Banana Man Olivia Rose And A Very Cheeky Monkey

Hey everyone. Yesterday (Saturday) I made what will be the first of many trips to the 2014 Edinburgh festival fringe. Unlike most of my appearances, this was a day on which I would not be performing so it was the perfect chance to soak up the atmosphere and take in whatever had in store for me.

As I reached the north bank I was accosted by giant life sized Banana man who was very chatty and as he handed a leaflet for his company’s show. Honestly girls I’ve never seen a banana look quite so appealing and or for that matter so cute. Now I have to admit I’ve always liked my bananas and believe me this one was no exception.

Anyway, having chatted to a talking banana I was then approached by two gabby and very likeable Canadian girls who eagerly told me why I should come to their show which I described as a little bit risque. This sounded very interesting and is one show I definitely will put on my list of must sees.

As I reached the mile I walked along south bridge I made my first stop at Pie maker which is in my opinion one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems, and got myself a haggis roll and an apple and custard lattice. Well I thought it could be a long time before I saw food again so I’d best get tucked in before the action started.

Having satisfied my appetite I meandered the short distance to the Royal Oak. My initial reason for choosing this esteemed venue to kick off fringe 2014 was to check dates and times for Jim Higo’s show but there was nothing to be seen so I must admit to being a wee bit gutted. However, just as I was about to leave the venue I was invited to come in the main bar for half an hour of music from Olivia Rose Deane. As I was already in the venue I thought I might as well give it a listen and I’m so glad I did.

In excellent 30 minutes of what I would describe as quality acoustic based folk music Olivia entertained the gathering or at the least the majority of us who were willing to listen to eight songs six of which were her own compositions and two covers of songs by Paloma Faith. It was with one of these covers Picking Up The Pieces that she kicked off a highly entertaining set.

Olivia Rose followed this up with Out of Town a song about the industrial decline of her area. Of the other songs in her set I particularly enjoyed Time, Muse, and I thought Chasing Shadows and 30 Minute Love Affair showed her quirky side. After a thoroughly entertaining set it was perhaps appropriate that she left us in the only way she could and her last song not only of her set but of her fringe just had to be titled Smile which is exactly what this young mild mannered Birmingham lass made me do as she first footed my fringe and got the party started in style.

My fringe now officially under way I decided it was time for some comedy so I went to Whistlebinkies where I was duly entertained by the New York Comedy All Stars. This crew of five comedians were all sharp and funny in their own way but let’s just say some appealed more to my sense of humour than others but as is always the way in a show which is like a comedy cabaret it will always be a matter of individual taste.
At the end of the show I stayed on Niddrie Street and journeyed to the bar which is always will be my Edinburgh local otherwise as the Banshee Labyrinth aka Headquarters. As I made my way up the steps who should I see but the talented young comedian James Christopher whose shows I have attended for the last two years. If you haven’t seen James before I highly recommend you rectify this at the earliest possible date. Check him out if you can because believe me this a guy going places and you’ll want to be able to tell your friends of the talent you discovered before he breaks big.

After James and I caught up on the goings on of the last year I went to the bar and ordered my first diet coke of the fringe. On doing so I went to find myself a seat and accidentally landed in the company of two poets Anna Percy and AJ McKenna who kindly gave me a copy of her book of trans related poetry Names and songs of women.
As a trans poet this collection is one I shall cherish and more than likely review on here at a later date.

As Anna and AJ went on their way to wherever they were going I think it might have been Jenny Pascoe’s night at Jibba Jabba I caught up with Kate Fox, another poet whose show is on my hit list I also enjoyed great chats with two of my favourite performance poets the original cheeky monkey otherwise known as monkey poet Matt Panesh and the man I went to the Royal Oak to see Jim Higo. On telling him this, Jim said he didn’t have a show this year and was only up for a week but he has already started his show for next year when he’ll be back for a full run.

Both Jim and Matt said that they read this blog from time to time and neither doubt which way I’ll be voting on September 18th. Indeed Matt went as far as to say that he had learned a lot on the Scottish independence debate from this blog. Matt was telling me that he couldn’t quite believe it when after six years of coming to Edinburgh he finally saw an Edinburgh tram I have news for him neither could the citizens of Edinburgh. Over the years Matt has become a good friend and I think I’ve seen his show every year he’s been up and this will be no exception. In fact it has to be one of the top priorities on my list in what it shaping up to be a very busy year.

As for Jim, not only did beloved Hull City reach the FA Cup Final last year his city was awarded UK city of culture for 2017 and when I asked him if he would consider writing a guest blog for tartantights on this topic he didn’t take much persuading. I am sure this will be a very interesting post on what it means to Jim and his city.

After the guys went to their next event I procrastinated for a wee while about whether to go to another show. Eventually however, I decided it was time to head back to Baillieston and so ended my first day of Edinburgh 2014 a day on which I met Bananaman Olivia Rose and a very cheeky monkey.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

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