Archive for the ‘ FRINGE 2012 ’ Category


Thursday August 2nd


So round one of the free parties, launches and extended drinking binges- offered up by  press offices as a means of lowering your inhibitions and agreeing to view their shows before and above all others- is over. Four such events cluttered up my diary yesterday and at least three are on my list for today. At this rate I will be hanging my liver put to dry by Friday morning, when I am supposed to be in a fit state to start the actual job of reviewing shows. Actually that chore begins tonight after the Gilded Ballon launch when –after the persistence of a particularly insistent PR- I have agreed to go and see comedian Joel Dommett. He will either be uproariously funny- after consuming several gin cocktails what isn’t?- or else I will sober up resulting in grumpiness or, worse, fall asleep.

Yesterday’s round of parties started off in relatively civilised style with a glass of champagne accompanied by afternoon tea in the Balmoral Hotel. Delicious sandwiches, mini raspberry tarts, scones and chocolate cake all provided a more than pleasant start to the afternoon. It was all in aid of promoting a company called I say dead posh productions and their production of Noel Coward’s Still Life ( Brief Encounter) which I am viewing next Tuesday (even more persuasive than a shed-load of alcohol I am a sucker for a high tea).

Next up was a short visit to the Caves- the change in surroundings from the elegant opulent private suite in the Balmoral Hotel could not have been more pronounced- where a few acts begged for attention and Loretta Maine managed to attain it. One of my favourite acts of 2010 Pippa Evans’s alter-ego-imagine an ever trailer trashier and more deranged Courtney Love- is back with her new show Bipolar and I feel this is one not to be missed.

It was then a quick dash –avoiding the inevitable rain which I had predicted an hour before and which then arrived on cue- to the Underbelly where in addition to the usual offerings of free wine, beer and cider they had thoughtfully set up a Pimms stall which more than suited me. The show was hosted by Richard Herring-on my list for this weekend- who handled his job admirably even when technical hitches called on him to improvise extensively.

The stand out act was unquestionably Tom Thum formerly of the Tom Tom Crew-my Saturday night taken care of- and his amazing beat-boxing skills. Before he was due on stage I was in the toilets and heard all manner of strange rumbling ,gurglings and inhuman sounds and convinced the whole plumbing system was backing up on itself  rushed out only to find it was the erstwhile human sound machine doing the beatbox version of vocal exercises and practising his scales. His is definitely another show to catch and on in the Udderbelly every evening at 6.45.

After this it was over to the Assembly to be plied with yet more alcohol- I have since forgotten exactly what but it was free- and yet another showcase before having to make a mad dash down to the Assembly Rooms and the grand unveiling of the vastly refurbished venue and their Prosecco fuelled party.

The venue is indeed amazing and where previously it was dark, dingy and in need of repair-the inevitable smell of wet tourists and festival goers only contributed to its rundown lack of appeal- there is now light, brightness and the shiny and new. The prosecco cocktail spritzers were delicious and the additional orange liqueur coloured them a  vibrant shade of tangerine which nearly rivalled the fake tans of the serving staff as well as the new paint job for brightness.

By this point I had had enough and could not be bothered hanging around for another showcase  as I have at least three of these events to go to today. Later on tonight, as mentioned previously, I have a  a show to attend  and, of course, in the likelihood any alcohol  passes my lips- it certainly won’t for the duration of the festival after today- it will be in moderation guaranteeing my review will be written from a totally sober and impartial point of view. Out again into the breech then!


Edinburgh International Fashion Festival


During the month of August when the International Festival/ Fringe/ Book Festivals are in full swing one thing which seems to get constantly overlooked –not least by a high proportion of attendees- is fashion. An art form in its own right and one which actively affects our daily lives in some form or other this is not only a glaring omission but also a grave oversight. This year however the arrival of the new Summerhall complex on the South side- a mere sashay along from the central hub of the world’s largest arts festival- this is about to be rectified as it is hosting the first Edinburgh International Fashion Festival between the 16th and 19th of August.

The four day event will hold talks, showcase displays and feature live catwalk experiences not only at the central base of Summerhall but also separate events at the National Museum of Scotland, Harvey Nichols The Danish Institute and the Institut Francais Ecosse. Long overdue on the Festival scene the idea of fashion as more than simply a way to clothe ourselves is not new to those within the industry and certainly has never existed in a vacuum anyway. This festival hopes to enlighten those previously in the dark how much science, design, art and architecture all conspire in the creation of the garments we use to adorn, decorate and protect ourselves with.

High profile fashion insiders and innovators including Jeurgen Teller, Stella McCartney, Pam Hogg, Hussein Chalayan, Amanda Harlech alongside many others are included in the line up and there are still others waiting to be confirmed so it is no thrown together ragbag of remnant garments but an event cut from the finest cloth. An essential section of the arts, it is good that at last fashion is about to be recognised as an important part of our daily lives and dictates not only how we look  but also affects how we feel, act and think on a daily basis.

A totally worthwhile event surely worthy of investigation during this vibrantly buzzing time of year when Scotland’s capital city is at its most exciting, this Festival is a more than worthy addition to the collective display of talent on hand. Let’s hope that the rain stays off long enough for attendees to wear something more than an outfit designed simply to keep dry/warm although being Edinburgh in August it may be wise to never venture out without an umbrella tucked away inside the prerequisite designer bag.

The Edinburgh International Fashion Festival is based at Summerhall between 16th -19th August.

Full details about individual events and further information can be found by clicking the following link