Category Archives: Reviews

A Northern Soul

Tonight, the Edinburgh Festival and the Fringe will be over for another year. Once again, the shows I went to see for The Edinburgh Reporter were never less than interesting, and the second half of the month was no less thought-provoking.

In addition to the stuff I mentioned last week, Daniel Kitson at the Traverse was great, and AL Kennedy at the Book Festival was a masterclass on how to take an audience with you when reading off the page.

Put on a proper suit, do up your tie, and sing the Star-Spangled Banner
This year’s recommendation for the NYC apoplectic massive

Blog hero Paul Morley on Bowie didn’t translate well to the inherently conservative milieu of Charlotte Square, but perhaps the most gripping night of August was… Continue reading A Northern Soul

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Powder Puff

We’re well into the second half of the 2016 Edinburgh Festival and Fringe. When apoplectic.me isn’t counting its existence in major international soccer tournaments, it’s counting it in Festivals (2013, 2014, 2015).

"Get the gimp"
2016: Mrs Stroke Bloke loves owls. In a very particular way.

The beginning of the Fringe is always a bit of a whirl. I’m doing reviews and interviews during preview week and the first week proper. For the second half of the month, it’s more a case of hanging on and getting through to the end.

[If you hang on and get to the end of this post, there’s the Apoplexy Tiny Letter, too.] Continue reading Powder Puff

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I Hate the ’80s

Last week, I promised readers of the Apoplexy Tiny Letter a break from the political stuff, after the recent Democracy trilogy (1, 2, 3). And after last week’s Frankie Goes to Hollywood-mendous post, why not stay in the comforting nostalgic embrace of the ’80s?

Where's the pic of Michael Foot's donkey jacket?!
Dude. Those are clearly C21st Kayne shades.

I mean, seriously? Kayne, John Mayer, and The Police’s version of Message In a Bottle at 2007’s Live Earth concert to combat climate change made me want the Earth’s surface to be heated to 100,000,000°C. But we spoke about that sort of thing last week. And haemorrhagic stroke survivors are meant to keep their blood pressure down. So. Pleasant thoughts… Continue reading I Hate the ’80s

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Democracy

Sometimes, it feels like the blog is being hounded by an abstract concept.

Gravity: not just a good idea – it’s the law!

The land, maybe. Or mythical creatures. Or The Onion‘s conception of Joe Biden. Right now, though, it’s something else. Maybe you can guess what?

[Get more whimsy and free gin* at the Apoplexy Tiny Letter.]

Continue reading Democracy

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London

A day after the result of the #EUref came in, Mrs Stroke Bloke and I hopped on a train to London. Like the narrator of this wee ditty:

“Smoke lingers ’round your fingers / Train, heave on to Euston…”

(Smiths sceptics might find the above performance surprisingly muscular)

It was, y’see, an opportunity to check out an exclave of the soon-to-be nation of #Scotlond. By this time, Scotland’s First Minister had already reached out to the Mayor of London to discuss how their remain-voting areas could ameliorate the impact of Brexit. Continue reading London

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Highlander

Mrs Stroke Bloke and I spent this past weekend in the Highlands. More precisely, we were visiting family in Strontian, on the banks of Loch Sunart. One of my cousins asked if I would be writing about our trip in the blog this week. And since she took me to see David Bowie’s Sound and Vision tour stop in Ingliston in 1990, I could hardly say “No.”

“Scotland, stay with us. I mean, do you know how much this coat cost?!”

But first, please note that on Monday, 4 April, I’ll be presenting Nerd Bait’s latest (and maddest) concept EP, The Gospel of Unicerosaurus, as part of Illicit Ink’s show at the Edinburgh International Science Festival!!!

Continue reading Highlander

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The State of Origins, Pt. 1

It was quite a filmic weekend.

On Friday night, Beth and I went to a packed Filmhouse 2 to see The Hateful Eight. Definitely in my top three Tarantino movies.

Although it’s reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs in its bunch-of-desperados-trapped-in-a-room central conceit, a number of Leone-esque shots of a mythic American landscape pepper the movie.

Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West – Best Actor: Spain, as a mythic America

On Saturday, we stayed in and (finally) watched There Will Be Blood. Like The Hateful Eight and Once Upon a Time in the West (both scored by Ennio Morricone), it’s got a great score that carries long, dialogue-free stretches of film. In this case, the score is by Johnny Greenwood (or Radiohead and collaborations with the terrifying Krzysztof Penderecki).

Watching these two movies in quick succession got me to thinking…

[For more thoughts, sign up for the Apoplexy Newsletter here.] Continue reading The State of Origins, Pt. 1

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The Graduate

Last Wednesday, I attended my class’s graduation ceremony from the Masters of Science programme in Creative Writing (?!) at the University of Edinburgh. As I wrote at the time…

Edgy?! Yer ‘aving a laff!

We all had a lovely time. And I’m proud to be able to say that with the help of Beth and Paw Broon, I’m a post-stroke graduate! I have to say, though, that while it was nice to punctuate a wonderful year, it’s a bit concerning to be leaving the leafy groves of academe for a highly competitive world 18 years after I did it the first time.

Fortunately, Book Week Scotland was taking place out in the real world at the same time. And that helped ease the transition….

[In the Stroke Bloke privacy spectrum, get the good stuff and have a chat over here.]

Continue reading The Graduate

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The Man Don’t Give a ****

Beth and I went to see the new James Bond movie, SPECTRE, last night. Long-suffering readers may recall that Bond has a cameo roll to play in the story of my massive haemorrhagic stroke. More about that in Being a Man Again: Strokes, Power Tools and James Bond.

“So, Doctor, do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to divert resources from combating shadowy Eastern Europeans to fighting Daleks.”

It feels like seeing the stark, terrible beauty of Glencoe in Skyfall serves as easy reference for all of the parts of my life that were coming together to direct me back to Scotland. The Glen eventually served as a major character in a short story I wrote for the first issue of Brain of Forgetting.

Continue reading The Man Don’t Give a ****

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The Jazz Singer

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that “sometime this week, Beth and I are going to see Asif Kapadia’s documentary, Amy.” I saw his movie about the late Brazilian Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna on a plane last year, and thought it was very powerful.

More adjectives

Well, it turns out I was lying. Or, I didn’t have the full facts to hand. We went to see Amy last night.

[Sign up for the Apoplexy Tiny Letter here, for more words to while away the day.]

Continue reading The Jazz Singer

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