23.8.13

Edinburgh 2013

No, I didn't get to see Major Tom!
As usual, just a list, as much for my benefit as yours!

Wednesday 14 August
Meal at Ong Gie: very tasty Korean food - but large portions so I took half of it home for breakfast!

Thursday 15 August:
3.25 Simon Munnery's Fylm, at Stand 1. Same format as last year - Simon and video camera in the audience with cardboard puppetry and guitarist. One old bloke walked out and demanded his money back cos Munnery wasn't on stage!
5.55 Blam! Pleasance. What to call this - physical theatre? parkour? mime? dance? comedy? It's spot the action film as these four Danish guys turn an office into a battleground - loud noises and office equipment as weaponry!
8pm Terry Alderton Season 4, Pleasance. Old school Fringe fare, funny but slightly sinister, We got a 2for1 one on this.

Dave and Ross (here with random bloke) shook our hands on the way out
Friday 16 August
12.15 Big Daddy vs. Giant Haystacks, Assembly George Square, The Box. A cut-down version of the Brighton show by Mitchell and Nixon, in a container! Ross Gurney-Randall and Dave Mounfield were magnificent. Go see it, wherever it's on! Guaranteed entertainment.
7.30 Clare in the Community, BBC Pottersrow. Bumped into Harry Venning at the Pleasance (as you do) and he got us in to this free but sold-out show recording for radio. Sally Phillips was gorgeous, with two bloke actors.

Saturday 17 August
No shows - just some art, see below.

Sunday 18 August
12.40 Tony Law Nonsense overdrive Stand 1. Space (without reading any books), the Olden Days (when there were a lot of firsts), scary roads of Peru, and puppets (Owlcat, etc operated by fans) for this madcap stream of consciousness.
Lunch at Valvona and Crolla's Vincaffe. Tucked away behind Harvey Nick's in a street of fashion, the upstairs restaurant is superb.
4.45 Stewart Lee Much A-Stew about Nothing, Stand 3. Two half-hour try-outs for his forthcoming TV show: one about the tories, the other about UKIP and prejudice, featuring Latvian trousers. Always a must-see at Edinburgh. Missed Baconface tho...

Monday 19 August
1.20 Scotsman best of the fest, Spiegeltent Palazzo, George Square. Hmm, ironically my least enjoyable show. Four acts compered by the likeable Damian Clark: Eastend Cabaret, who pulled the guy sitting next to me - Paul - on stage, but he gave as good as he got (position 68); Adam Kay, who sang silly songs (eg. Iranian Men); Spanish drummers and tap dancers Cambuyon; and cross dressing magicians Briefs. Luck of the draw!
5.50 David Kay, Stand 3. Gentle Scottish humour from the scone-based comedian - not to be confused with the weapons inspector - only doing two nights.

Tuesday 20 August
12 Motherland Vincent Dance Theatre, Summerhall Dissection Room. Two hours of dance and music on the subject of gender. Adrian was meant to be appearing in this after a freak stiletto heel accident with the cellist's arm, but he soldiered on, so Ade came home. Lots of dirt, blood, sweat and repetition - quite enthralling however.
6pm Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, Gilded Balloon Teviot Debating Hall. Though not as technically accomplished as the Ukulele Orchestra of GB, they made up for it with South Seas brio and colourful costumes. Everyone loves a good old sing-song!
Meal at Sweet Melinda's seafood restaurant in Marchmont.

Wednesday 21 August
1.30 Sid and Valerie Summerhall Red Lecture Theatre. Sue MacLaine and Emma Kilbey play father and daughter in this slightly unsettling play. Free Werther's Originals toffees (made in Germany).
6.30 What happens to the hope at the end of the evening Forest Fringe at Out of the Blue Drill Hall. Travelled to Leith on the off-chance I could get in to this free yet sold-out show at a new venue, and I did. Tim Crouch and a smith's latest play is magnificent on so many levels, yet deceptively simple in presentation. So glad I got to see it. A great climax to my week in Edinburgh.
Meal at Locanda De Gusti on Belle!

Kenny Watson's The Days and Fascia
Art
The first installation I saw (after visiting the Book Festival) was on Rose Street: Kenny Watson's The Days and Fascia - lots of billboards from  the local paper, none as funny as the Argus though. In the same location were videos of  The Complaints Choir from various parts of the world (never got to see them live).

Michael Nyman makes an appearance
You could spend days at Summerhall just looking at art. The stand-out for me was the Michael Nyman installation Man with a movie camera (Images were introduced) - a remake of the Russian silent film on 10 screens with a superb sound system. It's 1h 20min long so couldn't see it all first visit, but went back another day to catch the whole thing.

Stuart McCaffer
I was also taken by Fiona Banner's post-modern The Vanity Press, and The art barber Stuart McCaffer was in the courtyard cutting hair for a bargain tenner. The brochure calls him Stewart and mistakenly said he'll use the hair to make candles! Also in the courtyard, Tony Singh was cooking up spicy street food and I spotted him having a temp tattoo in the hut next door. Potentially interesting stuff in the Demarco archives, but an absence of labels! And you could hear (and feel) the mighty Tesla coil sub-woofer from Robbie Thompson's Ecstatic Arc shaking the whole building. I finally got to see what was down the basement on the final day. In Gregor Schneider's Süßer Duft you're let in one at a time for a max of 5 minutes. Inside, there's a room so white you think it's full of mist, then a black room full of... You'll have to see for yourself!

Wind Pipes for Edinburgh
Elsewhere there was an installation by Sarah Kenchington in St Stephen's apse entitled Wind Pipes for Edinburgh. I thought there might be a photo opportunity there, what with the title, but none presented! It was basically organ pipes connected by plumbing to six giant bellows. One visitor valiantly attempted to play Somewhere over the rainbow, but I couldn't help thinking a keyboard would be more helpful than all those little valves. At the Fruitmarket, Gabriel Orozco had been drawing lots of circles, and at the Scottish National Gallery, Peter Doig painted huge sloppy canvases in Gaugin colours. Not impressed. At the Talbot Rice, it was good to see the old electrical kit and robots made by Nam June Paik, but the videos just looked dreadfully dated. Managed to see the Man Ray exhibition I missed in London at the National Portrait Gallery - great to see the tiny original prints of 1920s hipsters instead of the usual blown-up modern reprints you often see at photography exhibitions these days. Apart from one or two minor ones on Cockburn Street and in the Museum of Scotland (Ilana Halperin's fabulous geological calcified sculptures), that's about it - didn't manage to get to the Modern Art Gallery this year or the Art School.


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