Tuesday, August 23, 2011

another big rambling summer update

Where was I? <flicks through last post> just having seen 39 Steps. Lots to cover then starting <rummages in iPhoto> pretty much here:

Bright Orange Shipping Containers

Last Thursday Alyn had asked me to go see Oedipus with him as he'd O.Ded on comedy and felt like seeing something serious. Boy was it ever serious. Fantastic performance (runs until the 29th if you're local and interested) stark and unsettling. Loved it.

Because he's a thoroughly nice chap, and (like me) is intrigued by things that are... different, he also surprised me with tickets for 3rd Ring Out's spectacular Rehearsal for the Future* which probably couldn't be further from Berkoff's splendid re-imagining of classical Greek theatre. Staged inside a pair of bright orange shipping crates in the Grassmarket, we spent an hour (with eight other punters and two actors) being the emergency response team for a sector of the Suffolk coast in 2033 during a heatwave. It was great fun and I want to go again if anyone's up for it? (and has an hour or two free between now and the 28th when it closes) Ideally I'd love to go en-masse with people I know because the only thing letting the concept down is a point where you all have to work closely and effectively together in a very short time... which is hampered somewhat by British reserve amongst strangers. Still great fun all the same. Comments are still down so if you're in town reading this and want to go between now and Sunday email me?

Friday was a [gawr-juhs] strategy meeting with Derek, and yet another reminder of how good a friend and colleague Derek is. I'm not airing details here, but I had stumbled on something past-work related on Wednesday night which upset and angered me. Between/after shows on Thursday Alyn had offered some typically excellent, level headed, (and above all informed) advice, which helped me figure out how to deal with it professionally, but I was still a bit bruised by it. Derek fixed that with a heartfelt pep talk, reminding me how much exciting stuff lies ahead in my work life... Can't really elaborate much without saying things that'd be unprofessional to say here but suffice it to say that I came home on Friday resolved to leave the upsetting, angering crap firmly in the past, and get on with building my exciting and shiny future. Boy is it shiny: exciting stuff happening at [gawr-juhs]...

Sunday was Dolly Frickin' Parton with Liz. Really that concert deserved a post all to itself but I was too tired/focussed on making and eating an omelette when I got home from it on the last train from Glasgow. Sorry. Short version is that it was awesome. We arrived around ten minutes before the <sniggers> "No Support" show was due to start... to find that the other 12,498 people attending the show had done much the same.

Epic. Queue.

Dolly held off starting for about 15-20 minutes by which point we were most of the way to the door leading into the auditorium... but surprisingly it didn't matter, the queue-crowd had a happy excited vibe and we could hear the start of the first number. The hired security for the event were unbelievably good, ushering us through to our seats past the stage deftly and cheerily... and before the first number had finished Liz and I were settled in our block HH seats with an excellent view and massive grins which stayed on for the rest of the night.

Then it was back to Festival time: My aunt Anne's cruise holiday brought her to Edinburgh for a couple of days starting Monday and we spent the bulk of them together, seeing performances, taking in the sights and generally catching up. I always enjoy showing friends and relations round my city, especially at Festival time - there's a feel to the place which is unlike anywhere else on Earth I think.

Anne was great company, an enthusiastic and happy guest - the best sort. We saw Ophelia on Monday which was fun, and visited the vaults under the city today which she'd apparently been dying to see since I first mentioned them to her years ago. In between we wandered the city soaking in Fringe street performances, and wandering a little further afield to see some of Edinburgh's permanent features like the Parliament, Holyrood Park, St Andrews Square, Jenners, the National Gallery, PSG, the National Museum... we even caught some unexpected (and very good) chamber music while we explored the Museum of Scotland together this afternoon. We popped by Charlotte Square Monday afternoon and managed to coincide with a genuinely sunny interval** for soaking in the Book Festival too, sitting outside their Spiegeltent in the sun enjoying drinks and a natter... the whole visit in fact we nattered animatedly together about anything and everything. A thoroughly lovely visit. I was sad to wave her off this afternoon, but the cruise has other places to take her. I hope they don't pale too much alongside Edinburgh ;)

Man I'm lucky living here.

* They don't seem able to make their minds up about what to call it, but nobody said "The Emergency" on the day, and I like "Rehearsal for the Future" better
** Not that the rest of the weather had been unkind, just that that particular hour contrived to be the best possible weather for sitting outside with a drink. Thanks weather gods!

Monday, August 15, 2011

More summer stuff...

Just home from seeing my buddy Chris acting his socks off in The 39 Steps. I'd recommend you go only it's sold out - if you've got tickets you're in for a treat!

Lucked out in going at the same time as the bulk of the gang too, so after the show we had drinks on the venue's splendid little Terrace, then wandered round Stockbridge until we found a cracking little Mexican restaurant. A full evening. Would have been fuller had it not been a Monday night.

So that came hot on the heels of a Festival weekend with my folks - we had Jazz at Lunchtime on Sunday (getting to which involved briefly passing through one of the full-on busy parts of town which i got the feeling Mum loved and Dad hated) followed in the evening by a breathtaking concert at Usher Hall. Spellbinding. Three encores.

Tomorrow I'm seeing Great Unanswered Questions in the evening (thanks Denise!) and possibly some last minute serious theatre with Alyn (who's feeling comedy-ed out). Then it's Dolly Frickin' Parton* with Liz on Sunday (squeee!) followed by a couple of days showing my favourite Aunt around my favourite city, with some more theatre thrown in for good measure.

Having a great summer.

*Nothing to do with the Festival, that's in Glasgow. Just happens to also be in August.

Friday, August 12, 2011


In case anyone's counting. Contact page is now behaving itself, site-wide metadata's all fettled, blgspot template's almost in tune with the new site, and the front page portfolio has proper photos.

Outstanding fixes: Fathoming why all the blogger comments are all buried (which I only just spotted) and finding how to re-enable commenting on blog posts, then migrating the photo albums back off Flash... probably.

and her walkman started to melt...

Festival time! YAY!

So far it's a medium/light festival for me as you'd expect. Had a very full day on Tuesday though. Derek very kindly took me to see Allotment around lunchtime. We lucked out on it being a sunny afternoon (the play is set in and performed on an allotment). Brilliant performance, original, funny and very moving. Plus they gave us tea and scones! What's not to love?

I did some work in the afternoon and then met my friend Alyn for beers and people watching on the Royal Mile before we saw the Laramie Project together. As already mentioned I've been wanting to see that for almost a decade and the production didn't disappoint. I was a little unsettled by how very very young the company were though. I doubt any of them can have been older than 5 when Matthew Shepard was murdered which made me feel old, but also kept breaking the spell of the show a teeny bit... That's an unfair complaint of Ophiuchus Rising as a company: my problem not theirs. They did a fantastic job of producing a complex and challenging piece, striking the right balance of impartial detachment and powerfully charged emotional performances, we both left feeling deeply moved.

Breaking for more beer in Bristo square Alyn and I caught up with Derek and for a total change of pace the three of us went to see Briefs. Unsurprisingly (given we're talking about Australian acrobats) I immediately developed a huge crush on one of the performers, but eye candy aside it was a stunning show... way camper than I'd normally go for, but lots of fun, with some genuinely impressive feats of fitness. Oh and a meat tray raffle.

This weekend Mum & Dad are coming up (for their first Festival visit in all the time I've lived here) we're doing music stuff which i'm really looking forward to. Tonight though I plan on dodging the crowds and staying home for a quiet evening in... fireworks and low-flying jets notwithstanding.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

for the first time in my life, I wish this car wasn't green

Oh for the resources to take a big lumbering yank convertible out into the wilds of america and just "keep goin'"* [sigh] or packing a backpack and going hiking round the highlands, or hopping a plane to Japan, or... it's not that I'm remotely unhappy where I am you understand. Just that all this lovely sunny weather makes me want to travel. And right now that's out of the question. Bah.

* no! not off a cliff with Susan Sarandon, though yes, I might have been watching Thelma and Louise

Monday, August 01, 2011

... no jellybabies :(

No more quizes 'til autumn now, and we didn't win either the main quiz or the bonus. Did damned well though: on a heaving-full quiz night we placed second (3 points behind) on the main quiz and tied for second on the (£90) bonus: ahead of the team who were using a sonic screwdriver pen, but losing out to the team with a member who had a TARDIS tattoo on her shoulder... I feel ok about that :D

All in all a very fun night.


Last pub quiz of the season tonight - being in a pub that's practically underneath Edinburgh Castle, they stop the quiz over the summer until the tourist flood recedes - bonus round tonight is on Doctor Who so wish me luck: I've been (loudly) wishing for a Who round for ages now so I'll be very shamefaced if we don't win it!