Sunday, 21 August 2016

O is for Hoolet by Ishbel McFarlane, ***** Scottish Storytelling centre, Royal Mile 7pm August 21st-29th www.oisforhoolet #HooletFringe

Great night, thought provoking and entertaining. Watching the spark of creativity ignite into a bonfire on the stage at the Scottish Storytelling centre was superb as Ishbel worked her way through her characters and subject. In this age of skype, you close your eyes and you'd think Professor David Crystal has been beamed in from his home in North Wales, and is on a big screen above the stage. Dr Johann Unger makes a similar appearance as award winning Ishbel displays her full talents as an actress and a mimic. Roles for young Ishbel provide additional insight into the writer while infant Ishbel provides the eloquent backdrop to the story.

The story is Scots. The story is the Scots language. The story is, I'm telling you it is official. Scots is a language, just ask the English ambassador who interviewed Mary Queen of Scots, (a transcribe of which is kept at Prestonfield Golf Club where Mary played her golf back in the day).

Through the marvellous construction of this piece the audience are taken on a journey. A journey many of us have never contemplated. If Americans can do the 500 mile camino in a week, Paris in a day,  who am I to deny them the chance to a linguistic doctorate in 75 minutes. After listening to Ishbel's engaging play, they're perfectly entitled to a badge of honour.

There's an energy that Ishbel brings to the stage, an energy that burns brightly through her writing and ignites our interest in her subject matter. It becomes our subject matter and it becomes our evening's discussion. It is transcribed into texts, emails and reviews the next day. It is the Fringe at its best. New writing invigorating our lives. New performers painting with new patterns. T-in-the-park has left Kinross, the grass has gone and all those balls kicked into the long grass long ago (Pre-T) by politicians are now revealed. A wee shout from the field.

I'll transcribe for you, 'Ye can let the grass grow but our longue will ne'er die. C'mon, lets drink to the Scots mither tongue."

Obviously that's my interpretation, that's my thought processes and that's what I loved about the show. i found fires in my imagination had cleared away the debris and revealed a past. Suddenly, I was 9 years of age. I was taken back to America, 1972 where for 2 years my Dad was a diplomat in Washington DC. Our grade 5 teacher used to give us spelling tests. 20 words every day.  I used to write Aluminum and then in the next column Aluminium. Every day there would be 3 words that were spelt differently in Maryland, USA, and I knew they were so I told my teacher that I would spell them this way in America but not in Scotland. Mr Stein laughed, but I didn't think he got it. I was trying to tell him he needed to tell the rest of the class. I was the same when they asked us to stand for the pledge of allegiance. I just said no. My parents were called in and a diplomatic mission required to absolve me from the crime. I was apparently excused on religious grounds.

This is why O is for Hoolet is such a fantastic show for everyone. We have told over 30 of our friends that they will find themselves alive after the show. Check the pulse and look in the mirror. It will remove creases from foreheads and those famous crows feet from around the eyes. The sun will shine brighter and you will find enlightenment. If only I had social media, it would be 1000's of friends.

Its no surprise to see the fireworks in the sky as we walk up the Royal Mile, Ishbel's show is a great reason to celebrate. Treat yourself to an evening out, go down the Royal Mile and see it, its on every night, but be aware, the clock is ticking and the last show is August 29th 2016.

If the Scottish Education minister is reading, O is for Hoolet is education and touring Scottish schools, colleges and Universities doing workshops would be a great way to inspire a nation. Eh, here's an idea, make it happen!

Our Five star fringe award.... if you only go to one show......make sure it is......O is for Hoolet!

Congratulations Ishbel McFarlane,

PS - I hope like Eddie Izzard did two years ago you re tweet it and Deadbeat gets 5000 hits in 25 minutes....!!


Monday, 1 August 2016

#Harrytheplay @kingsheadthtr 25/7/16

A trip to the Kings Head theatre to see Harry is a mere 800 mile round trip, but in the comfort of East coast trains, London buses and then the luxurious theatre itself one feels totally pampered.

The excitement grows as Harry begins and the cast of Caitlin and Sophie bounce around in their first year accommodation like Bambi on ice, in stereo. The rhythm of the play is sharp and fast, the voices rising to fever pitch as they clatter into each other in perfect unison. Its like dining out and savouring perfect fusion cooking, this is no deep fried mars bar this is sublime. The salmon has....wait I digress, I'm salivating over the play not the meal.

The action is superb and the humour perfectly timed. The girls are having a ball and its only the first 1D album. They have nothing in common except a certain little prince of pop, with a head like a mop, and the face of a pixie. Clearly I'm not 17 but I can see that they are. They are in love. They share a special bond, they share Harry and they share him with 100 million others!

The play allows them to age all the way through the album releases until they graduate and I cant divulge where the journey takes them but the world of fandom isnt all frivolous girlie smiles and screams. There is laughter aplenty but there's a sinister twitch. There's a sense of danger, the elephant wanders into the room and suddenly it's taking centre stage.

Watch it you'll love it - Harry is playing at the Kings Head theatre Tuesday 9th August @ 7pm and Tuesday 16th August 2016.

#Harrytheplay - Enjoy

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The Wedding Present new album

Not so much a review just a heads up. A reminder for me as well as you. I first encountered The Wedding Present about the same time as Biff Bang Pow and other Creation records started coming through the door. That's not to say they were on Creation, its just in my head it would be 1984-1985, or over 30 years ago. I like doing this memory nonsense out loud as it helps with my early onset dementia when I write it down. Back to the Wedding Present though and I'm thinking they were one of the best bands I never got to see, I'm guessing because they were from across the EU border in England. The good news for me is I'm going to get that chance this year as they are touring and I might even manage it when I'm down in London to see "Harry" the play at the Kings Head in Islington on July 26th. Harry is a play and not from 1985 so its new and fresh, but I do like the whole nostalgia thing and as its rife in London I'll get pad and paper out to roll back the clock. Tick tock.

Around the same time were another great band from down south that I never got to see, The June Brides. The list was quite a long list. I just had a quick look at the covers to see what issues covered the period and the June Brides were in issue 26, the relations from Perth I did manage to see, as I did Crucial Xylophones from Dundee, Rhythm System from Glasgow, although I dont think I ever got to see The Men Men. Drink frequently got in the way and if it wasn't drink it was a doorman or a doorway, in fact kerbs used to stop me in my track quite often too.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Black Friday? or just not quite so blue friday

Europe has lost one of its stars, certainly not the brightest in the class but one of its stars none the less. I think the poll probably reflects my thinking in terms that I was neither that bothered about staying in or leaving, it was a 50/50 thing that on balance I was an in. I thought the vote would be like it was in Scotland, 60/40, but in the end it was much more like the independence vote and went the way of the exit.

The worry for all of us is that we have nobody to negotiate our exit or our trade deals and as a result we'll be legged over by lengthy uncertainty and as divorces go, we'll probably be left with the broken dishwasher and hoover while the new washer/dryer goes back to Bosch. The notion of Great Britain is such a compelling marketing slogan, but alas it is just that. We are anything but great. We've meandered along a path to mediocrity and I'm sorry but Boris and co are more than likely to have the best banquets around but we'll not be scoffing at their table.

Yes we'll get a dozen Albanians off our streets and for once they wont return, but we'll also send home Aussie physios, Doctors from New Zealand, Nigerian Nurses, Polish plasterers, German grafters, Italian chefs and Gambian gamemasters, oh and aquire a skills shortfall.

If we thought we had a shortfall in our pension funds, we'll find it gets a wee bit bigger or will we? BT is now only £7bn short of where it needs to be and although this figure is growing, there is a potedntial crumb of comfort.

Like the Eco system, scrathcing the economy's arse can often have a relieving thought in the brain and if our interest rates need to rise to help sterling then our pension funds will feel a huge burden lift with the rise. Unfortunately, as with scratching the arse once, you often have to scratch it again, redoubling your efforts mean that house prices are affected and the broader economy will suffer. Wait, is that not the recession we're just coming out of?

Oh no, if we dive further into recession and BT isnt able to make profits how can it keep making enough money to pay into the pension....efficency savings, that'll be the way

Oh well, scratch away, you never know it might work, that's what the marketing guys tell me. I've spoken to the project managers too, they tell me there's a lot of project work on at the moment discussing how best to scratch, the most efficaceous way to scratch, maximum resistance, you name it, anything but when its ok.

Apparently the timeline still hasn't been decided you see, as there's a bit more negotiation, oh well, I'll go out for a long walk then....

Monday, 16 May 2016

Heads together single 1984

The deadbeat single from 1984 was released on heads together - glad to see the name is being used by some 21st century deadbeats!