We're sitting here, Friday afternoon, with the boys trying to reconstruct the few jokes they missed. They have just accused me of reading depressing environmental blogs. They can tell, Ian says, by my linkled brow. Deeply corrugated, he says. In fact, I'm just trying not to listen to them.
Tonight we are heading into Edinburgh to see Fascinating Aida, John Cooper Clarke and June & Nick at a Mexican Restaurant in between the two shows. John Cooper Clarke will be the final show, other than Alba Flamenca with Alec tomorrow, before bringing the kids up for the last weekend.
It occurs to me that I ought to make a note here of what we have done and who we have seen. I'll do it in bits. Monday was a four show day. We saw Helen Keen do her low tech and utterly charming show, 'It is Rocket Science'. If she ever tours with it you really should make an effort to see it. Most of her life she temps in London, saving to afford to bring her wonderfully eccentric shows to Edinburgh. This one is a history of rockets from the earliest days with stories, masks and high tech visual imagery.
The second show I saw was 'Poem Without a Hero' which was quite lovely although I'm not sure I understood it. A simple show, readings from the master work of the Russian poet, Anna Akhmatova. The words are very beautiful and left me moved but uncomprehending. I may spend some time reading the poem and trying to understand the context. This is one of the joys of the fringe to me, finding a whole new area of interest. I have to thank Alec for this, and Ian for making the standard Fringe booking error. Damn those shows with different times for different days. On weekdays Alba Flamenca is at 8pm. On weekends at 3pm. Which is why I'm seeing it on Saturday and why this unexpected show was seen.
Whilst I was seeing this Ian & Julian went to see the Ian Dury show. Apparently the best show of all those Julian has seen so far. Maybe see it some other time.
We went to Pink Olive for dinner. This is a jolly nice, stylish little restaurant which is still in my mobile phone as Phenicia. The food is lovely but, unlike Phenecia, the restaurant that used to be in this building, it has a limited set of dishes for a vegetarian and so we will only visit once this Fringe.
The third person we saw was Toby Hadoke with his show, 'Now I Know My BBC'. We first saw Toby some years ago when, in the noisome caves off the Cowgate, he told us about his childhood obsession with Dr Who and how, with the revived doctors he has finally been vindicated and his son, geeky as he, had become cool. It was a lovely story for all us fans and had Julian weeping shamelessly. We saw it again at the Lescar in Sheffield but some of the sparkle and passion had dissipated through endless repetition. It is a dangerous thing to open you soul, take out the fragile emotions, build them into a work of art and then perform it day after day for years.
To some extent this new show will not cause the attrition of the soul that 'Moths Ate My Dr Who Scarf' did. We all rather feel that Radio 4 is what makes Britain great but Toby looked way beyond this at Grange Hill, at Newsround, Vision On and many of the TV programmes that defined our youths. It was a lovely, if slightly under-rehearsed, with enough personal detail to make it interesting but we came out wondering whether, if he has married his childhood sweetheart, what has happened to his geeky child?
Then Tim Vine. Jokamotive was very much Ian's choice and was everything that he loves. I was a little reluctant but the ticket had been purchased. An hour chock-full of one liners and puns. It was a fabulous, high energy, jokamotive, bearing down on me as, tied to the rails (wedged into horrid bench seats) I struggled to escape, but eventually had to succumb to the Joke. It was marvellous. Then the boys spent the trip back trying to work out the punchlines to the ones they'd missed. SIGH!
At this rate I'll never catch up but I think I'll write about Tuesday later/tomorrow.