Brian Ferguson's diary

Move over Tim Vine, there's a new king of the quick-fire quip in town.

Portrait of Bill Martin MBE. Picture: John Devlin
Portrait of Bill Martin MBE. Picture: John Devlin

Bill Martin, the man behind hits for the Bay City Rollers, Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw and Elvis Presley, drops as many gags as star names in his one-man show at The Dome, even though some of them felt older than the 78-year-old raconteur.

Martin also takes great delight in playing excerpts of the hits the Rollers could have had if they had stuck with Martin and partner Phil Coulter instead of trying to write their own material.

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Martin claims the phrase “Shang-a-lang” was inspired by his mother’s ban on swearing in the house and revealed that the Rollers’ famously skin-tight outfits were created by accident rather by design: “My secretary made them, but she didn’t buy enough material.”

See page 6 for our review

| The cast and crew of On Your Nerve’s “modern-day fairytale” Mirror, Mirror Off The Wall are still recovering from their encounter with a real-life villain in Edinburgh.

Arriving in the city under darkening skies they turned up at their Fringe accommodation only to discover that they had fallen victim to a “wicked ogre” who had duped a number of companies into handing over cash for accommodation that did not exist.

But there was a happy ending, according to founder, Eloise Leeson, who told me: “The faraway kingdom of Edinburgh has wrapped us in its accommodating arms. One act of callous malice has unveiled countless more of exceptional kindness, and the city’s magical creatures (its visitors and residents) have come to our rescue.”

| As this month’s whirlwind of launches came to an end at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards gathering at Ghillie Dhu I was relieved to see lunch was still on the menu.

A dramatic scaling back on the catering front at various events reached crisis point for me at the Pleasance – just after I had been hearing about the phenomenon of “festival food anxiety” – forcing a first emergency dash to Greggs to sustain me through the marathon Meet the Media event.

As for the comedy awards, its budget must have been trimmed in other areas, but those branded brollies may be badly missed this month if the current crazy weather continues.