Monday, September 01, 2008


I’ve been stupidly busy recently and have had no time to write blog entries. But while the memory is still fresh, here’s a quick summary of last week-end at the Edinburgh Fringe

Drove up in the Micra, which is wonderfully economical on A roads – it cost just £40 to go 400 miles which is outstanding.

Once there, D and myself plunged straight into the fest itself, heading over to the Pleasance courtyard to see Steve Hall: Vice-Captain Loser. A good enjoyable stand-up act if not a great one. D and myself have a very good record at the Fringe, notorious for it’s ‘experimental’ acts and really bad student drama. There’s no way anyone could have resented Steve’s stand-up act – even miserable humourless me found it excellent.

Saturday we drove over to Glasgow, which I’ve never visited before. My impressions of Glasgow are heavily influenced by Train Spotting and the earlier little gem That Sinking Feeling, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise to discover the real Glasgow (or at least most of it) isn’t much like the films.

D was in charge of showing me around, so we had a typically eclectic day of Edwardian heavy engineering, a tall ship, and some rather nice art-work.

Back in Edinburgh, we went to a reading by Janice Galloway, an author D likes but I’ve never read. She certain read well enough from her latest book, but the perspective (from herself aged 7 or 8 or something) didn’t match the language. In the QA afterwards Janice was asked about this and replied her memory had been helped by a load of old photographs, many of which she’d held up close to her face to study every tiny detail.

She didn’t impress me with that remark – it reminded me of the smarmy and revolting Edmund Morris; the man hired to write Ronald Regan’s authorised biography. To nobody’s surprise but own, Morris found Regan so stupid, dull, untrustworthy and boring that he resorted to turning the biog into a false memoir of Dutch Reagan featuring himself as an invented friend. Much of the book’s incidental detail came from photographs provided by Nancy Reagan which Morris would examine in close up, millimetre by millimetre. Perhaps it’s just the association, but this technique seems to accompany desperation.

On Sunday D indulged my unhealthy obsession with Scottish tower houses, by taking me to see a splendid ruin and a brilliantly preserved original (see top of this post), which is now a hotel and where one day me and K will stay. We finished up the day with a reading and Q&A session from the rude, opinionated and brilliant Will Self. Self’s latest novel seems fairly ordinary (like Mailer and Vidal, I much prefer Self’s journalism and non-fiction to the novels). His Q&A session afterwards was brilliant and slightly scary. As D pointed out, he could comfortably do stand up as well as professionals like Steve Hall.

Rather than spend another night on the sofa, I decided to drive back home that night. It was a good decision – the A1 is rather empty in the small hours of the morning, a constant speed is good for fuel consumption, and I managed to do a load of washing on Sunday afternoon.

Brilliant week-end – every time I go to Edinburgh I wish I could stay longer.


Post a Comment

<< Home