Edinburgh’s Festivals

My town in pretty famous.

It has this thing in the summer where hundreds of people, some of them famous, come and put on shows. We are awash with talent (and, admittedly, a lot of un-talented deluded people).

It’s crazy, messy, chaotic, art-tastic fun. It is also really hard to live your normal life through.

Honestly. I went to buy groceries last week and the Chinese National Ballet were all in there. In full stage make-up, trying to decipher the package labels and clogging up the aisles in what I hope was a post-performance raging jones for sugar bomb pops.

Very cool. Also, very time consuming. The line was freaking ridiculous. A million tourists (no, literally.) comes with some downsides.

So this year, in a bout of zen-like wisdom, I didn’t book tickets to anything. Not a single show. With 9,000 of them on, I’d spend all my time just trying to sift through the brochures. I don’t need the added stress of possibly missing out on the greatest show ever compounded with the disillusionment of spending money and time on 30 shows that definitely were not. I’m stressed enough just remembering to buy groceries.

I decided to let the Festivals (all 12 of them) come to me. And I’d say yes to whatever came my way. After all, isn’t experimental theatre and underground comedy all about reaching into the unknown?

So far I saw:

I. a (terrible) sketch comedy troupe. They are our friends. I want to pat their heads like puppies to show them it was a good effort. Poor things.

II. a mediocre book festival event

III.  one of Philip Glass’ utterly pretentious (and also just a little, tiny bit beautiful) documentary films with Live-In-Concert minimalist score. On keyboard was The Great Man Himself. Seriously. The guy in front of me called him that. He was wearing a turtleneck sweater. I tried not to judge. I failed.

IV. and Camille O’Sullivan. I thought it was going to be cabaret. It wasn’t. It was part concert (her Nick Cave & Arcade Fire covers were pretty sweet) but sometimes she’d pretend to be a cat. Or act like an old witchy lady and sing Put Some Sugar in My Bowl. Which was creepy. Really creepy.

Here is a not creepy bit (which takes a while to get going):

It’s been a bit random, but so far I’m pretty happy with the results.

I certainly don’t think I’ve seen worse than I would have if I’d had a hand in the choosing. And all that freetime has lent itself to inventing the hand-held pie (no, I decided. Those MacDonald’s ones don’t count.) and no bake cookies.

It’s only been a week so far. I wonder what week two will bring?


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