A Dose of Culture

My bearded, Scottish, other half, Michael said to me that he would perform guitar at an open mic night (something I’d been bugging him to do for ages, his Nicki Minaj cover is a classic) if I posted a blog. So here it is Michael, you’d better start practicing!

Image                    8am is a very early start. However a bowl of fruitloops, and a trashy tabloid with stories of two headed children and incestuous grandparents help to ease the burden. Michael and I climb aboard the hefty megabus for our two-hour journey down to Edinburgh to wander about on the first Saturday of The Fringe Festival. The Fringe is this absolutely massive international arts, theatre, music festival lasting over two weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland. With 2,871 shows from theatre, to comedy, to magic, to cabaret, it’s a bit of cram packed chaos in the absolute least.


We clambered off the bus, and made our way down the Royal Mile, the main stretch of Edinburgh, coincidentally also the road leading up to the Royal Castle, an exquisite 12th century fortress casually perched atop the tallest hill in the city. And the attack began. Leaflets were thrust at us with vigor by men in drag, and women in blood soaked gowns, and we found ourselves promising to attend the show of a group of folk in rabbit costumes. There were street performers galore; magicians, some brilliant some still using the plastic thumb handkerchief trick, jugglers, banjo players and harp players, a bagpipe shooting flames, and a couple of students from circus school flipping about. And to top it all off, the sun was generous as we were able to slip our jackets off every twenty minutes, until the drizzle started again.





Our first stop was a showing of the musical Avenue Q, a rather offensive production using hand puppets of Sesame Street characters. We were settled into the theatre, when Michael turns to me with a look of elation on his face, he doesn’t speak for another twenty seconds before loudly whispering, “Susan Boyle is in the row behind us!!” I swivel my neck to gawk as sure enough, crammed into the seats right behind ours is fifty two year old Britain’s Got Talent Star, Susan Boyle. I know that doesn’t mean much to inhabitants over the pond, but on the island of Britain, she’s big, like big big, like big big big! With the best selling debut album of all time in the UK, it might be worth your while to check out her first ever public appearance. She’s basically this 52 year old awkward frumpy bag lady who entered into a singing competition, and absolutely blew everybody out of the water when she opened her mouth. Being a couple of cool cats, we snuck a photo of her, so everyone can marvel at probably the only famous person I’ve ever sat a row in front of at the theatre, and probably the only one I ever will. Who knew Susan Boyle liked racist puppet Broadway musicals, I guess there’s a time and a place for everything.


After the furry musical finishes, we dash over to another venue to see ‘Title of Show’. I was given a burnt copy of Title of Show by my best mate Danielle back in Sophomore year of high school, and ever since then have maintained captivated by the subtle, vampish, and moving lyrics.


One of my favourite songs recounts, “If you shine a flashlight up my butt, you can see, that I’m dying inside.” I was giddy in the front row looking up onto the shoes of Jeff, Hunter, Hiedi, and Susan, so close I could hawk a loogie at them. It’s a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical, I defined it as genius, Michael defined it as kind of weird and without a plot, at least the bits he could stay awake for.

To make it up to him, we laced our way through the tourists and queued outside what was to be the climax of our day, Fudge Kitchen. Our visit had become tradition whenever we were in Edinburgh, and I’m not one to mess with sacred ancient rituals. Taking our free sample, we let the sugar dissolve into our mouths. And splurge of the day, we indulged in six pieces of fudge, carefully selecting our box of sea salt dark chocolate fudge, mocha fudge, strawberries and cream fudge (gag, that one’s all Michaels), snickers fudge, maple and walnut fudge, and after dinner mint fudge. Then came the part right after the best part of the day which was still pretty good too, plopping down on the street corner, and watching all the weirdo’s pace up and down the Royal Mile.

DSCF5108Comparing the paleness of tourists, checking out fanny packs, and floppy hats, watching with admiration the ones who took more photos per minute than breaths, and devouring our fudge.

We got tickets to see an up and coming comedian in the basement of a venue, and packed into the room to see the bearded ginger Canadian offend the entirety of the place. It was great. With only a couple hours left before our glamorous bus home, we piled into a pub to watch a magician, and challenged him to dazzle us. Even if every last card trick had failed, I still think we both would have been equally intrigued by the man, we were suffocating in his charisma. Thankfully we never had to find out as he left our mouths to the ground with his tricks; cutting lengths of rope in half only to have them rejoin again, somehow putting a coin into a closed bottle then taking it out again, and the cherry on top, getting a twenty pound note from a man in the audience, which the man had signed his name on, making the twenty pound note turn into ten dollars, which the magician lit on fire and burned away, only to have the man come onstage, and choose a fruit between an apple, orange and banana. The man chose the banana, peeled it, and broke it in half, to find his twenty pound note in the middle. I laughed at all those fools in the audience with their mouths dropped down, I’d already figured out how he did everything way back when at the beginning of the show, I started believing in magic.



August 6, 2013 · 1:17 am

11 responses to “A Dose of Culture

  1. CBill

    You couldn’t be more wrong about folks ‘over the pond’ not knowing or caring about Susan Boyle. She didn’t sell all her 20 million albums in the UK, she is an international star, and many of us look forward to her fifth album.

  2. julie conway

    Yeah! You’re back. Another dose of funny in the morning!!
    Love your humor (biting wit) !! All the best to Michael (very cute) on open mike night! Signed, Another Susan Boyle fan.

  3. Kathleen W

    Well, Susan Boyle certainly is not an awkward, frumpy, bag lady NOW and I wish you could have been more kind in your description. When she auditioned for BGT in 2009 she spent her time volunteering to help others, was and still is a loving sister, aunt and neighbor. She also sung for charity, in her church and at parties in her region. She has always spread joy to many through her singing. She is now a world class professional with 4 brilliant CD’s, a 5th to be released soon as well as a movie. She has also written a fabulously successful autobiography and the story of her life was turned into a play which Susan performed in, touring all over the UK last year. Susan spreads joy to millions through her music and has thousands of fans in America and all over the world. We travel everywhere to see her, including Scotland. I hope you find all these details about Susan NOW, enlightening and she’s just begun!

    • Absolutely agree to what Kathleen W, says about caring, wonderful professional Susan Boyle. There is no need for the garbage mouth writer to write this about Susan Boyle Not funny at all!. And not even clever, if that is what you were trying to be????? I do not care to see sarcastic, half-ass snarly trash written about Susan. I suggest, whoever was the lazy,careless, awkward frumpy writer, who wrote this for the “theimpatientraveler”, you lay off your rotten inaccurate words about Susan. You evidently don;t know a thing about her. We fans all over the world love Susan. We spend money to go see her in Scotland, buy her CDs, watch her shows and whatever she does.. No one should be writing negative, sarcastic innuendos about Susan. She is a caring, sensitive, giving lady who has done a great deal of good deeds since becoming a worldwide star, plus she inspires millions worldwide to go on with their dream. Didn’t your mother ever tell you “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say nothing at all”. So Keep your mouth shut, please..

  4. Dorthy Bunch

    Welcome back !!!
    Grammie & Poppy

  5. george

    Chill out… It’s just SuBo

  6. Robert the Bruce

    Just to enlighten you further, Susan Boyle, UK apart , has appeared in USA,
    Japan, China (audience 1/2 a billion) Australia, Denmark, Holland, France,Sweden, Russia,Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland and may embark on a world tour next year. She is also the only woman to have topped the USA Billboard and UK Album charts twice in one year. She also has 500 million plus, hits on U tube. You were very lucky indeed to have a global superstar and a very modest one at that – sitting behind you in Edinburgh. You should at least have got an autograph!

  7. Robert the Bruce

    Just think this ‘bag lady’ (as you so eloquently put it) -had she rummaged in her bag for a cheque book, could have wriiten a cheque for $20 million and not batted an eyelid. Now that’s my kind of ‘bag lady’. Incidentally, it is rumoured JK Rowling was sitting two rows behind Susan – and they say Scotland’s a poor country. Biggest puzzle of all is how you got better tickets than SMB and JKR? Something wrong somewhere!

  8. Moxie

    Firstly I want to say how much I love Susan Boyle’s music. She’s an amazing singer and person. I’ve been a fan since the first time she walked onto stage in Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. A 47 year old unemployed lady with cats… someone kind and seemingly common. She could have been my or your neighbor!

    Do you remember Simon Cowell rolling is eyes? The cuts to audience members, with those expressions on their face. If you could look into their minds I bet you’d see them thinking “awkward frumpy bag lady.” Yet moments later their expressions all changed to amazement as she began to sing. Simply amazing.

    Kathleen, GR, Robert… are you history revisionists? Why do you want to deny this amazing triumphant moment in Ms. Boyle’s history? Do you think this blog was saying that is what she is NOW? Because it’s clearly not… there was even a link to that first performance, for goodness sake. To deny what Ms. Boyle overcame is to deny how amazing she truly is. This blog had so many nice things to say about her and her career and how they marveled at sitting so close to her.

    I think you people posting negative comments here should be ashamed, and really owe theimpatientraveler an apology. Jumping in to attack and spouting hurtful words… do you really think Ms. Boyle would approve of such vengeful responses? Is it jealousy that they sat so close? Why are you so quick to judge and miss interpret this report so aggressively?

    Honestly, I expected more from true fans of Susan Boyle. I for one am glad to see younger folks who can appreciate sitting close to such an amazing lady.

  9. Avocado

    Thank you impatient traveler. I truly enjoyed reading all about the Fringe Festival. Keep up the good writing.

  10. I enjoy reading your travel story and images – it makes me smile as go through it 🙂 Susan Boyle on your pic! 😉 She does have amazing voice!!

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