Friday, August 14, 2009

Festival fun

I am at the end of a week off from work. I took a week of holiday to see some of the Edinburgh Festival, get out on my bike a bit, hopefully catch some decent weather, and just to chill as it's been ages since I had some decent time off.

I feel I've managed to fit a decent amount of Festival things in so far.

A few of us went to see the Tom Tom Crew at the Udderbelly on Friday night. That was brilliant. A live drummer, DJ, beatboxer and a troupe of acrobats/gymnasts/breakdancers. It was a really high energy show that at points had me just laughing in admiration at some of the stuff the guys were doing, and all with a funky hip hop soundtrack. I would definitely recommend checking the show if you are in Edinburgh or it comes to anywhere near you.

Went to the Mela on Saturday afternoon, which is a celebration of Asian culture, mainly Indian but also including other nationalities. Lots of nice food, music, family atmosphere and we were lucky and got sunshine as well. Checked out the Rough Cut Nation exhibition at the portrait gallery which is pretty impressive and worth checking out and features some work by our old chum Elph. At night I put on the festival Headspin where we had our regular DJ crew and percussionist plus Elph doing some live painting in the club and with video projections mixed and looped live. It was a good night but I think folks perhaps weren't used to the extended opening hours yet as it started to empty out a bit before the end.

On Tuesday me and Stevie D went up to catch some festival vibes and maybe a show or two, hopefully for free. Some gadge stopped us in the street and offered us to see a comedian from New York for free. We thought "yeah, why not?". We went in to this little place and there were two other members of the audience, our mate Midge and his pal. The audience eventually numbered 6 people, the show wasn't great but the guy did about as well as could be expected to such a small crowd. I can't remember the fella's name unfortunately.

The four of us headed to the Pleasance which is a busy courtyard in the middle of loads of little venues with mainly comedy shows, it has a bar, lots of people hang out and it has a nice atmosphere. We had a couple of bevoirs and were having a laugh with the people handing out the flyers for shows and we were given free tickets for some 'comedy-play' about a competition that happens in the States where people have to touch a van for as long as they can. We were going to go along to that but then we got last minute freebies for a comedian called Geoff Norcott who turned out to be pretty funny with his observations about the differences between the sexes. Not groundbreaking stuff but entertaining enough. Quite a successful day all in all which we rounded off by going for a curry.

On Thursday it was a lovely sunny day so Stevie and I decided to get ootnaboot and try and see a few more things. We already had arranged to go and see something at 7pm so we had all afternoon to fill any way we wanted. Unsurprisingly, what we wanted first and foremost was a pint of lager. We had a couple of those then headed for a comedy sketch show called Superclump which was pretty decent. A group of about 8 young comedians doing various quick-fire sketches with very little props or costumes. Not bad considering it was only a fiver to get in. We then nashed to the Voodoo Rooms for another free stand-up show, accompanied by the obligatory pint of premium lager style beer.

After a decent show featuring short sets from three different stand-ups it was off to the Henderson Gallery for the main event of the day, something I personally was looking forward to hugely since Naldo brought it to my attention last week. Unfortunately he wasn't able to make it due to having gone fishing, but he had kindly sorted out tickets for the rest of us. It was Archie MacPherson In Conversation. If you don't know of Archie, he was the voice of football coverage when I was a kid and was reknowned for his effussive use of language, punctuated by emphatic interjections such as "Woof!" when the ball rockets goalward off the boot of the attacking player.

It was billed 'In Conversation' but the presenter asked one question and then Archie was off, talking for the best part of an hour about his career, his experiences and his family. He asnswered a few questions from the audience at the end, including a question from me about the recent Scotland defeat by Norway, and that was it. An entertaining and interesting evening in the company of a broadcasting legend - I do not use the word lightly. Gaunyersel Archie.

I'm starting to show the early signs of Festival Fatigue now though. When you find it takes ten minutes to walk 200 metres along the street and you feel the stress levels rising as someone thrusts a flyer in your face for their 'comedy' musical version of The Roswell Incident or some such horseshit, it's maybe time to give the festival a wider berth.

But I'm not quite there yet. I'm hoping me and my bird can go to see some bits and pieces this weekend and I'm looking forward to a gig during the week when one of my favourite new bands play. I have mentioned The Phantom Band before as I played their album pretty much constantly for a few weeks and I will get to see them play for the first time on Wednesday at the Electric Circus.

So my week off has flown by at double-quick time but at least I've managed to do what I set out to do with the days away from work.