Fringe by the Sea: Hello Mr Boom!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Remember Fringe by the Sea? The week-long seaside spectacular of epic proportions that my parents and their co-conspirators effortlessly (!) pull off every summer? Well, this year's event is less than a month away and my mum and dad are once again fully embroiled in all the chaos and madness that will somehow, hopefully, touch-wood-fingers-crossed, come together at the last minute to create something a little bit magical.

Partly as an ode to one of my favourite weeks of the year, and partly to pimp it out to those of you who are lucky enough to be in the Edinburgh area and who might like to maybe come and see a show or two (please don't make me beg), I thought I'd share some of my top picks from this year's programme. And where better to start than... Mr Boom!!

What do you mean, you've never heard of Mr Boom? *Clearly* you were never a child in Edinburgh in the 1980s. Mr Boom is a one-man-band slash children's entertainer slash faux astronaut who lives on the Moon in Biggar. He also happens to be one of my dad's friends. When I was little, my personal acquaintance with Mr Boom was one of my proudest assets and gave me quasi-celebrity status. I would brag to my fellow classmates that not only did I know Mr Boom, AND he had been to our house, but I even knew his - *whisper* - real name! I wasn't sure where he parked his spaceship though.

Last year I took a full week off work to volunteer for Fringe by the Sea, and one of the first duties I had was to volunteer at Mr Boom. I'm not going to lie, I was excited. Not as excited as the screaming hordes of kids waiting outside, but excited. The soundcheck ran late, so the crowd had to wait outside a little longer than planned (Mr Boom doesn't like his audience to see him sans costume before the show. He's like the Lady GaGa of children's entertainment), but once his spaceship finally made its appearance, the kids were bopping about like mad to his 30-year-old material as if he literally were the Lady GaGa of children's entertainment. The parents, too, were delightful (unlike the Singing Kettle parents - do NOT even get me started on the Singing Kettle parents).

Above all, it never ceases to amaze me how imaginative kids can be. Mr Boom's "spaceship" essentially consisted of some space-y sound effects and a sort of flashing light shining onto the ceiling, but ask the kids if they could see his spaceship and, without exception, they would reply, "Yes! I see it! I see it! Hellooo Mr Boom!!". So cute.

Image by Colin Lourie

I remember Mr Boom being a hot ticket back when I was a regular on the 5th birthday party circuit (ah, those crazy days), so the fact that he's still spinning his magic can come as something of a surprise. Particularly so for one gentleman last year, who rushed up to my mum brandishing a Fringe by the Sea programme and muttering that there must be some kind of mistake. Allow me to recreate the scene:

Concerned and slightly baffled-looking man: "It says here that Mr Boom's playing!" [Points accusingly at programme]

Mum: "Yes...?"

Man: "But - that can't be right!"

Mum: "Erm..."

Man: "He's dead!"

Mum: "..."

Man: "He died in an accident! I used to play in a band with him, he died!"

Mum: "Nooooo, I'm pretty sure he's not dead."

Man: "Oh... really? Are you sure?"

Mum: "Yep, he's definitely not dead. He's in Biggar."

Man: "Oh. Well, that's a relief! If you see him, will you pass on my regards?"

Mum: "Er... of course..."

[Man begins to walk away, then turns back as though he's forgotten something.]

Man: "But don't tell him I thought he was dead!"

{Mr Boom will be appearing at the Belhaven Spiegeltent in North Berwick 
on Wednesday 10 August at 11am. Assuming he's still alive by then. 
For tickets, information and details of the full programme, visit Fringe by the Sea.}

6 boats moored

  1. Mmmm... keep wondering, how come the man was so sure he was dead?

  2. I need to hear about the Singing Kettle parents. In my head it's battle-zone carnage....


  3. Let's just say, there was a mix-up over the ticket prices that was not remotely my fault, but when you're the person on the door wearing a Fringe by the Sea t-shirt, it doesn't seem to matter whose fault it was. Turns out prams are a bit scary when used as a weapon.

  4. Eek...hope you got your toes out of the way in time!

  5. Rosie (aka Kirsty's Mum)15 July 2011 at 13:49

    PS Would love to see any of you at
    Fringe by the Sea this year - I will be the one pulling my hair out with stress (not that there's a lot to pull out yet)organising volunteers.
    But would like to mention that I play a small part in it all - the other two main players, apart from Eric, are John Shaw and Jane Thomson (just in case they read the blog and get in a huff!)

  6. over the moon with mr boom! he was also a regular feature in paisley. mr boom travels... shall hopefully be seeing you over the festival- our wee east lothian respite centre has been pouring over the programme looking for fun things to entertain the hoards. i think they have some plans... exciting!


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