Getting Our Fringe On

How’s this for a rooky traveller error…. we flew up to Edinburgh and only took carry on hand luggage, but it didn’t occur to me at all, as we weren’t leaving the UK that liquids wouldn’t be allowed, so I lost my toothpaste and my vegemite!  I was devo’d.

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So, Trish and I boarded the plane to Edinburgh – liquid-less. The cabin stewards began their drink service and when they got to us the lady asked me if I’d like a drink.  I didn’t know, so I umm’d a bit and then said, “No, thank you”.

Trish immediately said, “I’m going to have a beer” which sounded exactly like what I felt like, so I said the steward, “Yes, I’ll have one of those as well please.”

Her reply? “I’m sorry, we only have sachets.”

“Um, no, we’d like a beer please.”

Her reply? “No we only have nuts and snacks.”

Trish enquired, “what do you have to drink?”

She said “um, wine, soft drinks, juices and beers.”

Us: “Ok then, we’ll have 2 of the beers please.”

It was the strangest conversation.

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We think these were the sachets she was talking about… ?  Who asks for milk as their drink on a plane?  And how does beer sound like milk?

But as soon as we poured our beers and were about 2 sips in, the plane was about to land in sunny Edinburgh.

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I say sunny, even though we landed at night, because the weather we had for the 3 days was phenomenal!  Apparently it had rained up until the day we arrived and it rained on the day we left – that’s how I like to travel.

After not being able to find any accommodation anywhere else in the world, it surprised us both that we managed to get a hotel room in the middle of Edinburgh – right on the Grass Market.  In fact, the name of the hotel was the Grass Market Hotel.

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Inside the room had a bit magnetic wall with magnets that you could move around. Such fun.

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The other walls were wall papered in Dandy comics.

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Our window overlooked the Grass Market strip that had free Fringe acts on day and night.  Thank goodness for the sound proof windows.

There was a silent disco, which didn’t make any noise (clue is in the title) but we watched them for a while.  They danced around Edinburgh.

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We had a drummer who used plastic bins and saucepans – who was actually really good.

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We had bag pipers; a saxophonist, but my favourite would have to have been the straight jacket wearing rapper.  His lyrics were inspired, but it was the easy on the ears, repetitively melodic tune that really caught our attention…… the sound proof window was shut shortly after this video was taken for proof.

The place would be absolutely trashed with rubbish and whatnots every night and then in the morning, it was miraculously cleaned up as if by magic…. or by these three guys – the true heroes of the Festival.

Well done chaps.

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Our first port of call was to the Royal Mile to see what was on offer and to collect the million flyers each that we had been allocated on arrival into this fair city.

We were greeted with all sorts of interpretive dance, mime and movement.

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This had something to do with oppression.

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This was an adaptation of the Bible…

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And these guys were just getting down in their traditional dress … worn with trainers.

Trish bumped into the poster of her best friend, Lucy Porter who bought her a drink in a pub once.

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And we sat in a pub beer garden that had this game….. You paid £5 to hang from this unfixed metal bar for 2 whole minutes and if you could do it, you won £50.  We watched quite a few people attempt this, all to no avail.

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I’m surprised more people weren’t attracted to it if I’m honest… considering the guy who was selling and running the experience.  His expression did not change!

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After one of the wannabe strong men fell, I asked this chap if he had ever held on for 2 minutes.  He replied in an unintelligible mumble, “Yes”.  So I pressed a little further, “Is there a trick to it?” to which he responded in the same mumbled tones, “No, you just hold on for 2 minutes.”  Silly me!  The clue is in the title!

We enjoyed a few local bevies in the unseasonal sun and watched the crazy world go by…

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We did not try these, although we did try a deep fried mars bar.  The good thing about those is you only need to try one.

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There were people dressed up

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and free performers all over the city.  This chap was an Irishman pretending to be Donald Trump, singing songs about The Donald…. he was quite good in a Benny Hill sort of way.

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A smattering of comedy was sampled around the town.  There was some that was great…

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David O’Doherty

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Tommy Tiernan

and some that I wish we had seen, but either couldn’t get tickets or didn’t know about them until it was too late, and others that we did see that were not so great/not to our taste, but the most outrageous was an Australian chap who told the audience that they were a waste of space and that he didn’t know why he agreed to do this 15 minutes promo gig to sell his own show if we weren’t going to laugh at his jokes.  He berated us a bit more and called us a few more colourful names before throwing his hands up and walking off the stage.  When we left, he was standing outside handing out flyers to his own show.

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I was befuddled about the whole situation, but Trish felt a bit sorry for him which then lead to our research study on what drives comedians to become comedians and it appears to be a form of therapy for the myriad of issues that they are dealing with.  I’m sure they also get a bit of a buzz off the laughter and applause (if they can rally the crowd up enough).  I mean, we all have our own issues that we’re dealing with and I guess people choose to deal with them in their own way…. one being stand up comedy.

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So Trish and decided that we would have our own show that would be available only to comics, probably held on a Monday night (when they have a night off) where we would pay them £1 at the beginning of the show and offer them therapy.  If at the end of the show if they felt that it helped them, they could choose to pay for the session (hopefully with more than the 1 quid we’d already given them).  I’m not sure what sort of therapy we could possibly offer given our not so extensive experience in the field of mental health, but maybe a few laughs that they didn’t have to come up with themselves might be a start.

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To give ourselves a little break from the non stop, belly aching, side splitting raucousness that was day 1, we jumped on the 45 bus and headed for Portobello Beach, about 20 minutes away.  It was such a gorgeous day and it seemed a shame to waste it in a small dark cave-like room being sworn at.

And it seemed that quite a few people had the same idea.

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It was a little chilly in the water and it was a bit murky and weedy, but it didn’t stop a few die hard kids from getting in there.

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It’s funny seeing how people go to the beach here.  At home, if we go to the beach, we’re generally there to swim and will wear clothing to suit the occasion, however here, going to the beach is something that people do fully clothed, complete with socks and shoes.

Some even set up camp…. I can’t be sure, but I think this chap may have had some furniture in this tent.  He’s perhaps here for longer than just the day.

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The promenade was full of places to eat and drink and buy ice-cream by the seaside.

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This van even offered gourmet haggis treats for your pooch.

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There was a bit of talk as to whether these two people were alive or not…  Possibly just recovering from the festivities of the Fringe?

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Then it was back to town for more comedy and beers.  We met up with some of the performers just by chance which gave us a great insight into the life of a stand up comedian.

and……. relax!

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