Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 28 – Monday 31st August

28 days later

28 days later

 

 

Dateline Monday 31st August 2015

The last day of the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

 

In previous years I haven’t bothered going through on the Monday and today I saw why, the place was dead!

As mentioned previously I did a turn at The Old Men in Black show, it was fairly well attended and a good show except for one couple who seemed to really have an issue with the change in tone from Les and Rod to Me.

Les and Rod do comedy in a very gentle fashion whereas I just go onstage and “kick your back door in” and this couple were horrified, everyone else seemed to enjoy it, but these two looked very uncomfortable indeed.

shocked

 

 

 

 

After the show I offered flyers to each audience member as they departed and all of them took a flyer saying they enjoyed the show, etc, except these two, who looked at me as if I had actually “kicked their back door in! The guy was absolutely livid, I thought he was going to punch me!

But he didn’t, he just glared at me, grabbed his wife by the arm and fucked off!

I shouted after them saying “visit my website, it’s for people just like you”

I don’t think they heard me they were halfway out the door.

Demob’ Happy

Me and the Old Guys, Les and Rod and a pal of theirs, Ron, who is a retired customs and excise officer (I am keeping some really bad company this weather) went downstairs and had a beer and it was great fun!

old guys having a beer

We sat and chatted and told stories. I regaled them with tales from my travels and the people I have met and the stories they told me.

 

 

 

The following story I heard from the wonderful actor that is; Robin Laing (aka DI Donald in River City) a couple of years ago and it’s well worth repeating here:

robin laing

 

 

 

 

The story concerned Frankie Howerd

frankie howerd

Frankie Howerd really needs no introduction however, for the benefit of younger readers; Frankie was one of Britain’s most famous and well-loved comedians back in the day. What was not widely known, however, probably because it was illegal back then, is that Frankie was a rampant carousing homosexual – he quite literally would “kick your back door in”! Oooer Missus.

Anyway sometime in the 1960’s, or something like that, Frankie was doing a summer season at an English seaside town and whilst there he stayed in a guest house or what we now refer to as a B&B.

bed and breakfast

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early on in his stay Frankie came back to the B&B after the show with a young man and they both went upstairs to Frankie’s room, after a few minutes the land-lady burst in, to find both men in bed, and went totally tonto!

angry landlady

“Mr Howerd, what the devil is going on here? I will not allow this in my establishment”

She dragged the young stranger out of bed and threw him out in the street half-dressed.

She then addressed a very embarrassed and apologetic Frankie;

 

 

“Mr Howard, that is disgusting! I will not have that sort of thing here in my guest house! This is a respectable establishment. It takes years to build a good reputation in my business and I will not under any circumstances allow you to destroy that reputation do you understand Me, Mr Howerd?”

howerd afraid

 

Frankie was defensive and apologetic but also shitting himself because in the 1960’s, if the Police were called, he was in serious trouble.

 

 

The land-lady continued:

“Do not try to sneak any more young men in here again Mr Howerd because I will know what you are up to. I have lived downstairs in this house for thirty years and I know every creak and foot fall on those stairs, so if you come in here with someone else I will hear the footsteps and you will both be out on your ear, do I make myself clear, Mr Howerd?”

Frankie held his hands up and stuttered “Phew, Yes Missus, I apologize, tsk, I don’t know what I was thinking, I’m under a lot of stress you see, I assure you, it won’t happen again”

clock

 

 

And that was that, until the next night.

 

 

 

Frankie came home after the show with another young man and they went into the B&B together as quietly as they could, they tip-toed along the hallway then came to the bottom of the stairs.

Frankie, remembering what the land-lady had said about footsteps on the stairs, gestured for the young man to get up onto his back so that only one set of footsteps would be heard going up the stairs, the young man got onto Frankie’s back and Frankie started to climb the stairs.

cocarry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Frankie got half way up, the landlady opened the door to her quarters, which was at the foot of the stairs and came out into the hallway.

She looked up the stairs and just as Frankie turned around with the young man on his back the landlady stood, slowly shaking her head in disbelief, then said in a shocked voice:

shokced old lady

 

 

 

 

 

“Mr Howerd, No! Oh Please No! Not Cripples!”

That’s it for another year   

Anyway I did my show in front of a nice audience tonight and that’s that!

I picked up my bucket and my CD player and made my way, for one last ride on the tram, back to Ingliston.

As I was walking toward the tram stop at around 9pm, I was going away from the castle, everyone else was going toward the castle for the Fireworks.

I didn’t see the fireworks but I heard them from the Park and Ride as I walked toward my car.

fireworks

 

 

 

 

I got in my car, turned the key and headed back west thinking 2015 has been a great Fringe!

See you all in 2016.

off into sunset

 

 

 

 

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 27 – Sunday 30th August

Nearly There

It’s the last Sunday of the Fringe and quite a few of the performers had finished their shows on Saturday Night. In previous years, despite the fact the Fringe always finishes on Monday, I would also finish up on the Saturday night but for some reason, I came back!

nearly there

 

 

 

 

 

Today was a busy day, this afternoon Bob and I did our comedy therapy based radio show “Better Out Than In” on Camglen 107.9 between 2 and 3pm and we talked about anxiety!

raymond and bob camglen

Or rather, I talked about my personal anxieties and Bob did his CBT voodoo bit.

It was a lot of fun today and things seemed to go smoothly, added to this, Bob also mentioned that; “Better Out Than In” was the most listened to Camglen show on mixcloud, last week.

I hope it’s not down to Bob listening to the show over and over that’s achieved this massive tally of 19 listens, just as the number of hits to my website has gone from 50 to 250 per day due to my constant need to correct typo’s on this blog!

stressed writer

 

 

 

 

 

If you are at all interested you can listen to the first “Better Out Than In” show again via this link:

https://www.mixcloud.com/CamglenRadio/better-out-than-in-with-raymond-mearns-bob-cochrane/.

Going all the way

old men in black

 

 

 

 

 

As well as doing my show tonight, I will also be back in Edinburgh on Monday to do a spot on the final “Old Men In Black” show at The Beehive at 2.40pm and will then do some flyering for my final fringe 2015 show on Monday evening at 7.55pm.

beehive comedy

As you can see from this photo the wee room at the top of the Beehive Inn is quite small and holds about 50 people, on a Saturday night at the Fringe I could probably fill it twice over, but most of the time, it’s the perfect size for a Fringe show.

Notice The huge Mirror behind the stage.

For Fringe performances the stage is set up at the opposite end of the room from the Mirror and this was originally done because we used to have a spotlight.

We found that when we were using the spotlight, whilst onstage, with the mirror behind us, the audience got fucking blinded!

blinded

Not that it matters that much these days because, during the Fringe run in 2012, some thieving bastard kept stealing the bulbs out of the spotlight, so we haven’t used one since!

We now just do the show with a microphone and keep the house lights on.

You never know who is listening

I must be building up some sort of an audience as I got a text from my daughter this afternoon, who was going through to Edinburgh on the train and overheard two ladies talking about coming to see my show!

gossiping

They said “we need to get to the Beehive early as he is always busy and we might not get in”

Now that’s nice, people are really talking about this as opposed to all of that bullshit on facebook, but what if they were saying bad things? Would my daughter, knowing my fragile and sensitive constitution, report that?

I doubt it! Those closest to me, despite the fact they think I am a complete knob, are very protective of me.

Anyway this reminded me of a time when I said something negative about another comedian.

I was speaking to two ladies in Shetland during the “Wordplay Festival” in 2011.

At the time I was in a pretty bad space as my marriage had just collapsed without any warning, two weeks earlier, and I swear I was on the brink of madness.

madness

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, these two Ladies asked me what I thought about another comedian, who shall remain nameless, and I said “I think he’s shite”!

What were the chances? It transpired that the younger of the two ladies was the comedian’s girlfriend!

As if I didn’t have enough crap to deal with at the time.

I should just keep my opinions to myself!

foghorn

 

Aye that’ll be right!

More ill-conceived, half-baked and generally ignorant rantings to follow!

 

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 26 – Saturday 29th August

Karen Koren and The Gilded Balloon

Congratulations to Karen Koren who has been awarded the Fosters Comedy Award – Panel Prize, which recognizes her huge contribution to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe as the founder of The Gilded Balloon.

karen koren

gilded balloon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the years I have done shows at The Gilded Balloon which, alongside The Pleasance, The Assembly, Underbelly and The Stand, has always been one of the five major venues on The Fringe.

Way back in 2001, when I was still working full time as a Telecoms and Data Sales Rep, I did a show called “Glasgow Smiles Better” at Backstage 3 in the Gilded Balloon.

Backstage 3 was a room within the old Gilded Balloon complex next to Wilkie House in The Cowgate that was destroyed by fire in 2002.

But, back in the day that bar area within the Old Gilded Balloon on The Cowgate was The Fringe!

old gilded balloon

It was where everybody went and hung out during the Festival.

We all got drunk in there, some of us fell in love in there, loads of us fell out in there but all of us met the whole world in there and sadly, as a social hub, it’s never quite been replaced!

 

I don’t know maybe the Fringe went all corporate. It’s more business than show these days.

No More Funny Business

Anyway in 2001 I worked for a company called Arthur McKay based in Edinburgh and this was the best job I ever had!

For years I had been desperate to leavarthur mckaye all of my crummy jobs to go full time as a comedian and ironically it was this job that I gave up to run away and join the circus.

That was to happen eventually in June 2003, but the break that made it possible came in 2001 at The Gilded Balloon.

That year as well as doing “Glasgow Smiles Better” I entered a new talent competition organized by the Jongleurs Comedy Club chain who were looking for new acts to work across all of their seventeen UK clubs and you know what happened?

jongleurs

 

 

 

I won the fucking thing!

winning

 

 

 

 

 

Some Essential Back Story

Now, this came on the back of my decision in June 2001 to retire from comedy. I had spoken to everyone who booked gigs and told them not to book me in for anything after Edinburgh as I was doing great things at Arthur McKay and thought, at the then age of 33, with enough hard work I would eventually make my way up to senior management level within the company.

I had already agreed to take part in the competition for Jongleurs but never imagined I would do well in it, so I decided I would do the gigs I still had in the diary, along with my solo show at backstage 3, and these would be my swan song!

But winning the competition was a game changer!

gamechanger

At that point I was effectively handed enough comedy club work to make a living from stand-up on its own, in fact the £30K worth of gigs I was booked into, dwarfed my £24K basic salary at the time.

I also still had my brand new company car, free insurance, tyres and servicing,  as well as a free laptop and mobile phone!

I started gigging all over the place from early in 2002 and for the next eighteen months I didn’t even need to pay for petrol either!

I made about £60/70K in 2002, and we were loaded!

loadsamoney

 

 

 

 

Be Careful what you wish for

Doing a full time sales job alongside a minimum of three gigs per week was hard going and I remember being in the doctors early in 2003 as I was feeling unwell from exhaustion.

exhausted sales rep

The Doctor asked me what I was up to and I said “I have two jobs”.

He said “Who needs two jobs?”

I said “I do they’re both brilliant jobs”

The doctor said “well you’re fucked” (or words to that effect) “You will have to pick one or the other!”

 

I looked at the figures! I was making more from stand-up comedy than I was from selling communications solutions and so by June 2003, with a heavy heart, I decided I would leave Arthur McKay.

The verthe stand logoy next day, after handing in my notice, I received a telephone call from Eva at The Stand Comedy Club, she said that a Lady had called asking about me doing a film for her and would I call her?

 

Intrigued, I called the lady whose name is Kahleen Crawford.

It turns out that, Kahleen used to work behind the bar of a pub, called Flanagans, in Largs in the late 1990’s, where I used to go and die on my arse fairly regularly, but by this point, in 2003 she was working as a Casting Director for Ken Loach!

ken loach

Ken needed an additional actor for his new film and asked Kahleen to find; “a big comedian who tells it like it is” and she remembered me from Flanagans in Largs.

 

 

Kahleen called the manager of Flanagans and asked; “What was the name of that big ginger haired comedian who swore a lot?” and the manager said “Fuck knows, Raymond something”

She than called the Stand and asked “Whose the big ginger guy called Raymond who swears a lot?”

me in 2003

Well, Fuck Me! I am the One and Only!

The Stand said; “You must mean Raymond Mearns! We’ll pass him your number, if that’s okay?” and that’s how she found me!

I called her up, we had a chat, she arranged for me to meet Ken Loach and within two weeks I was cast in a major supporting role in the feature film “Ae fond Kiss”.

ae fond kiss

Ae Fond Kiss, was the first of two feature Films I made for Ken Loach, as well as dozens of other professionally paid acting jobs that followed and all the while I have been working on the UK wide comedy circuit and sometimes abroad doing stand-up shows ever since.

And it all kicked off at The Gilded Balloon!

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 25 – Friday 28th August

The Best Things in Life are Free!

It’s Friday and we have now entered the final weekend of the Fringe.

As you are all no doubt aware, I am doing my show at The Beehive Inn on The Grassmarket and it’s been a good year, audiences have been good and the weather has been great for flyering on the street.

flyering 1

The Beehive Inn hosts the Scottish Comedy Festival which is now a big part of the Free Fringe every year in Edinburgh. It’s completely crazy to think that Performers in Edinburgh can actually make a living from the doing a show on the Free Fringe as opposed to going home with very little or sometimes in debt from doing shows in the prescribed fashion.

scottish comedy festival

How does this work? Well when a show is free it means that it’s free to go into the show but you have to pay to get out!

At the end of the show the performer produces a bucket for this purpose and you are expected to put in a few pounds, a fiver being the usual amount. Some very generous souls have been known to put in a tenner, on the flipside however, you get some tight wads who only put in a few pence.

The real villains though are the fuckers who get up and leave just before the show finishes!

They sit there looking at their watches and when the clock strikes five minutes to, they rise from their seats and make for the exit with heads bowed, as they know fine well they are doing something shameful and horrible!

head down

 

 

 

 

Anyway, from chatting to other performers at The Fringe it’s clear, the majority of those doing “Free” shows are very happy with the way things are going whilst the ones doing ticketed shows are not so happy and it’s because of this that the Free Fringe has expanded every year for the past five years and it looks likely, this trend is set to continue.

Doing multiple shows in one night

In the comedy business we call this “doubling up” or “doing a double”!

Tonight I doubled up, I did my show at The Beehive Inn as usual and then had to drive at breakneck speed to perform at the regular, monthly, stand-up comedy night at The Regal Community Theatre in Bathgate!

bathgate regal theatre

 

 

 

 

When you double up its great financially but not artistically as I can’t remember anything.

Because I don’t do solidly scripted sets I can get a bit confused on stage and will often think about a routine and I’m not sure if I did it in the last gig or this one.

confused

And that’s a big fear! Imagine an audience sitting, watching you do your thing and you tell the same joke twice! What a disaster for a comedian.

The audience would think you’re senile or something, thankfully, I am pretty sure this has never happened to me but it still doesn’t stop me being paranoid about it sometimes.

A few years ago I was out and about in London with my very good friend and brilliant comedian Paul Pirie. We were having some drinks during the day whilst pub crawling around Soho and in between pubs we would go into one or two of the many excellent sex shops, purely for anthropological research purposes.

soho paul pirie

 

 

 

 

As we were in one particular erotic emporium we were having a look around and Paul’s mobile phone rang.

Paul answered the call and as he did so he attracted the attention of two twenty-something young American ladies who were standing nearby.

The call was from his wife Kate, who is also his booking agent! Paul listened and said “Sure, no problem, I can do that!” then terminated the call.

He turned to me in the middle of the sex shop, surrounded by a plethora of the most preverted merchandise imaginable and with the two American girls listening in, said; “That was Kate she needs me to double up tonight with Noel and its being filmed!”

The look on the two young ladies faces was a picture!

horrifed

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 24 – Thursday 27th August

Interesting, the people you meet

Whilst giving out flyers on the Grassmarket, you meet all sorts of people from everywhere and have conversations about anything and everything.

Today I met a Scottish couple who live in Kuala Lumpur and when I said “KL, brilliant I love KL” they said “bullshit, you’ve never been in KL in your life ya lying bawbag” or something like that!

But I have. I went to KL in January 2012 to do a comedy turn at a Burns Supper for the Selangor St Andrews Society and that trip was a blast!

kuala lumpur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whilst on the trip I was taken around the city by one of the St Andrews boys and we met some really interesting people, amongst them a man by the name of Jochen Kern.

jochen kern

Jochen is a lovely elderly German Guy who is a world renowned chef and Director of the School of Culinary Arts in Malaysia, and during our conversation I asked him “who is the most famous person you ever cooked for?”

He reeled off the names of some very rich and famous people but the one that stood out was; Saddam Hussein!

 

I said “Bullshit, ya lying auld bawbag” but thankfully that doesn’t translate into German

saddam

 

 

 

 

 

 

It turns out, however, that Jochen was Saddam’s personal chef for a wee while just before the point he was overthrown.

I asked him if Saddam had any special culinary requirements or if he was a fussy eater and Jochen said “No, he always ate his dinner and he always ate what I made him, he never complained”

saddam at dinner

 

 

 

 

 

“He was also quite fond of Johnny Walker Black Label”

I asked “what was he like?”

Jochen said “He was a good laugh, especially when he was pished!”

“George Bush didn’t seem to think so” I said

“Well he didn’t really know him, but Saddam was okay!”

Jochen continued;

“Just before the Allies came to take him down, he came into my kitchen and said; Jochen these bawbag’s are coming for me, so you better fuck off before the party starts, here’s your holiday pay and here’s the keys to a van, Damascus is that way”

saddam pointing

 

 

 

 

 

“He pointed to the West bound highway”

“I got into the van, started her up and found that it was filled with cigarettes and cases of Johnny Walker Black Label.”

driving desert2

 

 

 

 

I think that’s a lovely wee story, but it, sounds so much better when it’s told in a strong German Accent.

The Water of Life

Whilst we are on the subject of Johnny Walker Black Label, readers of this blog will know, I have more than a passing interest in the Uisge Beatha and have, on occasion, tanked some of the best bevvy on the planet!

johnny walker black

 

 

 

 

 

 

The obsession with Scotch Whisky, has gotten so extreme, I tend to use vodka these days as a cleaning product.

You may recall from an earlier blog, I even get into fights over whisky.

bar fight

 

 

 

 

Specifically the age of Talisker!

An eagle eyed reader got in touch, through Her Indoors, and corrected my earlier assertion that 12 year old Talisker doesn’t exist!

It seems that it does!

Don’t you just hate it when some smart arse proves you wrong, however, in my defence the barney in the restaurant over the age of Talisker took place around 2001 and this stuff wasn’t produced till 2007!

Don’t you just hate it when a distillery brings out a bottle just to make you look like a twat! 12 year old talisker

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 23 – Wednesday 26th August

Another Rude Awakening

Given my gargantuan exertions and poor culinary choices on Tuesday, I never got out of my kip until midday and this is unusual for me as I normally get up fairly early in the day despite working and doing stand-up gigs the night before.

I think it’s an age thing, the way that pensioners seem to get up earlier and earlier the older they get despite the fact they have absolutely fuck all to do.

old guy sleeping

 

 

 

 

 

My sleep however was interrupted at 7.30am, by the guy delivering the treadmill, previously alluded to in the blog a day or two ago. I don’t know if the guy had knocked on the door a few times, as I was completely zonked, but the knock that woke me was pretty loud and startled me!

just woke up

I got up totally dis-orientated, pulled on my breeks and rushed downstairs to answer the door, half dressed.

I opened the door, it was raining and I was in a shit state. The delivery guy wasn’t happy because he also had to negotiate the skip that was blocking the driveway to get the treadmill, which was pretty heavy and bulky, to the front door.

I saw that the guy was clearly pissed off and, as is my default, I pathetically apologized, saying; “Sorry man, I work nights”

angry boxman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do I always do this, it’s a pain in the arse, would it not be easier to ask these people if they could deliver stuff in the middle of the day!

It never seems to be a problem for that shower of lazy bastards at the Post Office, who haven’t delivered anything in the morning for years!

postman pat

 

 

Anyway the delivery guy brought the treadmill inside, and I went back to bed!

 

Party on Dudes

As I was driving though to Edinburgh the news was on the Radio and:

According to NHS Scotland, Alcohol sales in Scotland have increased for the first time in 4 years with an equivalent of 41 bottles of vodka being consumed for every adult in Scotland, every year.

vodka bottles

If we consider that 70% (office for national statistics) of adults admitted to having a drink in the last year and discount the 30% of teetotallers, then the actual adjusted figure is nearer to 59 (58.57) bottles of vodka consumed per adult, per year!

 

That’s more than a bottle of vodka per week each for everybody who admits to having a drink.

drunk girls

 

 

Now either we are really tanning the bevvy like mad or I’m not the only one cleaning a guitar case!

The Edinburgh Comedy Award

fosters comedy award

 

 

Nominations for the Fosters Edinburgh Comedy Award were announced today and it’s great to see Seymour Mace and Larry Dean amongst the list of nominees.

 

seymour mace

Seymour has been one of the best live stand-up comics on the UK circuit for the past ten years and if anybody deserves to be recognised it’s Seymour, he is one of the nicest men on the circuit and has just worked away doing his own thing in his own unique way the next time you see him listed at a comedy club local to you, buy a ticket you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

 

larry deanLarry is new to the scene, he won the Scottish Comedian of the Year title in 2013 and has been ripping it up ever since, it’s great to see young Scottish stand-up’s recognised by the wider industry and this nomination will give a huge boost to Larry’s career. Not that it would have made much difference though, he is a brilliantly funny and hard-working stand-up anyway!

 

 

Best of Luck to both of them, there can only be one winner of the main prize, but when someone does win, I hope it’s either Seymour or Larry.

 

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 22 – Tuesday 25th August

Getting Near the Finish Line

It has now caught up with me, I’m exhausted.

exhausted

As I write this blog I am totally spent, I did not get back from Edinburgh till 3am early Wednesday morning as I was performing at “The Best of Scottish Comedy” at The Stand!

Immediately after the show finished, instead of coming straight home, I made the fatal mistake of going out and hunting for a slice of quiche!

As John Scott had mentioned it onstage during the show and he gave me a notion for it!

quiche

 

 

 

 

 

I have no idea where you get quiche at 1am in Edinburgh so I had no option but to settle for Haggis and Chips! As I had mentioned that in my blog, the other day, and it gave me a notion for it!

edinburgh haggis

I was going to eat the haggis and chips whilst driving home but this would make it difficult as I often surf the web as well whilst driving and I didn’t want to get a citation for driving with “undue care and attention” so I ate it in the street!

This merely prolonged and lengthened an already long and hard day

Manual Labour

Tuesday started when I was rudely awakened at 8am by a guy delivering a skip, which was ordered to make space for the aforementioned treadmill.

skip

Have skip must fill, and so begun the process of clearing the garage of all of its crap which was to go into the skip, all except liquids and electrical items which had to be taken up to the council recycling centre separately, in my car.

By noon, the skip was filled to bursting, I had been to the council recycling centre and the garage was cleared.

In addition to the excessive amount of manual labour described above I also had to remove the smell of mould from an old guitar case.

How clean is your case?

The guitar case is lined with fake fur and it just has that old mouldy, musty smell which, if you leave the guitar in the case for any length of time, will transfer itself to the instrument and nobody wants to jam with a smelly guitar.

guitar case

 

 

 

 

I have another guitar case that smells of chocolate and when you take that guitar out and play it you are thinking thoughts of Mint Aero hmmm. (the guitar is Seafaom Green in colour)

Anyway to solve this problem, on top of everything else I have been doing, I have been on the internet researching the varying processes for the removal of bad smells from fabric and so, set about applying the following:

According to The Internet; cheap vodka will take away the smell of mould from clothing and fabric!

So I bought:

1 x 35cl bottle of vodka (generic supermarket brand)

5 x Small foil baking trays

5 x Small cardboard party bowls

2 x Cartons of Bicarbonate of Soda

1 x Neutradol Car Odour Destroyer

1 x Chupa Chups Blueberry Air freshener.

The weather was very nice in Glasgow today so what I did was I took the guitar case out into the back garden and left it open on a patio chair. I then poured some of the vodka into a spray bottle and sprayed this onto the inside of the case.

I didn’t soak the case in vodka, I just covered it with a light to medium dusting and left it in the sun to dry for an hour.

I had to be vigilant, however and kept a keen eye on the case as there is a cat next door, a big fat ginger tom, and I am certain he was looking at my guitar case thinking, “hmm There’s a nice place for a piss”

I stood at the kitchen window watching and on two occasions I had to shoo the big ginger bastard away because I have no procedure at hand for the removal of cat piss!

cat in case

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway once the case had dried, I had a sniff and the smell had definitely been reduced

I then took the guitar case indoors and laid it flat on a table.

I poured one carton of bicarbonate of soda each into one of the foil baking trays each and sat one tray at the bottom of the case and one at the top where the headstock rests!

This is to take away any moisture remaining in the case.

I then put the Neutradol gel into a small cardboard bowl and sat that in the case as well to remove any remaining odour and I will leave the case like that for two weeks.

After the two weeks is up I will remove the trays of bicarbonate of soda and the bowl of Neutradol and then throw in the blueberry air freshener with some silica gel bags and this should do the trick

This is too much

Looking at the counter on the Microsoft word program it seems that I have written in excess of 800 words about cleaning a garage and a fuckin guitar case.

I havent even got to the bit about arguing with my doctor about my drinking and dying on my arse for ten quid at the pick of the fringe! You know it was just one of those days!

No wonder I’m exhausted!

Unless you are an anally retentive type or in the guitar case cleaning business then you’re probably thinking; what a load of Pish!

“We want to hear about you fighting with Doctors and dying on your arse”

You will! I assure you! And I promise also to write about the reason why I didnt just buy some Fabreze and spray that on the guitar case. It’s because it reminds me of a manky old MILF I was banging a few years ago, who used to clean her duvet with fabreze! It was a very dark time for me and is the absolute last thing I need to be reminded of everytime I take my guitar out of it’s case.

Fuck this! I need to go to bed.

 

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 21 – Monday 24th August

Another Fringe Monday

Excuses, excuses!

All I heard on the street today were statements about pickings being thin, not enough people about or I may have to pull the show, etc, etc.

A lot of performers don’t just do the middle Monday of the Fringe. Many of them don’t do any Mondays at all!

And so it was today!

empty street

The streets were clearly a lot quieter after the weekend and this makes it more difficult to pull in any sort of decent sized audience but, being a deluded optimistic type, I set about luring in as many unsuspecting passers-by as possible.

 

 

I managed to get the room half-filled and this makes it playable, however the added bonus is that a smaller audience means there’s a lot less pressure and, I thought, I might as well just have some fun!

Comedy is not work! In the sense that it’s not a forced, physical endeavour.

digging a hole

 

 

 

 

 

To try too hard on a comedy stage is to put yourself under undue stress and pressure and when that happens, you run the risk of blowing the gig.

Comedy like any artistic performance should be done in a relaxed and enjoyable way, your voice should be clear and not strained and your body should be supple.

If you’re stressed and tense it puts a barrier between you and your audience and they pick up on it!

stressed

 

Tonight’s show was great!

And that’s because I didn’t bother too much about the effect I was trying to supplant onto the audience and I didn’t try to seek their validation either.

I just let go and did my thing!

If only they could all be like that!

A Need to Perform

Believe it or not, I do stand-up comedy to overcome my shyness!

I have always been shy and have always needed validation, I suppose it comes from my childhood.

As long as I can remember I have always wanted to perform, whether dreaming of being in a band singing or playing guitar or acting, I have always had an overpowering need to garner surrogate love from any source possible.

daydreaming

 

 

 

 

 

I have also been skint all of my life as well, so the motivation comes from many places.

a tramp

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a poor, sad, sack!

Anyway.

I have played the guitar badly since the age of eighteen and whilst at University me and my pal, John “Stringsnapper” McGhee, did a bit of gigging and busking.

John got that nickname because he had the curious habit of always breaking strings on his guitar, every single time we played together.

One day, owing to a serious shortage of drink vouchers, John and I decided we would go out busking and forever the entrepreneur, looking for an angle, I decided we would go out dressed as The Blues Brothers.

blues brothers

The year was 1990!

I was a fat guy, John was a thin guy, I used the suit I had recently been married in and John stole his old man’s dinner suit. We borrowed hats and sunglasses from a neighbour of mine, the white shirts were our own and John’s brother was a copper, ergo a thieving bastard, so he nicked us a couple of black ties belonging to Strathclyde’s finest.

booze brothers 2

And here we are! We looked fuckin great and so, out we went.

And, It was a master stroke!

We went into town, with our guitars, and made about forty quid in the space of ninety minutes, then, having a natural aversion to hard graft (John’s a teacher, it’s sort of like a comedian but with more holidays and a good pension) we headed home to drink our earnings.

As we walked back up the Gallowgate however, a guy who ran one of the pubs, spotted us and invited us over for a drink.

We gratefully accepted his kind invitation and we got a free drink.

We also played a couple on numbers (we only knew two songs and one was an instrumental), put the hat round, made another ten quid then, made our excuses and left.

It was whilst we were in the pub drinking, however, that fate played a hand.

I was chatting to the owner and started bullshitting him big time. I told him that “Me and John were experienced musicians and were looking to work this street, Man!”

bullshit

 

 

 

 

The owner, who was a fearsome East End gangster, said “Nae Bother, come doon and play here next Saturday and I’ll pay you Eighty Quid!”

kerching

 

 

 

Now the rational me, should have politely declined, but rationality was not to enter my being for at least another 20 years, and Eighty Quid to two pisshead students, was a fortune in those bygone days.

To put this into perspective a pint of Becks in the Student Union was only 50p at the time.

The only thing standing between us and that eighty quid was no suitable equipment at all and a distinct lack of musical talent. But eighty quid is a powerful motivator, it was our first real gig, fuck me by this time next year we will be playing stadiums Johnny Boy!

John was dubious, but we sold some old camera equipment and John extended his overdraft and we practiced like fuck all week!

practising

 

 

 

 

 

The day came, we were scheduled to do two sets of 2 hours 30 mins each for the money. The first set was from 2.30pm till 5pm and then again from 8.30pm till 11pm.

We were standing there dressed as Jake and Elwood and just went for it with all guns blazing!

The first song was Jumping Jack Flash and it was too loud. Far too loud and shite as well, and they all jumped to their feet and fucked off in a flash! We cleared the pub with our first number!

exit

We composed ourselves, turned the volume down and all the punters came back in but, we were terrible. John snapped some strings, it must have been a nervous thing, and that was the longest two and a half hours of our lives. The punters were shouting and heckling and abusing us. Telling us we were shite and the worst fuckin band they ever saw and we were too inexperienced to simply stop and fuck off! We just stood there and took a barrage of of unbelievable abuse!

At 5pm we stopped playing.

The final song we sang was Sailing by Rod Stewart and I remember being so nervous that instead of singing: “I am Flying” at the start of the second verse, I sang “I am frying”. Talk about a Freudian slip!

We had completely and spectacularly died on our arses. It was painful! It was humiliating! It was excruciating!

I remember saying; “Ladies and Gentlemen thankyou and good afternoon we will be back at 8.30″ at that, everybody in the boozer fell about and pissed themselves laughing!

The Owner was livid, he stood behind the bar with a look that said “How am I going to dispose of these two cunts’ bodies?”

We made eye contact and he beckoned me over saying: “Big Man! C’mere”

I walked over to the bar with a feeling of impending doom!

As I got there he, leaned across the bar, handed me some money and said: “There’s forty quid! See, if I ever see you in here again you won’t be fuckin seen again! Do you understand me? Now get yer pal, get yer gear the-gither and get tae fuck oot ma pub!”

bricktop

It was chilling! I nearly shat myself!

But, Fuck it! Forty quid is forty quid! Me and John went and got pished, Up in the safety of the student union, I still get flashbacks in the Gallowgate to this day.

 

 

The following Monday I passed the pub on the bus, on my way into town, and there was a big blackboard outside with writing on it, that said: “WANTED – GOOD BANDS!”

dead or alive

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 20 – Sunday 23rd August

There’s a big wide world out there

Sometimes you forget that there’s more to life than The Fringe, right at this precise moment I cannot for the life of me imagine what can be more important, but I’m sure there must be something!

the world

 

 

 

 

When you are in Edinburgh for The Fringe you are in an alien world inhabited by artists, actors and performers of every conceivable type who will make you gasp, laugh and cry whilst day trippers and tourists run the gauntlet of people giving out a hundred million flyers.

I then get back home and realise I have completely neglected the house.

Despite what I say in my show (beware, some of it might be utter bullshit) I’m sometimes compelled to keep the old homestead tidy by occasionally cutting the grass but unfortunately, owing to my Fringe commitments and being a lazy bastard, I haven’t bothered my arse.

a jungle

 

 

 

It’s a fucking jungle out there!

 

 

 

The Health Kick

loads of food

 

 

 

 

With all of the delicacies on offer in Edinburgh such as Nepalese Curries, French Hot Dogs, Japanese Bento Boxes and the dinners served at Auld Jocks Pie Shoppe, Myself and Her Indoors aren’t getting any thinner.

a fat belly

 

 

 

 

 

So, she’s gone and ordered a Treadmill!

“Where the fuck are we going to put it?”

“In the Garage” she replied

“But the Garage is jammed with crap”

garage jammed with crap2

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Bollocks, as usual I stood my ground and so, on top of cutting the grass I have to hire a skip and clear out the garage, what a pain in the arse!

My work / life balance hasn’t been this out of kilter since 2003 when I had a full time job!

I have a feeling my old mother will be getting a call, who, despite her advanced age and infirmity, can still graft like fuck!

Massive in Stenhousemuir

The show on Sunday night was a good show, plenty of improvised pieces and a third return visit from The Stenny FC supporters club who, unusually for a Sunday, helped to fill the room and that’s a nice bonus!

stenny

 

 

 

 

One chap who didn’t get in posted the following on Facebook:

Were too late getting to the Raymond Mearns show at the Beehive. Feeling depressed, cause the only thing we can hear is fits of laughter coming from the 2nd floor.

High Praise indeed!

The audience this evening included a family in from Ipswich, comprising Mum and Dad and their four kids aged 21, 18, 17 and 13!

Now, I have done Panto and I regularly do kids shows but this is different, this is my full blown Edinburgh Fringe show and I don’t often pull my punches.

There’s something inherently pathetic, yet hilariously funny, about starting off your show and saying very sheepishly “I erm, tend to explore some adult themes you know, from time to time”

explicit content

 

 

And, graphic content warning delivered, launched into my schtick.

 

What a show. The funniest moment though, was when everyone was leaving and the 13 year old was overheard saying to her Dad “What does Jailbait mean?”

jailbait

 

 

 

 

 

 

I enjoyed the show tonight but I’m not proud of myself!

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Edinburgh Fringe 2015 – Daily Blog – Day 19 – Saturday 22nd August

Spotted

After the show tonight we had a couple of drinks in the Beehive Inn with a friend and his missus!

having drinks

 

 

 

 

 

As I was coming back from the bar, a guy, who was a wee bit older than me, looked at me, pointed and said “Hey it’s you! I recognise you from the radio!”

Recognised from the Radio!

listening to radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hadn’t even opened my mouth, this is sensational, surely it’s confirmation, if any were needed, that I must be getting famous.

You can recognise me on the radio as well by listening to the second episode of “Des Clarke Exposed” on the BBC iplayer.

It’s a brilliant comedy show mixing stand-up and sketches.

Here’s the link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b065xbpn#play

des exposed

 

 

 

 

Eight Legs or Sixteen Legs?

It was a typical weekend at The Fringe with more people turning up to the show than could actually get in to see it and Her Indoors, as usual, handled the situation perfectly.

crowd trying to get in

 

 

 

 

On Friday night, a group of eight men turned up about ten minutes after the show had started and, as it was full, had no chance of getting in.

They had been drinking and started to get a bit arsey, saying it was a free show and they were coming in to see it and she couldn’t stop them, blah, blah, blah!

pissed up angry blokes

 

 

 

 

There was a bit of an argument but Her Indoors despatched them firmly and courteously.

During the day on Saturday there was a big spider on the wall at home, I don’t really have a fear of spiders but Her Indoors is terrified of them, so I got up from the chair, grabbed the spider and put it out the window, much to the relief of my good lady.

Skinny house spider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was then she posted the following on Facebook:

I had to turn away at least 30 people at the Mr’s gig last night, 8 of whom were a group of guys who didn’t want to leave. This morning he’s laughing as he puts a spider out the window because I’m a fearty! He says “You’d rather face 8 guys than a teeny wee spider” ……”Aye!”

Would I rather remove one wee spider or confront eight pissed up angry blokes? Now let me see.

Mathematically at the very least it’s a No Brainer, a spider only has eight legs and eight blokes have sixteen legs and the eight blokes were pissed and argumentative whereas the spider was sober, well I presume it was sober as it was around lunchtime, unless the spider was a day drinker.

drunk spider

 

 

 

 

 

And, it’s clearly, a sign of the times we live in when the comments and discussion following the status update are all about spiders instead of battling with eight pissed up angry blokes.

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