When they're not having Alpen fights or being mistaken for the band Bush,

Messrs Fielding and Barratt are being the coolest comedy act on the Fringe. They are THE BOOSH and we are impressed.

Words: Brian Donaldson Photograph: Jonathan Littlejohn

LAST NIGHT WAS A TOUGH ONE FOR THE BOOSH. Having completed their twelfth show of this year‘s Festival. they took the opportunity to do a spot of impromptu breakdancing at The Three Sisters pub on the Cowgate. before retiring home to indulge in cereal lunacy. ‘We had an Alpen fight when we got back.‘ recalls Noel Fielding. hazily. ‘lt‘s not a bad cereal to have a fight with. but it gets quite heavy with the milk on it. I walked into the kitchen this morning and there was a moat ofAlpen.’

Fielding is the shaggy-haired metropolitan one who. frotn the back row. has the figure and poise of a twelve-year-old Romanian gymnast while Julian Barratt is the louche Yorkshireman who. from quite close tip. could well be a pace bowler or midfield dynamo. So. Fielding is the put-upon Ernie Wise/Sid Little/Rod Hull character. right? Wrong. There’s no such thing as a straight man in these post-Vic ‘n‘ Bob days and Fielding offsets any accusations of stoogedom during their show by giving Barratt a fine old slap and playing the pieces central figure of menace.

All that said. the Boosh boys are technically no longer a double act with former scuba diver and graphic designer Dave Brown having signed up for this year‘s vintage. AuroBrmslz. ‘I got work from a trout who

wanted some flyers.’ he insists by way of

explaining that particular career shift.

The Boosh emerged a couple of years back with The Mighty Buns/i. a tale of two zookeepers and their meeting with a jazz

and Howard TJ. Moon who go on a long holiday drive whereupon they encounter a basket cobra. a TV detective with an extended limb. a parka god from the your-wish-is-my- command school and a Cockney Nutjob with a Polo for a monocle and a skin-stretching bulgy bladder. There is singing and dancing. slapping and bitching. not to mention an overactive and possibly unhealthy obsession with flannels and jazz. Seeing is disbelieving. And as for trying to fathom it all out. don't bother.

‘We don‘t like to rationalise the show or analyse it in any way.’ states Barratt in between hangover-soothing sips of cranberry juice. ‘We are always doing things that somehow work. and afterwards you think “yeah. that's nice". None of it looks vaguely like it has meaning but when we build a story together something tends to pop out.‘

Fielding is also keen to dismiss grand theories or hidden concepts or big ideas. ‘We're heart people rather than head people. There‘s also some emotion in there. so it's not just splat! and mental talking.‘ Still. there is a fair degree of crazy chatter going on and you suspect that wherever The Boosh may go. their natural affection for the silly and the daft will follow: whether it is in their Edinburgh kitchen or a pub courtyard or the booth of the City Cafe in which they have me cornered:

NF If you had seen us last night, you’d have thought ’fuckin’ hell, they’re in the kindergarten’.

didn’t know what was going on, so he said that they had gone all fizzy and dizzy. That’s beautiful. NF He’s 42.

0380 when we’re rolling round a floor throwing Alpen at each other, we tend not to be talking about mortgages.

Here they discuss the critics (fewer and fewer these days) who have been nasty to them:

NF We’ve got a list of people who have ever been unjustly horrible to us and there are voodoo dolls involved. We don’t mind constructive criticism, you can learn a lot from that.

13 But then you get the ’they obviously got bullied atschook.

NF Or one said that none of us have played sport in our lives. I’m like, ‘I will fucking crush you on the football field or anywhere you choose to go, mate’.

JB Apart from the boxing ring.

NF I have boxed, you know? I like that idea because now it’s the most unlikely thing in the world but I hated it. It hurt.

And this is the explanation of their name:

NF It was from my brother’s hair when he was young; he just had this big head of curly hair and his mate just kept saying: ’your hair is mighty, it's a mighty bush’. They were only young, about eight or something, and we stole it. It’s better than Barratt And Fielding, Solicitors. So, now it's ’look at The Boosh behind that tree, pulverising a weasel’. Much better. We were on a radio show phone in and a girl thought we were Bush the band and there were callers going: ’oh hey, we

'I will fucking crush you on the football field or anywhere you choose to go'

fusionist. This won them the Perrier Best Newcomer Award. Last year they returned as Arctic Buns/1. a tale of two postmen and their meeting with a scary uncle and a yeti. For that block of inspired nonsense they gained a nomination for the grown-up prize.

Trying to describe their show to a Boosh virgin is a bit like translating ungramnuitical hieroglyphics to a blind Egyptian. Basically. right. it‘s about these two guys. Vince K. Noir


We’re just playing really, aren’t we?

13 I don’t really know when that childhood attitude stops nowadays; it used to be something more fixed: ’and now, I am a man. I now shall smoke a pipe and I shall read The Telegraph’.

DB People are a lot more creative when they’ve got a child-like mind. I was with my nephew and we were walking past a butchers’ and he said ’Uncle Davrd, that meat’s got feet’. And he had pins and needles in his hands one day and he

love you’. We were like: 'Yeah, OK’. I felt the weight of responsibility and I didn’t have the heart to tell her.

The Boosh. No heart should be without them.

AutoBoosh (Fringe) The Boosh, Pleasance (Venue 33) 556 6550, until 28 Aug, 7.30pm; 24-27 Aug, 11.45pm, £8.50—£9.50 (USO-£8.50).