Meet Paul Fletcher

The Dick & the Rose

DAY FIVE
7/8/11

Each is indubitably & absolutely Edinburgh
Each is proudly & consciously different from the rest
Moray Maclaren

Shows So Far – 13
Hangovers – 1

With the recent Tory Arts council cuts cutting the trembling throat of regional theatre, suddenly the Fringe has become important again for our beloved, board-treading companies. To the punter on the street this means an increase in quality, & my first show of the day, Leila Ghaznavi’s BROKEN WING (9-14 / 17-20 – 11.45) is easily the best play I’ve seen so far. From the outside, venue 13 – HARRY YOUNGER HALL – looks unspectacular, with a couple of gazebos & two portakabins uncermoniously dumped outside to form the HQ. The actors were getting changed in the toilets at the front of the building for gods sake. However, never judge a book by its cover, for inside one is presented with a wonderful, comfortable theatre & a serene ambience. BROKEN WING’s own stage was an sensous eastern affair, with Persian carpets hanging from the ceiling with sable silks draped over the stage liitered with rose petals. The play itself was a beautifully written piece, played out by Americans, full of realistic fast chat & nail-on-the head Islamic culture. They told us a very engaging, thought provoking story. Essentially a young girl who had been orphaned by an earthquake in Iran had attached herself to this man & shared his bed from the age of 5 (they married at 16). Roll on to the present day & an American photographer has moved into their household – resulting in them falling in love. Subsequently she was stoned to death for adultery – & tho we dont witnness so brutal an act – the poetic description was enough to get me squirming! One of the neatest things about the play was the click of a camera that seperated scenes.

She’s gonna get stoned…

I was joined for my next play – THE DICK & THE ROSE (8-13,15-20,22-27 13:30) – by Victor Pope. This was at the very plush POINT hotel, near Lothian Road, & Im still trying to digest the play. The company, OUTCAST CAFE THEATRIX, are from a small town called South Lee in Massachusis, a tight ship ran by its eccentric director. The show is his baby & he announces each scene with a thespian relish that is almost pantomime. The play is a very visceral, erotic affair, accompanied by a whole host of different instruments, from skiffle washboards to acordians, banjos & a cello. This very avant garde story is about sex & its consequences, & uses a highly unique piece of scenery. You could call it a giant quilt with holes in, from which sesame street puppets, human heads & a giant penis emerge, the latter snaking across the quilt form erection to erection. A warm & visually splendid affair, I’ve never seen anything quite like it in my life, & still feel a little dazed writing about it. While watching I realised how cool Edinburgh is at this time of the year, with flash-fires of creativity bursting out all over the city at any given moment. The muses are definitely in town & are having to clone themsleves just to keep things ticking over.

On the way to my next culture-nugget I found myself in the Grassmarket, the great tourist-friendly square at the foot of the castle. In the bygone days before football 30,000 people would flock there to see an execution, but today, on the very spot of the gallows, I found an ebbulient bandmaster driving forward the euphoric music of Britain’s first Guggenmusik band, GUGGE 200. It was invented in Switerland & means ‘Happy Music’ & indeed, the team of tubas sucked up all of my worldy woes! There were several drum kits on trolleys (& one pram) trumpets, bass drums, tamborines & over fifty smiling band members up from Bournemouth.

Just off the Grassmarket is Paul’s house, who’d joined me for a couple of plays the other day. It was then that he offered to join my ‘staff’ & assist me in my reviewing. He’d already been down to the brass band to tell them to shut the fuck up (to no avail) & was happy to leave the Grassmarket for the short walk to the top of the Royal Mile & the C TOO venue for WHAT IT FEELS LIKE (8-21 – 16.30) from the young, funky, innovative ENCOMPASS PRODUCTIONS. So, with a fanfare of friendhsip & a roll of literary drums, I would like you all to meet your new reviewer, give it up ladies & gentlemen, for MR PAUL FLETCHER;

Paul Fletcher

You would think living in the grass market with an excellent view of Edinburgh castle would be an ideal location to enjoy the festival, but being obliged to listen to the military tattoo every night and having to hustle your way through the crowds of tourists, just to buy a pint of milk, can all become a very frustrating experience indeed. So much so that I want to climb up to my roof and start picking off the tourists with an AK-47! Die! Die! Die! You fuckers! Die! Aaarrggghhhh!

But Wait! Stop me now! Am I really going to turn into another Edinburgher bemoaning how the freaks of the art world disrupt my peaceful city every year?! No! Definitely not! Because underneath this world of zombie like tourism are small cozy venues where fringe productions are lighting up the dark.

Today I saw WHAT IT FEELS LIKE by “Encompass productions”, a play which explores the dream states of near death experiences. It tells the story of Nicholas Harper, who while lying on an operating table after a car crash, has a near death experience. The story takes place in his subconscious, a dark “in-between” reality where we find “Lester and Simpson”, two characters who are apparently there to assist him in his unresolved issues with his long term girlfriend Sarah. From here the play goes on to be a study in human relationships as the audience are treated to different scenes extracted from Nicholas’s memories with Sarah. The play explores the themes of betrayal, jealousy, and how we not only lie to our partners but also lie to ourselves. With the help of “the Aspects”, eerie actors dressed in black, we are further treated to some stunning physical theatre (the lovemaking scene was a thrilling piece of choreography). The play builds to a harrowing finale where Nicholas’s unconscious reveals its very sinister depths. But this is not all doom and gloom, as the well-written characters of Lester and Simpson spatter the play with humour, which serve to pull us further in to this well constructed dream world. Supported by an excellent original score, which had the woman sitting next to me in tears by the final scene, I cannot not recommend this play enough. A feeling shared by my fellow audience members whose very gracious applause said it all!

So what does it feel like to be living in Edinburgh at this time of year? Well who gives a shit about the military exploits on the castle and the annoying badly dressed tourists (buy some decent rain gear you look stupid!) when Encompass Productions are in town with their electrifying play!

After the play (moving as hell by the way) I bid Paul adieu & a happy reviewing & toddled down to the JEKYLL & HYDE to sound engineer for Victor Pope, after which we began a drinking session that didint finish until 4AM. We beganin the SPIEGELTENT, where Edinburgh’s best live band, THE BLACK DIAMOND EXPRESS were playing. Unfortunately, they were late getting on & I had a show to catch, but in the name of supporting your local artists, here’s a you tube link & their myspace. They’re a passionate group of bohemians & aplaying round about town through the festival, including next saturday again at the Spiegeltent & 25th August at the Book Festival in Charlotte Square. Apparently the gig was wicked, spreading love thgrough a large, plush tent bustling with eager music lovers & I was told the stage slowly filled up with hot, dancing chicks playing shaker makers!!

My final show of the day was the famous, SHOWSTOPPERS: THE IMPROVISED MUSICAL (5-16/18-28 – 22.50). It was performed at the GILDED BALLOON in the main hall of the Student Union – & massive space (in fringe terms) that was packed to the rafters. Its easy to see why as what occirs on that stage is pure genius. The idea of teh show is that every night, from suggestions by the audience, a completey new, once-in-a-lifetime musical is summoned up from the psyches of the cast & performed with a flourish. Stage left is the director of operations, who deals with the audience & rises from his chair from time to time giving the cast its plot, often hilariously. Stage right are two musicians, a keyboard player who is the mainstay of the music, & a saxplayer/percussionist as his right hand man. The singers are three women & three men who not only make up songs on the spot, but improvise comedy inbetween. Absolutely brilliant. Tonights unique show – DANGEROUS RE-ENTRY – was set on an International Space Station, set in 2050, wih Barack Obama & Vladamir Putin cyrogenically frozen awaiting the discovery of a new planet. The themes of teh songs were Gansta Rap, Sondheim, Abba & Gerswhin, with a romantic sub-plot to boot. The best part was the creation of an alien, with one of the girls standing behind another simulating weird alien tentacles, & the tentative threesome suggested by our recently unfrozen world leaders!

After the performance I rejoined VICTOR POPE, meeting up with Bonnie from Linkey Lea (& all her cute mates), plus THE BLACK DIAMOND EXPRESS for a drink at Cvenues bar. At first glance its something of a school disco, but we turned it into at least a sixth form bash & the place was proper jumping. On getting home in the wee hours I realised I’d been in the field all day, for the atmosphere during Festival time grabs you by the goolies & swirls you about toon, refusing to let go until finally, & exhaustingly, you make it to bed… good night!


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Rime Royal

DAY FOUR
6/8/11

Coming back to Edinburgh is to me like coming back home
Charles Dickens

Shows So Far – 11
Hangovers – 1

Its amazing how, during Festival time, so many otherwise obscure spaces are metaphysically turned into theaters of dreams. This morning’s world of illusion was at the CABERET VOLTAIRE, a night club just off the Royal Mile. The bouncers there are do mi nut in, but the only guy standing outside the door early this afternoon was Chris Coxen. He’s a Bostonian who’s spent the past year or two on & off down London, working his comedy magic. I had a nice chat with him, observing the little black dots above his Freddie Mercury moustache which indicated its fakeness. Once inside the venue I was pleasantly surprised to find just four comfy leather mocha couches next to the bar facing a great black curtain. There were about ten of us all together, including the barman, a sound guy & Chris’ comedian mate TOM WEBB who was Mc-ing the show. This was the spelndidly titled SPACE CLONE AUDITION (6-28 / 14.30), the idea being that the audience had to choose which one of Chris’ comedy carachters should be cloned by the US government to send to space to represent mankind. Thesse were a groovy Bermudan club singer & his hairy chest, an expert on motivation, a guy who loved thunder (!?) & an agressive karate expert. Oftentimes bonkers I was guffawing on many occasion, tho was gutted when my favorite, the Bermudan Club Singer, was beaten into second place by the Karate expert as the audience applauded their votes. It was a comfy way to start the day, from the squidgy couch to Tom Webb’s homely bantering with the audience. Nice guys!

 

& today’s winner of the space cloning competion is… Danny Morsel

While I was watching the show the heavens burst open, the weather turned Autumnal & the game of spot the tourists bagan – ie, shorts, t-shirts & sunglasses with the coat at home in Inverness! I had a couple of hours to kill til my next show, so I had a pint at the Counting House, with one eye on the outside stage there & a young lassies singing to a few soggy drinkers, & the other on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, where the English football season had just started. Down at Turf Moor, on the day the Clarets legend Jimmy McLLroy received his MBE, Watford sailed into a 2-0 lead. However, 2 debut goals in the last 13 minutes, from Charlie Austin & new-boy Keith Treacy saved Burnley (& me) from the opening day blues. Talking of football, Hearts have just drawn Spurs in the Europa league, which means Edinburgh’s gonna get even busier come August 18th.

Turf Moor – Cathedral of Dreams

My next dose of culture was at ZOO SOUTHSIDE, on Nicholson Street, & a one-man performance of Shakespeare’s poem, THE RAPE OF LUCRECE (6-14 / 16-28 – 17.15). The theater was a largish square room draped completely in black, chairs ringing three sides. This added a quais-globe-like aspect to GERARD LOGAN’S recitation of Shakespeare’s poem. Our immortal bard had written it early in his career, deviating from the stage in order to makes his name as a proper poet & maybe make a little cash. The story tells us how a woman of ancient Rome, Lucrece (rhymes with peace) is raped by a certain Sextus Tarquinius & unable to bare the shame kills hereself in front of her husband. The performance was compelling, & vast swathes of time were swirling about the room; We witnessed a 2000 year old story, the pure, unadulterated words of Elizabethan England dancing off Logan’s masterly tongue, & the atmosperic lights & soundscapes of the modern stage. It was lovely closing one’s eyes from time to time & letting the magic of iambic pentameter conjure up the same visions our illustrious poet saw seer-like 400 years ago. The bard within was really enjoying the versification of Rime Royal, a poetic form of seven lines (rhyming ababbcc), one of the few forms I havent employed in my own work. Here’s an example from the Rape;

Gerard Logan

O, that is gone for which I sought to live,
And therefore now I need not fear to die.
To clear this spot by death, at least I give
A badge of fame to slander’s livery;
A dying life to living infamy:
Poor helpless help, the treasure stol’n away,
To burn the guiltless casket where it lay.

The heavens were still drenching the city as I slip-slopped home. Luke was doing VICTOR POPE’S sound tonight, freeing me up to go home to do some writing. After finishing this blog, & with my hangover ever present & it still fucking chucking it down, Im just gonna cook up some grub, catch up on mi Eastenders with BBC iplayer & wait for the Burnley goals on The Football League Show… what festival?


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First Friday of the Fringe

DAY THREE
5/8/11

Edinburgh is a real classy city
Beyonce

Shows So Far – 6

MUMBLING (Multi-media blogging) is the opera of literary art. Where Wagner used stage design, lighting, music, poetry & costume, the modern-day blogger has, in addition to his/her text :- photography, film, footage, flyers & probably many, many other f’s. With this in mind I thought I’d take mi camera for a spin, inspired by the visit of RICHIE LEWIS FEENIE. He’s a pal of mine from this festival I used to put on down my ex-lassie’s farm (Jock Stock), & a real sweet fella. As we were building up the festival he used to make us signs for the various zones & stages we scattered round the field. These days he’s a full on professional graphic designer & after exhibiting work all round Scotland, this morning he drove over from his home in Fife to set up some pieces in HAS BEANS COFFEE SHOP on the Royal Mile (Canongate). The proprieter there, Graham Kenny, is one of Richie’s clients & a few weeks back at a pub across the road they mutually agreed to hang up Richie’s work. The paintings were nudged into finalty by Richie seeing one of his old rave-buddies, Alison McWhirter’s work down in Dumfries. That they used to jump about the house to the Stone Roses seeps out from every speckled pore of his Pollock/Squires inspired pieces.

Richie

While waiting for Richie to arrive I thought I’d take out my primitive camera & potter up to the Princes Street Gardens, with the sun all glorious & everyone in a happy mood. Taking the first photo led me down to see the group in the corner of the first picture below, who were putting on a free performance in the park. I got chatting to the director, Andy Paris, who filled me in on their interesting journey to Auld Reekie. The company is formed from two seperate unis on both coasts of the US – from Seattle, Washington & Lewisburg, Pensylvania. They are exponents of a new form of thetare, called Moment Work, which has plenty of physical motion integrated within the story, where evry piece of furniture has a sub-plot! The play itself is called THE AMERICAN FAMILY (5-6 8-12 – 22.15 / the space @ north bridge) & consists of every young member of this large cast telling emotive stories from thier lives – ie this one guy watched his dad get beaten up by drug-dealers in his car at the age of 5!

From the Gardens I meandered up to the Royal Mile, just as Richie was trundling down it in his wee car, crammed full of paintings. As he unloaded the works I kept an eye out for the predatorial vulturesque parking wardens, then after a brief interview & photo left him to his hanging while I went off to a show. This was LIGHTS, CAMERA, WALKIES at the GILDED BALLOON (3-9 11-16 19-29 / 14.00 – 15.15), another corporate leviathan that this time has taken over the gorgeous Student Union of Edinburgh Universty on Bristo Square. I was directed to the Billiard Room & a spacious theatre, whose stage sported something of a giant kennel. It was a snappy as hell play written by young Tom Glover, a rising star in the comedy spheres – a BBC sitcom finalist no less. The story is set in Hollywood & tells us of two (invisible) dogs competing for the starring role in a movie. There were only three actors playing every part, but the excellent accents conjured the illusion wonderfully. Indeed, my favorite part of the show was their brillaint recreation of a hollywood set, a constant whirl of motion & voices as the actors toed & froed from behind the kennel playing various parts, including an incredible ‘luvey dovey’ Richar E Grant would have been proud of. A thouroughly enjoyable show full of witty one-liners with a driving plot to boot.

Quickly dashing across town I met my good mate PAUL FLETCHER, a local film-maker who’s just come back from a three year stint in Paris making love & money. We soon found ourselves in an elevator at the plush Jury’s Inn, ascending to the eigth floor. Now Paul’s one of my ‘intellectual’ mates – tho of course not averse to a mash-up – & we were absolutely delighted to be presented with the play TO HOLD AN APPLE (6-27 / 15.10) about the artist Paul Cezanne, the author Emil Zola & the German poet Rilke! It has been brought over by a bucnch of highly intellectual New Yorkers led by AS Zelman-Doring, the play’s writer. She was magnificent as the grumpy old Cezanne, mainting the Coleridgian ‘suspension of disbelief’ magnificently. Honestly, despite being a cute woman in her twenties, she pulled off the old man persona with so much aplomb as she shuffled round the stage with her walking stick, especially the facial gestures. Her two lovely assistants wre philosophizing & poeticing all teh way through the show, with the apples being painted, munched & mused over. The writing was great & well researched, mentioning the Dreyfuss Affair & even using one of my favorite texts – Rilke’s ‘letters to a young poet.’ I thought Id recognized it & asked Ms Zelman-Doring at the end if it was so, which impressed Paul no end. Twas a dream to watch & in thaty dream I watched. The play has been recently selected by Christoper Hampton (writer of Dangerous Liasons) to be performed in the Oxford University’s New Writing Festival by the way.

The next show, in an increasingly busy day, was TRICITY VOGUE’S THE BLUE LADY SINGS BACK (6-27 / 18.05) at the SPACE ON NORTH BRDGE. Boy O Boy what a show! The idea is she’s a painting of a blue woman in an art gallery & gets up to musical mischief a la Night in the Museum. Her dulcet voice sang a series of set piece numbers in differing costumes (but always blue), the best of which was her interpreatation of a golden head-dressed Indian Goddess, Saraswathi-stlye. She actually sang in Hindi & placing blue gloves on two female members of the auidence & getting them to stand behind her dancing, produced an electrifying tantric, multi-armed effect. She also look sexy as Geena Davies in thelma & lousise (the epitomy of womanhood) during her cat-tailed rendition of a song called Pussy CAT BOYS, wandering round the audience mewing & purring to their strokes. In fact, there was a lot of audience participation & she even got me up on stage (mildly terrifying), god bless her! At certain points during her show I’m like, this is the best, or at least most entertaining stuff Ive seen so far this Fringe. Unfortunatley I had to leave ten minutes early to rush across town for Victor Pope’s 2nd gig (a vast improvement on yesterday by the way), so if you’re reading this Tricity, thats why I slipped away, & not because I was hitting myself about getting up again!

The painting before becoming flesh

After snatching some food & writing time at mine, I was out again at night for a show at C CHAMBERS STREET- my fifth of the day = sore feet – picking Paul up again on the way. This was THE DEMON BOX (3-25 – 22.20), a quarter part of the Wagner of Psychiatric Prisons, STEV HYNNESSY’s theatrical tribute to Homicidal maniacs. It is part of a quartet of plays that the actors have stored in the minds in a Kempian Queen’s Men fashion. On this occasion it was Richard Dadd, a Victorian artist who was bidded on by Osiris to murder his father, giving us the line, “Alas! Dadd’s dad is dead!”

The same four actors take part in every play, like the four elements formicng a pefect cohesive ecosystem. This particular play was highly entertaining fare, where the intricate foibles of insanity were perfectly performed. There was this sacrily cute, elegant as waterfalls bird floating about stage as a Shakesperian Ariel, whispering madness into the ears of the players, & the show employed of the best endings Ive ever seen on the stage.

Steve Hynessey

After the show me & Paul joined Victor Pope & Luke (the guy who burnt down mi mates tree) & hit the toon, ending up at C Venues outside bar on the Cowgate. Now, the Cowgate’s normally full of puke & vomit, but come festival time its full of posh totty & particularly interesting chat. The beer was a slightly stepp 3.20 a pint – not quite as pricy as Ireland & three beers get you change from a tenner for two bags of space raiders (beef & pickled onion please)! But come the festival no longer does one have to go to the casinos for a drink after 3, for half the town’s open til 5AM – every night! Happy days!


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AN EPIC SONNET SEQUENCE SET IN EDINBURGH

Mime Time

Hurry Up & Wait

With there being no Fringe this year,
We are revisiting DBB’s Daily Blog of 2011


DAY TWO
4/8/11

I felt at home five minutes after my arrival in Edinburgh
Charles de Gaulle 

Shows So Far – 2

This morning, & a rainy one at that (welcome to Scotland folks), I pottered down to Leith to do a bit of banking. While there I remembered a company called GEORGIAN ANTIQUES had placed a couple of entries in the fringe guide, so I drifted along to their warehouse at Pattison Street just at the start of the Leith Links. I was soon met with 5 gallery-like floors of posh bric-a-brac :- crystal chandaliers, Welsh dressers, grandfather clocks, stag-heads, model galleons, military uniforms, rocking horses, chaise longes & the such like. They have set up an exhibition there called MADE IN SCOTLAND where one can wander around the warehouse orienteering style, finding the rare treasures & reading about them as you go. The theme is that they are all 100% Scottish, such as Orkeney Chairs & pieces from Whytock & Reid. For me the coolest were these very elegant porcelain carpet balls. Find the hidden sweeties for wealthy adults, yes, but great fun all the same. On the third floor one finds a small but bustling display on golf, for it was on those very links that the games first recorded rules for ‘Gowff’ were written down in 1744. The jewel of the antiquities was this large solid silver club with silver golf balls hanging off the shaft, a modern replica of the prize of that same 1744 tournament. The slight whiff of dusty stuffiness that permeated the place only served to enhance the experience of olde-worldiness.

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With the rain still falling I joined the massed ranks of brollys & macs for another hike up the Royal Mile. The Flyer-gangs were still out in full force, but the make up on various painted faces was definitely smudging to nothingness. Toward the top of the mile, on Johnstone Terrace, I came to C AQUILA’S ROMAN LODGE & one of the most amusing shows I’ve ever seen. If yesterday’s bunch of kids averaged about 6 years old, this bunch were all toddlers, escorted by their young & scrummy mums. Wondering what I’d let myself in for I took my seat in the corner & awaited events… & was soon laughing my ‘ead off. The show is called HURRY UP & WAIT (4-15, 17-29 – 14.40), from Queensland, Australia, & is apparently for kids. Theres a kid in all of us, however, & the Beano style antics of the two carachters perched on their stools either side of a big red clock had me in stiches. The idea is they are passing time thro increasingy daft episodes, Norman Wisdom stylee, all mimed to a wicked soundtrack. Honestly, the show’s appeal is universal & practically perfect for a member of the chemical generation, especially the full on psychadelics of the show’s finale. The adults were laughing as hard as the kids, whose giddy laughter reminded me of one of the kural mused 2000 years ago by the Tamil Saint Thiruvalavar;

Voices of giggling children
Lovelier than flutes

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Thiruvalluvar

Come evening it was time for Victor Pope’s opening show at the JEKYLL & HYDE… lets just say we are in a heightened state of unpreparedness. As his sound engineer I was panicking through the first song, twisting nobs & dials furiously in an attempt to get his acoustic guitar working – only to find he’d forgot to turn it up. Half way through the show I found the light box, which helped things a little, but the show wasnt the greatest he’s ever done. Still, a good chat over beers diesecting the show & searching for improvements to costume, banter & song order & we’re off – & like a horse stuck temporarily in the box at the Epsom Derby tomorrow we’ll be joining the field. It was a nice vibe down the Jekyll – lots of ‘free fringes’ circulating, handing out flyers & mingling in anticipation of the marathon to come. Of them we caught the act who was on before Victor, called JAMES LOVERIDGE & OTHER LOSERS (4-27 / 5.35-6.35). He’s a young cockney comedian & is gonna be supported by his fellow cockney comedian mates.

30338_widescreen.jpg

Another touch at the Jekyll was this guy giving out free tickets to a show called DRY ICE (4-28 / 22.40) by award-winning poet & playwright, SABRINA MAHFOUZ, who seems to be doing quite well on the London circuit as these quotes can testify;

‘An invaluable theatrical voice’
Ryan Romain, Associate Director, Theatre Royal Stratford East

‘Her poetry is startling, provocative and thought provoking’
Suzanne Gorman, Connect Director, Soho Theatre

‘Sabrina is seamlessly at the cutting edge of spoken word’
Ctrl.Alt.Shift Magazine

‘A stand alone voice amongst the gaggle of the live literati’
Inua Ellams

Here’s her poetry – http://www.thepopuppoet.com/

Sabrina Mahfouz

Anyhow, me & Victor set off through town, passing Dobby from Peep Show in the street (shes doing a one woman show) & she looked a lot cuter than on the telly – I think she’s lost weight! We eventually reached the UNDERBELLY, a corporate theatre-monster that has taken over one of Auld Reekies nightclubs, filling the caverns with stages. The performance of DRY ICE took place in a stony arched chamber, lit darkly with about thirty seats climbing over a square, black stage. It was a sultry way to end the day & Sabrina was wicked, taking on the role of a young stripper shpieling off anecdotes about her life with a mixture of poetry & dialogue that was apparently assisted in development by David Schwimmer (Ross from Friends). She effortlessly took on the voices of carachters from dodgy black sex-seekers to posh birds at a dinner party. With her shock of scarlet hair, clad in tight leather black pants, bottomoed off with emerald green boots, she was very hot indeed. Her best angle was when she led on the floor between the legs of her white, plastic chair, the audience looking down on her dusky eyes, perfectly curved nose & peachy-pumpkin cheek bones. O yeah, her show was great as well, a real talent!


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THE EDINIAD

By Damian Beeson Bullen

In The Beginning…


With there being no Fringe this year,
We are revisiting DBB’s Daily Blog of 2011


DAY ONE
3/8/11

The most beautiful town in the world
Benjamin Disraeli

First Morning

At about 5AM this morning I was woken by the unwitting heralds of the Edinburgh fringe festival. They squawked me to consciousness those gulls of the Forth, flitting over the rooftops of Leith on the search for food left by last nights revellers. For a moment I thought why dont I get up, march to the top of Calton Hill all pagan style & take a photo of the rising sun to summon the muses & gods into the very spirit of the forthcoming festivities, like my own private Beltane. Then I thought sack that & went back to my kip…

Peter Pan

Waking up at a more reasonable hour it was time to go & see my first show. Interestingly it was just round the corner from where I live at OUT OF THE BLUE on Dalmeny Street – between Easter Road & Leith Walk. Its one of those community spaces full of artists studios, with a wicked cafe to boot. Also based there is Diamond Events Services, who actually employed me on & off for several years putting marquees & carrtying steel rigging & stuff like that. The boss John Diamond’s an ambitious lad & this year, with the help of an old uni friend Natasha Lee-Walsh, has turned the Drill Hall into a proper venue – LEITH ON THE FRINGE. Its cool to see the Fringe still growing & moving out of its traditional Old Town heartland. Using his years of setting up every body elses events, Diamond has built a cool venue, with a wide spacious stage that was fully made use of by the first show Ive seen – & perhaps with its 10.15 AM start time the first show in the entire fringe. This was an ariel adaption of JM Barrie’s timeless tribute to childhood, PETER PAN.

Dates:
3 – 28 August 2011 (Not Mondays)
Times:
10:15 (60 mins)
13.30 (60 mins) 4, 5, 6, 9th, 14, 16,18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28 August

The audience was a nice cross section of age groups, – with some of the kids sat on mats right underneath the action. This involved 5 pretty women swinging, somersaulting & twisting on ropes with a couple of guys in the wings handling the ropes & making occasional cameos. The costumes were wicked – redskins, pirates, the ticking crocodile & two garish wonderful mermaids who controlled their flapping tails with strings on their wrists. The backdrop was a great screen, which sometimes sillouhetted the action behind it, a wonderful effect providing the highlight – for me – of the show. It was a gravity-defying dance between Peter & Wendy, with Peter behind the screen & Wendy before it, the pair of them waltzing like a couple of spiderwomen. Sometimes we had a conventional play without the ropes which trundled the story along. A very visual affair, it was a cross between a rope access course & ballet, with a very cute Captain Cook. One for the kids definitely.

Into Toon

After typing all that up back at mine I thought I’d have my first sauunter into town to check out the vibe. En route I swerved to Gayfield Square at the top of Leith Walk, where this art installation is supposed to be at a place called WHITESPACE. I couldn’t actually find it (I think it starst tomorrow) but instead I discovered that next door, at Edinburgh’s Framed Gallery, my ex (see last blog) is doing an exhibition later on in the festival! Apparently she’s now Scotland’s premier time lapse photographer! Elsewhere in the WHITESPACE I stumbled into a technical rehearsal of a play called ELEGY (4-8, 10-15, 17-22, 24-28 – 20.30), a story about gay Iraqis I think, directed by Douglas Rintoul (Barbican, Dundee Rep, Complicite) with music by award-winning Raymond Yiu. The floor was covered in clothes, like a sea of cardigans, & after a wee chat with the producer I think I scored some comps – good karma!

From there I headed up for my first saunter up the Royal Mile, & the sensory riot of colour from the flyer-flinging companies. They are mostly fresh from drama school or university & I love the way they are dressed up in costume, or sporting ‘team’ t-shirts with the name of the show emblazoned upon them. As one can set off through London with pockets full of cash & find them empty on completing the traversal, one sets off up the Royal Mile during festival time with empty pockets & finds them full of flyers upon exiting that excited street. Among them I received this from a bunch of giant Korean babies in boxer shorts grinning & gesticulating wildly behind some knee-high dancing puppets;

Just off the Royal Mile is the National Library of Scotland where I am typing this right now. Alongside Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin, Aberystwyth & the British Library in London, it reveives a copy of every book published in the UK. It will be a great central base for me during the fringe, just a stones throw from most of the venues & an oasis of quiet in which to write. I need it really, as Ive got a lot to see & turn to words & being here will keep things nice & fresh. Whilw here Ive done a wee spot of study & came across the Gobleki Tepe, an 11,500 year old temple from the dawn of civilization. It seems that this was the first (known) time that people left their little packs of hunter-gatherers & came together in force to create a piece of worship-art. Our neolithic ancestors would probably have gazed upon quality carved animals such as boars, cranes, foxes & scorpions in the very same way me & the half million or so due in Edinburgh sit in silence before the godlike performers of the Fringe; or as the 19th century German philosopher Nietzche once wrote;

Singing and dancing, man expresses himself as a member of a higher community: he has forgotten how to walk and talk and is on the verge of flying up into the air as he dances. The enchantment speaks out in his gestures. Just as the animals now speak and the earth gives milk and honey, so something supernatural also echoes out of him: he feels himself a god; he himself now moves in as lofty and ecstatic a way as he saw the gods move in his dream. The man is no longer an artist; he has become a work of art

Gobleki Tepe

First Night

Toward sunset me & Victor Pope went up to the COUNTING HOUSE on West Nicholson Street for the Laughing Horse Free Fringe performer’s party. Last year they gave away unlimited Kopperburg, but this year, to account for the massive influx of new acts, it was just a wee sample in a small glass. Still, they did have plenty of prawn cocktail wraps! The Laughing Horse started in 2004, with three acts playing for free in a single bar. This year there are 352 different acts spread out over 16 venues across town! Whats happening now is what happened with the ‘official’ fringe, which began as an alternative option to the International Festival (of high culture) started in 1946 to a cheer us all up after the austerities of WW2. Over the years the Fringe would turn into a coroprate whore, charging high prices to both punter & performer. Its good to see the Free fringe blossoming well & making culture affordable to all – you basically chuck your cash in a bucket at the end of the show! This year’s fare were all gathered in this far too small a room, fanning themselves with their own flyers to counter the steadily increasing sauna-like temperatures. Before I scarpered, streaming sweat, I caught three comedians (whose names I didnt catch) doing 5 minute plugs of their shows, the best jokes being;

I told my German mates I want to move to a nice part of their country – they said why not try the Black Forest – I said I dont want to live in a gateaux

I dont go to Thailand for the sex trade, the weather or the food – I go for the free shoes – you find loads of them outside the temples

The Captain’s Bar

Cooling down in the fresh night air I set off home, stumbling on a guy who was chalking FREE MUSIC TONIGHT on the pavement. This led me the the Captains Bar on south college street, where mi mate Mike Breen (he’d starred in my musical Alibi in 2007-08) was playing guitar & singing to the accompaniment of two fiddlers. A nice way to finish off this first day of the Fringe, sat next to me a middle aged Antipodean couple on their first visit to Scotland, checking out the traditonal vibe. While at the Captains I noticed they had their own finge line-up – paid poets in the morning (9AM-10.30AM / £5.50 with a coffe & a cake) & poets, writers & musicians every night for free from 7.30. My interest was piqued, actually, because Owen Shears – the only poet Ive connected with of my generation – will be there on Saturday 13th August. I didnt intend to pay for a ticket this fringe, but I might make the exception just that once – he’s a fellow poet after all & the lad has to eat! Its all rather apt really, as the great Scottish poet William McGonnagal died next door! He’s not to every one’s taste, but I think I’ll finish today with a couple of extracts from one of his babies about Edinburgh itself;

Beautiful city of Edinburgh!
Where the tourist can drown his sorrow
By viewing your monuments and statues fine
During the lovely summer-time…

…Beautiful city of Edinburgh! the truth to express,
Your beauties are matchless I must confess,
And which no one dare gainsay,
But that you are the grandest city in Scotland at the present day!

Joke of the Day

An Englishman, Irishman & a Scotsman enter a bar – the bar man goes, “Is this some kind of a joke?”
The Counting House Blackboard


READ

THE EDINIAD

By Damian Beeson Bullen

 

AN EPIC SONNET SEQUENCE SET IN EDINBURGH

Alibi: Scene 3 – 4


PART 1 OF THE LEITHOLOGY QUINTOLOGY


 

SCENE 3 – The New Bongo Club

Nightclub – there is a bar, a bouncer & a dance floor / Lily, Sally & Ally sharing a tequila with General

***

MUMBO JUMBO

All
Stevie Austin, we thought we’d lost him
But now he’s back on with some breaks from Boston x 3

Mumbo Jumbo (take me higher) x 4

And when the kids are coming up
& as the bouncers getting down
The music’s taking us higher
To higher ground

General
Down on the dance floor, I couldn’t find mi dealer
Want to entrance more, so I bought some tequila
When you feel flakey, honey,
Shakey, shakey, shake yer money
There’s one thing’ll heal ya – that’s a shot of tequila!

Raver
Why did the Mexican push his wife off the cliff?
TEQUILA!

All
Mumbo Jumbo (take me higher) x 4

And when the kids are coming up
& as the bouncers getting down
The music’s taking us higher
To higher ground

Enter TC & Nelson

TC
Well mi name is TC, I’m on a smart E
Lookin’ for a bangin’, phat girlie
The Tiger Cubs are ripping up the club
& everybody’s tripping to the woo-woo
Its Stevie Austin, they thought they’d lost him
But now he’s back on with some breaks from Boston
Top banana, hot love karma,
Nelson’s looking chuff’d
Cause I took him to the club where all the
Mumbo Jumbo kids are coming up
& as the bouncer’s getting down
The music’s taking us higher
To higher ground

TC
Welcome to the Bongo club brother, whaddaya reckon

Nelson
Fuckin’ tops, there’s nothing like this in my hometown

TC
Yeah, all handbag house & happy slappers down your way – welcome to paradise – I mean – have you ever seen such quality tottie

Nelson
Only on the telly

TC
Trust me, mate, most of em are available,
know what I mean?

General
Yo TC, long time no see, where’v ya bin

TC
Got stuck in a lift mate

General
Did ya? Anyway am I glad to see you

TC
Why whats up

General
The clubs dry, pal, everyone’s necked their pills, the dealers are nowhere to be seen & we’ve finished off the house tequila – even the legal highs are illegal these days – since them SNP got in power it’s bin proper hard to get off you face – please tell me yer packing summat TC?

TC
Not really, I could spare you a bit of billy

General
Nah, I don’t touch the devi’ls dandruff mate, me & just about everyone else in the the club’s lookin for ecstasy

TC
Sorry mate, can’t help ya

General
Nah worries, nuff respect

TC
Respect… yo, Nelson, I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine… Nelson, meet the Cool Pool General, the best hustler in Scotland

Nelson
Nice to meet ya

General
Likewise… say TC, you goin’ down the hall later, pocket a few balls?

TC
We’ll see what the night brings eh

General
Hopefully one of those pretty little lovebirds over there – wish me luck, I’m going in

General goes off dancing

TC
You know Nelson, I think I might have spotted a small business opportunity
<gets out phone>
Yo, Charlie, any chance of scorin a hundred o those Dutch eccies…. how much…. you in now… right, I’ll be there in twenty minutes…
<hangs up phone>
Yo Nelson mate, I’m just off on a little mission, look after mi stash will ya

TC gets bag out of underpants / Nelson holds bag as if to say – uuugh thats been down your pants

TC
I got good vibes about you, son – I know a trustworthy geezer when I see one – there’s a few grammes of charlie in there, & a bit of weed – after the rave ya can crash at mine – we’re all set for a bangin’ night – but, if ya fancy skinnin’ up, whatever you do be discreet – the bouncers are proper tight round these parts, but it’s the punters ya got to worry about the most, they’ll pounce on ya like a pack of volossur raptors – anyway, gotta fly – laters

Exit TC – Nelson looks in bag – finds a corner & begins to skin up – one by one the chorus (Lily, Sally, Ally & the General) notice him & flock around

***

FLIPSIDE OVER EASY

Chorus
Skin-up ezy geezer, skin it up & pass it round
This way, thataway,
Anywhichway that you want it to go
Just pack it in & skin it up & pass it round

Bouncer
I’m a bouncer down the Mumbo Jumbo
Ya fuckt up in the head my son,
If you light that up I’m gonna do you over
For messin around in my joint!

Nelson
Hey chill, man chill, lets split this pill,
There’s plenty of time fer that
When you’re a free man!
I’m gonna skin up here if I have to,
I’m gonna skin up whenever I want to,
I’m gonna skin up right in yer face man,
I’m gonna skin up in yer home-boys place &
I’m gonna pass it on to all my friends,
Who are Flipside Over Easy x3

Flipside Over Easy, inside-out & round & round,
This way, that-a-way,
Any which way that I’m wantin to go,
I’m back-to-front, I’m comin up,

Bouncer
Ya goin down…

Chorus
Skin-up ezy geezer, skin it up & pass it round
This way, thataway,
Anywhichway that you want it to go
Just pack it in & skin it up & pass it round

Girls
Herbaweed ana weedaganj ana
Ganja-a-weed ana weedamarijuana
Herbaweed ana weedaganj ana
Ganja-a-weed ana weedamarijuana
Herbaweed ana weedaganj ana
Ganja-a-weed ana weedamarijuana

General
I remember when I carry
Ten bags of mari-mari
But I smoked it til it was dead
I didn’t have a reefer to ease my head
Yes you don’t know what I need
You don’t know what I need
I need some weed

Harmony 1
Skin-up ezy geezer, skin it up & pass it round
This way, thataway,
Anywhichway that you want it to go
Just pack it in & skin it up & pass it round

Harmony 2
Aaaaahhhhh….

Harmony 3
Herbaweed ana weedaganj ana
Ganja-a-weed ana weedamarijuana
Herbaweed ana weedaganj ana
Ganja-a-weed ana weedamarijuana

Nelson lights up spliff & Bouncer drags him off


 

SCENE 4 – In the street outside club

Nelson is thrown out of the club

Nelson
Let us back in mate

Bouncer
Look, fuck off

Nelson
Did you go to nobhead school or summat, come on let us back in, man

Bouncer
You’re definitely not coming in now

Nelson
Whats that?

Nelson points to imaginary plan & tries to run in but is thrown out again

Nelson
Woah-woah- woah- what ya doin- do you know who I am

Bouncer
Yeah I know who you are, ya barr’d, now fuck off

Nelson
It was only a wee spliff – mate, cmon let us back in

Bouncer
House regulations lad – theres a Dub night on down Cabaret Voltaire tonight – they turn a blind eye to that ganja stuff – you may get away with it there, but not in here, not get yourself out

Nelson
But…

Lily exits club – Nelson looks at her ass & falls in love straight away

Bouncer
…& don’t come back

***

BLONDE GIRLS

Nelson
Hey blondie, nice ass can I touch it
Hey blondie, nice ass can I touch it
Hey blondie, nice ass can I touch it
Cos it makes me go weak at the knees
Your posterior is shakin up my area
Im beggin yer darlin let me touch it please

Because blonde girls are better in the summer
When the sun is shinin high
They’re my golden flower lovers
With their sky-blue ocean eyes
I swear they’re angels in disguise

Hey lady, you guessed it, you’d get it
Hey lady, you guessed it, you’d get it
Hey lady, you guessed it, you’d get it
That’s the best ass I’ve ever seen
& your posterior is shakin up my area
Im beggin yer darlin let me kiss your booty clean

Because blonde girls are better in the summer
When the sun is shinin high
They’re my golden flower lovers
With their sky-blue ocean eyes
I swear they’re angels in disguise

Because brunettes are better in the winter
God damn it everythin’ gonna get in the spring
& in autumn those auburns are better
But in summertime those blonde girls
Well they’re my thing

Blonde girls are better in the summer
When the sun is shinin high
They’re my golden flower lovers
With their sky-blue ocean eyes
I swear they’re angels in disguise

Lily
Nice song… whats your name

Nelson
Prince Nelson the Fourth

Lily
A prince eh

Nelson
Yep thats me

Lily
Well, your highness, I’m Lily

Nelson
Honoured

Lily
I saw you get kicked out of the club… that’s no way to treat royalty… hard lines

Nelson
Yeah, just for a wee spliff, n’all… so darlin, where’s such a radiant angel like yourself off to all on her lonesome

Lily
I thought I’d go home, the clubs dry

Nelson
I’ve got a couple of pills on me

Lily
You have? You dont have any coke as well, by any chance

Nelson
Coke, nah… wait-waitaminute, what was I thinkin, of course I do, I got loads of the stuff

Lily
Fancy havin a… session… at mine

Nelson
You got any booze

Lily
One of my mates, a barmaid down the Pond, she usually sell us some under the counter if I’m stuck

Nelson
Wicked, lets get a few bottles of pricey bubbly in, I’m payin baby – TAXI!!

Exit Lily & Nelson – General arrives

General
Yo mate, you haven’t seen a blonde girl have ya, she had an ass like an angel

Bouncer
Aye

General
Which way did she go?

Bouncer
You’re outta luck mate, she just jumped in a taxi with that arsehole I just threw out of here

General
Gutted… say, you don’t have any pills for sale do ya?

Bouncer
I might have… just watch the door a minute while I nip to my car, & whatever you do
DON’T LET ANYONE IN

General
No probs

Exit bouncer / enter two scallys

General
(practicing to himself)
If ya names not down, ya not comin’ in

Enter Gadgie II

Gadgie II
Alright mate, I’m on the guest list

General
Sorry, I cant let ya in til the bouncer gets back

Gadgie II
But I’m reviewing for the Mumble -Damo said I’d be on the guest list

General
I cannae do it – you’re gonna have to wait

Gadgie II
(holding up bag of coke)
How about a line of this

General
Ooo! In you go


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

Dating Samantha Pressdee

silly


Samantha Pressdee has been lookin’ for Lockdown Love


Hello Sam – so how are you finding the lock down so far?
At first it was really tough, then I came to an acceptance after I asked the archangel Michael to cut my energy cord to the mainstream media. That’s when I got back to being creative. I started an online study group of The Artist’s Way. With some lovely people I met at clown school – I was attending Ecole Philippe Gaulier before the lockdown in Paris).

I managed to get a bit of spring cleaning done and started an online course in Jungian Archetypes. In a way I am grateful for this pause. I feel like I have been running really fast for a long time trying to keep up with everyone in the comedy world. I think I needed to catch my breath. I was exhausted after last Edinburgh.

How do you feel the comedy world in general is being affected by the Lockdown?
It’s like a reset button has been pushed. Everyone has had to stop what they are doing and some files have been lost. Stand up is all about flying by the seat of your pants, but now we are all lounging around in our pants. Although there is nothing like performing for a live audience, some people have gone online. Some people have got proper jobs and some people are just taking this time to reflect. I feel when live comedy comes back it will be with a renewed energy and be more enjoyable than ever!

 

The lockdown has been a bit of a cooking cauldron for the creatives, what have you come up with yourself?
I am now a series producer. As I couldn’t do my live show and all live work was canceled I have turned my energies to the online world. I am currently producing, writing and performing in a reality dating series called Love In Lockdown. It’s about trying to find love in these strange times, rather desperately. This character has emerged who is slightly aggressive, mischievous and more than a bit bonkers. Nothing like my actual personality.

What was the moment of inspiration, the eureka moment, when Love in Lockdown was born?
I was writing my morning pages (An exercise from The Artist’s Way) when I came up with an idea. I am recently divorced. I’ve been single and celebate for a year and half. People have been asking me when I will start dating. I have always said I would start dating in April. I thought it was funny that after 18 months of no sex, we got to april and the option to date was no longer there. So I made a joke dating profile video and posted it to my facebook page. People loved it, it had thousands of views. They were saying things like “I needed to laugh.” So I decided to turn it into a series. People have been really enthusiastic and I am reaching an audience who may not have found me on the live circuit. I hope to meet them in person at a gig when all this is over.

So are some of your new fans asking you out on a date?
Yes but I am only accepting submissions via Plenty Of Catfish, only one person has had the courage to send a video submission so far. I don’t trust people on the internet, I would never have turned to online dating had it not been for the pandemic. At least with a video I can read their energy by gazing into their eyes, and I know they’re not a catfish!

 

What goes into making an episode, from inception to editing?
I take inspiration from what has happened during the week. It could be that something has happened politically, or there is an interesting news story. Or maybe my fans have been chatting me up and I screen grab their comments and politely reply. Then I choose two or three topics for joke writing exercises and free writes. I always write at least 3 pages on A4 paper when free writing. I underline anything funny, or interesting then start making it into a script. I have been writing 2 or 3 drafts before finalising. After that it’s into hair and makeup, while my dog sets up the camera, sound and lights. Then I film about 3 takes and spend hours and hours editing. It’s a lot of work for a few minutes of comedy, but I usually drive for hours to get to gigs, so it’s worth it.

flowers

What are you learning about yourself from doing this series?
I am learning that I have to be creative. It’s who I am. That’s probably why my last marriage ended. My husband wasn’t happy living in the UK and I couldn’t be happy living in Kos, Greece and working on the beach because my only creative outlet was karaoke. I am also more aware of how hard I work, I’ve actually been working too hard and trying too hard. I knew something had to change after last Edinburgh because I was exhausted as soon as I got there and couldn’t perform at my best. I was mentally and physically exhausted after the run, it went ok with a few sell outs but I knew I could have done so much better had I felt more prepared. Painful lesson, but it inspires me to keep grafting. Learning to work smarter instead of harder and I have been learning more about physical comedy by going to clown school. I want my comedy to become more universal and appeal to the international audiences we attract at festivals such as The Edinburgh Fringe.

 

The Lockdown won’t last forever, what plans have you got for the series once normality returns?
I have already found a potential husband, so I imagine the series will climax with a wedding soon. Just like the netflix show ‘Love Is Blind’. Unlike the contestants on Love Is Blind. I will marry my husband without ever meeting him. Planning a zoom wedding with comedy blogger John Fleming as the Vicar.

What are the first things you are going to do yourself when full normality returns?
The first thing I need is a massage. After being single and celibate for 18 months and now under house arrest, I NEED SOMEONE TO TOUCH ME.

& finally, Sam, do you have a message for any of your fellow comedians struggling during the Lockdown?
Just keep writing, we can’t perform on stage yet but you may find your writing suits a blog, a screenplay or a masterplan. I heard Shakespeare wrote a few plays during a quarantine. That didn’t turn out too bad for him.


LOVE IN LOCKDOWN

WATCH THE ENTIRE SERIES HERE

crazed(1)

www.lovemuffin.org.uk

Alibi: Scenes 1-2


PART 1 OF THE LEITHOLOGY QUINTOLOGY


SCENE 1 – Peebles Town Centre

 Brenda the Busker is sat underneath a cash machine with a guitar & a fake comedy dog / she is singing a song / enter a Wee Gadgie

Brenda
Alright big man, help the homeless

Wee Gadgie
I’m skint mate

Brenda
No worries, have a good night

Wee Gadgie
How am I gonna have a good night with no money, get a fuckin’ job yer hobo

Exit Wee Gadgie, enter Nelson

Brenda
Nelson!!

Nelson
Alright Brenda, hows trix

Brenda
Y’know, surviving… but wots up wi’ you Nelson, your face is trippin’ ya

Nelson
Bad day at work, y’know, my boss is a pain-in-the ass

Brenda
I’ve never had a boss, me… I’m me own boss –

Nelson
Lucky you

Brenda
Spare any change?

Nelson
What, I earn it so you can spend it on smack

Brenda
Nah, mate, gone clean, sorted me ‘ed out – this is just for the hostel tonight

Nelson
{giving change}
Why not, I’ve put in a bit of overtime this week

Brenda
Nice one fella
{Nelson starts drawing out his money}
Yo Nelson – you’ve been comin to this cash point every Friday now for as long as I can remember, wearing the same old chinos & the same pair of shoes

Nelson
Yeah, & you’ve been here every fuckin time

Brenda
I know that, its mi job innit, but what do you do every Friday night

Nelson
You know, the usual, I go down the pub with me mates – that’s where I’m off to now, for a night on the tiles

Brenda
{standing up}
Look, mate, since I’ve got my head together I’ve been thinking a lot about you & I got some advice for ya

***

TURNAROUND

Brenda
Kid make a fresh start
Let’s take the new road to walk down
Cos you know in your heart
That it’s time to leave your hometown
It’s a big world out there
Millions of girls your own age, horny
Let me tell you man I swear
If i had the chance I would always keep on moving

Nelson
I’ve bin grindin my bones for all these years
For a sackful o stones & a sink full of tears
First they fill you with loans
& then they kill your ideas
Our planet – is waiting for us all

 

Brenda
It’s time to turnaround (x 3)
& head on down the loose track baby
& never turnaround & think of home
& then o maybe
You will find a finer place of liberty & life
The tales you’ll tell beside the fireplace
To all your children & their children

Nelson
I’ve bin stuck in a rut & I can’t break free
Bin bustin mi gut in a factory
Industrial slut & I’ve lost my dreams
But our planet – is waitin for us all

Brenda
It’s time to turnaround
It’s time to turnaround
It’s time to turnaround
& hear the sound of your heart singin
Come on boy leave ya friends
& family & all the things you know
It’s time to go, cos there’s
A better life if you can find it
& tho the road is lined with trials
There’s mystery if you don’t mind it

Brenda & Nelson
It’s time to (time to) turnaround
It’s time to (time to) turnaround

***

Nelson
Cheers mate, ya right, this towns shit, I might as well split, the worlds my oyster innit, but where should I go first?

Brenda
The big city kid, it’ll make a man o yer

Nelson
The Big City – what, Glasgow?

Brenda
Fuckoff – not Weegieland, it’s full of numpties, I meant the capital, the capital of Scotland – the Athens of the North, the Dingwall of the South – Edinburgh

Nelson
Well, I’ve always thought about checkin’ it one day

Brenda
Of course you should laddie – I mean look at this place – it’s more like a retirement village – you should be thinkin about visitin the continent – not the incontinent – This place is just a graveyard with a TK Max

Nelson
You know, you’re right, I think I’m gonna do it

Brenda
Of course I’m right, the streets are in my blood, bruother – I see everything me – anyway, there’s a bus leaving this evening, why don’t you get yourself on it

Nelson
Tonight…. that’s a bit soon, innit

Brenda
Time & red hot, horny ladies shaking their asses on a Friday night wait for no man

Nelson
I’m gonna do it – yeah, fuck it, I’m, I’m doing it – I’ll send you a postcard, yeah

Brenda
Not to this bank though, I get all my mail sent to the Barclays up the road

Nelson
Right O, catch yer on the flipside sister



SCENE 2 – Edinburgh

A busy Princes Street – TC is hanging out – Nelson gets off the bus

Nelson
Wow this is mental – look at the buildings, the trams – the double-decker busses – the shops – the castle – the women!

TC
Welcome to the capital kid, you sound like you’re from outta town, where ya from

Nelson
Some place ya never heard of

TC
Just arrived have ya

Nelson
Yeah, I’m fresh off the bus

TC
Cool, they call me TC

Nelson
Nelson

TC
Say, kid, its Friday night, I’m goin ravin, you like to party

Nelson
Sometimes

TC
Well my mates just given me a few cheeky pills – the very the latest out of Amsterdam

Nelson
What, ecstasy

TC
Yeah… he flew in this morning with a few hundred stuck up his ass

Nelson
Uuuugh

TC
Dont worry, he used protection – now then, do wanna try one or not

Nelson
Go on then

TC
Here you go pal – tell me what ya think

{TC passes Nelson a pill}

Nelson
Uuugh – that tastes rank

TC
That’s the MDMA that is, the more bitter it tastes, the better the mash-up, right

Nelson
I guess so – wait a minute – fuckin hell

TC
Are you alright kid

Nelson
I think so… I come up on my drugs straight away me – my doctor says its my hyperactive metabolisms or something

***

ULTRA-GROOVY HIGH

Nelson
There’s nothing of this world
Like a free & easy man
He can do whatever he wants to
& what he likes he’ll do
Whatever, whenever he can
I’m a-rollin, easy strollin
Down the road, I hear my callin
In the music that I’m singin man
Its the only way to make the streets
Your own

Because the way I’m feelin now
I didn’t even know that it existed,
The way I’m feelin ultra-groovy
Brothers & my sisters
& I might be a nobody
But I’m the star o’ my own movie
Up, down, turnaround
I’m ultra-groovy high

 

TC
Wooah kid… are you alright

Nelson
No, mate, I’m really suffering

TC
Shit, sorry

Nelson
Yeah I’m suffering… from a case of top quality banter

TC
Ha-ha – its them pills mate, so they’re proper decent, yeah?

Nelson
Fuckin magic mate, I’m flyin here

TC
Wicked, I might try one myself

Nelson
What, have you never tried these before

TC
Course not, I always get a muppet to neck one first… Lookin at the nick of you I might just have an half

Nelson
Ya cheeky bastard

TC
Cheeky’s my middle name kid

Nelson
I’m a-skippin thro the subways
In my bliss’d-out sister love haze
& I’m a-driftin thro my drug days
& the super-shlinky soul light’s
Shinin thro…
Theres a rollercoaster risin man
Above the blue horizon &
You’ll never put a price upon
The way I’m feelin now
You’d never know

Nelson & TC
Because the way I’m feelin now
I didn’t even know that it existed
The way Im feelin ultra-groovy
Brothers & my sisters
& I might be a nobody
But I’m the star o’ my own movie
Up, down, turnaround
I’m ultra-groovy high

Nelson
& it’s true what the say about livin
I guess yer live until yer die
Cos the time we spend must fly
I’m livin on an ultra groovy high

TC
& now I’m ultra groovy high,
Ive found an oasis
I’m gonna see places I’ve never seen before
Opening doors, breaking yer laws
I’m feelin like a force of nature hollerin
The valley of Kings now I’ve spread my wings
& I can fly

***

TC
You’re right, these pills are hard core, bruv
I’m fuckin’ flyin here

Nelson
Told ya

TC
You’ll diddly do for me brother – gizza cuddle
{they cuddle}
Like I said, there’s a wicked rave on down the Bongo club tonight – its call’d Mumbo Jumbo – fancy a boogie

Nelson
Do bears shit in the woods

TC
Dunno, don’t get bears in the big city, but what we do get is proper phat phumpin beats – lets go – word to the wise tho, don’t try any of that ‘up, down turnaround’ shit, you’ll get slapped for being a nobhead – but first, we’re going shopping – theres a nice little retro shop down the Grassmarket – get you out of those townie threads – you look like my granddad

Nelson
What yer talking about, this lot cost me a fortune

TC
Well they saw you comin… Trust me, you look like a dick, now come on before the shops shut

Exit TC & Nelson


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!

 

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

The world’s leading exponent of Dramatic Blank Verse

***

Articles:

Composing Conchordia, Provence

Composing Conchordia: Vaulting the Lockdown

Timewarpin’: Scenes 8-Outro


PART 4 OF THE LEITHOLOGY QUINTOLOGY


SCENE 8: The Streets of Leith, this time next year

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brenda is waiting on a street corner – enter Dante & the General from the space-time continuum

Dante & General
Time-Warp-In!

***

WAY OUT

Brenda
I’m so tired of your nonsensical mind
Show me the way out, show me the way out I can find

I’m so bored, I’m so bored of your bullshit brain
Show me the way out, show me the way out of this drain

I’m so lost, I’m so lost in your foolish ways
Show me the way out, show me the way out of this maze

I’m so caught, I’m so caught by your awful spell
Show me the way out, show me the way out of this hell

Turn, turn that mad tap off of my life force
You’ve had a good blast as yer took me to task
Now I’m askin for a bit of relief
Burn, burn that bridge that you thought we were buildin’
Cos my bridge can’t stand on on your selfish sands
As you pull the rug from under me feet
& the culling of my heart is complete

I’m so torn, because you tear my soul apart
Show me the way in
Show me the way into your heart

***

Enter Malik

Malik
Wotcha Brenda

Brenda
Oh, hi, Malik, thanks for coming out at such short notice

Malik
So what can I do you for

Brenda
I was looking for a… a… a gun

Malik
A gun, well, I might be able to help you out with that, so what kind of gun are you looking for

Brenda
Nothing fancy, just one that works.

Malik
Well, it just so happens that I’ve got a nice little WW2 German number in my pocket… four hundred quid

Brenda
Sure
{starts handing out the notes}

Malik
& bullets, do you want any bullets

Brenda
I’ll just need the one please

Malik
Well, there’s three or four in the chamber already, just keep ’em – gizmme a bell if you want anymore

Brenda
I’ll keep that in mind, thanks

Malik
Are you alright doll

Brenda
Never been better – I’ll see you around Malik

Exit Malik

Brenda
I’ts been a beautiful journey, world, but… I just cannae cope anymore

Brenda shoots herself, but the gun goes click

Brenda
Story of my life, nothing’s ever worked

Brenda accidentally shoots herself in the head

General
Noo…… Brenda !!!

The General dashes to Brenda & picks her up in his arms

***

WESTERN SUICIDE

Dante
Old man pulls down the shutter
She’s dead, down in the gutter,
Her blood pours thro’ the sewers
No fun, life in the cureless grey
On a day like today

She’s just another western suicide
I’m gonna tell ya ’bout the way she died
She got stuck down a lonely street
The kind of girl that you’re never likely to meet

Her momma thought her so pretty
She bought a ticket to the city
She left her mansion in Cockenzie
So fast, flyin’ like a kamakaze
In a Hollywood, movie

She’s just another western suicide
I’m gonna tell ya ’bout the way she died
She got stuck down a lonely street
The kind of girl that you’re never likely to meet

She work’d for twenty seven hours a day
Dumb, lazy boyfriend’s wastin all her pay
Now she’s lost her job got nowhere to stay
Her life’s young dreams have all faded away
On a day like today

General
Why throw it away when ya cant turn back
Put it all on red & watch the ball turn black

Dante & General
She’s just another western suicide
I’m gonna tell ya ’bout the way she died
She got stuck down a lonely street
The kind of girl that you’re never likely to meet

So you think you’re so lucky that your life is not like that!

***

Larry
What the fuck are you doing Dante?

Dante
We are in the future, exactly one year from the day that Brenda caught you shmozzing with that floozy & the plastic monkeys… she could not cope with the break-up & so she sunk into a deep depression which has led to this sad, sad moment

Larry
O my god, what have I done, Brenda, I’m so sorry, Dante how can I change it, how can we fix this?

Dante
Look inside yourself Tristan, what is your soul saying, tell me boy, what are the words

***

SEMINAL LIVES

General
We spend our chemical youth
Lookin for love & seekin truth til
We’ve had our fill of the feeling
But now I’m towing the right line
Findin the time to free my mind
& findin’ life so appealin’
Cos when I heard

Dante
Stop, stop runnin around like a time bomb
Dont seem to give a damn about anyone
stop or you’re goin to blow

General
Then I heard

Dante
Stop, stop runnin around like a time bomb
You dont seem to give a damn about anyone
Stop or you’re going to blow

General
I bet you dont feel like I do x2
I bet you dont feel like I feel x2

I get this feelin when I get outta bed
I’m gonna do the damn things
That are runnin’ inside my head
Running around in the life that I know
I’m like a drownin rat & I’m caught in the undertow

We spend our seminal lives
Lookin for ways to woo our wives
When we’re ready to settle
All our criminal past
Hide it away in plaster cast
Or wrap it in precious metal
Cos when I heard

Dante
Stop, stop runnin around like a time bomb
You dont seem to give a damn about anyone
Stop or you’re going to blow

General
Then I heard

Dante
Stop, stop runnin around like a time bomb
You dont seem to give a damn about anyone
Stop or you’re going to blow

General
I bet you dont feel like I do x2
I bet you dont feel like I feel x2

I get this feelin when I get outta bed
I’m gonna do the damn things
That are runnin inside my head
Running round & round in the life that I know
I’m like a drownin man & I’m caught in the undertow

***

Dante
Well, well, well – I said it was an imposible task – but the boss upstairs insisted you had a shred of decency somewhere – I didn’t expect it at all, but, my boy, I think you have learned your lesson & earned yourself your reprieve… there shall be last timewarp to make….

General
Cheers Dante, everything you said makes sense pal, y’know you might look like a complete tube but you’re alright underneath – if this is our last jump together, lets hold hands or something

Dante
I am afraid I will not be escorting you on this timewarp – it will be our goodbye Tristan, so farewell & good luck

Dante
Its been great
{They shake hands}
& one more thing…. Don’t fuck it up!

General
I’m on it pal… timewarpin’


Scene 9: The General’s Flat, today

General
Timewarpin’ – Woah, wait a minute – what, that’s well weird – I can’t remember taking any ketamine

The doorbell goes / the General answers it / Shannon is waiting at the door in a sexy outfit

Shannon
Hello Sailor!

General
Shannon… do come in come in

Shannon
I am feeling so fucking horny
{starts waving the psychedelic spunk monkey}
I brought us something to play with

General
Wooaahhh! Wait one mother fuckin’ minute –– I’m buzzin’ with de ja vu – we’ve been in this exact situation before

Shannon
What are you on about

General
Dante Alighieri

Shannon
Who

General
Dante Alighieri – the poet

Shannon
What have you been taking, you – & can I have some

General
Look Shannon, I’ve enjoy’d our hook-ups, really I have, but, but I can’t see you again, like, ever

Shannon
& why not

General
I’ve got a girlfriend – did I just say that – yeah I did, no, I do, I’ve got a girlfriend – & I fuckin’ lov her n’all – you’ll have to leave

Shannon
You never said you had a girlfriend

General
You never asked – but you’ve gotta go, its over

Shannon
Its over is it, alright, fuck you
{Shannon waves her small wiener finger}
I wasn’t missing much anyway

Exit Shannon

General
{starting to tidy up}
Jeesh – look at the state of this place

***

Enter Brenda

Brenda
What are you doing

General
Tidying the house honey… you’re home early

Brenda
Work let me go, they said I was too tired, they’re bang on, y’know, I’m exhausted

General
Why don’t you put your feet up, I’ll run you a bath, eh, then cook us up a nice tasty tea, how does that sound

Brenda
Are you alright

General
Yeah, never been better – listen babe, I’ve realised I’ve been a massive jerk – I promise things are gonna change round here– I’m gonna change

Brenda
How are you gonna change

General
Well dunno, day-by-day, intelligent increments & bold baby-steps – I’m even open for suggestions honey, you can mould me

***

NAVIGATOR

General
Show me the way to na-na-navigate thro’ all your mood swings
Show me the way to satisfy your tender love
Show me the way to a-na-nhialate those things that bug you
I need to hug you, snug you, drug you with my love

Ooh lets come together
Lets have some fun together
We could be good together
We should be lovers I know

Brenda
Yes I know

General
Show me the way to sa-sa-suffocate my mental monkeys
The way they move inside my mind makes me so mad
Show me the way to understand the way you think Im thinking
Cos you’re the singlest sweetest treat I’ve ever had

General & Brenda
Ooh lets come together
Lets have some fun together
We could be good together
We should be lovers I know

Brenda
Yes I know

Hold on to the things you love
You might never get another chance to love someone
Before the songs are gone & sitting so sad
On the tip of your tongue
My baby
Lets hit the countryside & leave our pride behind us
In this wide world we living in
Go strolling in the heather
Go floating like a feather
Over that stormy weather

Brenda
Yes I know

General
Show me the way to demonstrate my sweet desire for you
Show me the way to remonstrate when things go wrong
Show me the way to sa-sa-celebrate your vixen fire
Cos youre the music in my soul & I’m your song

General
Cos when we come together

Brenda
Yes when we come together

General
We gonna come together

Brenda
Go strolling in the heather

General
Go floating like a feather

Brenda
Over that stormy weather

General
I love u baby
U know I do I’m hot for you

Brenda
I love ya too boy
What’s wrong with you, you seem brand new

General
Don’t go to work girl
Lets lie in bed & make love instead

Brenda
Present past future
Youre the truest love of mine

General
& all we need is music
Converstion & good wine

General & Brenda
Present past & futures’ gonna teach us right from wrong
& all the scenes we’ve seen was history
Shatterd into pieces Speaking to this species
As if odyssean song
Cos weve been Timewarpin

Brenda
I love you Tristan

General
I love you too honey

Brenda
So wheres this meal you gonna be cooking for me – im starving

General
Fuck cooking baby, lets go out & grab a romantic meal – I’m paying

Brenda
Sure

General
You’re gonna have to lend me another forty quid tho

Fin.


OUTRO

And so its time for us to go
I hope that you enjoy’d the show
Come again, bring ya friends
But not if theyve got vertigo
Because were getting higher
The actors are sailin the ship
We’re getting higher
The drummers’ll funk up yer trip
& all the music’s shootin straight from the hip
So come on get a grip
Of the song as it slips from your tongue
As it leaps from your lips
Like a lion on its prey
All the gods & the ghosts
Shall applaud us at our
Laud us at our play


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen

Timewarpin’: Scenes 6-7


PART 4 OF THE LEITHOLOGY QUINTOLOGY


SCENE 6: Geneva, 2050

A meeting of the world leader cabal – enter Dante & the General from the space-time continuum

Dante & General
Time-Warp-In!

General
When are we now

Dante
It is the year is 2050 – those people sitting down are members of the world leader cabal – they are so obsessed with money they are literally killing the planet earth all in the name of personal wealth

General
Pure greed

Dante
Essato – any moment now they are to receive a visit from a certain body of green activists

General
What, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion

Dante
No, these are the main guys, they call themselves the druids, my boy – & here they come, bang on time as usual – they’re very punctual are the pendragons

Enter druids

***

LOVE THE PLANET

Drowning islands, blood red diamonds
Assassin silence, it’s all the same
Sighing Parthenon, dying Amazon
Cryin’ now shes gone, we’re all to blamne

Love the planet (save her)
Love the planet
She’s the only one we got

Many people fear we must dissapear
(Melt away) Like a candle
Look inside your soul, we could lose it all
(People say) it’s a scandal

Children’s hunger pang, dead orangatang
We’ll go off with a bang, still in our youth
God got no halo, she lyin’ down below
Mother Gaia know the simple truth

Love the planet (save her)
Love the planet
She’s the only one we got

When you look at me tell me what you see
(Am I real) am I worthless
Look upon the earth calculate its worth
(Can you feel) it is priceless
To ye high & almighty masters of economy
Thinking that ecology could never pay
Your grotesque cabal of kings
Got so many diamond rings

I’m talking world implosion
I’m talking bout soil erosion
I’m talk bout dirty oceans too

Love the planet (save her)
Love the planet
She’s the only one we got

Love the planet – don’t be a stranger
Love the planet – cos shes in danger
Love the planet – no need to change her ways
Cos she’s the only one we got

***

World Leader 1
Your protest has been noted

World Leader 2
You may leave…

Druid
We hope you heed our words of warning well

World Leader 3
Your advice has been registered

Exit druids / World Leaders burst into laughter

World Leader 3
Fucking hippies

World Leader 1
So, anyway where were we

World Leader 2
The Israelis – apparently they refuse to buy any more missiles

World Leader 3
We’ll see about that shall we

World Leader 2
Yes, I think a little war in the Middle East is long overdue

World Leader 1
After lunch gentlemen – listening to those beatniks has given me an appetite for some ethnic foods

World Leader 2
Grand idea

World Leader 3
How’s the new house coming along {insert name of world leader}

World Leader 1
Slowly – the natives are being a terrible nuisance – they simply refuse to leave the island

World Leader 2
Have you tried an epidemic – there’s plenty of Coronavirus still in storage at my castle in Luxemburg

World Leader 3
I’d like a new island myself, with the oceans rising so much these days… there’s plenty of new ones available

***

SHANGRI-LA

World Leader 3
I’m gonna buy myself an island
I’m gonna plant me my standard there
I’m gonna claim it for my country
As I build my country there

I’m gonna buy myself an island
I’m gonna build me a palace there
I’m gonna fill the pool with diamonds
Fountain rose milk everywhere

World Leaders 1 & 2
Following the Eastern Star
Sailing to the shores of Shangri La
You don’t have to travel far
To find out the star you are

World Leader 3
I’m gonna buy myself an island
I’m gonna build me my prison there
I’m gonna chain the native wisemen up
In mucky dungeon’s air

I’m gonna buy myself an island
I’m gonna build me a harem there
I’m gonan bed the local beauties
Scatter rubies everywhere

World Leaders 1 & 2
Following the Eastern Star
Sailing to the shores of Shangri La
You don’t have to travel far
To find out the star you are

World Leader 1
Oh, Islandwhana
Boer Country Farmer
We’ve got to count the spears
& bake the tears in ancient customs

World Leader 2
Oh, Las Malvinas
What comes between us,
Lets go to Amritsar & masticate
The old dominions

World Leader 3
Oh, Teotihuaucan
On the way to Japan
Conquistadors broke down the temple doors
& call’d priests Indians

Unlucky Lucknow
On the field of plassey
We’ll slaughter fine young braves
To save their souls from dark idolatry

World Leaders 1 & 2
I’m gonna buy myself an island
I’m gonna build me a harbour there
I’m gonna send a boat for all my friends
This paradise to share

***

General
They are proper evil bampots, them lot, like

Dante
Indeed they are – it is time to explain why we are here.. the Rise of the Druids represents the spirit of your Brenda, pleading to common sense & humanity… while the World Leader are…

General
Are me, I presume

Dante
Essato, you really getting to grips with all this aren’t you

General
I think I’m getting it now, yeah, I have been a massive prick to Brenda, but its just, I’m just so young & so good looking & so fuckin talented – I cannae help it if the birds are into me, & its just so difficult to say no, especially when your mojo is on fire

Dante
Hmmm

General
What!?

General
You think you are so smart, so clever, so cool

General
I don’t think so, I know so

Dante
It is definitively time for your next lesson.. one in humility, I think you need to learn your place in the cosmos young man….

General
Lets do it

Dante & General
Time-Warp-In!


SCENE 7:  A Sri Lankan Beach

Enter Dante & the General from the space-time continuum

Dante & General
Time-Warp-In!

General
Where are we

Dante
This is the island of Ceylon

General
Where

Dante
Of course, they changed its name, didn’t they, what is it again, ah that’s right, we are on the beaches of Sri Lanka, Boxing Day 2004

General
Why does that date ring a bell

Dante
Look at that

General
At what

Dante
Look, out to sea

General
I cannae see anything

Dante
Look again

General
Nah, nothing… why’s the tide out so far

Dante
Look again

General
Fuck – it’s a tidal wave, we’ve gotta get out of her

Dante
You are perfectly safe with me, now watch, & listen

***

TSU-NA-MI

Dante
Tsu-tsu-tsunami, Tsunami, Tsunami!
Tsu-tsu-tsunami, Tsunami, Tsunami!

Remember them fleeing those huge walls of water
That snapp’d them & toss’d them & made bloody piles
She’ll search’d for her daughter around Hambantota
A sad scene repeated some three thousand miles

Remember the host of the ghostly battalion
Imagine them drown’d in a growling sea
Beach-huts for driftwood, corpses for carrion
O sing a sad song for the TSU-NA-MI

Tsu-tsu-tsunami, Tsunami, Tsunami!
Tsu-tsu-tsunami, Tsunami, Tsunami!

Remember the sounds on the shores of Sri Lanka
The crunching & breaking & snapping & screams
As ships of pig-iron are ripped from the anchor
& pack’d teeming trains flung from bent, steely beams

Remember the trail of those waves of destruction
From Asia to Africa surged the wild sea
Remember, remember the Lord of the Ocean
O sing a sad song for the TSU-NA-MI!

Tsu-tsu-tsunami, Tsunami, Tsunami!
Tsu-tsu-tsunami, Tsunami, Tsunami!

***

General
I do, yeah, its like I’m a part of nature & we’re all one entity & everything

Dante
Very good, my boy, very good… I think you are ready

General
Ready, ready for what

Dante
For your final lesson… its time to take you home… ready?

General
I suppose I am, yeah, lets do it

Dante & General
Time-Warp-In!


THE CONCHORDIA FOLIO

“Its worth a pop, right, to try & knock that Shakespeare
Off his feffin’ perch!”

Interview: Damian Beeson Bullen