Saturday, 10 November 2012

Flint Microfest

The Butlers are looking forward to walking across Wiltshire in a week's time as part of Flint Microfest!


For further details visit:   

Or Twitter:  @2destlang   #FLINT

Friday, 17 August 2012

Day 5 - 16th August

My apologises, first of all, that I did not add a blog yesterday. The
unremitting revels (not my own, but other people's) of the Edinburgh
Fringe Festival for a time interrupted my ability to perform my
butlerial duties. But, as Butler Fletcher has mentioned, the Hunt and
Darton Cafe were able to provide me with their special tea which did
wonders to revitalise my spirits, and a trip to Summerhall provided
stimulating conversation with the many who work within those extensive
walls. It was truly an honour to converse with the many gentlemen who
came to speak with us.

As for today, it started with assisting Butler Thompson in the ballot
to decide the Royal Mile's street performers' timetable for the day.
It was quite the thrill to stand on the wall and write down the names
as Thompson proclaimed the plethora of acts.
I then hurried to a commission to escort a young lady arriving from
the airport, which was sadly cancelled at the last moment because her
flight was delayed and diverted. This also meant that Butler Jennings
had no need to drive to Glasgow, a task which he was most eager to

A gentleman wished to test the lengths to which a Butler might go to
complete his commission. This resulted in my purchasing an intriguing
varety of items from the local supermarket and publicly presenting
them to him. I also found time to collect coffee and soft drinks for
two young ladies, as well as introduce them to the tragic genius of
William Topaz McGonagall. They expressed an eagerness to further
research the great poet and tragedian, which fills my heart with
unlimited joy.

I was then commissioned to clean a kitchen in advance of a theatrical
presentation, and Butler Jennings and I set to it, scrubbing surfaces
and mopping the floor. I was even invited to view the show and was
presented with a jumper to wear over my butlerial garb, so that the
audience might not be confused by the presence of a Butler in a
kitchen. In the course of the performance I was required to sing a
song that reminded me of home, and chose the classic Simon and
Garfunkel oeuvre "The Boxer", which reminded me of my own dear Mama.
It was a strange feeling to see fellow Butlers in uniform as I stood
in hallways trying to look as inconspicuous as I could manage.

Thereafter I hurried to review the performance of a certain Mr Mann
(he of the full mind), whom I must most fully compliment on the
solicitous presentation of tea to the audience - truly a gentleman
after my own heart and that of every Butler. His full mind also taught
me much, such as the reason for only having one mouth and the world
record for eating Jaffa Cakes. Then, after escorting a discombobulated
Butler Jennings to the local piemaker's, we returned to our favourite
cafe where we consumed a teapot of their special pale tea with bread
and cheese. Of course, our bags had to be checked by the waitresses to
see if anything dangerous was been carried therein, a precaution to
which we were more than happy to submit. It was as we supped that we
received some exciting news from Butler Fletcher about an official
recognition and appreciation of our service, and the evening closed
with a sense of well-being as our faithful graduands joined us and
consumed a pizza of chocolate spread and ice cream.

Jancis the Butler

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Thursday 16th August

Yesterday was most definitely a day of superlatives. Butlers Fletcher
and Jennings, accompanied by Butler Newsam, began their duties once
again at the memorial to William Topaz McGonagall in Greyfriars
Kirkyard. Feeling bold, I took on the complexities of his "The
Rattling Boy from Dublin", in the full knowledge that his own
recitation of this work was greeted with great misunderstanding, and
his first pelting with a plate of peas. Fortunately, my meagre effort
was overheard by a small group of afficionados, who rewarded it with
gleeful approbation and insisted on the declamation of further poetic
texts, Butler Jennings and I being most happy to oblige. Then, after a
short detour to the Court of Sessions, fruitlessly seeking information
regarding their most interesting roof on behalf of Butler Newsam, I
made my way down to Edinburgh's New Town, where I partook of a most
refined salmon luncheon before meeting with a certain Mr. Smith in
order to assist him with some wireless radio recording for the British
Broadcasting Corporation, the meandering journey which we took
together ending in a tryst with another most interesting and humorous
gentleman at Venue 23. Thereafter discharged from my obligations, I
made my way to the ever-welcoming Hunt and Darton Cafe for a
much-needed afternoon beverage and Hunt, sensing my need, provided me
with a most stimulating cup of special tea, which at once became a
very firm favourite. Then, with umbrella raised against the
vicissitudes of driving rain, I and Butler Jennings made our way to
the cultured environs of Summerhall where, joined by Butler Jancis, we
enjoyed a most convivial and alarmingly late evening of conversation
and debate with new-found friends.

Fletcher the Butler

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Wednesday 15th August

After a sadly fruitless search for a piano and lindy hop dancer as a
gift for a young lady's birthday in the early hours of yesterday
morning, the Butlers' habitual breakfast was followed by their
habitual daily homage to William Topaz McGonagall in Greyfriars
Kirkyard. I declaimed the deeply affecting "The Funeral of the German
Emperor", which he had declared to rival in merit the greatest plays
of the Bard of Avon. I then accompanied Butlers Jancis and Newsam to
an unexpected and gently appealing presentation of Commedia Dell'Arte,
and thence to an emporium which purveyed fine chocolate (since, quite
rightly, life is like a box of chocolates, according to a certain Mr.
Gump). How do you kill two commissions with one stone? You take the
commissioner/commissionee to the environs of Summerhall, and this is
where we concluded our meanderings, perusing the work of Wolf Vostell
and enjoying a small vin rouge in its cultured quadrangle, cooled by
the first rain of our sojourn. Lunch was subsequently taken in the
local mosque's most wonderful kitchen, washed down with a refreshing
mint tea at the Hunt and Darton Cafe, before a stroll along the Royal
Mile and a short rest and recuperation back at our butlerial lodgings.
But it was back out into the excitement of the Fringe Festival before
long, first to deliver a Certificate of Fringe Accomplishment to Venue
163, before attending a late-night Russian dance presentation which,
though lacking in some respects, contained the most stirring musical
accompaniment with which to conclude my day.

Fletcher the Butler

Day 3 - 14th August

Once more, the Butlers started with a nice breakfast and the gathering
of five of our number at a table. This done, we indulged in some more
McGonagalling, where I read his Jottings of New York (which he
compared unfavourably with Dundee, with nothing as pretty in America
as the Tay Bridge)."The Professor" was then taken to see a variety of
Certificates of Elevation and Fringe Accomplishment. When asked if we
might photograph a venue's back wall where five such were displayed,
the young lady at the box office stared hard at the wall behind her
before we pointed out that we were interested in the Certificates a
few inches to her right and not the wall itself.

As we walked the streets we were enticed into seeing a collection of
Commedia Dell'Arte masks made in Italy as well as a short performance.
Following that, a goodly time was spent exploring a large venue where
various amazing things were found such as a desecrated sheep, the
horse that was a founding member of the Edinburgh Festival and rotting
melons on a pole. We left to a woman exclaiming, "There are more of
you!? I was about to say something unsuitable!"

Lunch was taken at a local religious kitchen and was very much
enjoyed. Butler Fletcher serenaded us with a Woody Guthrie song about
his dry bed, to the bemusement of onlookers, and I confused Hobson's
Horse with Shanks' Pony, an easy mistake to make. We then proceeded to
a cafe, upon entering which I was loudly greeted by a gentleman for
whom I had found a dance partner last year, and of whom I made polite
enquiries about the whereabouts of his bicycle. We took mint tea and
admired a gentleman on the pavement outside with massive hair. Butler
Fletcher received an award for showing great loyalty to the cafe.

Rejoining our friends the Graduands in the evening, we went to see a
theatrical presentation together, and were then commissioned to
prepare supper for them, that old stalwart of lasagne standing us in
good stead. Sadly, we had to part company after the meal, but the
washing up must be done and a Butler is the gentleman to do it.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Tuesday 14th August

Yesterday, breakfast with Butlers Jancis and Jennings in a charming
establishment overlooked by the towering majesty of Castle Rock was
followed by our daily peregrinage to Greyfriars Kirkyard, where I gave
William Topaz McGonagall's "Ode to William McGonagall" (despite his
strenuous claim that this particular laudatory verse was not of his
pen) in homage to the great man. I then had to hurry away to prepare,
in the quietude of the Royal Museum of Scotland and over a fragrant
jasmine infusion, for a particularly involved commission at Venue 34,
where I was to give notes to an improvisatory cast in place of their
unavoidably absent director. Thankfully, these notes were taken in
good part, following which I proceeded to Venue 82 (dropping off a
Certificate of Fringe Accomplishment at Venue 139 en route), in order
to imbibe a glass of vin rouge in their convivial al fresco bar with
the newly arrived Butler Newsam, and view a delightful theatrical
presentation which playfully explored the fripperous lives of those
Bright Young Things of London's 1930s. However, I had no time to take
the air with the talented cast afterwards, as I had a long-anticipated
appointment with the Suzuki Company of Toga at Edinburgh's King's
Theatre where, sitting in the front row, I was able to witness up
close some of the great performers of the contemporary world stage. An
exceptional Vietnamese supper completed what was yet another extremely
satisfying butlerial day.

Fletcher the Butler

Day 2 - 13th August

Before I start this entry I wish to mention the Butlers' Twitter
(@WeAreButlers) as a quick and easy way of contacting a Butler. Butler
Thompson and I are monitoring the feed as well as adding comments
throughout the course of the day. Do send us any pictures or messages
you might think relevant.

The day started with a spot of breakfast at a local cafe where a
comment on the cafe's name, misheard by Butler Jennings, resulted in
my explaining about yew trees being of importance to Edinburgh. I had
learnt this at a venue's art exhibit a few days back, which goes to
show the holistic nature of learning. Along such lines, Butler
Fletcher explained that the gentlemen who commented on "The Athens of
the North" was correct about Edinburgh's hills resembling the Seven
Hills of Rome. Breakfast done, Fletcher presented me with a folder of
butlerial Certificates of Elevation. For those unaware of this
service, we have calculated the altitudes of venues above sea level,
which is most vital information for both venue and performer. Before
we could initiate the presentation of these important papers, it was
vital that the Butlers went to Greyfriars Kirkyard for some
"McGonagalling". Willam Topaz McGonagall is renowned as "The World's
Worst Poet", as well as being a Tragedian, and is one of the Butlers'
favourite people. It is our duty to recite his verse by the plaque
which stands as the only marker of the unknown grave of this great
man. (Ask any Butler and they can recount the stories of McGonagall's
travels to see Queen Victoria, his infamous performance of Macbeth and
the time he was attacked with a plate of peas.) This task complete,
Jennings and I began to distribute Certificates of Elevation to
venues. Of note was a certain church-based venue where the young lady
fell down some stairs in her eagerness to meet us. There they have
also kept their Certificates of previous years on display; clearly
this venue are mindful of the dangers of flooding or of the actors
suffering from altitude sickness and must be commended for such. As we
reposed outside Fringe Central (where we managed to work out the
length of pieces of string a few years back), we were summoned for a
spot of tea with two graduand friends of the Butlers. It was most
pleasant to take tea with them, although I was disappointed that
heather tea lacked any thrilling taste or aroma and we all mourned the
fact that thistle tea was not simply a large boiled thistle. Our
friends were later going to a show which involved the imparting of
facts for the payment of sweets, an idea which may prove very useful
at your next cheese and wine party or fancy cocktail evening although,
of course, I live to serve so any "payment" is anathema to me. After a
brief stroll down the Royal Mile (where I was recognized by a group of
space aliens) and a delicious haggis pie, we presented our final
Certificate. Two occurrences of note followed. Firstly, Butler
Fletcher was stumbled upon, but he was accompanied by Butler Newsam,
aka "The Professor", who was taking in the sights in mufti. We joined
them for a theatrical presentation about the Bright Young Things and
then hurried to a show using shadow puppets, based on a section of
"Dandelion Wine" by the much-missed Ray Bradbury. Bidding farewell to
Newsam, we then met a man who claimed to be the Anti-Christ, and urged
that the Butlers should serve as his valets. Of course we would have
been more than happy to be of service, but I had to explain that we
could not buy him a drink as we do not carry money. Finally, we again
joined our graduand friends for a chance to share the events of a day
which has presented a perfect example of the range that makes up a day
in the life of a Butler.

Jancis the Butler

Monday, 13 August 2012

Monday 13th August

Yesterday was most definitely a game (or matcha) of at least two
halves, as the Butlers en masse officially took to the streets of
Edinburgh for the first time. I was up with the lark, completing a
commission by surprising a breakfasting lady in Corstorphine with a
message of appreciation and gratitude. I then gathered with Butlers
Thompson and Jennings for an orientation meeting (accompanied by
haggis and latte), before paying a first visit to Greyfriars Kirkyard
to show our respects for that greatest of poets and tragedians,
William Topaz McGonagall, I reciting his apposite text "Edinburgh",
while Butler Jennings plumped seasonally for "The Christmas Goose".
Having completed our obeisances, we continued our perambulations,
delivering yet another Certificate of Fringe Accomplishment to Venue
23, before being gloriously arrested by the blandishments of a
remarkable emporium named Anteaques, whose patron most solicitously
serves an unrivalled selection of fine teas in stunning Edwardian
surroundings. Needless to say, the Butlers were smitten. Much later,
Jennings and I moved on to the cultured surroundings of Summerhall,
where we took in a powerful, Kantor-inspired theatrical presentation
before spending a delightful and Laphraoig-fuelled hour in the company
of a certain Mr. McDowell. Finally, and despite the fact that I had
passed little of the day in actual butlerial labour, I and the other
Butlers attended an ambitious comic creation, presented by a talented
antipodean lady, at Venue 61, followed by a tasty mince pie supper on
the way to an early and most welcome bed.

Fletcher the Butler

Day One - 12th August

Having passed the previous week in the garb of a mufti-clad off-duty
Butler and needing to spend time transitioning from my former
accommodation to my present abode, it was not until the afternoon of
the 12th that I was able to explore this Athens of the North in
suitable attire. (Last year I was informed that the city of Edinburgh
received the nickname of "The Athens of the North" due to the Seven
Hills of Rome. The gentleman didn't explain the reason for this.)

The Royal Mile presented a wealth of interesting persons as always.
Butler Thompson was most curious as to whether any performance might
involve partaking in or mention of tea. Many were quick to state that
this could indeed be included in the show.

I myself was presented with a flyer folded in the shape of a swan and
I must compliment the attention shown, in that the information was
still imparted with no cause to destroy the work. It sits now on my
shelf next to my tomes of Mr. N. Clayton's guides to grooming and
table manners. Two gentlemen approached me dressed in a similar manner
to myself. I wondered if they were another service of Butlers but they
were in fact trying to bring worshippers to a local synagogue.

Thompson and I attended a performance of steampunk fairy tales so that
Thompson could review the show and present the performers with a
certificate comparing the show to tea (a very high honour). As I ate a
jacket potato, I received a message from Butler Fletcher informing me
of 'amazing happenings', which are my favourite form of happenings.

All four Butlers finally gathered in one place to witness a young
lady's show which attempted to tell the story of love thanks to
time-travelling, but an issue with technology left her drastically
attempting to explain the nonsensical light and sound cues.

Tired from a long day, the Butlers went their separate ways to
contemplate the day's events and partake in a good night's sleep.

Jancis the Butler

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Sunday 12th August

With all the Butlers - Messrs. Fletcher, Thompson, Jancis and Jennings
- now ensconced - our duties can today begin in earnest. However, I
already found myself donning the formal butlerial garb and undertaking
commissions yesterday, such is the demand for our services. The day
began with the distributing of Certificates of Fringe Accomplishment
along the length of the Royal Mile. As ever, the kind people at Venue
40 were particularly taken with the celebratory gesture, insisting on
a photograph of the moment of presentation. Then it was to Venue 45,
to receive tea and careful instructions on meeting a certain young
lady off the London train at Waverley Station. This duly accomplished,
I made my now familiar way to the Hunt and Darton Cafe for a series of
delightful afternoon encounters with friends old and new, notably with
a gentlemen most generous of spirit, whose commission to take a
photograph of him became a commission to be taken in a photograph with
him. All that remained thereafter was for the now united Butlers to
take the evening air, completing their perambulations by supping on
coco pops and haggis (though thankfully not in the same glass).

Fletcher the Butler

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Saturday 11th August

How convivial a day was spent yesterday at the Edinburgh Fringe
Festival! After another al fresco breakfast with Butler Jancis (who is
revelling in the surprisingly clement weather, as am I), I once again
took to the buses to deliver more Certificates of Fringe
Accomplishment, this time to venues in Stockbridge, West End and
around Princes Street. I must say that the welcome that I received at
the hidden-away but highly appealing Venue 149 was particularly
gratifying. After an extended finger-sandwich lunch at the Hunt and
Darton Cafe, during which I was serenaded by the wonderful Molly and
Me and had an unexpected encounter with one of our Honorary Butlers, I
wended my way to Venue 143 to see an exciting new presentation by one
of the Butlers' favourite performers, with whom I was able to share
post-performance vin rouge and fine conversation, before a swift
promenade to Venue 61 to see a small but perfectly formed adaptation
of a Ray Bradbury story, followed by more beverage and bavardage to
end a most splendid day. Today, as we reach full Butler complement, I
move into formal butlerial garb for the first time, and begin to
accept commissions.

Fletcher the Butler

Friday, 10 August 2012

Friday 10th August

After a delightful al fresco breakfast with off-duty Butler Jancis at
the epicentre of Edinburgh's official Festival, the rest of yesterday
morning was spent in esenchal peregrination, first by bus to a
suburban library at Venue 378, the highest number at this year's
Fringe, and from there to the venue which held the highest number ever
awarded - Venue 389 in 2010. During my travels, I was most gratified
to see a Certificate of Fringe Accomplishment prominently and proudly
displayed in front of Zoo Southside, the scene of many a memorable
butlerial encounter in previous years. A bright and sunny lunch was
taken during a first visit to the familiar Pleasance Courtyard (where
another Certificate was delivered), before attending a most appealing
and heart-warming one-woman show at the historic and newly rebranded
Venue 139. Then it was hot-foot to Summerhall, perusing small guitars
as I went, to once again meet the legendary Mr. Demarco, attend a most
excellent and gorgeous dadaist musical presentation, and sip vin rouge
while serenaded by accordion and violin. Life does not get much better
than this.

Fletcher the Butler

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Thursday 9th August

Yesterday, after two short bouts of bird-spotting in West Princes
Street Gardens (one with a delightful group of Americans who thought
that I was 'The Birdman'), I availed myself of Edinburgh's most
excellent bus network and travelled out to Venues 83 and 120 to
deliver the first of many Certificates of Fringe Accomplishment.
Returning, I spent a quiet and studious hour in the Central Library,
perusing copies of the Edinburgh Evening News from 1947 and 1948,
before meeting with Butler Jancis for a wholly satisfying
Toad-in-the-Hole at the Hunt and Darton Cafe. Then, determined to walk
off this working lunch, I made my way out to Summerhall, by which I
was most taken, for a convivial meeting surrounded by Fringe
memorabilia and the artworks of one Joseph Beuys, followed by a
leisurely vin rouge in a delightfully arty quadrangle. More
certificates were then delivered in the late afternoon sun - to Venues
17, 26 and 72 - before my daily cummunion with the crowds on the Royal
Mile, followed by an unaccustomed musical theatre presentation at
Venue 36 to end another busy off-duty day.

Fletcher the Butler

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Wednesday 8th August

With two off-duty Butlers - Fletcher and Jancis - already in
Edinburgh, word of our upcoming provision of services is already being
spread. No sooner had I arrived yesterday than I was up on the Royal
Mile in early evening sunshine, listening to a fascinating variety of
musical offerings, and indulging in brief and joyous conversations
with a plethora of eager performers, both trousered and otherwise. My
meandering explorations took me eventually to the Hunt and Darton
Cafe, which I feel may become a home-from-home at this year's Fringe
festival. The pekoe event of my first evening came at Venue 39, where
I saw a charming show by an old friend, followed by a celebratory
prosecco and the requisite late-night haggis. So far, so very good.

Fletcher the Butler

Sunday, 5 August 2012

5th August 2012 - On our way

With the Edinburgh Fringe Festival now underway, Butlers Fletcher,
Thompson, Jancis and Jennings are beginning to wend their way from the
four corners of these islands to that Athens of the North to lend
their altruistic assistance to all and sundry. Over the coming week,
they will be jointly and severally arriving to survey the lie of the
land and experience an all too scant selection of theatrical
performances, meeting friends old and new, before donning their
butlerial garb and enthusiastically commencing work on Sunday 12th
August, the prospect of which fills them with a veritable tisane of
anticipation. How may we be of service?

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Edinburgh 2012 - Excitement Mounts

Preparations are in full swing for our butlerial sojourn at the
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012, and excitement is all the more since
we are this year to be in the Fringe programme, with our own allotted
venue - Everywhere, Anywhere at Venue 119. The programme has only just
been published, and we are already receiving enquiries after our
services, so this year promises to be a busy one for the four Butlers
- Fletcher, Thompson, Jancis and Jennings - who are making the annual
perambulation to that so-cherished Athens of the North.

Indeed, the range of our services also continues to expand, with new
specialisms added to our menu, which are guaranteed to keep us fully
occupied. Butler Fletcher will be endeavouring to increase awareness
of the unique history and heritage of the Fringe Festival, aiding
participants in perceiving their valuable artistic contribution as
part of a much larger and more fundamentally important whole. Butler
Thompson will be offering examples of the prestidigitatory art, as
well as seeking out and reviewing the presence of tea within this
year's Fringe offerings. Butler Jancis will be employing his skills of
ecritage to document the everyday hurly-burly of life at the Festival,
prying into its most mundane and prosaic crevices. And Butler Jennings
will be waxing archaeological in his ambition to uncover the Edinburgh
of the first Festival, some 66 years ago. All this, and we shall still
find time to offer our usual services of General Factotage.

One might be inclined to suppose that there would not be occasion
enough for any further butlerial activities, but we shall abide by
tradition in taking our customary afternoon tea at 4 o'clock every
afternoon and, of course, we could not spend any time in "Auld Reekie"
without honouring its greatest of sons, William Topaz McGonagall, by
daily reading out loud his heartfelt poems beneath the modest memorial
to his life and talents in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

We look forward to seeing friends old and new during our sojourn, from
Sunday 12th to Friday 17th August.