Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I come to you now at the turning of the tide.

I have found the fatal flaw in "Mac in a Sac"; it's in a sac! Who in hell would be bothered taking it out? Yes, it rained earlier today. Still stayed reasonably warm, but it rained.

I got to the animation programme and it was better than yesterday. A very non-CGI, rather affecting though simple piece called "Printed Rainbow" got right back to the Canadian Film Board stuff and to end it all there was an animated biography of Norman McClaren. Very good stuff.

Even better, I bumped into a rather lovely Italian artist, Chiara. Unfortunately Spanish boyfriends are de rigeur for Italian ladies living in Edinburgh, but such is life. Anyhow she knew her Svankmajer from her Quay Brothers and we had a rather pleasant coffee. Coincidence upon coincidence she was my waitress last night.

I was going to say that the restaurants follow the example of the stage during festival time; always leave them hungry! But I think now I'd better not. One way or the other I definitely did have haggis today, and it was the dish i had had at breakfast and yes, i did like it. The tats and neeps were good too, but I could do with more of them next time, thank you very much Bad Ass Cafe! Lovely though, i will confess. Anyhow that was later, first I went to Beethoven.

Yes, I skipped the Vaughan Williams and tried Sir Charles MacKerras conducting Beethoven instead. Symphony Number Two! Let's face it folks, it's what we're on this planet to do, listen to Beethoven, that is (surely not, old chap!). Once upon a time I went to Boulez in Chicago unwisely eating a large meal beforehand. I nearly dozed unforgiveably off during Mahler's Ninth! This time around I was starving! And MacKerras did deliver. I thought he was a little on the romantic side, particularly on the second movement, reminding me of Schumann a little (but then Schumann symphonies were always wannabe Beethoven symphonies and none the worst for that). Anyhow it was great. Warm though! Didn't doze, but t'was warm. Also an ignorant philistine sneezed twice prompting me to want to throw myself over the balcony. I refrained. By the way, Mr MacKerras, next time when we clap enough to get you out three times, we want an encore!

I had dumped the mini monster, so was free. Dining on my haggis, starved still i went briefly to the Book Festival, after dinner lolly pop in mouth. Had a pleasant chat with home (good news) then went in search of entertainment. With a wealth of shows around me, I couldn't find anything until luckily I located one of the Fringe Festival offices on the Royal Mile. They put me wise to a daily guide published by The Guardian, so I booked "The Best of Scottish Comedy" in The Stand.

One should always be wary of "Best of's", but this time I was fortunate. I fell in with a motley crew from the Royal Bank of Scotland (well, they took my seat!) and got a hankering for Deuchars. Hell, if Hemingway, O'Hara and Fitzgerald can all write drunk why shouldn't I (and why do they always say Irish writers drink, they're all American!). Well, so I write now. Many Deuchars make Jack a happy camper. Anyhow to return to the comedy show! T'was brillig! A lesbian midget (her words, not mine, well some of them), was compere (Susan Calman; and you were great, girl!). The first guy from Dundee, Paul Pirie, was not bad at all ("You've a lovely head of blonde hair. Why do you dye your roots brown?" or "How long do London girls take to have a shit? 9 months." His words, not mine!) But the next guy, David Kay, was simply terrific. I don't know how far he'd travel as he is very Scottish, but as he said himself "We were under his spell! I could talk all night and you'd listen." I still don't quite understand why he was so funny (well, I could break it down if I wanted to, but i don't want to), but without any profanity, innuendo, in fact any of the standard arsenal, he was just hilarious. I could talk about the space shuttle and blue tack or the drummer from New Model Army hosting golf programmes, but unless he says it it won't make sense. Fabulous! The last guy, Bruce Morton, was quite good too, in a more traditional way. The rodeo position was excellent! (No, there are children present).

Anyhow I was ready for more and knew from the Fringe guide there was more comedy nearby. However, I left my guide behind so couldn't find it. I asked a bar girl clearing tables. I knew after her first answer she was Irish, but twice more enquiring I could only manage a "Good Luck". She didn't know where the place was. Anyhow as things began earlier, so it rained once more. So I thought I'd come back here and write this. Ain't you all lucky!

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