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Edinburgh – Day 2

From The Mound

It seems I’ve got into a bad habit of walking a lot and forgetting to eat. This is not an ideal situation and I’m writing this now, while watching Steven Seagull run up and down a train, in an effort to get my brain onto paper before I forget what I’ve seen.

First up we have Thursday, a day of mild randomness. I started with a wander town a bit to check out Black Medicine Coffee (tasty coffee served with Danish Butter Biscuits – WIN!) and then holed up in the Cameo Cinema to see Mesrine. It was not as marvellous as most of the reviews seem to suggest, but I am looking forward to part two. Even better was the cinema itself – nice and airy with comfy seats and loads of leg room. I rather like the idea of living in Edinburgh, and The Cameo has added another reason to the list.

After a quick pitstop at the whisky society and an aborted attempt to see Wilson Dixon (damn you stupid people in queues when you’re in a hurry) I went back to our flat and had a bit of a kip. Next up was my next booking – Marcus Brigstocke‘s God Collar. As expected it was good, although Mr Brigstocke seems to have wandered into the same territory as many of the comedians who I’ve grown up with – a few years older than me, they now pretty much all have kids and have sections in their sets about their kids. Brigstocke never veered into the mawkish zone that some do, but there was a bit of a contrast towards the end of his set, with cute anecdotes clashing with religious examination. However, it’s not every day that an iPhone hating man gives me the idea for my killer iPhone app – a gerbil masturbation simulator, which will display Marcus Brigstocke’s grinning face when the gerbil is ‘finished’. It makes sense, trust me.

I then wandered down to The Tron to grab one of the many shows that Andrew O’Neill is doing – this one his straight stand-up show, Occult Comedian. It was, as I expected, rather good, touching on subjects from quota based transvestitism to the joys of the occult, via Roy Walker and musical classifications within the genre of ‘metal’. He ended his set, as many comedians do seem to up here, with an advert for his next show, starting 30 minutes later at midnight – Andrew O’Neill’s Probably Massively Inadvisable Occult Experiment. And it was free. I couldn’t really say no…

occultDown Cowgate a little way from the Underbelly is the venue this year known as The Rowan Caves, but which last year were the dodgier end of the Underbelly’s performance sheds – I saw Rich Sandling perform an excellent set to 7 people (3 of whom were staff) there last year, including a break half way through to cough up a lung in a TB-like hacking fit brought on by a month of performing in a dank cave. They seem to have put in a bit of work this year and they are now dry thankless caves, which is much better. Mr O’Neill, and his historian assistant (and occasional poet) Al Cummins, ran us through a brief history of some of modern western magical tradition and then outlined the ritual we were going to do – a pentagram banishment, an invocation of the godforms of Ganesha, Eris and Babylon, a request for some ‘cool magicky shit’ to happen in the next day, and a banishment. A quick beer later and the room was cleared, be-incensed and there was ritual, which was thoroughly silly as I think all magic should be.

We were all asked to let them know if any ‘cool magicky shit’ happened to us, but now 24 hours later all I’ve had is that I found a kebab shop on the way back from the ritual that I’m certain wasn’t there before. I really wanted a kebab while we were summoning, so who knows…

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