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.
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.
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…
Of liberal inclinations
Less charitable than I want to be
Loyal when not neglectful
I know would add ‘writer’ because I’ve become brave enough to say it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And when, of an evening, we need something wholesome and quick it has to be the Baked Potato shop on Cockburn Street.
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.