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Edinburgh – Day 5

They talkative lady still has my other impromptu table mates trapped in the dining car. It’s only 25 minutes until we hit dear old Doncaster, so I suspect I might be saved any more tales. I hope.

Anyways, Sunday. My only remaining booking was for the evening – Richard Herring‘s Hitler Moustache at The Underbelly – so I had a final day to fill with MERRIMENT before Monday’s mysterious plan and train home (the train I am now on). I had a vague plan, the rest of the posse had agreed with our common pieces, and I skipped off to The GRV for a 1:20pm showing of Martin White‘s Accordions of the Gods? It was his first performance of the show at this year’s festival and it was rather good, despite the attempts of Powerpoint to derail things with its funtastic approach to random breaking while trying to play video. But then again, any show that describes a conspiracy of accordionists through the ages is probably going to make me a happy man. I am much inspired to buy an accordion. The whole experience was made all that much better by my wait for the gig to start – I sat in the empty bar of The GRV, drinking a tasty breakfast pint and chatting with the barman while we watched the end of Stallone’s Cobra, a film that he had been trying to get through for several days. When the big band in the venue next door piped up with a variety of Glen Miller’s greatest hits, drowning out the gunfire, flames and hook impalement of Cobra’s denouement, the morning settled happily into place.

After Mr White’s show the posse planned to meet up at the whisky society’s rooms in Leith for their quite excellent Sunday lunch. I, foolishly, decided to walk, which took me about an hour and as such missed the earlier-than-I-thought kitchen close of 3pm. This was slightly made up for, though, by my first piece of star spotting for the day, espying Jerry Sadowitz sitting outside a cafe eating a rather intricate looking ice cream based dessert. I quickly gave up on the Whisky Society, as replacing food with whisky is not a particularly sustainable plan, and ended up recuperating briefly at the flat with a small pile of chippy fish. The flat internets had settled down by now and were starting to work in a way that could almost be seen as ‘properly’ and I booked myself up a ticket for a few hours in the future – Abracadabra: German Comedy Goes Global, with Henning Wehn and Otto Kuhnle.

I wandered yet again through the streets of Edinburgh, this time to my most southernly venue (The Bosco Theatre at the Underbelly Hullabaloo…awful name, strange wooden circus tent). I’ve seen some clips of Henning Wehn supporting Stewart Lee with some rather dry pseudo-german humour, but have never seen him doing his double act with Otto Kuhnle before and had no idea what to expect. It was random. So very random. A combination of dry standup and strange slapstick. It’s not every day you see a large german man, dressed in Pippi Longstocking drag, doing a headstand (with and audience member holding up his dress to preserve his ‘dignity’), telling audience members with bells to ring them at different times and shouting ‘SMILE!’ at the dress holding man from time to time.

There was also a leafblower. And scarves in the colour of the german flag.

I bought one of their DVDs.

After that I had a bit of time to get over the the Underbelly for Richard Herring. While I sipped a pint the rather lovely Ben Moor wandered over, recognising me from a performance of his at the Museum of London, my Open Tech attendences and the yearly handing of beer to him at Sci-Fi-London’s pub quiz, to say hello and let me know that he was doing a one-off performance of his excellent show Coelacanth on Monday. At 5pm. When my train was leaving. I passed on the flyer on and I recommend that anyone who likes tales of love won and lost in the arena of professional tree climbing seek out a performance if he’s doing any more.

Anyways, Richard Herring, the guy whose comments on the festival dragged me up to Edinburgh last year, was just as he always is – very good. His show wasn’t quite as hard hitting as many of the reviews seemed to suggest, but it did lay out a bunch of interesting points about prejudice as well as also being rather funny. It’s a very strange thing to watch a comedian’s material evolve over time, via podcast, blog and shows, but even though I knew most of Hitler Moustache the whole was greater than a sum of parts, with a chunk of new bits and the careful cross referencing throughout the show that makes me feel clever to have remembered the jokes. Unfortunately he overran by 10 minutes, making my second sekrit mission (give Richard Herring my completed Nando’s reward card) impossible if I was to make my next show. I did, however, have enough time to chuck a couple of quid in the SCOPE bucket and grab a velcro Hitler ‘tache – white that night due to a miscommunication with the velcro delivery company. I’d noticed within moments of arriving in Edinburgh that Herring had carried out his plan of buying stick on velcro to make moustaches for everyone to take home and wear, by the addition of one to a poster advertising Jimmy Carr’s show. Mr Carr was not the only one so adorned, although the only one directly referenced in Herring’s bid to deface every poster in town…

'Taches

I left the Underbelly slightly disappointed that my stalkiness could not reach its natural culmination (especially when I read on Herring’s blog today that Stewart Lee was hanging around and went drinking with him) and led Dave and Colette over the crest of the Royal Mile to our last gig of the evening – Camille O’Sullivan at The Assembly Halls. I’d not heard of Ms O’Sullivan before, but Martin, one of our other travelling companions, had done so and seen her earlier in the week. His gushing about the show inspired Dave and Let and they dragged me along. I’m happy that they did. We arrived a few minutes late and had to wait for the end of the first song to finish, but ended up descending into one of the most impressive venues I’ve seen in a while – a dark and smoky auditorium with comfortable seats, a stage that protruded roundly into the audience and a performer who knew how to grab and hold a crowd. Her singing is pretty good and her band accomplished, but the show was what it was about, with Camille miaowing, bouncing, crawling and madly babbling through the set, interspersed with asides in her rather lovely sounding irish accent. I grabbed some tracks of hers from emusic today, and despite it being a live recording it barely touches the experience of being at a gig. I may go and see her again, but I doubt I’ll be buying her CDs.

That was enough for the night and we rambled down the hill back to the flat. Again, I realised that I’d forgotten to eat and had a burger that was scarily good for being cooked in a dish in a pizza oven, before again investigating the status of our whisky supply and seeking my increasingly uncomfortable bed.