Thursday, 9 August 2007

It’s Festival time!

Edinburgh’s population is usually round about 500 000. At Festival time, it swells to about three times that. It’s festive, to be sure, but it does impede normal movement about the city. Here, for example, are some shots of the High Street (otherwise known as the Royal Mile), the cobbled and mostly pedestrian street leading up to the castle. It’s a popular tourist spot at any time of the year, but usually Mags doesn’t have to hold on to Alien Wally quite so tightly when they walk up here in case she loses him (or he loses her) in the mayhem.

Of course, if one did get separated and lost, one could always dress up and start performing something, anything for money. Even if one is not allowed to perform at the Festival itself, because one’s show is “too dangerous, more dangerous than juggling with fire or swords”, one can always stand around in one’s chain-mail finery and have one’s picture taken. Alien Wally and Mags took the picture quickly, donated money to the cause and didn’t wait for more explanation of what dangers lurked in the hearts of these knights. They ran away to the relative safety of the fire juggler instead. Now that’s a sure-fire way to clear a space around oneself in the crowds. Sure-fire… Oh, ha-ha, Mags is punny today….

The weekend at the start of the Festival is filled with cheap previews of shows and BOGOFs. No, that’s not an insult to festival-goers, but an acronym that Mags stole from the supermarkets – Buy One, Get One Free. In Festival parlance, these are more usually termed “Two for One”. Mags just prefers to say BOGOF. It sounds rude, but it’s not. Cue Beavis and Butthead snigger. Oh dear, Mags is such a nerdy nerd.

Such a nerdy nerd, in fact, that she dragged Alien Wally along to see The Phone Book Live. Yes, it’s what you’ve always wanted to see and hear – someone reading the Phone Book. Live. It’s a short show and it’s for charity, and surprisingly, it’s not as dull as it sounds. That may be due to the fact that some of the top comedians at the Festival have been roped in as readers, and their take on the Phone Book is quite, well, comedic. At the end of the show, they even autograph the Phone Book and auction it off for charity. It’s a pretty expensive book by the end of the evening.

On Sunday, the Cavalcade took place – the official event that marks the start of the Festival. While Saturday had been hot and dry, Sunday was cold and wet, but the performers’ energy was fantastic in the dreary damp. It is worth noting that, while most performers got sopping wet, the Scout band wore raincoats. Be prepared, indeed! Here are some pics from the event:

After all the excitement, Mags and Alien Wally realised that they were so cold from standing around in the rain for two hours that they were pretty much completely numb. They managed to drag themselves to Urban Angel, where a warm chocolate brownie and a hot mocha revived them. Before heading back out into the cold, they took precautionary and preventative measures by sharing a dram of whisky. Cold, what cold?! The evening was spent in the snug environment of The Green Room, watching Defending The Cavewoman, a follow-on from Defending The Caveman and performed by a South African, Vanessa Frost. While the show had funny moments, it wasn’t as good as its predecessor, unfortunately, mainly because of too many clichéd jokes. The more original material that hasn’t gone round the internet a gazillion times was excellent, though.

The Festival continues this week, with more shows to see. Updates and reviews will follow shortly!

No comments: