Chats (for you) – Episode 28, Friends at the Fringe

chatsforyoulogo

In this 28th episode of Chats (for you), James talks to some of his friends that are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe festival this year. (Make sure you listen to the intro, as there’s a bit of a twist.)

(iTunes here.)

Shows mentioned in this episode that have an online presence. Click for more info.

Silly Boys.

Game of Loners.

Andrew Learmonth in The Explorers Club.

Derek Johnston’s A Day Oot!.

Lollipop.

Katia Kvinge presents Kharacters.

Two More Liars.

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Chats (for you) on twitter: @chatsforyou.

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The Case of The Red Cup: Part 4

godandandrew

previous parts: one, two and three.

by Andrew Learmonth

Part 4

“Who the hell are you?” asked Donny Hosking.

“Just an amateur detective” I said.  I stood confident and looked him in the eyes.  Even though I was completely shiteing it, I had once read in a book that looking someone confidently in the eyes and speaking confidently could confuse people into thinking that you were cleverer and better than you are.

“You’re a fucking ghoul aren’t you.  I’m going to beat the shit out of you”

Hosking took a step towards me.

“Do something” shouted God.

“I know it was you Donny.  I know you killed Robert Radcliffe.”

“What?  You know nothing”

“You were jealous of his success.  You knew that if you killed Robert Radcliffe then you would be able to take over as one of Glasgow’s top Michael Bublé tribute acts.”

 “What? You call yourself a detective. Get out”

 “I’ve already told other people” I lied.  “I’ve emailed my contact.  If anything happens to me then he’ll go straight to the police”.

 “You idiot.  You know nothing.  Look at these pictures.  Look at them.”

I looked.  And then I noticed that actually they weren’t all the same Michael Bublé lookalike.  Unmistakably, there on the sideboard was a picture of Donny Hoskings.

“Wait.  Why would he have a picture of you on his sideboard?”

“Why would anyone have a picture of another man on their sideboard?” said God.

“Lovers.”  I looked at Donny Hoskings, “You and Robert Radcliffe were lovers?”

“He was my life partner and now he’s gone.”  Hoskings broke down.  “Somebody’s taken him.”

“But why have the police not taken this seriously?”

“He was a Michael Buble tribute act you idiot  The police don’t care about the life of one Michale Buble tribute act”

“But you’re a police officer.  You should do something”

“Those idiots will just come to the same conclusion you did.  They didn’t know Robert and I were lovers.   You need to leave. “

 “I can help”

 “Can you fuck.”

 “I can”

 Hoskings sighed.  “Listen, I appreciate your concern.  You’ve cared but you don’t know what you’re doing.  I need to find out what’s happened and why it’s happened.  You’ll just get in the way.”

 Hosking’s phone started to ring.  He looked at it and looked at us and walked away into the hall.

 I turned to God and asked for guidance.

 “I don’t know Andrew.  We should probably go back to the flat and think this over.”

 We walked towards the front door.  I gave Hosking a little wave.  He made a motion for me to stay where I am.  He said bye to the person on the phone and came up to me.  His Buble like features were only inches away from me.

 “There’s been another one.”

 “What?”

 “In Stockholm.  The number two Swedish Miley Cyrus tribute act has been found with her head caved in.  There are also reports from Beijing of the top Chinese Katie Melua has been missing for four days now.  Police are fearing the worst.”

 I looked at him aghast.  Then I looked at God aghast.

 “Something’s not right.”

The Case of the Red Cup: Part 3

godandandrew

by Andrew Learmonth

The first thing to mention about the house is the house itself.  It was a bungalow.  The main door opened and led into a hallway. There were doors off this hallway.  Three doors.  One led to a living room.  The other two led to bedrooms.  If you followed the hallway round you would end up in the kitchen.

The dead body had been found in the living room.

There was blood everywhere.  A big dried pool in the centre of the room and drops splashed up all four walls.  Whatever had been the reason for the occupant’s death, it had been brutal.

I looked at God and said, “The police said there weren’t any suspicious circumstances?”

“I know.” said God.  “They want you and everyone else to believe that this gentleman killed himself.  That he simply took a large, blunt, heavy object to his face maybe 40 or 50 or 60 times”.

“Why?”

“That” said God “is the question of the detective.  Look around and see what you can see and what you make of this man”.

God stood looking at the dried bloody pool as I started looking around.  I felt God was testing me.  I knew he had been in already.  I wondered what he was hoping I would see and what conclusions I would come to.

It was then that I noticed the picture of pop star Michael Bublé on the wall.  To call it a picture is an understatement.  It was more a framed fresco.  So big was the photograph that it took up almost one side of the wall.

Then I noticed the picture of Michael Bublé on the window sill and then the three pictures of Michael Bublé on the cabinet behind the sofa.  And then I looked back into the hallway and saw picture after after picture of Michael Bublé.  There must have been at 30 pictures of Michael Bublé in the hall alone.

“He liked Michael Bublé” I said to God.

“No.  Look closer”.

So I did.  I looked at the massive picture of Michael Bublé on the wall.  In my head it was definitely Michael Bublé.  That part of my brain that remembers the faces of famous people kicking about the general popular consciousness told me it was Bublé.  But was it possible that the eyes weren’t quite right?  Podgier face, a slightly higher cheek bone and eyes that verged more on the squinty than Bublé’s.

The more I looked at it the more it was like I was looking at a bad photo of Bublé.  As if some paparazzi had snapped off hundreds of pictures in seconds and then given the owner of this house one of the ones where Bublés eyes were closing.

I looked at the other pictures.  There were pictures of him performing.  One was on a stage against the a black curtain.  Just visible on the right hand side was a large jar with neon yellow card attached.  I had to look really close but the neon yellow card said:  Ellon Community Gala fund raising.

Not that I could be too sure without the aid of Google but surely Bublé had never played the small, north-eastern town of Ellon?

“It’s not Michael Bublé, is it God?”

“Nope.”

“A lookalike?  A tribute act?”

“According to this stash of letters his name was Robert Radcliffe.  Do you have your phone there?  Google him”

And there he was.  No 1 in the search ranking:

Robert Radcliffe as Mickey Bubbles – Glasgow top Michael Bublé tribute act.  Bublé in the pub, Bublé in the village hall, Bublé in the concert hall, Bublé in your kitchen.  Micky Bubbles takes Bublé everywhere.  Book him now!

“Wow.  He was a Bublé tribute act.  And you reckon he’s had his head smashed in?  Who would do such a thing?” I asked God.

“Well, with deaths like these we have to ask who will benefit.  Who benefits from one of Glasgow’s top Michael Bublé tribute acts being killed?”

I looked God square in the eye, “One of Glasgow’s other top Michael Bublé tribute acts.”

“Exactly.” He pointed to my phone.  “Google.  Who else is there?”

I searched the listings again, and there on page  4 of the results was an article from the Coatbridge Advertiser.

“Listen to this God:

“Coatbridge Detective Sergeant Danny Hoskins won £75 after coming second in the St Andrew’s arm Stars in Their Eyes contest as Michael Bublé.  The 32 year old Homicide Detective said that it was a dream come true to be finally recognised for his voice”

“Incredible”  said God.

“Now we’re starting to understand why there are no ‘suspicious circumstances’ surrounding Robert Radcliffe’s death.”

Suddenly behind me the door to the living room opened.  There was a shout of “what the hell” and the beam of a torchlight.

“Who the fuck are you?” said a gruff voice.  I looked at God.  He shrugged.

“I’m Andrew Learmonth.  I’m a detective”

The man lowered the torch

“No you’re not” he said.  “I’m a detective.”  He walked into the light and there, unmistakably were the Bublé-like features of singing policeman, Donny Hosking.

 End of part three

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Other parts of ‘The Case of the Red Cup’ are available here.

The Case of the Red Cup: Part Two

godandandrew

by Andrew Learmonth

The next few days were incredible.

I was to be a detective for God.

He told me that he had a good eye for detective-ing talent and that I could be one of the best detectives he had ever come across.

It was true that since my boy hood I have been truly fascinated by crime fiction and detective stories.

I devoured the works of Enid Blyton before moving on to the harder liquor of  Agatha Christie and the heroin speedball of Ian Rankin.

So fascinated was I with the genre that I had even applied to become a member of the police force.  Unfortunately they said no and that maybe I should think really hard about what it is I want to do.

Not getting a job in to the police really frustrated me.  I mean I had all the key assets needed for a police officer:  I like crime and was filled with pent up homophobia, misogyny and racism.   What else could I do.  That’s when I discovered stand up comedy.

But it was never enough.  I always knew there was a hole that needed filled.  It was only God knocked on my door that this hole started to fill.

“You knew didn’t you?” God asked.

“Knew what?”

“You knew that there was something wrong back there.  That that wasn’t a straightforward death with no suspicious circumstances.”

“I had an inkiling” I said, even though I hadn’t.

“Yes.  Yes.  You’ll do well I think.  You are to be a detective for God.  I shall record your deeds.  I shall be your Watson.  You shall be my Shylock.”

“Sherlock.”

“Whatever.”

With that we left my flat and headed back to the house where I had first seen God earlier that day.

The ambulances, police vans and cordons and stander-bys of earlier had all disappeared.  While the rest of the street was lit up with people having their lights on and watching the telly the house was that special type of darkness that only happens in houses with nobody in them.

God walked up the garden path and knocked on the door.  He turned round to look at me and smiled.

“Ever been to a crime scene Andrew?” he asked.

“No”.

God laughed.

Nobody answered the door.  God put his head to the door and listened for any noise at all.  Then he tried the door and when it wouldn’t shove he kicked it down.

“We can’t just go into someone else’s house” I said.

“I’m God I can go wherever the fuck I like”.

What I was to see beyond that door changed me forever.

End of part two

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Once available, Andrew’s other stories will all be available here.

The Case of The Red Cup: Part One

godandandrew

by Andrew Learmonth

Pre-amble

If you’re the sort of person who reads a newspaper or follows Buzzfeed on Twitter then you’re probably already aware of the work of God and I over the last few years.

We’ve put quite a few criminals behind bars.

The two of us made quite the team.

This is the first adventure that God and I had together.  You’ll excuse me if the details are a little bit patchy.  It was many years ago and I am having to retrieve these memories from a very dark place.  I should like to have had a more detailed recording of this adventure.  Indeed, that is why God first came on my adventures.  The plan was for him to take notes of the cases I was asked to solve.  He would write them up into punchy, short detective stories.  In his own words he was to ‘be my Watson’.
Unfortunately, as very quickly realised, God was an unreliable witness.

Only two of his accounts of our time together exist.  Or at least I only saw two accounts.

Those that I did see were barely legible, crude for the sake of being crude and inconsistent in tone and style.

In one, The Attack On Mr Horgreaves, (I had originally suggested the title of, ‘Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup’ – a title God had claimed was fucking stupid) He even got the murderer wrong!

God had claimed that Mr Horgreaves had been attacked by specially trained Chinese circus dog!

While that had been an initial theory it was quickly dismissed when we discovered Mrs Horgreave’s stash of false teeth.  God couldn’t accept that the dogs were innocent.  So he used his writing to write what he wanted, hell mend the truth.

After that little episode I asked him to stop taking notes.  He was srill welcome to come on cases with me but I should be my own biographer.

God, although annoyed, acquiesced to this agreement.  We spent many months working happily together.

God was undoubtedly an arse and what He did during the case of Hamish Macpherson I can never forgive.  But He was also my best friend and my closest companion for many years.  I miss Him dearly.

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The Case of The Red Cup

Several years ago I was a homosexual.

I wasn’t the best homosexual but I managed.

Then one day there was an advert in the Glasgow Evening Times offering cures for homosexuality.  I didn’t realize that a cure existed.  I phoned up and asked if I could take the cure.

I had to go to the house of an elderly Cardinal where I would have to touch his penis until I made myself sick of touching penises  After four days of constant penis touching I was sick and I was cured.

The Cardinal was surprisingly comfortable for a man whose penis had been touched for four days straight.  I said thank you and I asked what I should do with my life now that I wasn’t a homosexual.

‘My child’ he said, ‘you must be of practical use to the world, much like the church is of practical use to the world.’

I didn’t know what this meant but I nodded as if I did.

Walking away from the Cardinal’s house I soon realized what that practical help could be.

Just two houses down there was a commotion.  Police cars started arriving.  People were running down towards this house.  A policeman kicked open the door.

I stayed to watch.

More police arrived and went into the house.  An ambulance arrived and two paramedics ran into the house.

It took me another hour of standing there until it became evident that someone had been murdered.

I remember when I heard the news.  I was almost sick.  I looked up and across at the other side of the street where I saw a large, older man, with a huge flock of white hair and huge flock of a beard.  He looked back at me.  I blinked and he was gone.

Putting it down to an illusion caused by 96 hours of cock touching I promptly put it out of my head.

A policeman came up to me and asked if I knew the deceased.  I said no.

Then he turned to the person beside me and asked if he knew the deceased.  In a loud flock of a voice the person beside me said, ‘Yes’.  I turned round and realised that the hairy white-haired man was standing beside me.

“Come this way please” said the police officer lifting the cordon tape to let him through.

The bearded man looked at me, winked and smiled and followed the police officer.

I walked away.

It was some time later.  I was back at my house. getting rid of those things that I had accumulated as a homosexual.  There was a knock at the door and there was the big hairy white haired man.

“You” I said.

“Me” he said in return.

“What do you want?”

“Your help.”

End of part one

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Once available, Andrew’s other stories will all be here.