Day two and it had to be too good to be true. We had the usual four seasons in a day (mostly autumn). Not that spirits were to be dampened. Culturally we had a bit of everything. The Textiliste did her tapestry (and wants more). The Lawyer, the Beautician and I tried theatre, comedy, political comment, radio recording and cabaret and we ended with a splendid meal.
Let’s start with food. Edinburgh, a befits a culturally aware city, has its food pluses. There are a number of good, independent cafes. Black Medicine, the Elephant and Bagel and one we haven’t yet tried but which comes highly recommended, Earthys. We knew of Oink – roast suckling pig, on Cowgate, just down from the High Street -the café that, reputedly played host to JK Rowling when she was penniless and writing the early Potter books looks down on Cowgate. What can I say about it? That they big up the relationship and it still befits those with little money (oh, beeeetch). Anyway it isn’t on my recommended list. There’s also the Baked Potato Shop which is grubby, tiny and AWESOME. These are but a smattering of the quick bite places. For a more solid repast we’d recommend David Bann – a truly excellent vegetarian restaurant and the Grain Store (where we ate with friends last night) – fish and meat with a solid menu to support it.
One thing I love about Edinburgh is the sense that the builders just decided to build one level and then another on top but turned through 30 degrees. As a result there are passages and stairs and corners and whatnots – with lovely quaint titles like ‘Jacob’s Wynd’. You can walk Edinburgh easily (if you don’t mind stairs and hills) and you are often rewarded with stunning views (more tomorrow). But these passages are brilliant for the explorer or the committed rat-runner. Sometimes, as with the Grain Store you enter a door at the bottom, thinking you are entering the restaurant to be confronted by what are clearly outside stairs with a metal balustrade but inside the building. Up you go to find, through yet another front door the restaurant. It feels Harry Potteresque, which isn’t a surprise all things considered.
Around the food, what did we see?
The Bite-sized Breakfast
We’ve tried the BSB before. The group do 5 short plays in an hour and the quality is usually uniformly good. They also provide a croissant, strawberry and tea or coffee in the price of the ticket. Today the plays covered: an audition for superhero Mothra trying to recapture its lost power by working in a cheap ghost movie; a news broadcast on WW1 in the style of 24 hour rolling news and punning headlines. ‘The Kaiser’s gone and Ver-dun it this time’; a daughter coming out as heterosexual and the embarrassment it will cause; a failed violinist arguing with the hand he blames for the failure; and best of all, two girls living their relationship via text speak and emoticons with tragic results. Today’s selection was a bit mixed – the audition idea flopped thought the others had us laughing and thinking; it is a good way to ease into the day. And tomorrow there’s another 5 to enjoy. ♥♥♥
Steve Richards – Rock n Roll Politics Special
Now I’ll be honest here. I cocked up. See the big group venues aren’t all in the same place. Fr’instance the Assembly has venues on George Street on one side of Edinburgh and another around George Square a good 25 mins away. I led the Lawyer and the Beautician on a forced march to one. We made it with 5 minutes to spare, only to find it was the wrong one. One we could have reached in 5 minutes from our last show! That’s what saw us buy tickets to Steve Richards. Steve writes for the Indy and is an panelist on Newsnight type programs. Today he talked about politician’s dilemmas focusing on the Scottish independence referendum and the upcoming 2015 election. He is amusing, and thought provoking and I came away with two intriguing notions.
Notion one: both Alex Salmond, ostensibly wanting independence and David Cameron, seemingly wanting the Union wouldn’t mind losing. In Salmond’s case he’s already been promised more powers, esp. Tax raising – devo-max they call it – so by staying in the Union, leaving Westminster with defence and foreign affairs, he’s out of the grubby world of international double dealing (just domestic chicanery for him) but he still has someone to blame if things go tits up; for Cameron he leads a Tory party who all the psephologists say will be guaranteed a majority if only England and Wales vote – it is Scotland that keeps Labour in the game. Yet they both bang on with a passion for the other camps.
Notion two: no party thinks they can win the next election and all parties are scared rigid about the next mistake. Richards made a telling point using food as his metaphor. Miliband ate a bacon sandwich – a PR stunt that was crass even for a lapsed Jew; he ate it so badly he was ridiculed. So much so he called a press conference to explain how bad he was at such things and people just had to live with that. Probably, says Richards, voters will forget quickly but the papers and the oppo won’t. He will be haunted by bacon. Cameron said he ate a Cornish pasty (remember the tax raised on said pasties?); to damp down the scandal – can an Eton toff really eat the food of the common man? – he claimed his last one was bought on Leeds station. A day later the headline was ‘Leeds station say they haven’t sold pasties for 15 years’. The voters will forget but… Etc etc.
An amusing hour, no more. ♥♥
Couples who Changed the World
This was great. The set up was the recording of a radio play in which Henry Ford, a failed actor, steals Adolf Hitler’s design for a beetle shaped car, having met him on Adolf’s gap year in a San Francisco gay bar. The two challenge each other to a race to the death with Herman the Beetle to be the hero. Eva, a scouse chip shop worker ends up with a baby that might belong to either man. Surprisingly funny, hilarious in parts. ♥♥♥
We saved the best to last. The Textiliste and I have seen these ladies before and they are fab. The set up is cabaret style with lots of songs but the subject matter ranges from the hootingly funny to the tearfully poignant. Best are their most well known songs – Dogging and Cheap Flights but now Boomerang Kids must be added. Catch them if you can and in the meantime I’ve linked to YouTube for the first two for you. ♥♥♥♥
That was it. We had a lovely dinner, the Lawyer and the Beautician caught another comedy and we went to bed replete.