26.8.06

Edinburgh 2006


Edinburgh 2006, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

Edinburgh this year was intense - all that walking (mainly up hill) and drinking - but was probably the best yet. The following is a bit of a list - sorry!

Wednesday 16 August: flew by Airbus 319 G-EZAA from Gatwick - the easyJet experience (my first) was painless, but the airport was a nightmare - long queues for check-in, longer queues for security. Had to remove my shoes and belt! But after a bus journey, a traditional pint of 80/- was waiting for me at The Caledonian Bar at Haymarket, then it was the traditional walk along the Quarter Mile to the Pleasance for the traditional first-night's entertainment. Saw them recording The Edinburgh Show in the courtyard, but please, someone tell me what is Zina Saro-Wiwa for? She's neither use nor ornament, and Matthew Sweet is not much improvement. Why do they have to try to be funny in the presence of comedians? Bring back Mariella, I say. Then went to see Ed Byrne's 'Standing Up and Falling Down' at the Grand, who was really great.

Thursday 17 August: went to see AL Kennedy at the Stand upstairs, got picked on, but not as much as Sam's friend Finlow from the Isle of Man. She was better than the reviews made out, but why oh why would a successful author want to do stand-up? Popped next door to the portrait gallery for the Harry Benson photojournalism exhibition, pricey but well worth it (Sam is a 'friend' so got in free anyway!). In the evening saw Luke Haines at the Underbelly - he sang about Sarah Lucas, Gary Glitter and the Brighton Trunk Murderer amongst others, plus there was an erudite Q&A session.

Friday 18 August: raining! Saw 'Moon the Loon' at the Pleasance (no reference to Viv Stanshall, but an entertaining play none the less). Made the traditional annual pilgrimage to The Stand for Simon Munnery's AGM, and was treated to an extra hour in the garden of the nearby Star Bar afterwards, in the pouring rain! Great value - see photo above. In the evening it was 'Political Animal' in the Underbelly Baby Caves - compered by Andy Zaltzman, our night featured Aussie Steve Hughes, surreal Tony Law, and the very funny Stewart Lee. Great venue!

Saturday 19 August: art day. Started at the Fruitmarket with the subtle work of Marijke van Warmerdam (too subtle for me! but thankfully the film loops were quite short). Then it was over the road to the City Art Centre for two floors of gorgeous Art Nouveau posters and three of Albert Watson's fantastic gigantic photos. Popped over to the Gilded Balloon to check out Ben Rowe's pictures, then to the Spiegeltent for more drinks and celeb spotting (eg Keith from The Office!). In the evening we made the traditional pilgrimage to Peter Buckley Hill's Free Fringe gig at the Canon's Gate. When in doubt, this is the one to make for - four perfectly acceptable comedians and it's totally free! Top of the bill was Robin Ince and on the strength of his performance we decided to see The Book Club the very next day.

Sunday 20 August: The Book Club at the Underbelly, with Robin Ince and others (including the batty Josie Long). We'd been thinking of seeing some dance, and this gig fulfilled the ambition, with dance (and free-form accordian) to Danielle Steel's poems. There was also a great Gnarls Barkley running gag (literally) and Dr Who trivia. Top night (afternoon) out.

Monday 21 August: day off, knackered and all cultured out.

Tuesday 22 August: day trip to Glasgow to visit GoMa, Rogano, the wonderfully refurbished Kelvingrove, full of gems, and the Museum of Transport. Dumplings at Chop Chop back in Ed.

Wednesday 23 August: more art with David Shrigley's prints (his activities sheet for kids was hilarious), some obscure paintings at DoggerFisher (what do you expect!), then Ron Mueck at the RSA - amazing! and very creepy seeing those giant and wee hairy people almost breathing! We'd already done the galleries on Fopp Street (Cockburn Street) - one on rave culture and another with not very interesting cartoony paintings - and had decided to give Adam Elsheimer, Mapplethorpe, Van Gogh and the sexual politics thing at the Talbot Rice a miss. Popped along to the Book Festival to celeb spot, then to Roti for a sublime slice of red snapper, and to The Canny Man's in Morningside for a wee bevvy, before Daniel Kitson's C-90 at the Traverse. Unfortunately as we were going in, the usherette spotted our tickets were for the Tuesday! I got a refund!

Thursday 24 August: trip to Leith to see Sam's mother and an exhibition in the Corn Exchange that was literally a load of cobblers, err cobbles. Why? There were also brass rubbings of manhole covers too and a nice wee goody bag with free magnifying glass (Lauren Kirkman). Also caught an exhibition of erotic B&W photos by Michael Wildman at the A1 Gallery. He was there and gave us a guided tour. Wee couple of drams at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and then back to Auld Reekie for Andrew Maxwell at the Pleasance Cabaret bar. A great finale to a great week.

Friday 25 August: more long chaotic queues at Edinbugh airport and home on G-EZID.

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