Monday 12 August 2013

Edinburgh Festivals: week two!

Okay, week two of the Edinburgh Festivals has been and gone. We've reached the point in the month when posters are covered in snippets of reviews, flyerers are getting a slightly glazed, desperate look in their eye, and locals are getting a wee bit fed up of the whole thing, and wondering when it'll end. 

I am still very much in my happy place though (hooray), and despite being on the verge of a summer cold, I've had a really brilliant week, filled with some of my very favourite people.

Here's what week two was like for me! (Week one can be read here). 

  • Seann Walsh: I wasn't sure what to expect from Seann Walsh. I like that he looks like a lion (that's a valid reason for liking someone, yeah?), but I hadn't heard anything about him except that he was popular with students. Is that a good thing? A bit weird? Turns out it's good! He tells very funny stories about being a bit lazy and a bit rubbish at being an adult, and the last ten minutes of his set had everyone in fits of laughter (including him). Fun! 
  • Puppet Up!: It's the muppets, but not like you've seen them before. They are a wee bit mucky, the sketches are a bit ridiculous (it's improv, so you can probably imagine the suggestions), but it's really fascinating seeing the puppeteers at work! Tickets are £25 so it's one of the pricier shows on the fringe, but they do pick someone from the audience to be a puppeteer, which is pretty cool. 
  • Iain Stirling: I have such a soft spot for Iain Stirling, he is just so very likeable. He didn't have the easiest set... there was a powercut five minutes in, meaning we got kicked out & he had to restart the show (with a sweet offer to give people a heads up before the end so they wouldn't miss later shows), & various phones rang or spontaneously played music, interrupting the set. Despite this, he was lovely and funny, and didn't seem phased at all. 
  • Book Festival: My very favourite festival (shh, don't tell the others) has started! I started the first day of edbookfest watching the very wonderful Patrick Ness, who is funny and witty and very inspirational. Twelve hours later I was back in Charlotte Square Gardens for their opening party, where we celebrated books with gin, music and making shadow shapes across the lawn. 
  • Late n Live: How many times do I need to say? Buy a ticket, have a disco nap beforehand, and don't be scared if you have to sit in the front row (we did, and survived!).

  • David O'Doherty: I am a big fan of D O'D, nobody can sing slightly awkward songs on a slightly too small keyboard like he can! This was the happiest he's ever looked performing, he was obviously having a great time (and he's been selling out this festival, so you can't blame him), but it felt like it knocked the edge off a little. If you haven't seen him before, definitely go! If you have, it might be a little weaker than previous years...
  • Festival food: Oh festival food. Why are you always so unreliable? Gold Star Award goes to Assembly Festival for their amazing food stands in George Square Gardens (loads of veggie-friendly options, huge portions, and quick service) and Total Baddie Prize goes to the Book Festival for charging me three pounds for a bacon roll that contained half a piece of bacon. Sob.

  • Reviews: I'm a sucker for festival politics, and this has been an entertaining week! The Evening News announced that five star review systems (aka what every reviewer in the world uses) were too complicated for readers... and seven stars were the way to go. The List then went one better, with seventeen stars (this made me almost cry with laughter when I saw it). Obviously The List are joking, but weirdly the EN aren't! It's all a bit bonkers. I think star ratings should be taken with a pinch of salt, but if you want to use them to guide you then this top rated page (which compares reviews from loads of publications) is the way to go. 


  1. We saw Seann Walsh as well! I agree, he was brilliant and had everyone crying with laughter, he overran by 10 minutes because the three of them couldn't stop laughing!

    Also recommended - Josh Widdicombe, Mark Thomas, Andrew Maxwell and Marcus Brigstocke (all brilliant)

    And Rick Wakeman at Assembly Hall was amazing, just Rick being a funny grumpy old man and some beautiful beautiful music - the sort that makes you lose yourself in the atmosphere. x

  2. Oooh thanks for the great tips! I'm heading up on Thursday and to be honest I'm a bit overwhelmed by everything and worried about missing some of the great shows. Excited to be back in Edinburgh though - I haven't been in years!


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