EDINBLOG 2015

August is my favourite month of the year, for the simple reason that it’s the month that I visit the Edinburgh Festival. If I could, i’d go there for the whole month.

I actually went later in the month than I usually do. The latest i’ve been since I first visited in 2009.

This year, for the first time, I bought my tickets in advance rather than waiting to purchase when I arrived. I got everything I wanted, barring having to rearranging my Saturday night and Monday night choices.

All I had to do when I arrived at the ticket office was to swipe my Debit Card, and my tickets printed off. It wasn’t totally problem free, as the printer ran out of paper when printing off my tickets. Only a minor hitch in an otherwise efficient system.

I flew out on the Saturday morning, and after getting my tickets and getting checked in, Saturday afternoon was all about football, as I headed to Tynecastle to watch Hearts take on Partick Thistle.

Despite being an Edinburgh veteran, I managed to get lost en route by not paying attention at Haymarket Station and taking a wrong turn.

I managed to make it to the ground in plenty of time for kick-off regardless, and saw Hearts maintain their lead at the top of the SPL with a 3-0 win.

I only went to one show on the Saturday, Stewart Francis at Assembly George Square. You will recognise him from various panel shows, specialising in bad puns. Groans and laughter were plentiful in equal measure.

On the Sunday, I decided to head to Glasgow for a few hours, while taking in Rangers v Hibs. Before I set off for Glasgow, I got some photos of Street Art in Edinburgh, near Waverley Station.

Every year that i’ve visited Edinburgh, i’ve always wanted to visit another city or town in Scotland, just to escape for a few years.

I have in my head to visit Stirling some time. Maybe next year?

I was a bit delayed getting out of Glasgow, I missed the start of John Lloyd’s show. That, and the fact I got lost en route to the venue. I am an Edinburgh veteran, trust me. It’s just that there are so many venues called Assembly.

Turns out it was Assembley opposite Hotel Du Vin rather than the one at Potterrow.

You probably know more about John Lloyd than you think you do mostly famed for his work behind the scenes on Spitting Image and creating QI. His show was an entertaining look at trivia and knowledge.

Later on Sunday, I headed to Pleasance to see James Acaster. I’d previously seen him do a slot at a charity gig in London a few years ago, so I was looking forward to seeing him.

His humour is very deadpan and surreal. This year, he has made a breakthrough into panel shows. This show focused on him sharing celebrity gossip about the Chilean Miners, and his experiences on jury duty.

One more show followed on the Sunday, and I managed to go to the wrong venue. Again, a case of two many venues called Assembly.

That show, was a live recording of Josh Widdecombe’s XFM Show. I’m a big fan of Widdecombe, and actually listen to the show when i’m getting ready on a Saturday morning.

As a bonus, James Acaster was on it. Double Acaster in the one night.

There was one bonus of my getting lost, as I found out where Roxburgh Hotel was. On the Monday morning, I headed there for a Record Fair. I didn’t get anything, but if I didn’t go, I knew I would have been annoyed at myself for not going, and thinking that i’d missed out on something.

I spend Monday morning wandering around the West End and visiting my two favourite shops in Edinburgh – Fopp and Football Nation.

One of the best things about Edinburgh is, that you can escape from the Fringe for a few hours if you wish, and you don’t have to go very far to do so.

One year, I spent so much time in Cowgate, Potterrow and Pleasance, I didn’t even spend a minute in Princes Street/George Street, so it’s good to get a nice mix of Edinburgh.

My first show on the Monday was to see Mark Watson do a show called Work In Progress, which as the title suggests, was to try out new material.

I’d seen him previously, as well as him hosting the Comedywealth Games last year. It was classic Watson, moving from one topic to another in rapid time.

I’ll be keeping an eye out if he does a full proper show next year.

From there, I quickly legged it from The Stand to Pleasance to see Batfan, about one performer and his obsession with Batman, and his quest to create the perfect Batman film. He’s not a fan of Joel Schumacher.

Not enough 60s Batman in it for me, but it was still enjoyable, especially some of the obscure/forgotten/unknown references. You didn’t need to be a massive fan of Batman in order to enjoy it.

I’d wanted to spend Monday night seeing FFS in concert, but unfortunately, all the tickets were sold out. I didn’t want to spend the evening at the venue in the hope that some tickets become available, so I decided to just go to a comedy show instead.

Quite literally, a case of FFS.

If you don’t know, FFS are a supergroup comprising of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks. They are rather good. Looks like i’ll have to cross my fingers for a Belfast gig.

So what would fill my FFS void? Aisling Bea. You may have seen her on various panel shows. She was very good. The audience got a bit of a fright when they entered to room, to see her dancing in a morph suit.

Tuesday morning was spent walking around Princes Street Markets and Rose Street, before going to see The Man Called Monkhouse, set in the mid 1990s around the time of the theft of his joke book and the 20th anniversary of the death of his writing partner, Dennis Goodwin, sees Monkhouse looking back at his life to that point.

The voice was good but not perfect, but the look was. It looked like Monkhouse was in the room. As a bonus, we got some classic Monkhouse one-liners as well.

That was my only show on Tuesday, as Tuesday night was spent watching football, making a short train journey to see Dunfermline Athletic take on Dundee.

On Wednesday morning, I was curious and went for a walk around York Place and ended up in Leith. Even though this was the seventh year I had visited, it’s always good to explore new parts of the city I haven’t seen before.

One part of Edinburgh i’d love to visit is Arthur’s Seat, a hill which offers some spectacular views over Edinburgh. I’d planned on going on the Thursday morning, but the weather had started to turn. I didn’t quite fancy a hill walk in the rain. Maybe next year.

It was great though to have a trip to Edinburgh without having to wear a raincoat for the first four days. There were short periods of rain in my last two days.

My only show on Wednesday was to see Matt Forde. He specialises in Political Comedy, but he’s not a preachy type of comic, instead focusing on funny things in politics and amusing observations.

I’d previously seen him on Rory Bremner’s Election Report, and was not disappointed. He began by saying that he supported Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to be Labour Leader, not for political reasons, but for the material it will offer.

Wednesday night was spent at Princes Street Gardens to see James in concert. James doing a gig was part of the reason why I chose this particular week to go to Edinburgh.

Thurdsay was my last day, where I went to Edinburgh University to browse through the various charity shops for possible bargains.

Thursday lunchtime saw one last show, Pippa Evans celebrating the guilty pleasures of life, through the medium of song, even briefly bringing back her character of Loretta Maine, who I saw make a guest appearance on MacAulay and Co a few years ago.

Talking of MacAulay and Co, it wasn’t on this year. It was cancelled by Radio Scotland, and they didn’t even bring it back for the Edinburgh Festival.

In it’s place, was Kaye Adams. I’d love to be able to tell you if it was any good, but I slept in each morning I had a ticket having stayed up too late the night before. Maybe next year.

After Pippa Evans, a wee brief stroll around Princes Street, before getting the bus back to the airport.

That was it, that was my Edinburgh adventure for 2015. I didn’t see an awful show, which is almost disappointing. Already looking forward to 2016.

Edinblog 2014

Edinblog 2013

Edinblog 2012

Edinblog 2011

Edinblog 2010

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MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : VOX – SEPTEMBER 1994

Beastie Boys are the cover stars, as Vox looks back at 3 festivals during the summer of 1994.

In news, the BBC announced plans for a music festival called Music Live 95, to be held over the late May Bank Holiday in Birmingham.

Suede have decided not to split, following the departure of Bernard Butler.

Eric Clapton dressed up as Batman to raise money for charity, while Oasis are going on a UK tour this month following success festival appearances.

Video CDs receive a boost in sales following releases from Queen, Tina Turner, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush and Tina Turner.

VH1 launches, and will be broadcasting repeats of The Old Grey Whistle Test, while MTV (parent company of VH1) are considering bringing back the show on MTV.

Vox predicted big things for a band from Dublin called Blink. As it turned out, their main contribution to music history would be to copyright the name Blink, and force and American band called Blink to become Blink 182.

There is coverage of the Edinburgh Festival, doing a joint interview with Donna McPhail, Stewart Lee and Dorian Crook, labelling them the three hottest talents at this year’s Fringe.

The 3 main festivals getting covered are Phoenix, Lollapalooza and Glastonbury with a combined 15 pages covering these 3 events.

Terry Hall, formerly of The Specials gets a double page spread as he launches his solo career, at the same time he quits smoking.

With the World Cup over, and the Premier League not yet started, Vox comes up with a novel idea, of Team Tabs for your favourite bands, and a league table to chart their progress, complete with cartoons of Paul Weller, Jay Kay, Michael Stipe and Sinead O’Connor in football kits.

Vox looks at the history of t-shirts in music, asking Louise Wener, Sonya from Echobelly, Malcolm McLaren and James Dean Bradfield to talk about their favourite t-shirts.

2013 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November wasn’t planned to be a busy month, but it resulted in me seeing Stereophonics in concert, Batman in West Belfast, and a couple of football matches.

The first football match I was at, Linfield v Ards, didn’t result in any good photos. My second match, Linfield v Warrenpoint Town, saw me get some ok photos.

The following day, based on a tip-off from another website, I headed to Springfield Road, to get some photos of a mural dedicated to comic book superheroes such as Batman, Spiderman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

Random, but well worth checking out. It’s at the entrance of the Sliabh Dubh estate.

No rest for the wicked, the following night, I was at The Odyssey to see Stereophonics, my second time seeing them this year, having seen them at Waterfront Hall in March.

That weekend, I was at Stangmore Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts. One of my favourite grounds to visit, I got some ok shots as Linfield lost 1-0.

The rest of my photo adventures for the month were confined to football matches, Linfield’s games over the following Saturdays against Glenavon and Cliftonville.

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Springfield Superheroes

Springfield Superheroes Photo Album

Stereophonics Live At The Odyssey

Stereophonics Live At The Odyssey Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

Cliftonville v Linfield

IS IT A BIRD? IS IT A PLANE? NO! IT’S A MURAL

You can thank Extramural Activity for this, as I probably wouldn’t have known about this if it wasn’t for them.

You should also check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Just to declare in case you’re wondering, I have no involvement in the website.

So, I ventured out today to the entrance of the Sliabh Dubh estate in Belfast to get some photos. Very impressive mural of comic book superheroes and well worth checking out.

Enjoy

Photo Album

HOLY BATBLOG!!!! : THE FRIDAY FIVE – BATMAN SPECIAL

Today sees the release of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, and it would be rude not to commemorate this with a tribute to The Caped Crusader.

Forget Christian Bale. Forget George Clooney. Forget Val Kilmer. Even forget Michael Keaton. There is only one true Batman. His name, is Adam West.

Before Family Guy, West saved Gotham City from Baddies and made all our lives better in a live action television series. I used to love watching repeats of this as a child, and still love watching repeats on weekday mornings on ITV 4.

So comical, so colourful, so wonderful. How can you not love Adam West?

Captions of made up words accompanied punches, while Chief O’Hara was a joy, always struggling to work out which master criminal based in Gotham City would taunt them with a joke. A joke!!! If only there was a criminal in Gotham City known for his jokes.

So here, are the Top Five moments of the 1960s Batman TV series (and accompanying Movie)

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Zoink!!!

There are so many great moments, that there are great moments left out.

LIBERACE CAMEO

Ker-Pow!!! Liberace playing a pianist under the pay of his evil twin brother, who plays a note which deafens people, allowing his evil brother to jump in and steal their belongings. He masterfully played both roles. #holyeviltwin

CHAD AND JEREMY

Biff!! A real band, believe it or not (The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, and every other major band of the 60s must have been unavailable) who played themselves doing a concert in Gotham City, where Catwoman stole their voices.

The plan was to stop them making music, thus making money, and paying taxes to UK Treasury, and thus causing all world economies to collapse. How dastardly.

I imagine if the show was remade today, it would be One Direction having their voices stolen, though i’d like to think Batman would just turn a blind eye to that one. #holyworldeconomycollapse

JOKER JELLY

Splat!! In one episode, The Joker turns Gotham City’s water supply into jelly. I’d love it if that happened in Belfast just to see NI Water make a bollocks of the situation #holyjelly

RETURN TO THE BATCAVE

Urkk!! 2003 biopic starring Adam West and Burt Ward looking back at the show. It begins with Adam West getting ready for a charity function, lifting the head of a statue to slide down a pole to get change.

His butler, Jerry, asks if it is a nostalgic nod to the TV show, to which West replies “No Alfred, it came with the house”

After angrily pointing out that his name is Jerry, West replies “Sorry Alfred”

It continues being that funny. Well worth checking out. #holybiopic

EXPLODING SHARK

Eeee-Yoh!! This needs no introduction. The opening scene to the movie. Batman fights a Shark, which turns out to be and exploding robot.

Luckily, Batman has Anti-Shark Repellant Spray in his utility belt and manages to escape.

Lucky that. #holyexplodingshark

5. CHAT WITH SAMMY DAVIS JUNIOR

Plop!! A classic recurring gag, Batman and Robin climb up a wall, someone opens their window to see what’s going on, and engages in a casual chat with Batman and Robin.

In one episode, they were climbing up a building where Sammy Davis Junior was rehearsing, and engaged in casual natter with the Dynamic Duo.

Davis suggests that Batman and Robin see him in concert, by way of mutual appreciation as “I did your act”

I imagine if the show was filmed today, it would probably involve some rapper, talking street talk, and Batman talking street back to him. Sigh. #holyratpack

4. HOLY TAXATION

Blurp!! Batman and Robin park outside the baddies lair, but before jumping in, proper order first, Batman pays the parking meter.

“But no Traffic Warden would give the Batmobile a ticket!!!” cries an over-eager Robin, to which Batman replies “This money goes towards building better roads, we all must contribute” prompting Robin to utter “Holy taxation”

That’s what stops me being a masked vigilante in Belfast, bloody Traffic Wardens wouldn’t hesitate to give me a ticket while i’m saving the city, especially around Ormeau Avenue and Botanic. #holycivicduty

3. LONDINIUM EPISODE

Whap!! Not just a moment, but a whole (three-part) episode, set in Ye Merry Olde England (Or England, as Americans view it)

Commissioner Gordon is attending a conference in “Londinium”, where there is a crime spree, and the “President Of London” asks Batman for help.

Just imagine a modern remake of that, Boris Johnson starring as himself asking Batman to help stop a crime spree in London.

Batman travels to London, conveniently at the same time Bruce Wayne (with his Ward, Dick Grayson) travels there on Wayne Foundation business, as does Barbara Gordon, as a guest of her dad.

In London, Robin gets captured by a gang of sexy females and hates every minute of it. Batgirl goes to the Cricket Club where he is held to rescue him and gets captured, and locked in the dungeon.

Batman goes to the dungeon to rescue Batgirl, but gets locked in, but uses an Indian Rope Trick for both of them to escape by climbing up and out of a window.

All three of them then stop a robbery of the Crown Jewels, and Ye Merry Olde England returned to being peaceful and crime free. #holyapplesandpairsguvnor

2. THE BATUSI

Vronk!! Batman (Robin is too young to be allowed in) visits a nightclub to investigate some crime, where he gets involved in conversation with a woman who asks him to dance. Ever the perfect gentleman, Batman dances. Not just any dance, but his version of the Watusi ……… The Batusi. #holystrictlycomedancing

1. TRYING TO GET RID OF A BOMB

Bam!! Batman goes to a bad guys lair, but it’s a trap, they’ve left a bomb for him. He can’t let it explode as there’s a full pub underneath, so what does he do?

Everywhere he tries to go, he meets obstacles : Marching bands, Nuns, women pushing prams, A young couple on a boat, Ducks

Eventually, Batman utters the immortal words “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb”

Luckily he did, just in time. #holybombdisposal

THE GOLDEN AGE OF ADVERTISING

You probably already know as i’ve done a very poor job of denying it, that I am a geek.

One of my geeky activities is that I love watching old videos on Youtube. Total random bollocks, but an insight into a bygone age of television.

So, I just thought i’d share with you, some of my favourite adverts from days of yore currently on Youtube.

We begin, with a Public Service Announcement based on one of my favourite TV shows of all-time as Batgirl complains to Batman about her rights in the workplace while rescuing the Dynamic Duo from a ticking bomb.

Typical woman, eh?

Always picking to most inappropriate moment to jabber on.

You can see the moment when Batman is inwardly saying to himself for her to shut the fuck up and and just deactivate the bomb.

Anyway, she’s a vigilante crimefighter, she doesn’t do it for money, so she should stop complaining. Gotta love Robin’s “Holies”, with “Breaking and entering”, “Act of congress” and “discountent” to add to his various observations during the TV show.

You may have noticed a lack of Adam West in the video, as he was too busy serving the people of Quohog.

Meanwhile, Invest NI forerunner IDB decided it would be a good idea to launch a marketing campaign urging people to work harder, which must be a bit of a bummer when relaxing at home watching TV, only to see an advert telling you to work harder.

Getting in on the public service advertising act, the RUC brought out an advertising campaign asking people to snitch on criminals.

I remember when this ad came out, and it scared the shite clean out of me.

Everytime, I hear ‘Cats In The Cradle’, either by Harry Chapin, Ugly Kid Joe or Jason Downs, all I can think of is this ad, which I suppose shows how successful it was.

Meanwhile, footballers have always been a favourite for ad men to front campaigns as Jimmy Hill demonstrates when educating the nation on road safety.

So cyclists and motorbikers had better be careful on the road, or else their untimely demise will be analysed by Jimmy Hill, as if he’s discussing wether Aston Villa’s second goal was offside on Match of the Day.

Other examples of footballers chasing the ad men’s cash include Brian Clough advertising Shredded Wheat and Saint and Greavsie advertising KFC. That’s Kentucky Fried Chicken, not Kilmarnock Football Club.

Footballers are such money grabbing whores, that they are prepared to appear in adverts before they become a footballer.

One day Jimmy, all those keepy-ups will help you become captain of West Ham United.

As a side note, isn’t “There’s nothing quite like a McDonalds” better than “Ba da ba ba ba, i’m loving it”?

Talking of celebrities appearing in adverts before they were famous, bet Billie Piper wishes she could get the lend of a Sonic Screwdriver and remove this from the nation’s consciousness

And yes, I bought that edition and love the ‘Ultimate Spice Girls Kit’

Talking of the Spice Girls, Remember their Channel Five launch?

I could just imagine the scenes in the recording studio as they try to brainstorm inspiration to write a song about a fifth terrestrial television channel.

It’s just a pity that they didn’t wait a year until 5ive were a big act in the charts. They would have been a more appropriate act to launch the channel.

Anyone who has ever seen the Mitchell and Webb parody of Sky’s football coverage will love this simpler ‘less is more’ advert for the 1986 World Cup. Certainly not as epic as their trailer for the 2008 Olympics

In 1989, Gerry Kelly voiced an advert for a UTV version of the apprentice offering young entrepreneurs a chance in starting up in business.

It’s a different world these days. If a young entrepreneur wants help setting up a business, they just shag the wife of their local MP.

Meanwhile, someone at Austin Rover though it would be a good idea to have an advertising campaign fronted by Noel Edmonds and Derek Trotter.

I don’t know why Austin Rover would want their product associated with a shifty looking, dodgy, untrustworthy wideboy …………… such as Noel Edmonds.

So, i’ll finish with this trailer for ‘Life On Mars’, where the past meets the present in a piece of TV genius