Friday, August 15, 2008

The Festive Season

We spent a long weekend at the Edinburgh International Festival. Or one of them, at least. The event has grown so much over the years that these days it's something of a cultural hydra, with the Fringe possibly being the biggest bit of it. And what a marvellous time we had - once we got there.

The train journey was bad, but could have been much worse. As a result of some severe delays and overcrowding, we got there almost an hour later than planned. It seems the latest money-making wheeze amongst the more desperate elements of the criminal fraternity is to steal copper cabling from railway points and resell the metal. Noice.

So, we got to Edinburgh a bit late, popped over the visit the friends we were staying with and drop off our stuff, and then headed out to meet up with a chum of mine from Aberdeen who had sorted out tickets to a magic show by young mentalist, Chris Cox. I might review that at a later date. After a quick bite and a change of venue, it was time for Scott Capuro, who really pushes the envelope of what he can get away with saying, and made me laugh a lot. He's actually friends with one of my dearest chums, and we've had dinner together, but since he spent most of that evening drooling over the waiter is doesn't really feel like I've actually met the man.

We did a late show that night: Slutty Livin' starring Livinia Slutford, the latest altar ego of and comedy vehicle for Jonathan Hellyer. Utterly, utterly amazing. Every time I see this guy perform I am blown away by his vocal talent. Of course, as Nick's blog makes clear, regular visitors to The Royal Vauxhall Tavern on a Sunday get to enjoy this kind of thing every week, and indeed, some of them even got to see the preview show in London before it launched in Edinburgh. In looking for a link to the show, I learned on Jonathan's web page that he was the guy who replaced Jimmy Summerville in Bronski Beat, and sang opposite Eartha Kitt on Cha Cha Heels - to my mind one of the campest pop songs ever recorded. Marvellous.

The next day I popped out earlier than my Lovely Husband™ to see a show starring Arnold Brown. He's a Glaswegian Italian Jewish comedian. As he puts it, three stereotypes for the price of one. Unusually for Edinburgh, he had a warm-up act. I can't remember the guy's name, but he wasn't very funny at all, and had awful comic timing. Arnold, in contrast, shone, but not as shiny as I've seen him in the past.

Later, my Lovely Husband™ joined me and we headed off to see Phil Kay in his 20th year at the festival. He and I studied philosophy together at Glasgow University, although we didn't know each other. I remember seeing him on TV a long time ago and thinking: he sits a few rows in front of me on Monday mornings. He was amazing, as always, although sadly his performance was seriously marred by his friends. He had generously brought a very large bunch of young people with him and given them free tickets. The rewarded his generosity by interrupting his show, talking loudly during his performance, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. To his credit, Phil tried to get them behaving a bit better, and managed to get the show more or less back on track, but we were both angered to see this lovely, gentle soul showing so much respect and having so much patience with a crowd of boorish loudmouths who didn't give him the same respect in return.

Sunday night, we had dinner with the friends that we were staying with, and that was a very pleasant evening indeed.

And then on Monday, my parents arrived ... more of that (and pictures) later.

No comments: