Have I been dreaming? it is as though I have spent the last week or so at a non-stop surreal party. The Edinburgh fringe scene can’t really be described. Or it can, but rather as one might describe a dream. I still feel as though I’m half in the dream and a bit out of the body so won’t try (and can't work out how to download the video footage we took, and Him Outdoors is watching football) - but it was full of people and sound and extraordinary exuberance. I have come home to this:
and walked on the forest today to try and bring myself back. But I still have Festival in my ears and eyes.
We had an apartment right bang in the middle of the Royal Mile where much of the action is, in one of the tall old tenement buildings where Robert Burns apparently hung out during his time in Edinburgh, from where we could watch the tail end of the military tattoo pass by at night, and yet the bedroom at the back was quiet. Daughter stayed out partying until the small hours and slept on a futon in the huge front room and it might all have been perfect but for one little detail: we had booked a first floor apartment but they put us at the top of the building. There were seventy seven stone steps to climb up the circular staircase. Something to do with “overflow”, or the fact that the agency had fucked up and/or didn’t know or care about the reality of dealing with this when you have M.E. – which I had told them about. I am hounding them for compensation. And that’s all I will say about this except to vow to you, my brothers and sisters, that when I have finished hounding they will know and care a great deal more.
On Wednesday I met up with lovely NMJ and we had supper together. I said I’d be wearing something purple, but spotted her at once, sitting at the back of the restaurant scanning the menu. We slipped into conversation as easily as if we’d already known each other a while – which we have, in a way. We talked about life and blogging, and then we talked about blogging and life (and I could not resist asking about the vittun cooker hood), over a very nice starter of haggis, neeps and mash with a whisky gravy followed by some leathery steak, coffee and chocolate. Then we noticed everyone else had gone. We were hustled out too soon for my liking, would have liked more time. But I’ll probably be back again next year – by which time NMJ’s book will be out and I may have completed chapter one of mine.
We were near the café where JK Rowling began writing Harry Potter and it struck me that the locality was just how I pictured the settings for the daily life and business of the wizards and witches. The world of the non-magical muggles is the privet-hedged estate of dormitory/commuter middle-england and the magical world is Edinburgh old town, I’m sure of it.
I saw eleven shows. The four highlights were (in the order I saw them):
- A play my daughter directed.
- A jazz a cappella group my son was part of.
- “Woody Sez” – the story of folksinger Woody Guthrie, including his own words and songs.
- Jerry Sadowitz – superb (“world’s most offensive”) comedian.
The two real bummers were:
- A ghastly play about William Wordsworth, his sister, wife and opium addicted mate Sam Coleridge, inexplicably given four stars and it makes the one-woman Dorothy Wordsworth show satirised in the film “Festival” (showing tomorrow 11.40 C4) look like sheer genius.
- An hour of Scottish folk of the kind that endlessly, and with nauseating coyness, prods at the imagined sensibilities of the Sassenachs and whose idea of humour is a cheeky little ditty about Nessie the monster.
And there I was wanting Hamish Imlach. But he’s deid.