Jonathan Trew: Comedy in tattoo parlours

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THIS is the 11th year that Glasgow International Comedy Festival has whacked the city’s collective funny bone. With 411 shows at 46 venues, the festival has cemented its position as one of the top dogs on the comedy festival circuit and has the big-name acts to prove it.

Jimmy Carr, Harry Hill and Al Murray are among the major draws playing over the next couple of weeks. While the polished performances of Carr, Hill et Al will put large numbers of backsides on seats, some of the less mainstream acts look more interesting. Gigs in a tattoo parlour and in the St Enoch subway station may well prove more diverting than listening to Carr make light of his tax affairs. Top picks for this weekend are Henning Wehn, the self-styled German comedy ambassador, and TV spoof Britain’s Got FXXK All Talent. The shows take place tonight at Oran Mor and the Art School Union respectively.

Meanwhile, Aberdeen Jazz Festival is getting its groove on with a line-up of bands whose origins stretch from Dyce to New Orleans. Today’s highlights include the trumpeter Colin Steele playing Miles Davis tracks from Kind of Blue and Milestones, plus the 
experimental, genre-bending sounds of Polar Bear.

This afternoon, the city’s Merchant Quarter is being taken over by Jazz on the Green. A free event at the Carmelite, Old King’s Highway, Musa, Tunnels and on the stage outside Café 52, it will feature jazz, blues, funk and soul sets from bands as diverse as the Guarana Street Drummers, the Gerry Jablonksi Blues Band and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland 
Access Band.

If that all sounds rather noisy, consider the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema in Bo’ness. As well as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton films, this weekend’s programme includes more exotic fare such as Jujiro (aka Crossways). A 1928 Japanese film, the action follows a young woman and her brother whose obsession with a cold-hearted geisha has tragic consequences. Contemporary electronica outfit Minima provide a live score.