Fringe Benefits No 3

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On the way up, inevitably trailing the Lawyer

I realise these posts seem like a  love affair with Edinburgh and I’m not really ashamed of it. I do love this place. Today it dawned clear and crisp – the lady had taken off her grey cloak and sparkled in all her finery (embarrassing note (1): don’t expect café staff to understand lyrical metaphors like this one at 8.30 am – I used it when buying a coffee after the stroll and said server thought I was suggesting some female streaker was at large on Calton Hill!) – and so, before the rest stirred the Lawyer and I set off up to Calton Hill for a morning constitutional.

Calton Hill sort of symbolises Edinburgh, with is long history, its monumental achievement and its place in the Enlightenment. David Hume the philosopher is buried here – I read it was he amongst others who petitioned for the hill to be set aside for public perambulation and a jolly fine thing that is too. The Scottish Government has one of those grand and rather foreboding buildings here – all granite and Greek – and there are the National Monument, the Nelson Monument, an observatory and views to die for. Probably best if I just let the piccies do the talking for now.

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Shake and bend yon knee – the Scottish Government Looms Large…

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Edinburgh Castle and North Bridge

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Sunshine on Leith – and I would walk 500 miles…

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The National Monument

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Nelson’s Monument

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The Observatory… I think.

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The bustle that is Princess Street, the Oxford Street of Edinburgh

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Whew. The top

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You can even see the Forth Bridge, no longer the best analogy for continuous effort

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Holyrood – hi Queenie

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Parliament – Hi King Alex

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Calton Graveyard – burial place of David Hume and ahead the monument to the Political Martyrs who sought universal suffrage and were deported to Australia in the 1700s

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Not sure who this geezer is!


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more street art

After all that, the shows had to be good to keep up the party spirit. Still at least the weather was kind. It did do a bit of an Edinburgh jiggle later, soaking us as we hurried across town but, hey, we’re hardy folk!

Bite Sized Breakfast (no 2)

The menu today was a very powerful piece on the impact of wearing a headscarf in public; another even more telling skit on the awful treatment that can be meted out in the name of a challenge; a lovely set up of two men boasting about their latest equipment over the garden fence; a creepy story of a woman who takes a 15th century warlord poet as her lover; and a weirdly surreal piece about a woman whose manifesto was to experience something new each lunch hour – today it was motherhood, tomorrow a parking survey – I laughed but I’m still not sure why. The point of these pieces is that, with a ten minute slot per piece even the few duds don’t jar and the quality of the acting and directing using minimal props and staging is excellent. ♥♥♥

Animal Farm

Now this was of the wall and some doom laden music played. On came the cast, as the animals. The voice over told us of the Old Major’s ideas for freedom of the animals…. Only it was gibberish. Animalise with one of those above stage auto cues with the subtitles as they have at impenetrable German operas. It took a good few minutes for the brain to adjust to flicking between the action – the cast were brilliant at representing the pigs, horses, sheep, hens, etc – so eventually I enjoyed myself. It was a courageous idea and was rightly applauded hard but I just wish it had been explained better. ♥♥


I already knew Richard Marsh having seen his epic poem Skittles, at a previous Fringe. That was a love story; this about his relationship with his dad. Funny, clever and tear-jerking he held me spellbound at his craftsmanship. To be fair the Textiliste has seen both and preferred the first. If you enjoy poems that tell a story in an insightful way, this is for you. Plus Richard looks like Where’s Wally without the hat so what is not to like?♥♥♥

The Trial of Jane Fonda

This was excellent. I cried. The idea was based on a meeting between Vietnam Vets and Fonda who wanted to film in their Connecticut town. Ostensibly she went to explain her motives behind her infamous visit to Hanoi in 1972 and especially her being filmed sitting on a Vietcong gun emplacement. In reality it was as much about the exploitation of the US forces by their government, the impulse to use the army as an extension of foreign policy and the bitterness of the Vets at being treated like lepers on their return. Why did I cry? Because of the echoes down the years, right up to today. I sit there, hearing Blair justify Iraq even without WMDs because it rid the world of Saddam – that hoary old ‘ends justify the means’ argument – and I see young men maimed again for no reason. Fonda was naive, stupid even but in her own way just as courageous as the soldiers and, by the end, the men knew it even if some just couldn’t accept the damage they felt she did at the time – though history may say she played a part in bringing the nightmare to an end. Best so far.♥♥♥♥

Andrew Lawrence

A stand up.  Late at night. Miserable. Misogynist. Crap. I wanted to chew my spleen. Avoid.∩∩∩

And on that note, à demain…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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21 Responses to Fringe Benefits No 3

  1. lucciagray says:

    Hi Geoff! Lovely pics and great info. I have only been to Edinburgh once on a school trip (long time ago!) Your narration makes me want to return 🙂


    • TanGental says:

      yep, try and make it back and remember those wise words of Alfred Wainwright ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing’.


  2. Norah says:

    Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. It makes me feel like I could have been there.


  3. Cindi says:

    I’ve got Scottish blood in me … from a long time ago … and now that I’m living on this side of the pond, I hope to get there to explore. Your posts make me want that even more! 🙂


  4. willowdot21 says:

    Great photos, very atmospheric.


  5. Charli Mills says:

    Funny, trying to be witty in the morning to non-morning people. Lovely views, incredible piccies, but I’m puzzled as to why Abe Lincoln and a freed slave somehow memorializes Scottish-American soldiers. Not what comes to my mind and I’m a descendant of those Scottish-American soldiers! 🙂 Sounds like some good performances. The one about Jane Fonda is interesting.


    • TanGental says:

      Yes it was. I knew about the trip to Hanoi and the red paint in the hair but this was an eye opener and, if true, I can almost forgive her for marrying Ted turner!


      • Charli Mills says:

        Ted Turner cut off so much public access to Montana, I’m not sure I can forgive her that! The Hub has a theory that she was a spy. Prior to her Hanoi visit the US lost over 65 planes; after we lost 2. He thinks she pinpointed where anti-aircraft was located. It’s just a theory, but interesting to think about.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        I love conspiracy theories even though I’ve found that when the choices are conspiracy or cockup, cockup wins 99 times out of 100.


    • TanGental says:

      I found this Scottish – American Soldiers Monument

      Scottish–American Soldiers Monument
      A focal point of the graveyard, just in front of Hume’s tomb, this piece of statuary was erected in 1893.[4] It depicts a standing figure of Abraham Lincoln, with a freed slave giving thanks at his feet. A bronze shield bears the old US flag, and is wreathed in thistles to the left, and cotton to the right. Two regimental flags lie furled, the battle being over. The black man holds a book, indicating that he is not only free, he is also now educated. This was the first statue to an American President in any country outwith the USA. It is the only statue of Lincoln in Scotland, and the only monument to the American Civil War outwith the USA. The monument was erected at American expense to a small group of Scots (only one of whom, William Duff, is buried under the monument, the rest being nearby) to whom it felt indebted, and wished their graves to be marked, despite their later poverty. They had all fought for the Union (the North) in the American Civil War. The inscription, “To preserve the jewel of liberty in the framework of Freedom” is a quotation from the writings of Abraham Lincoln.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        Wow…that is piece of history I did not know! Thanks for looking it up. It sounds as if these men were actually Scots? I mean, not US citizens, but men from Scotland who fought for the integrity of keeping the Union whole. That’s interesting because my Scottish-American relatives were all southern, but they, too fought for the Union because they believes it should not be split up. I need to look into that sentiment more.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        some might call them idealists, others mercenaries – depends on your viewpoint I suppose


  6. restlessjo says:

    I have a very similar walk, sans Fringe, in my archives Geoff, and fully understand your love for the city. She’s a beauty! 🙂


  7. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : a surprise, at Estoi | restlessjo

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