Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Vinny B @ Swanys, Tuesday August 19th

If music be the food of love, the crowd at swany's would be a starving lovelost bunch. Happily its the festival and getting out yer face on a tuesday night listening to Vinny destroying every song he ever wrote and a few other people created.

Opening up with "sitting on dock of the bay" was a promising start. The guitar seemed in tune and the lack of a microphone meant the singing may well have been in tune too. The follow up of Wreckless Eric's whole wide world was another gentle intrusion into the pre-theatre menu. It was 7.05pm and all seemed well. The bar was deserted apart from Dave the barman and a couple of bits of tumble weed.

"Watch you grow" was next up as the tempo grew. Relying on a hearty bunch to echo the singer's chorus, in a retro Alarm style 68 Guns,....for guns guns guns, sing grow, grow, grow....you could see the tumble weed growing to the task.

In pure camino styled magic, a rendition of the Proclaimers' "500 miles" continued the singalong and when Charlie leaving PAtaka heard his song being destroyed he popped in to give Vinny a few tips. Swelling the crowd to one was just what Vinny had been hoping for. What he didnt realise is that he would become the crowd as Charlie gav a masterclass in one man, small venue, no mic performance. As Vinny sung along to Sunshine on Leith he realised that he was indeed a very good pub singer, when someone else was performing. Alas Charlie had to go as his carry out was ready for collection and Vinny resumed with "Stop you Sobbin".

Quite apt as he watched Charlie disappear and left Dave the barman distraught in his emptiness.

Vile Rapport 1981 classics, "Why?" & "Romantic turn" were dished up as easy to play inoffensive fare. Distraught Dave looked to have composed himself.

"No peace for the Wicked", "Another girl another planet" and "its the truth" followed in quick succession as the only ones segment came to an end, as did the first act. The teams were out and Arsenal v Besiktas took centre stage. With only 45 minutes to rehearse for the half time show. Vinny wasted no time in getting a second opinion from Distraught Dave. "Faraway" was clearly a favourite.

There was much talk about the Buzzcocks, but nobody knew the chords. Interesting as the chords were easy, it was just the order. Outrageous Disorder. The penny drops as the mushroom rises had not figured at this stage and the cold war classic looked comfortable in its cloudy past.

The halftime show was full of keyboards as first "Satellite of Love" then Perfect Day" were treated to the Vanity B Fair makeover. As the crowd cried for a stones cover, Vinny experiemented with the first bar of several before acknowledging, "Naw, ah dinnae ken any"

The crowd started getting edgy as the football had started again and Vinny hadn't stopped experimenting with the Boomtown Rats "Rat Trap". While little julie was watching top of the pops, the volume control was working well on the telly and a 0-0 draw would be played out while Vinny faded to grey!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Pataka - Fusion dining experience - 5 stars

A great Scottish welcome is rare in Edinburgh but Pataka have specialised in it since they first opened their Charles Rennie Mackintosh themed restaurant. The food is superb with traditional Indian and Bengali dishes cooked to perfection. Marinades make the chicken tikka mouthwatering but whatever your preference you'll get your taste buds dancing. Good food is a given at good restaurants and service is sometimes ignored. Pataka people make you feel special. Good service compliments good food, it is that simple. That's why I've been going to Pataka whenever I'm in Edinburgh, and will be for a long, long time. Vinny B

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Anniversary time again!

Like my alma mater - our 30th anniversary just rolls and rolls. It is now 31 years since issue 16, yes, Strawberry Switchblade and also 31 years since our 1st birthday when The Wild Indians and Pop Wallpaper produced the flexi disc and we produced an issue that sold out. At 10p including a flexi disc a pile of shite would've sold out.

Evan where are they all now, bring us up to date. Keith is up from London this week so maybe arrange something at Bennets in Maxwell Street if you are all still living in Clinton Road. Well of course its 31 years on and you wont, but just in case....Bennets is handy

I've moved house this past week and I'm exhausted. Age does not make you stronger. I did however heave a huge pile of back issues to Backbeat in Crosscauseway. I gave them a load of records too, pass it on I say. Guys like Backbeat enabled Deadbeat to get started and sustained us through our first year. The record companies then gave us free records and 30 years on those promo copies of Talking Heads etc have made it all the way back to the deserving second hand shops like Backbeat.

Backbeat also kindly took some fanzines from around the globe like Falling and laughing, simply yellow, etc etc. Photo courtesy of fat Al some time in 1982 at cimitierie de pere lachaise....

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Carl Donnelly, 4th Aug 2014. Upstairs at the Pleasance 4 stars

On a very warm 2 for 1 evening Upstairs in the Pleasance, Carl Donnelly is rocking a new look, double denim and, lack of spectacles... This allows him to kick off with a bit of audience participation but in case its his ice breaker we'll leave him to crack the ice.

What`s behind the image update? 

First is the break up of his marriage and second the eye surgery, and yes they are very much related. The former supplying most of the material for this years show. 

Thankfully, he`s now in a much better place he explains, starting off with the night.... distraught as he left the marital home, leading to an in depth heart to heart with his dad, his travels through India, to this show...and all the pitfalls that have befallen him in between....Alcohol, hallucinogenics, horrific house parties and attempting spiritualisation through a Peruvian magic tea, there`s not much missing, even a victorian wanker.


Monday, 4 August 2014

Beirut - eating for fun

Eating at the festival is one of the great pleasures for visitors and locals alike. Pop up restaurants appear all over the place and some of our busier places thin out a wee bit. If you want good food, look no further than the Edinburgh Central Mosque and the original mosque kitchen. If you start at the Mosque, I guarantee you 30 different types of cuisine within 5 minutes walk. I like Tapas. Lasal does Spanish Tapas in Howden Street while Mother India does Indian Tapas dishes in Infirmary Street.

Just such a place is Beirut. Come out of the Mosque, turn right, and with the BBC tent on your left, hang a right into Nicholson Square. As you come around the corner another 20 steps takes you to the door of Beirut and another 10 steps will get you to your table. If you've thought about it in advance you will have brought a carry out, and if you dont drink alcohol you will get all the drinks you need in the restaurant.

Thereafter there's a menu but if you have brought a pal, a partner or even just bumped into someone who had a rumbly tummy, then sit down and order the banquet for two. Its simple, tasty and huge. Lebanese food is fusion food for those of us who were brought up on mince and tatties. For anyone who has sampled tapas, meze, you know where I'm going. Lots of good flavours and combos that have worked for 1000's of years.

Neither rushed in and out, nor left dangling for too long the service was superb. Suitably chilled unlike my lager from Lidl, but at 75p a tin, I shouldn't complain. So when the bill is less than £40 and you cant finish the baklava, my only complaint was a lack of space in my ballooning belly.

I love Mediterranean food so I am biased. However, our tip is usually an indication of how much we enjoyed our meal. It was great, we tipped happily and will do so again very soon.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Eddie Izzard - force majuere - 25 years of joy - 5 stars

An hour in my life that I'll never get back and ah never want back. The journey Eddie Izzard takes you on is still the same. It is simply superb surreal comedy. Dali would love the way he melts time. As scholarly as his artistic licence allows him, he juggles time and states-people (well statesmen really, that's the way they write history....), moves seamlessly through the epochs and never forgets to give the Gods a glance. Giving punchlines away would not spoil the show as his delivery is everything. We all know why later copies of the bible suppressed the bit when Adam and Eve discussed cross dressing. We wont dwell on the ego of a performer or even older phrases on the power of deep voices, its the delivery, and Eddie delivers across a diverse eclectic range of topics. The crowd hang on every syllable and when it doesnt arrive the tension just makes the humour better. Has he forgotten?... is it for effect?... what is he thinking? The Danish have laughing clubs and Eddie clearly has his own touring laughing club. There is no tension in the room. He tries to remind us that the right wing are still alive and kicking us, but we know, and we pretend it doesnt hurt. Tonight, of course, it doesnae hurt. We have our saviour, our talismanic, idiosyncratic action transvestite. Go on yersel big man, well in those heels we'd all be big men.

The last time I saw Eddie in a venue this small was in the last months of Thatcher's Britain at the Brighton comedy club. I'd travelled down from Edinburgh and after a game of 5-a-sides stumbled into one of the finest nights of my life. Joint second with my wedding and daughter's birth. All through the 80's we had divided the country in two. Comedy was the same. Alternative comedy grew out of the ashes of our manufacturing industry although the greatest irony was working mens' clubs gave voice to the old right wing fascists, but I digress. As Thatcher's cabinet was nimbly applying pressure to the pillow they had lifted over her whisky stained gob a more sophisticated alternative comedian had appeared. Eddie shone in that Laura Ashley frock back then. He was a more overt transvestite but his mind was as sharp as the tangent at the point of a circle. Yeah, really sharp. 

He looked 25 years older but that could just be the marathons he's run or the fact that he is 25 years older and even action transvestites dont believe a nip and a tuck is a good use of financial reserves. Instead Eddie very kindly let the impoverished public wander in for £15 to an intimate gig which he did in German and French earlier in the evening. The same show performed every hour for 3 hours in 3 languages is his well publicised new gig. Some language teachers need to look at getting the kids along to his shows. The French gig tonight was not sold out, that is simply a scandal. Fanfuckintastico when he adds Spanish to the list. He'll be doing 4 hours a night, even when footballers have to go to extra time and penalties they still dont do that long and they charge more than 4 x £15....

Quite simply Eddie Izzard is a human being in our space, on our planet at the same time as us. Quite simply in the absence of God and the Clash, he is the new religion. Quite when he'll have the resources to do the show in Gaelic is unknown but I'm sure he'd relish the challenge.