Crazy, crazy town. Everyone should go.
Remember lockdown? The reason this column started. I was teaching in my shed. March 2020 – March 2021 with some occasional relaxations. Something that we cannot forget yet find it hard to remember or at least hard to remember specific details unless they are tied up with awful things we try to forget.
Wind on two years and the Edinburgh Fringe experience is evidence that as a society we choose to socialise and engage. The sheer number of people heading to venues, bars, meet-ups and transit points. An extraordinary mass of humanity. Over four manic days, I sat at tables with strangers and had laughs and shared experiences. ‘Who have you seen?’, ‘First time in the city?’ etc etc. Sure I’ve been to events over the last couple of years and school returned to completely normal months ago (apart from the Covid changes that suited management!) but this seething mass determined to have a good time was almost overwhelming. The logistics are mind-blowing. The programme was the size of the Yellow Pages. The beer plentiful and the vibe joyous. I didn’t see any trouble and met some genuinely lovely people.
Stewart Lee was excellent although he may baulk at such praise saying it was the typical sycophancy of his core audience of bald middle-aged men to find him ‘excellent’, as if after 35 years of doing it he would be anything else FFS! But he was, crying with laughter as I left.
Adam Kaye bookended his show with Tom Waits which provided a real bedrock for his impassioned plea for more support for those in the NHS and keyed into a lovely passage about his surrogate child. Funny and scatological too – Google de-gloved penis!!! Ouch.
Colin Cloud was a Las Vegas-based Scottish mentalist whose show was dumbfounding but somewhat lacking in polish, oddly.
2020 – The Musical was a bit Drama School but featured an outstanding comic performance by Oliver Britton as Boris Johnson amongst others. They’re hoping for a West End transfer. It needs a better script and more production values but maybe….
Wellingborough Community Gospel Choir brought joy to three venues in 24 hours at one point blocking the traffic in the Royal Mile as the speakers outside Canongate Kirk led to a mass outbreak of dancing in the street. ( I declare an interest here. Mrs H is a member).
All of the above played to packed houses and it is this communion of the different Arts that is so uplifting and optimistic in these fairly shitty times.
Speaking of optimism Sounds from Beyond the Shed this week is yet again a triumph of optimism over good sense as the radio station continues to allow me to broadcast on behalf of AUK. This week new songs by Stevie Ray Latham and Small Town Jones together, Luluc as well as Glen Campbell, Grandaddy, Lissie, Weyes Blood and also featuring numbers 8 and 7 of my Top Ten Americana Acts as featured in these pages – Drive By Truckers and Pete Bruntnell. As ever take what you want or need.