E is for Edinburgh

2014-08-20 15.10.00

As you will realise this is due on Monday!  Thank you Willow for putting me right. Put its early publication down to youthful enthusiasm!!

Most years recently we’ve visited the Fringe festival, an extravaganza of art and culture (and often less culture and more fun). If you haven’t been then whatever age you are, you will enjoy this, I promise you. It truly has something – indeed a lot of somethings – for everyone.

This festival takes place each August, absorbing every corner of the city into its creative maw. We’ve laughed and cried, been left thoughtful and angry. Expect emotion, not just the passivity of the watcher.

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One year we saw a comic, Stephen K Amos I think, who asked how we defined  ourselves. He is black, if you don’t know and the point of his sketch was who desperately keen he was not to be defined as such. I wrote this in my journal afterwards.

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Apparently I’m white though actually a  palette of changing colours as my skin thins and I translucent into my later years. That’s not me though. I’m…

A man

Father

Husband

Unfit

Balding

Happy

Sport’s nut

Shrinking

Sweet toothed

Of liberal inclinations

Less charitable than I want to be

More windy

Too irascible.

Loyal when not neglectful

Still learning

I know would add ‘writer’ because I’ve become brave enough to say it.

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We saw Fascinating Aida that year – 2010; I’ve mentioned them before on this blog but here’s another song for you – Down with the Kidz.

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In later years we learnt about venues. There are so many that it becomes overwhelming to try and take it them all. So check the reviews in the Scotsman, the Guardian and the Indy. Listen to people in queues, ask for recommendations. We tend to centre on a few venue groups: The Pleasance (probably the most extensive), The C, The Gilded Balloon, The Underbelly, The Assembly Rooms, George Square. Some, even though notionally the same venue are a ways apart You learn your travel times, the short cuts. You learn about Edinburgh’s hills pretty quickly too.

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Every year we start at least a couple of days with Bite Sized Breakfast. These guys do 4 or 5 plays in an hour, rotating the programme across four days. Well worth catching as the day’s start.

We like comedy, whether it is stand up, a sketch show, a play or cabaret. One year it was John Hegarty, a Anglo French performance.

One man shows are also popular. Giles Brandreth three years ago and  last year we had Paxman, recently retired from eviscerating politicians on Newsnight. These, too, are worth while.

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We discovered some gens. Caroline Horton did a wonderful one woman play about her grandmother – You’re not like other girls, Chrissy as well as a sketch show on the perils of anorexia – Mess. I’d watch her stuff anywhere.

Similarly epic poet Richard Marsh deserves a wider audience. Skittles was fantastic but others such as Dirty Great Love Story amaze for their poetry and integrity.

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The thing is, after these years we are getting better at choosing. We pick up gems – the Trial of Jane Fonda was a special show while Animal Farm done in animal-speak with subtitles was surreal to say the least. And while I’ve never been a great Virgina Woolfe fan te adaptation of Mrs Dalloway was extraordinary.

One thing though, and that is food. You don’t have time to eat. Once, maybe you set aside an evening. If so, try David Bann the vegetarian restaurant. Or the Grain Store.

For quick food I have two suggestions today. After all if you are doing a minimum of five shows a day, albeit they usually last no more than an hour, you are not going to spend time on a leisurely meal. 

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For breakfast, we are spoilt with some local cafes delivering a range of cooked offerings including the inevitable porridge.  

For lunch our preference is Oink! Last year it appeared to be expanding – is that a good sign or a risk of hubris? We hope them all success.  

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And when, of an evening, we need something wholesome and quick it has to be the Baked Potato shop on Cockburn Street.

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Of course this is a sophisticated city with a lot of food outlets but these are just to loosen your taste buds. I cannot wait for August to return.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. 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.
This entry was posted in A to Z blogging challenge, edinburgh, miscellany and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to E is for Edinburgh

  1. lindahuber says:

    Next time you’re there, go to the Jolly Judge pub on the Royal Mile, up near the castle, and try the haggis… there’s a pic on my twitter profile but I don’t know how to get it on here. Very yummy anyway! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. willowdot21 says:

    Great blog lots of mentions of people and comedians that i love!

    I though we had Sundays off on this Challenge but still I enjoyed it !! xx

    Like

  3. Anabel Marsh says:

    We used to splurge on culture for a day or two at festival time, but the journey back and forward to Glasgow is now so hellish (crowded trains with too few carriages) that we avoid it these days. There’s always something worth seeing at other times of the year for those of us lucky enough to live nearby.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. roweeee says:

    Geoff, did you ever catch the Doug Anthony Allstars, an Australian Comedy group? I never followed them but last year Tim Ferguson from the group spoke at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, which I missed but I did buy his book: “Carry a Big Stick”. I thought the book was going to be able his battle with MS but it was more about his time with the Allstars and they went to the Edinburgh Festival, which was a huge step for them initially and they went really well. I think you’d enjoy his book.
    How was Easter? We had sunshine. It was fabulous and I took the dogs out on the kayak. That was my E. Tomorrow, I’m onto Fred the Front Door Frog who frequented the ledge beneath my sister-in-law’s kitchen window. The light attracted a smorgasbord of insects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Hi Row. We saw them! They were epic! Great Easter thanks, even if the nest was empty I’m pond rebuilding and we pumped it empty today which was a great first step. It will feature in a blog!

      Liked by 1 person

      • roweeee says:

        I’m so pleased you saw them. JUst reading about their performances sounded amazing even though they weren’t really my scene…certainly not back then. I was incredibly sensitive back then and my sense of humour has changed a lot.
        I love the sound of the pond. I was going to write about Fred the Front Frog but I’m starting to think that Freaking out about the Future would be more honest. Fred is very calm and sedate. Actually, that’s a good topic…the battle for pace and calm while freaking out…the battle in your head.
        I was at a nursery recently and so a pond in a big pot and have subsequently spotted a big pot beside my parents pool which I’ve claimed in the pre-sale snatch and grab and thought I’d try turning it into a micro pond.
        Actually, pond gardening might be just the thing for me because I keep forgeting to water my plants and have become something of a plant killer.

        Like

      • TanGental says:

        Hard work as my post will reveal

        Liked by 1 person

      • roweeee says:

        You could have got my son and his team of engineers next door in to help if you’d been local. They even come with a project manager!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Very welcome. The cost of the flights probably count it out.

        Like

  5. Rachel M says:

    It does look really good and it’s not very far from us so we might have to consider it. I’ve never been to it before either.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. njmagas says:

    I love the city scape shot with all the pointed roofs poking the sky. It’s very beautiful.

    Except for that black spikey one. That one looks evil. >>;

    N J Magas, author

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Norah says:

    Sounds like a lot of fun, Geoff. I love the poem about your changing palette of colours. Colour should indeed be the least important part of the description.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charli Mills says:

    You can add writer with a “W”. I so enjoyed your earlier Fringe Festival posts that I’m determined to show up one year.

    Liked by 1 person

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