edinburgh fringe festival adventures

Wow – an epic week up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in which Basia, Jane and I managed to clock up over twelve shows in a week!

Click on the above image to hear us play ‘The Suitors Ballyhoo’ on the last Pleasance podcast of the festival.

Highlights included an amazing show at the last Golden Hour for The Forest Cafe and a lovely moment when we got to serenade a group of Maths academics in The Pleasance Courtyard who got another group of friends to watch us play via skype on their laptop.

Podcast recording and filming … L-R: Paul on camera, Robin on guitar, Basia on violin, Jane on accordion and Al on microphones.

A slightly tired Basia and Jane having a nap on the train heading north to Edinburgh.

unpeeled review of golden hour book and cd

golden hour

“my new favourite song contained within is ‘Women’ by Robin Grey, mainly because he sums up most hip-hop songs that have been made in two sharply written verses beautiful in their simplicity and wit”

Taken from a recent review of the golden hour book on http://www.unpeeled.net/ – you can buy the book and cd from http://forpub.com/store/ – an excellent xmas present for sure – it has been keeping me up at night thanks to some truly great poems and stories within.

Full review….

THE GOLDEN HOUR “Book ii” (Forest Publications)

Well, the book is kind of quiet unless you read it out loud, but the CD sounds like that tent you find in the middle of the madness of one of the larger festivals. You know the tent, the one where you have no idea who any of the people on the stage are, but you find yourself staying there all day just to see who’s on next. The next day you have no idea where that tent is, and don’t want to in case it ruins the magic of the previous day. That’s how it sounds, only on a CD and the names of the people are written in the book attached so you can google them all.

The Golden Hour is a monthly cabaret night held at The Forest Cafe in Edinburgh which gives space for writers and musicians to mingle and meet and perform to the world. This book and CD is a record of some of the contributors, their poems, stories and songs. I went to The Forest Cafe when I last went to the Fringe and it ended up being the place I hung the most as it seemed to be one of the only places I could shelter from the self congratulating ego wanking that was going on around me, everyone faking smiles that were showing cracks at the edges. I’m not surprised this book and CD is a product of this bastion of warm reality.

The CD is full of the type of music you expect to hear coming from a small stage, not overly produced and made with instruments that can be easily carried. The sounds and songs that emerge from your speakers are all well crafted and played with obvious passion and hunger, with each track being stamped with an individual personality. With over 20 contributors, including the likes of Billy Liar, Withered hand, Skeleton Bob, Johnny Berliner, Chandra and The Black Diamond Express amongst others( A massive embarrassment of treasures) you may find something you don’t like ( I personally find the Tuberians contribution, ‘Tuberians Have landed’ makes me want to donate my ears to a vivisection lab), but I can almost guarantee that your new favourite song is contained within, waiting to be discovered (with me it is ‘Women’ by Robin Grey, mainly because he sums up most Hip-Hop songs that have been made in two sharply written verses beautiful in their simplicity and wit).

Now I have to say that reviewing the book was a task I did not relish. Normally I can do the dishes, or beat off, or sew up the holes in my socks, or get on with any of the other small tasks that fill up my day from waking to unconsciousness whilst listening to the music I’m reviewing, but a book is different. A book is something that requires your complete attention, often silence and an open fire, or a bowel movement. And reading a book that is awful because you have to would be excruciating, but while reading the first story in this compilation, ’When We Were Broke’ by Erika Duffy, all of my fears and worries melted away, in fact everything melted away. It is possibly one of the most beautiful and true stories I have ever read. It’s been a long time since a story has made me choke up. Suffice to say I read on with a relish. Other highlights, which are hard to pick out from a book made up of highlights, include ‘The Birds, Like’ by Phil Harrison, a wickedly captivating tale of told from the point of view of a frustrated bully, and the poem ‘Lunch’ by Aiko Harman, if only because it mentions peanut butter, which in my world is a condiment. Other contributors include Claire Askew, Spencer Thompson, Alan Gillis and Russell Jones, again there are many more for you to discover and enjoy. All in all this collection is a superb little package that you will return to over and over, highly recommended.


gig in edinburgh on 17/02/10

Barbara Bartz and Robin Grey onstage at The Institute, KelvedonBarbara Bartz and Robin Grey onstage at The Institute, KelvedonBarbara Bartz and Robin Grey onstage at The Institute, Kelvedon

Barbara and Amy have never been to Edinburgh before and Iain’s brother lives there so it seemed rude to turn down the chance to play a show at The Forest Cafe.

Probably my favourite place in Edinburgh, The Forest has some of the best company and food north of the border. We will be performing as a four piece as part of ‘Golden Hour’, their monthly evening of music and spoken word.

golden hour book and cd vol. ii

golden hour

My good friend Ryan Van Winkle and his friends at The Forest Cafe in Edinburgh are releasing their second poetry and music compliation this week. I have a track on the cd which I am hoping to receive in the post soon.

Here is the link to the official website with full info – http://www.forpub.com/

If you are in the area and have some free time this friday you should head down to Blackwells for the launch. Hopefully they will do a London launch some time soon too.

At Blackwells on South Bridge, Edinburgh
Friday – Sept. 25th – 6.30pm – 8pm
– Readings by Aiko Harman, Alan Jamieson, Alan Gillis, Julia Boll and Andrew Philip.

followed by:
THE After Party / CD Launch
8pm – Late at The Forest, Edinburgh
Featuring: Poor Edward, Black Diamond Express, Withered Hand and more more more.