19.8.05

Edinburgh festival


Edinburgh festival, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Just got back from a week in Auld Reekie during the festival. Highlight was seeing the last night of Fawn Again by John Shuttleworth where he sang 'Can't go back to Savoury now' amongst others in a slightly shorter show than the one I saw in Brighton (that's the Edinburgh Festival for ya!). Guess who was in the queue, standing right behind us? Jim (3-2-1 Bullseye) Bowen! So that's where he gets his jokes – there is a facial resemblence too! Also saw a preview (not the premiere) of It's nice up North, the collaboration between John and Martin Parr. Graham Fellows made a rare public appearance to introduce it, saying the DVD of the latest cut was still burning. So we got half of an old version then after much fast forwarding, the second half of a newer version.

Martin Parr was only there on 'celluloid', but I saw him in person at the National Gallery giving a free talk about his work and collections of boring postcards and Saddam Hussein watches! I asked how he got on with John Shuttleworth (no mention of the film in his talk) – he said they were great friends. Phew! That's a relief.

Another highlight was a visit to the Thermos Museum in the New Kirkgate Shopping Centre in Leith. Catch it if you can – curator Neil Davidson and his lady assistant are saving up for a tent to take it touring. Local scientist James Dewar invented the vacuum flask.

Finally we saw the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain at the Pleasance – great heart-warming gig. Highly recommended – and there's a free badge! That swung it for me.

Also saw the Cartier-Bresson exhibition at the Dean (crowded!), the Bacon exhibition at the Modern Art museum (boring), and various other art exhibitions. Saw The Odd Couple in the Assembly Hall (not the Rooms!), with Alan Davies and Bill Bailey (and a few others!) which was much better than the critics said. Simon Munnery at the Stand was great, as usual; and Daniel Kitson was hugely entertaining (but expensive) at the Traverse with his stories for the lonely. His delivery reminded me of John Peel, and he didn't say cunt once. He must be after a radio show! The Ceasar Twins (a spin off from La Clique, which we couldn't get tickets for) were really one for the ladies – impressive but cheesy. The free comedy with Peter Buckley Hill at the Canon's Gait [or is that the Canons' Gait] can't be faulted – it's free and the beer's good – only one poor sod lost it, the others were very good (Bennett Arron and Patrick Monahan were the best two). Much better value than the Comedy Zone at the Pleasance, which we had to pay for and only 2 of the 4 comedians (Mark Oliver and Matt Green) were funny.

Low point was our fruitless search for the Burry Man at South Queensferry last Friday. Despite schlepping up and down the High Street, there was no sign and we had to run for the train at Dalmeny to catch John Shuttlworth at the Pleasance! (We also didn't see Rebus at the Oxford Bar!) Next year maybe...

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