Monday 21 August, day 20 of the Festivals…
Mairi Campbell’s Pulse was a thoughtful and graceful exposition of her own musical journey from the conservatory to the folk tradition, directed by my friend Kath Burlinson. Very good.
Not so good was the second show that evening…it may have been called “Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men meet Spooky Bitch and the Rockers Uptown.” At least, it should have been. I’ll never get that hour back…
Day 21, Tuesday August 22 was a hundred percent day though.
First of all I saw Guy Pratt’s Inglourious Bassterd at Frankenstein’s as part of the Free Fringe. I had seen him years ago doing a show called My Bass and Other Animals and enjoyed it, so it was well worth going to see the updated version, where he tells anecdotes about his musical career as bass player with Pink Floyd and David Gilmour as well as the numerous superstar sessions he’s done. Sadly I had to leave quickly at the end of the show so was unable to speak with him and thank him for the magnificent bass part on Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Murder on the Dancefloor.”
A little bit later we went to see Alan Johnson at the Book Festival. His third volume of memoirs has just come out and he was able to speak mostly about the book – a couple of years ago, during a Labour Party leadership campaign, he was at the Book Festival to promote the second volume but was largely asked about the state of the party rather than his book.
When he was Minister for Health in, I think, 2009 he had mentioned in an interview in The Observer about music that he was fond of The Pearlfishers, so with the agreement of the composer, I took the opportunity to give him a copy of The Pearlfishers’ official bootleg. I think he is the fifth person to have a copy of this – I hope he enjoys it.
Day 22, Wednesday August 23 – one show, Kieran Hurley’s Heads Up. A successful shot in the dark. Apparently this won a Fringe First in 2016 and I could see why. In the lovely surroundings of the Anatomy Lecture Theatre at Summerhall, Hurley’s show is a powerful monologue about people’s reactions to nuclear apocalypse, delivered mostly from a desk where he triggers samples from a couple of pads in front of him. Sobering and sadly appropriate to our troubled and volatile times.
Day 23, Thursday August 24. Just one show, which was OK. So enough said.
I also had a pleasant couple of hours at the Book Festival with my friend Alan Windram from littledoorbooks, where we discovered that he and his wife were coincidentally going to an event the next day, and we agreed to meet up.
Meanwhile, in Musselburgh, a revolution in publishing marketing was underway…