2007-08-26 : Typical, we don’t hear from him in months, then he goes on holiday and it becomes relentless!

G'day eager young space cadets! Quick summary of yesterday's Edinburgh shows (MAN I love my life!):

Dickens Unplugged – superb 5 man show presenting the works of one of England's most famous authors, as well as his life. In the style of The Complete Abridged History of Shakespeare it's a rapid potted presentation, hilariously skipping over vast tracts of detail – sort of reminded me of Book-a-minute, really. They also sang, in the sort of presentation that makes you wish that they'd released a CD whilst at the same time being painfully aware that you could never play it to anybody cos it wouldn't make an ounce of sense. Whilst standing in the queue we were interviewed by the Russian branch of the BBC World Service.

The Table – a musical performance by a Polish group, with the instrument being a specially built table which had guitar strings, violin strings, and all sorts of drumming surfaces built into it. It had microphones all over it, and the sounds were absolutely extraordinary. The opening gambit was that the musicians would take it in turns throwing razorblades & burying them in the table, then plucking them out again, and built and built from there. It made me think of the protracted bongo/table/bottle sessions of my student youth, except this was good. Bonus points for this one were that we were sat just near Scod & Yon from Tripod, who I got to have a quick chat with on the way out.

The Tiger Lillies – I broke the mould and nipped out to a Festival show for some legitimate culture. How the hell can I describe the Tiger Lillies though? “Satanic Folk music” is one description. In a “Tribute to Monteverdi (sort of)” the opening half was a Monteverdi aria between Orpheus and Eurydice, and the second half was a series of songs about Love & War. Martyn, the singer & accordionist performs extremely theatrically, alternating between high falsetto singing followed by facial contortion and guttural spitting out of ugly concepts. I was quite tickled by the way that the drummer finished a song by kicking his kit over, and then the band played 3 more, so he had to quietly & unobtrusively reassemble it.

Brendon Burns – after a lifetime of queueing for this midnight gig the mood was electric in the venue, and it turned out the reason for this was that that night was the announcement of the if.commedies, and a fairly stoked looking Brendon Burns took the stage, having just been crowned this year's winner. His show, entitled “So I Suppose THIS Is Offensive Now” was a fairly intense ramble around the concept of our times being overly politically sensitive and how there was really no need to be, as well as a few other things. Argh. Can't sum it up here really. That's no use, is it? Burns's in your face style reminded me a lot of Jim Jeffries – unabashedly and unapologetically straight up about what he was about, he was honestly brutal, and tackled topics that I think comedians should be tackling rather than safe jokes about polite things. An exceptionally crafted show, which definitely deserved to win.

Now, time for a shower, and to head out for today's cultural onslaught!