City of contrasts

I am in Edinburgh – well, like, obviously!  Where else would any right thinking chap be during August? – well, any such chap with a friend who has wisely bought a large house a short bus ride from the city.  I am keen for other friends (or would-be friends) to purchase (or rent – I’m not proud) property in other places I’d like to visit – though this plan is (I must admit) making little headway at the moment.

Since my arrival, Edinburgh has really been committing to its choice of weather.  Saturday was warm and sunny, Sunday unrelentingly wet and on Monday the city decided to focus its efforts on wind.  None of this four seasons in one day nonsense, very much a case of pick one piece of weather and really go for it – reset over night, throw the dice and commit to the new choice.

I’ve been trying to take a similar approach to gigs.  Saturday and Monday I gave myself over to comedy, Sunday to theatre and today it will be the turn of music.

Sunday I was really committed – I went to three plays of 2.5 hours each in one day, and given the weather didn’t even leave the theatre between plays 1 and 2.  Rather pleasingly we had a picnic in the foyer of the Festival Theatre – which offered lovely views over the very damp streets of Edinburgh.  Not just a few limp sandwiches wrapped in plastic film, no – through no effort on my part – a very superior picnic with odorous cheese, olives, quail’s eggs and wine.  It did lack a trifle in a cut-glass bowl – a staple of my childhood picnics – but still a very civilised (or at least middle-class) affair.  

The three plays were linked, telling the stories of the first three kings of Scotland named James – imaginatively named 1, 2 and 3 (or I, II and III).  It really was an incredible day of theatre and well worth watching all three on the same day and in the right order.  It was a combination of history and geography with which I was unfamiliar, but it was a dangerous (if gripping at a safe remove in time) period – it also once again illustrated how little original content George R R Martin has actually generated.  For my money, Rhona Cameron’s work would not be embarrassed by comparison with the history plays of older and currently more famous writers and have the advantage that the jokes are still funny!

By the end of the day, after most of the 15th century had passed before my eyes, my knees and glutes were starting to complain (the combination of long legs and little gluteal padding which makes me poorly adapted to extended periods in theatrical seating) – but the poor actors (most of whom had appeared in all three plays) must have been exhausted, though you’d never have known it!  When I passed it on Monday, the theatre was in darkness – so I hope the cast were having a well deserved day off.  

I myself will not be resting until Bank Holiday Monday.  By this time the bags under my eyes will not just have left the territory of carry-on luggage, but will be in the hold and have substantial excess baggage to be paid on them (frankly, they may need an Antonov 225).  Still, luckily I do not (entirely) rely on my good looks for my income – so I should be able to use September to slowly recover (I really am rubbish at the whole idea of holiday as a time of relaxation as readers may have realised – I like to really commit to my leisure, one of many reasons that I cannot give up work just yet).

But for now, it’s on with the motley – well these gigs won’t watch themselves and someone has to sacrifice themselves to prop up the Arts in the UK.  Yes, I’m doing this for you: any pleasure I may obtain is purely coincidental…

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