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!
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.
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.