, then every possible bloody country that somebody who is attending the Tattoo might have come from. He does a shout out to every bloody one – it takes over ten minutes – it’s very weird, and puts me in mind of a Manowar song for some reason.


Herself breaks open the elderberry wine she got from the market on Saturday and we settle down to watch something on telly. The tradition is that we watch some crappy DVD that we’ve bought from a street trader down by the Meadows, but we’ve not been over that way this year, so have come up short. There’s a small supply of DVDs on the flat, but they’re all worryingly romcommy. Watch King Of The Hill instead.

Have a confusing conversation about snowballs with Herself, until I realise that I’m actually talking about speedballs – a drug cocktail- and she’s talking about snowballs – an imaginative sexual act involving one man and two women.


Remove two apples from rucksack – they have started to go funny. Feel bad about just throwing them out though, so leave them on kitchen table overnight, in the hope that Herself might have one – she is less intimidated by rotting fruit than I.

Shows seen: 6 – a much more reasonable number
Flyers collected: 14 – a bumper crop

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