Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Trying to work out how to write about our trip to Edinburgh but I literally don't know where to start! It's obviously too much for one post, but how to split it up? Feels like so much happened over such a short space of time, but also, writing about it almost makes me feel sad in that it's a reminder that I'm not there anymore! I loved it so much, it feels so rubbish to be back at home, particularly since I woke up to a miserable grey rainy sort of day back here in Leeds :( Boo!

The best way I can think of is to split it between what we did, what I wore and what I bought (a LOT). 

For Hubby's birthday back in April, I bought 2 tickets for us to see The National - but since they were only playing the festivals and Scotland, we decided to take a little holiday. We'd spent a night there on our honeymoon (2 weeks in a mega-rural cottage near Dundee) last year, to see the Twilight Sad and Errors play at the Liquid Rooms - who were both incredible - and we just fell in love with the city.

The National were ridiculously fantastic, the best of the 3 times we've now seen them. They played a lovely mix of old and new songs and some of my absolute favourites and were pretty much perfect in their performance. The crowd on the other hand were very disappointing, although for the most part they were quiet and respectful of the band's show (nothing worse than people talking all through sets), no one really seemed to be getting into it, and barely anyone danced (Hubby & I showed 'em how it's done). The support band, Wye Oak were surprisingly brilliant too, a kind of dreamy shoegaze with power grunge choruses - think Beach House meets Duke Spirit - and we've since bought several of their albums and fallen in love.

Since we were in Edinburgh during the Fringe, we thought it would be rude not attend any events. We looked for a comedy show to go and see, and picked the Pointless Anger, Righeous Ire show by Robin Ince and Michael Legge based on the recommendation from a friend - a show where two men get very angry about things. Quite funny and very intimate with lots of audience participation and improvisation but not necessarily completely my cup of tea.

On the train up I spotted a review for a production of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, a wonderful book by Haruki Murakami - one of my favourite authors - and managed to secure some 'restricted view' seats for the same night for just £8. The review wasn't highly favourable, but familiar as we are with Murakami's styling (the stories meander and don't necessarily make much sense all of the time), we chose to ignore it. Having seen the play, I can say that the review isn't completely wrong, but it misses the point a little. It is very hard to follow the story, even if you know it, because so much is fantasy and dreamscape and it weaves between that and reality so often with no indication of where you are. The use of puppets seemed very bizarre to me in the beginning, but I grew to love it by the end - incredibly subtle and powerful. Small parts of the play were spoken in Japanese, with screens showing the translation, which I didn't dislike, but I struggled to watch the stage and the screens at the same time. We both really enjoyed it - despite almost falling asleep several times because the theatre was so warm! - and would definitely recommend anyone familiar with his work goes and sees it.

I would definitely be up for going back to the Fringe another year, or just, you know, moving to Edinburgh tomorrow.... Loved it!

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