Friday, 10 August 2012

Festival Florescence

While wandering up the High Street in Edinburgh earlier in the week, I spotted Yoda floating around near these phone boxes. He's taller than he appears in the films and, quite frankly, just not as pretty.

I had arrived back in Edinburgh from work just in time to catch a lump of the Edinburgh festival. The month long festival is the largest arts festival in the world, with more music, drama and comedy than a person could ask for. Just taking a walk up the High Street is a guaranteed method of finding some sort of lunacy and entertainment. It's also a sure way of picking up an enormous handful of fliers for shows - there are over 2695 shows at the fringe this year and they are all eager to have your bottom in one of their seats (often offering cut prices for two bottoms on seats for the price of one).

While passing by  Bristo Square on Saturday, we saw a set of legs sticking up above the crowd, so on Sunday we set off to see what it was all about. We never made it. A sign on the museum on Chamber Street drew us in to see Melvin Moti's Exhibition, One Thousand Points of Light. He has built an exhibition using items from the Museum which are fluorescent under UV light. There's a short film of florescent rocks which is very relaxing, and a few florescent items in cases. There's a wee film about it here.

 A florescent scorpion.

A fossil shrimp.

Two glass jellyfish made by Leopold Blaschka.

A set of perfume bottles made from uranium glass.

The Dovecot Studio's in Edinburgh have been making tapestries since 1912 and during the festival they have a exhibition of their work spanning their existence, called Weaving the Century. They have worked in collaboration with many artists over the years including David Hockney and Elizabeth Blackadder, and how well they have managed to interpret these artists' works in wool is quite spectacular. They didn't allow pictures but I found the following on the net.

 One of our favorites, this large tapestry is by Eduaro Paolozzi (compare this to his window in St Mary's that I mentioned in this blog)

We noticed that Breabach were playing in the Coda folk music shop, so we popped along to see them. 

Two sets of pipes in an enclosed space is mighty loud.

Thank goodness we were at the back. It can't have been as loud as they must have sounded in The Shed here (good grief !). It would be cruel to leave you with just that for Breabach, there's quieter tunes and songs, here's one I particularly like. We were offered a two for one offer for their show so we went along to see them at the Assembly rooms on George Street on Monday night.

On an ordinary Wednesday throughout the year, you can pop into St Giles around lunch time where him and his chums play improvised jazzy tunes suggested by the audience for 45 minutes or so, under the name of Very Wednesday. Since this is the fringe, Very Wednesday is now Monday (as well as other dates). His chum today is Balazs Hermann on the double bass. Here they are in the church nearer the start of the month playing a few suggestions.

 Before I set off for Kirkcudbright on Tuesday, we wandered of to St Mary's Cathedral to view the Song School murals, which will get a blog all of their own later, and caught a pile of free music in the church. At lunchtime we enjoyed The Caprice Clarinet Quartet (which had grown to a quintet) and a small wander and a cup of tea later we were treated to the Hakuoh University Handbell Choir who were over here from Japan, not for the festival but for a bell ringing event down south and were really just on their way to a concert in Linlithgow. They are not primarily studying music at university but that didn't stop them being totally professional and well rehearsed. They were wonderful and utterly charming. For somebody for whom Japanese is not their first language (me), this was not an easy clip to find. Did I say that I enjoyed it.

We eventually identified the legs in Bristo Square. This large, inflatable, purple cow has become one of the festival venues.


Dave McKenzie said...

I think Yoda has managed to mate with Shrek, and this is their child!!

Becky said...

There were a group of private high school students from Santa Cruz, California who attended and performed at your Fringe Festival this year. Santa Cruz also held its first Fringe Festival this past July. What a great idea was invented in Edinburgh.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I too liked the one that you "particularly like".

Shundo said...

I read 'Handbell Choir' as 'handball choir', and thought one of the Olympic events had migrated north..

Leslie D. said...

Once again a great assortment of delectable arts. Thanks!

Ellie said...

I think I may have missed a couple of your posts, I have fallen a wee bit behind in my reading.
You always visit very interesting places. I love the sound of bagpipes but can only imagine how loud it was in an enclosed space.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Much though I love the festivals, I tend to avoid the Royal Mile at this time of year, but may go searching for Yoda...

Sandy's witterings said...

Professor McKenzie, I think you could be right - he was parked outside the Burke and Hare where a sword fencing cat and a talking donkey were causing quite a rumpus.

Becky - I hope the Santa Cruz school has a ball in Edinburgh. It's this lot I think

John - what taste you have

Shundo - It's debatable which is busier at the moment, Edinburgh or London. I'd be very surprised if there wasn't an Olympic themed show somewhere so handball choirs wouldn't surprise me.If you'd come all the way from Japan, it would be really good time management to put a show on in the fringe and compete in the Olympics in the same trip.

Thank you Leslie.

Ellie, bagpipes are definately an outdoor thing, but hang around the folk world for long enough and eventually you'll experience the inside version.

Juliet, I hope your searching for Yoda, good will be.

The Glebe Blog said...

Nicely done Sandy, the Fringe always throws up some great entertainment.
Well done with the Japanese search.

Sandy's witterings said...

I'm off fringing again today Jim. Wonder what I'll see. Yesterday as I was driving into Edinburgh I saw 3 10 foot nuns in stilts. I have enough trouble on driving into things on the bridges anyway but even so I was nearly tempted to dive for the camera (I wonder how the insurance claim would have read)