Other great cities have magnificent buildings, great parks & gardens –
man has made beautiful cities by his work; but Edinburgh possesses
gifts straight from the hand of god
Shows So Far – 39
Hangovers – 4
Today was another late starter, up at the GILDED BALLOON for the intellectual esspresso that is THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT (4-18 / 17.15). Now, Ive seen improvised comedy before, & improvised songs & all the hip-hop shit, but this a masterclass in the art of bardery. We are given six guys – three of which are part of SHOWSTOPPERS by the way – who are led by the Goader of the Rhapsodes, Sean McCann, a flamboyent master of ceremonies who straddles both stage & stairwells with the eye of a renaissance painter, overseeing proceedings & never letting the vibe dwindle below seering. The rhapsodes then bound their lyrical way through a series of ‘games’, such as reading through an audience members book & carrying on the tale themselves when bid to do so. Tonights books were Dracula, The Three Muskateers & The Scotsman’s book of Scottish words the by the way. The 70 minute show concludes with a Shakesperian-style play, beginning with a an English sonnet & rollicking through several acts of hijinks & Iambic pentameter. Todays fare was Gordon of Hawaii & was proper wacky! A fantastic piece of entertainment, it gives one faith in the bardic tradition & a personal succor to my love of the sonnet form (see the Ediniad above.) The crowd loved to see such expressions of the soul of poesy, among which were the male members of the FITZROVIA RADIO HOUR, who joined me in a morethan generous applause.
After the show it was time to sound engineer for VICTOR POPE, which saw him give his best performance yet. It was helped by a large Saturday crowd, including a wee gaggle of drunken hen-party style girls who treat his show as a karaoke. In the crowd was a couple of cool kids from Glasgow. The guy, Kev, works on KCC radio in Liverpool, hosting the afternoon DRIVE TIME SHOW (15.00-17.30, mon-fri, http://www.kcclive.com/ ) & was taking his lady friend out to the festival. Somehow he ended up at Victor’s gig, & was absolutley loving it. In the photo below he’s the guy on the right
After the gig I invited him to see his fellow Weegie, THE WEE MAN at THE PHOENIX on Broughton Street (15-29 / 20.15). Its a great wee pub teh Phoenix & ive been in some proper states there – it attracts some reyt carachters, but Ive never seen anyone quite like the WEE MAN there. Between catching his show last year & seeing him down the Phoenix he’s become an internet sensation for his bonkers happy hardcore tunes (see my blog for the 2nd August). This year’s set was similar to last years, including the moment where he downs an audience member’s pint! Also from last year was getting a couple of guys up to help him with a tune by beat-boxing. It was great fun watching both Victor & mi new best mate Kev being chosen! This year’s show is called THE NEDATOR, a parody of the Arnie classic, which is actually the name of a funny-as-fuck fifteen minute film which begins the show, which Im happy to discover was put on You-tube only yesterday… enjoy
At the end of the show I told him he should write a fuckin sitcom, & asked whether my instinct was right in him being actually middle-class & the ned was something of a persona. “Something like that,’ he replied & handed me a flyer for another show he’s doing at the Phoenix, teh sketch show ENDEMIC (18-27 / 22.45) where he appears alongside 5 other comedians as simple, clean cut Neil Bratchpiece. Here’s an extract from an interesting interview with the Sun newspaper which gives us more about him…
But is this new man Neil anything like his Wee Man persona at all?
“Sort of,” he says, sheepishly. “The first time I got steaming was on Buckfast when I was 14.”
But that’s where any similarities end. Neil, from Motherwell, left Dalziel High School with five Highers – four As and a B – and went on to graduate from Glasgow University in English literature and film and TV studies.
The Wee Man came from a part in his stand-up comic act, after he started gigging from the age of 15.
He says: “I originally called myself Scratchy. Then that became The Wee Man.
“To be honest, I think I prefer anything to Neil. It’s such a nothing name. There’s no zing to it.
“But I created him because I was fed up with the amount of comics who were taking the p*** out of neds.
“So I decided to do my act from the neds’ perspective. I became a spokesperson for the ned, to give them a voice.”