Hey everyone. On Friday I made my second visit to this year’s Edinburgh fringe. Unlike Wednesday this was not a day I needed to focus on performing, this was a day or should I say night as I didn’t reach Edinburgh till 5.30 when I could enjoy the carnival atmosphere, the madness on the mile and the company of friends and fellow poets and performers some of whom I haven’t seen since this time of August. It was as I walked passed Waverley Station I bumped in to the first of those friends the ever chatty and ever lovable host of Jibba Jabba spoken word night Jenni Pascoe who was distributing the most essential piece of literature anyone can ever be given at this time of year. This is known is the PBH free fringe brochure this wee book and it really is an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to make their fringe more affordable.
As we chatted Jenni asked me if I was going to make it along to Jibba during the run, I said I hoped to but the late time slot it kicks off at 23.05 that’s 11.05 PM to ordinary mortals has made it more difficult than I would like it to be. On hearing this Jenni said that if I was going to make it to any night to make along on Wednesday as that’s her birthday and she wants me to be there. I have promised to do so though it may involve me having to stay overnight in our nation’s capital city.
As I proceeded up the North Bank it wasn’t long before I was on the mile and heading for the place I call headquarters otherwise known as the Banshee. As walked towards the bar I bumped in to the team at Stand Up For Tragedy and did a bit of leafleting for their show. It was during this leafleting session that I met and enjoyed a catch up with current BBC UK slam champion David Lee Morgan. As we chatted I joked with him that it was nice to know that there would be no unseasonal appearance from Frosty the Snowman. You see the last time our paths had crossed was back on a memorable night on the First Monday of March when he was featured writer at Words and Music at Frosty and friends came out to play one last time before letting us enjoy the beauty of spring.
At the end of our chat I headed in to the Banshee to go to Stand Up For Tragedy which was my first show of Edinburgh 2015. What I like about this show is that like Jibba Jabba it’s kind of show you can attend as many nights as you like and you’ll never see the same show twice. The aim of the evening is according to host Dave Pickering to explore tragedy in all its creative forms and make the audience laugh until they cry or cry until they laugh. As I went downstairs to the Banqueting Hall where the show was taking place I was heartened. to see such a good sized crowd for what I knew was going to be a night of top quality entertainment though this did mean the only seats in the theatre were at or near the front. Just as I was about to claim one of those seats I heard a voice call out in mock indignation ‘ so my mother ignores me’ I turned round to see Sophia Walker smiling at me in that way that only she can possibly get away with and sat in the seat next to her.
You see, Sophia for reasons known only to her adopted me as her poetry mother many years ago and has always made me wish I was her real one. Well I have good taste in adopted daughters dontcha know. Anyway, it was now time to get the show under way and the first act to grace the stage was Adrienne Truscott who told the audience tragic tales from America of guns, shootings, and right wing republicans. Well as she so eloquently said it does always seem to be right wing republicans who want to defend the gun lobby. This is indeed tragic and one day America may change its attitude on this issue. I for one certainly hope so but just let’s say I won’t be holding my breath.
Next up to the stage was the excellently talented poet Rob Auton. In a tragi-comic set Auton packed more in to 10 minutes than some people pack in to their supermarket shopping bags for an entire weekly shop. This included poems such as Heaven Food in which the poet muses over whether there is any meet in heaven and whether or not God stacks the celestial shelves. Well these are important philosophical questions which need to be asked.
After an excellent and witty opening poem Auton then entertained us with poems on a wide variety of subjects including a Genie with a death wish, fish, milk, and a kettle. This was a very enjoyable set from a poet I highly recommend you try to go and see.
As Rob went back to his seat it was the turn of Sophia Walker to entertain and shock in equal measure. Well when it comes to tragedy in the words of a well known song nobody does it better. In her first poem Jay Sophia tells the harrowing tale of a soldier who comes back from Iraq and his friends who had only seen the war on Television asked the kind of questions that friends should know better than to ask. However when his friends could turn the television over to another channel in his mind Jay was still watching the images over and over again.
Skilled and gifted in the arts of both poetry and storytelling Sophia then recalled events in Uganda where she stayed during the height of a civil war before finishing with her poem Seeds a poem she wrote after a trip to Vietnam in which she offers some hope for the future but also a warning that the soul is the last thing we should worry about as it is far easier lost in life than it ever can be in death.
Following Sophia is never an easy task but Swedish comedienne Evelyn Mok was more than up for the task as she told her tragic story of her underused vagina. Trust me the women in the audience got the cultural references and we shared her pain. Finally it was Mark Dean Quinn who brought an excellent show to an end with stories on trust, glass chess sets, and granny’s.
At the end of a great show I went upstairs to talk to Jenni and then help her with the flyering for Jibba Jabba. Trust me as someone who has flyered for the SNP in Brigdeton I know hard shifts when I see them but Edinburgh on a Friday night is a different level of difficult. Though in saying that I did manage to get rid of all my flyers by 10 o’clock at which time I went to Pie maker and bought myself a haggis pie and two apple and custard lattice for enjoying when I got back to my flat. However, before I went home I returned to the Banshee to sign off for the night. As I arrived back in the comfort of the flat I collected my thoughts and whilst musing on the night I reflected on a night which celebrated friendships, grown from seeds of love and that can never be a tragedy.
Love And Best Wishes