This is my first time using Airbnb and it doesn’t disappoint. The flat is a two bedroom with high ceilings near the center of town, with no shower (bath yay!) and no wi-fi. We have to sit close to the windows and scam wifi from the Regent House Hotel across the street.
As the girls get older it becomes harder and harder to find hotels that will allow us to fit three in a room (outside the US, anyway.) And we are very comfortable living on top of one another, but as a single dad with a tween and teen, the minimum living distance is growing. We will be using it more in the future I think.
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival was created to compliment/offset the high brow Edinburgh International Festival, which runs almost the same dates and is now smaller than its gofy cousin. Both date back to the 40′s, conceived as post war rehabilitation for a battle weary Europe.
Last year the Fringe festival sold nearly 2 million individual tickets! No surprise Edinburgh is packed. It makes you wonder what they do with all this space, hotels and restaurants the rest of the year?
But today I got a much needed run in, around the Edinburgh castle and down the Royal Mile with the early fringe festers. It was 65 and dry and sunny. Glorious.
And then our day begins! Five shows, nearly back to back except for some food along the way, which was pretty good. Pizza at one place was as good as one gets outside Italy. And the food tent had some great fresh fried noodles for Lily and Vegetarian Moroccan tagine for me. And of course it over looks a 9th century castle Don’t all food tents?
Not much else to report except the shows we saw, all of which were great.
Avenue Q: This isn’t new of course. I saw it in 2010 with Trish, but it was an awesome way to kick off the festival. It was performed in entirety with the puppets, and the themes are perfect for Emma. It’s about that rough period right after college when one has to figure out life for realz. And it’s pretty snarky. In fact, I think it’s a better show than the cruder but similar “Book of Mormon” both in Music and theme.
There is a song called “The Internet is for Porn” But the actress sings with such a deep scottish accent that Lily can’t make out the words. (Porn sounds like Pawn). It wouldn’t have mattered anyway because she asks afterward what ‘Porn’ is. And I tell her “It’s when two people, who love each other very much, have a video camera…” Emma rolls her eyes and whispers in Lily’s ear.
It’s also interesting in the wake of the British government’s announcement that they would be censoring porn on the internet. The audience loves the line “Grab your dick and double-click for porn, porn, porn!”
Spiltmilk Say Dance: This was a show that was about social dance crazes, like the Twist, Macarena and Line Dancing. It was completely different, entertaining and unexpectedly good. They deconstructed the dances and rebuilt them to completely different music. Probably the highlight was disco dancing done to Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’. The bravado of 50′s Frank, and the dramatic machismo of Disco were brilliantly juxtaposed. The Macarena to Vivaldi was cool too.
This is exactly why one goes to Fringe Fests. To see shit you wouldn’t normally see. And it was fun to explain the concepts of deconstruction and reinterpretation to the girls. They got it easily, in part because of their work on reinterpreted Shakespeare with the local community theater.
Pyramids of Margate is a long shot. I picked it because of the time slot, and it mentions Dr. Who. It’s pretty far off the regular venue map, which is never a good sign. The one man, one act play is about a nerd picking up a girl using Dr. Who trivia and accidentally discovering extra-terrestrial life.
It’s pretty good, honestly. The actor is convincing and the dialog is quick and engaging. It won’t be our favorite, but again the kids have now seen a genre - one-person, one-act play that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise. And Emma gets all the Dr. Who references that go over my head.
Coincidentally, the new Dr. Who – Peter Capaldi- is announced on the same day, and he is Scottish!
It’s not the most advanced in terms of tricks or athletic prowess. (Not that they are entirely lacking either, one dude was as ripped as I have ever seen a circus performer. He had abs like a comic book super hero.) No Fit State Circus performance of Bianco, was amazing.
It was conducted in a tent on a ‘stage’ of giant metal scaffolding that they moved around to get different structures to work with. And the audience had to move around and with them, but were basically on stage the whole time. It was also completely mechanical, there were no motors. Human counterweights lifted the performers in the air. And the content was more lyrical than absurd like Cirque Du Soleil, who seems to have abandoned any story whatsoever in the past few years (Corteo was the last that I saw that had any plot.)
It was one of the most enjoyable circus shows I’ve seen in a while. Emma is so happy to be there and watch. She is developing a love for circus that goes beyond youthful enthusiasm. For the first time, I wonder if she might pursue it somehow later in life…
We probably walked four miles up and down Edinburgh’s streets, so we take a taxi back and crash, exhausted and excited about the shows we saw. The festival is better than we imagined, and a delightful surprise. I figured we would just see some Scotland and take it easy. But this is great!