My annual visit to the Edinburgh Fringe was more of a fleeting visit than usual but the day out was almost extended!
I arranged to meet friends and friends of friends, then a few other people who had once been on a bus with them just for good measure! Trying to make things as simple as possible I was happy to go with the flow or put another way let someone else do all the hard work of organising.
However that meant that Fiona and I were tagged on to a group of eleven for shows and meals. I got a bit panicky when Alastair actually sent me an Excel document with names, numbers and times of shows.
This group was serious and had obviously experienced the humiliation of walking into a dozen restaurants and asking for a table of ten ‘when for?’ …’eh now please’ The looks you get range from pity to rage through complete disbelief. Then there is the walk of shame back to the door passing smug festival goers who booked years ago and emailed their orders directly to the chef days ago!
However I had to admit turning up at a restaurant and being almost welcome was a pleasant experience. We had managed to shoehorn a friend of ours onto this other group…you know how it is if you are only in the big smoke a few times a year, you have to maximise your window of friendship maintenance! This meant I was practically sat in the gents on a table that is usually used for veg. prep in the kitchen but hey we were going to eat before the next show!
Prior to this we had spent a sweaty fifty minutes in the company of Isy Sutty at the Pleasance. The fact I had actually run through the Southside of the city didn’t help the temperature issue. I have a terrible habit of working half days and scheduling events in the second half of the day. the best made plans and all that….this one was dependant on wind and tide as I was waiting for my lobster delivery.
As I was having Saturday night off I manfully offered to prepare the lobsters before I left for Edinburgh. Now lets face it two things you cant rush…a Crail lobster fisherman and preparing lobster!
My vision of a relaxing train journey from Leuchars with the paper and too much coffee turned into a frantic slalom on the city bypass, an education in ludicrous parking restrictions and a run…ok trot to the venue while fielding phone calls from girlfriend (who is also trying to juggle friendship windows in another part of the city )
So Isy Suttie, I was pretty pleased with myself that I sat down before the show started ok I didnt smell too fresh what with the exercise and a faint shellfish whiff!! Then the pleasant glow faded as Isy insisted we instantly joined in with an ice breaking song from her guide camp days. Holy cow I hadn’t had a drink yet!
To be fair she did it well and quickly moved into a very slick show in which she entertained us and didn’t ask for too much input from the audience save for a couple of surrogate parents.
Isy took us on a journey through her childhood dreams and introduced us to a few interesting characters she has met through the years. These were zany personas she has dreamt up and performs songs and stories through them.
Personally I found the characters a bit too far fetched and contrived although well crafted. a high point was Isy playing Amy Winehouse’s posh cousin playing her absent husband, Adam, being a wolf…yeah it’s a bit like that! Some of her stories of her dreams or rather aspirations were funny, telling us how she had hoped to become an albino princess, soldier…for all the wrong reasons.
I was entertained, amused and even laughed and sang!…in that way that you sing when you are totally being forced…but kind of enjoying it. Go and see her you would be entertained….but don’t mention your kids!!
We strangely visited a city centre venue with a stage and a great sound system that was not a fringe venue…..yeah there is one! This was actually being used by those people I had once been on a bus with to host a private party where a Best Man was honing his DJ skills that he will be using at a wedding in October. Anyway this was part of the friends circuit before a dash to Assembly Rooms on George Street and a bit more comedy. (please no more singing)
We were off to see Neil Delamore who Fiona had recently met through work, and we had heard good reports about. I am always a bit dubious of Irish comics as there is this consensus that Irish people are funny just like the school of thought that says Welsh people are good singers……. but before I get into stereotypes and get accused of racism I will have a big slug of whisky and tell you all!!Neil Delamere is a classic cheeky chappie Irishman. This is a really great show where he displays his skills as a raconteur and quick witted thinker and an ability to connect with the audience in a charmingly offensive manner! Neil obviously has a great depth of material he works from, floating around Europe pulling out amusing stories of his drunken and sober and lucid escapades in Scandinavia, Ireland and the UK. In the way all the best realism comics, do he talks us through situations we have all been in but his take on them and anecdotes sets him apart from even the funniest pub story teller. I thought my girlfriend was going to wet herself as Neil hardly stopped for breath in the first 20 mins. However she went a little quiet when his tales of an un-inspiring rafting trip in Higland Perhshire was the focus of his attention ( you don’t want to be in the spotlight too much yourself) Anyway I guess it’s material he is working on and was really just a pause before he went back to drunken sexual exploits with tall Scandinavian girls. He felt the attention of the audience imrove somewhat and squeezed every drop out of this one!! My personal favourite, as is often the case, I found myself one of the few laughing; a drunken Neil is peeing at a urinal somewhere in Scandinavia and the big guy next to him says…’ever put your tracky bottoms on back to front and thought how big your arse is?’
Go and see him…..you may not laugh at that one but you will laugh!! www.neildelamere.com
What a drive home! Never seen rain like that in Scotland and as we got into Fife it was apparent that it was going to be a treacherous journey home. Roads closed, roads that should have been closed, diversions! I thought it was bit ironic that I had had to take the car as a result of drowning the lobsters earlier ….karma and all that?
Joking apart though we got home safely and the house was dry and watertight. Shame we can”t say the same for everyone in Fife!