Brian Ferguson: The times they are a-changin'

Some vintage freewheeling Fringe fun can be found at the Monkey Barrel, Edinburgh's newest year-round comedy club, which is going like a fair this month.

Jackie Kay: Dramatic changes

Festival veteran Phil Kay is literally sweating it out at the pay-what-you want venue before brandishing a yellow bucket at the end.

A highlight of the show was an ominous routine about the perils of using Airbnb and the four-legged friends that can be lying in wait.

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However, somewhat ironically, Phil Nichol’s cabaret show The Asylum was left homeless after complaints about the racket from an upstairs flat, which is being let out for the festival… via Airbnb.

• Jackie Kay, one of the most popular draws at the Book Festival, was reflecting on the dramatic changes she has noticed during her whistle-stop travels around Scotland since being appointed Makar last spring.

During a visit to the Outer Hebrides, the gay poet was telling the woman in her mid-70s who was tasked with taking her from venue to venue that she was amazed to see so many lesbians in her audience. Kay said: “She looked at me as if to say, ‘How did you know that?’ I answered her unasked question and said, ‘A very good gaydar.’

“She said to me without losing a beat, ‘Aye, we’ve managed to hing on to oor lesbians.’ I was on the ferry afterwards looking for all the gay men leaving the island.”

• Stuart Cosgrove’s efforts to document the soul scene in 1960s Detroit led him to memorable encounters with Whitney Houston and her family and Mary Wilson of The Supremes.

He told the audience at his Book Festival event that his long fascination with soul music began growing up in Perth and was down to his older sister who had the names of various singers on her school jotters.

“At that age everybody else was into football. I thought Otis Redding played for Dundee United.”

• With the half-way point of the festivals safely hurdled, I’ve had precious few random celebrity sightings on the streets. Surely I can do better than a glimpse of Ruth Davidson strolling around the west end in her casual summer gear as I sneaked into Greggs for sustenance?