Skip to main content


Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
Sunday July 29th 2012
4 stars
In the silence, Ted Milton sits behind a microphone centre-stage and 
blows up a balloon he ties and places at his feet. With a set of 
carefully placed clips, Milton hangs up a piece of white material too 
big to be a handkerchief, too small to be a sheet. His back-drop in 
place, and largely hidden from view, he takes something from a violin 
case, and a naked Barbie doll appears bobbing above the makeshift 
curtain. “Oh, look!” says naked Barbie in Milton's squealy voice as a 
white ping pong ball on a stick appears. “A molecule!” This happens 
several times until Barbie is surrounded by molecules and Milton 
presumably runs out of fingers. A large plastic hand appears a la Terry 
Gilliam's Monty Python work and the word B.O.M.B. is spelt out as 
Milton's foot causes the balloon to explode beneath him.

As an opening gambit for an Edinburgh Jazz Festival gig, it's hardly 
Manhattan Transfer, for which we should all be grateful. As an 
introduction to Milton and his saxophone/guitar/drums power trio's 
Puppeteers of the World Unite! forty-odd year retrospective, it's also 
an insight into Milton's very singular anti-career path, be it as poet, 
puppeteer or post-punk provocateur.

As Milton folds up his hanker-sheet and puts Barbie back in her box, 
guitarist Steve Eagles and drummer Dave Aylward stumble into the show's 
thirty-two year old title track, a circular sideshow stagger given 
increasingly splenetic sheen by Milton alternating between short, 
stabbing bursts of skronky sax and a vocal that lets rip with Barbie's 
voice some more with a warning shot of “Behind you!” As tightly 
rehearsed as they are musically, Eagles and Aylward look over their 
shoulder in response to Milton's refrain.

For almost ninety minutes, Blurt's crisp, bass-free insistence becomes 
as funkily demonic as James Chance or early 1980s Ornette Coleman. 
Mapping out a back-catalogue of shoulda-been absurdist-pop hits 
declaimed with a pukkah sense of drama,  Milton's facial expressions 
contort into something that's part manic desperado, part benign elder 
statesman. Looking for all the world like a comedic approximation of 
Stewart Lee's dad, on miniatures like 'Poppycock' and 'My Mother Was A 
Friend of An Enemy of the People', such extremes meet somewhere in a 
very peculiar middle.

As Milton slow-walks his cohorts off-stage before doing an equally 
deadpan volte face for a four-song encore, Blurt's mix of European 
arts-lab vaudeville and the briskest of blow-outs is a one-off
that's quite possibly the most important booking Edinburgh Jazz 
Festival have ever made.

The List, August 2012



Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1
1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77)
3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77)
4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77)
5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77)
6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77)
7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77)
8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78)
9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78)
10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79) 
11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79)
12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79) 
13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79)
14. JOLT See Saw (6/79)
15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79)
16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79)
17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79)
18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79)
19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79)
20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79)
21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79)
22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79)
23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79)
24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80)
25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980)

1. THE REZILLOS I Can’t Stand My Baby (Sensible FAB 18/77) If it wasn’t for T…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …