Postcard from Potterrow

Dear Dorky Mum,

Greetings from the Festival.  It has been wet. A lot of rain. And this year nothing is located where it used to be.  No Speigeltent pissing off the neighbors in the middle of Old Town Univille.  And not much happening in the New Town at all, really, though the Book Festival is gallantly holding up what little is left of a Fringe on that side of the tram.

The weather has not been helpful.

The real news is the BBC.  They are here, in style, and they are working hard at doing it well. For the very first time, they have their own venue. We can only imagine what they whispered to the University of Edinburgh to gain access to a central site that was, until a few weeks ago, entirely a place where something will be built between two buildings.

The subcontractors arrived early one morning a few weeks ago and snapped together sturdy grids of basic floor, then raised upon it an elegant wee village. The Big Bubble houses a stage that any artist here would love to occupy. The three pods nearby hold a bar, a stage, and a 15-second video booth. The toilets are excellent.

Somebody thought a lot about this.

I was asked to help organise a poetry slam as part of their programming, four nights featuring six writers, with one winner each evening, then the four best on the final night. Calum Barnes – the President of Edinburgh University’s Literature Society – and I got in touch with people we know and came up with 24 warriors.

It was cool, as cool as I have ever seen the Embra spoken word thing go down in my six years talking here. Every one of those four nights was good.  Every night there were people who had never seen this thing before, and were inspired and amazed.  Every night there were joys and gasps and silence, as poets cut up the roof of that white tent with their words.

Every night it rained.

Cat Brogan won.  Go look at the Beeb site for the footage, for the winning poem. She was crisp and delicious.

This is what I think.  The BBC took a chance, which I appreciate and applaud. They built a big stage for spoken word in Edinburgh and Scotland. The poets, to a person, danced on it. The audience, to a person, liked it. Some of them even fell in love with it.

See you again, same place, same time, next year. The BBC will be welcome back.

Love,

DorkyDad

Festival fever is coming…

I am getting mighty excited about this year’s Edinburgh Festival. Before going on hols I spent a busy couple of weeks writing some articles on kids shows for Fest, and during August DorkySon and I will be squeezing in as many reviews as we can. Meantime DorkyDad will be doing his debut solo show – What I Know About Women So Far – at the PBH Free Fringe, so we have been getting ready for that, and will be sending the flyers off to print soon. You may just get a sneaky preview on here in a week or two…

Anyway, in the spirit of all that, I thought I’d share some of my favourite pictures from last year’s Fringe. Some of them made it onto the Flickr slideshows over at Guardian Edinburgh, and I think that site will be very much missed over the summer; not just by performers, promoters, photographers and the like, but by ordinary folk seeking out the best information about what’s going on.

 

confrontation

offering

hitch

pearl earring

tweed caps

only happy when it rains

trail of destruction

red rope

beautiful

the queen and the jester

yellow glasses

pillow talk

fringe

I can’t wait to get out and about with my camera to see what characters there are around town this year!

That Friday Feeling!

It’s Friday. DorkySon has just gone to bed, there are scallops in the kitchen waiting to be cooked, and an American Idol results show on later… life is good.

I promised that I was going to make Friday my photo day, but I’ve not had the chance to get out and about with my camera this week because of the weather (I know, I know… rain is no excuse for staying in when you live in Scotland) and because I have a throat infection and feel a bit pants.

However, to celebrate the weekend, and to celebrate the fact that the Edinburgh Fringe programme will be out about a month from now, and to celebrate the good news I got this week about my involvement with Fest magazine this year (it’s not definite yet, so I’m probably going to get in trouble, but it’s a two word phrase that begins with ‘Kids’ and ends with ‘Editor’), here is a big old smiley face from last year’s Fringe Festival.

Happy weekend y’all!