there. Forty-five people filed past the door and looked in. The students couldn‘t get out and shut the door because they had no clothes on.‘
With Quantock in town. nothing is safe and nothing is sacred. He tried to buy a guide‘s security pass to Edinburgh Castle. What was surprising was the willingness of the young man to sell it. ‘Five hundred pounds‘ he said bluntly. Furthur on. three Chinese tourists gave Quantock 70p for doing a shambolic sword-dance over his prone chook-stick. A busker played the musical accompaniment. He got the 70p. The pedestrians in Princes Street sensed something was afoot. As Quantock shouted ‘COME ALONG NOW EVERYBODY. KEEP'I‘IIE CHOOK IN SIGHT AT ALL 'I‘IMES‘ through the loud-hailer. the crowds started sprinting in the opposite direction.
‘Reactions vary.‘ said our bizarre Australian. ‘but the most common one is confusion. People think there must be a purpose to my visits. Of course there isn‘t one. But it didn‘t seem to faze the woman at the Finnish Consulate at all. She must get a lot ofweird people wanting to go to Finland.‘
There is one thing that Quantock will not do (‘No entry‘ and ‘Staff only" are irresistable come-ons). and that is interrupt a theatrical performance. ‘Occasionally. we‘ll wait till the interval or till the show‘s ovcr. I‘ve led people on stage to take someone else‘s encore. With their noses on. they take a bow for something they haven‘t done.‘
Three dimensional chastity belt
Inside the Scottish Traffic Area Office. the unabashed Quantock dished out noses to all. marching through doors that said ‘Private’ and wielding the loud-hailer: ‘IS THERE ANYBODY HERE? KEEPTHE (‘HOOK IN SIGHT. EVERYBODY.‘ Here one ofthe staff recognised him from an appearance on a Channel Four programme and all seemed forgiven. But we and the chook were shoo-ed out. Back on the street, he told a bus queue that the buses were on strike. Suddenly. a woman grabbed his arm. ‘Are you in the Tattoo‘?‘ ‘Yes‘ said Quantock. ‘I‘m the Australian Military Band.‘
From his ignominious beginnings in university revues. Rod Quantock has crossed a lot of thresholds. ‘I failed my architectural exams three times. It took me five years to get to the end of the third year and I had another three years to go. I figured. on the basis of simple mathematics. that I wasn‘t ever going to finish. so I dropped out and started doing comedy shows. performing with three other people in theatre restaurants. The bus idea came from a waitress who‘d just been to Europe. Initially we planned to do a month of visits to a Christmas shop window in Melbourne. but people went crazy about it. When (‘hristmas was over I had to think of other places to go. Now I do the odd bit ofTV. some writing. advertising and the occasional bus-trip. It‘s just one of those rags to rags stories.‘
Comfortingly. Quantock does preserve some moral guide-lines for his gate-crashings. ‘I don't really like to cause people agony unless they give me cause to cause them agony. But if anyone has ideas about where to go and who to visit. I‘d love to hear from them. And if there‘s anybody you really hate in Edinburgh. anyone pretentious — I can ﬂy out of here with no repercussions. I‘ve already been trying a few door-handles in Edinburgh and I‘ve got some ideas. The first place I‘m going to go is. . .‘ But that would be telling. So if you hear a knock on the door one dark August evening. don‘t open it. bolt it. Unless. ofcourse. you‘ve got nothing to hide. Rod Quantock '3 Bus will be operating 12 Aug-3 Sep (not Sats 0r Suns). departing from the Assembly Rooms (venue 3) 226 242 7/8 at 7pm. with matinees at 2pm on 17. 24, 31 A ug. £4.50 (£3.50)./Fr]
‘I knew Congress had passed the Bill but has Reagan signed it? He has! Well that's fantastic.’ By chance, The List was on hand to break the newsto veteran Star Trek actor. George Takei. thatthe American Government had finally acknowledged a stain on the country‘s Civil Rights record and awarded retrospective compensation to the Japanese Americans interned during the Second World War.
‘I testified about the issue at a Congressional Hearing and Congress had passed the bill. but Reagan was threatening a Presidential veto on the grounds of cost.‘ Takei. known betterto millions around the world as the Starship Enterprise‘s Helmsman. Sulu. told me. Los Angeles-bom Takei is in Edinburgh to workwith the American Festival Theatre company in a British premiere of Shimon
Wincelberg's ‘Undertow'. In it. Takei playsa Japanese soldierstranded on an island with an American GI during the war; ‘lt'sfhe story ofthe interdependence of people despite the fact that they might be political adversaries. But. on another level it's about those parts of our cultures that keep us lromtruly understanding each other. In microcosm it can. lthink. also be seen as a commentary on the international situation between the superpowers today!
It's ironic thatTakei now finds himself playing a Japanese soldier. Takei and his familywere themselves internees and victims ola policythat made prisoners in theirown land of patriotic Americans. ‘I was too young to realy understand understand that experience— but I was physicallythere andl rememberthat barbed wire
fence. the high guard towers and the machine guns pointed at me. But growing up with itwas probably no different to growing up in the suburbs with wicket fences and telephone posts.‘ The real influence of these events on Takei‘s life came later. ‘lt was afterthe years inthe camp that my parents explained what itwas andl beganto understand.‘ Takei‘s father. critical ofthe pre-war leadership ofthe Japanese community forits failures in integrating into the American political system. encouraged his sonsto become active in politics. Both Takei and his brother were ‘student body
I presidents‘ and
subsequently Takei has
1 been an active supporter of
the Democrats (although
I histheatre andlilm
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commitments—StarTrekV beginslilming in October— have prevented himlrom campaigningforDukakis: ‘though I have put my name toa cheque‘).
Reparation lorthe inhumanitiesinllicted on the AmericanJapanese has lorTakei. a symbolic significance: 'What are we all aboutas a nation ifwe are incapable of recognisingthatwe have made a mistake. The 820.000 compensation is a small price to pay. butfhere has to be some pain for usto recognise that it was a mistake. lfwe paythe money now despite our budget difficulties. we're saying somthing about what we are as a nation.’
Playing aJapanese soldierfiercely loyal tothe Empire. is completely alien to Takei. who is taking the role very seriously. researchingthe philosophy and eventhe dialect ofthe
The List I] — lb’j‘xtigust 1988 3‘
man he plays. ‘It's hard work. its very exhausting work but ultimately its very fulfilling work. ‘Aye. Aye captain. Warp Factor3 doesn't quite do it.‘ Undertow will be performed by American Festival Theatre at the Netherbow Theatre (Venue SO).15 Aug—3 Sept (not Suns). at 2.30pm.
I CANCELLATIONS: TRAVERSE THEATRE: Owing to serious illness Open Space. Obsala from Yugoslavia. who were a hit lastyearwith Tattoo Theatre. have suddenly had to cancel this year's premiere atthe Traverse. ASSEMBLY ROOMS: Foco Novo‘s Savannah Bay has canceHed.
OTHERS: Access Theatre's Laundry and Bourbon & Lone Star has cancelled. Les Escogriffe‘s Le Malenfendu has cancelled. Everyman (His Own Wife) in Joys Satisfied has cancelled. Kazzum's The Importance of Oscar has cancelled. Meetthe Author has cancelled. Parkerand Klein at the Pleasance have cancelled. United Artists (ScotlandI‘s Howling To The Moon has cancelled.
I CANCELLATIONS OTHERS: Hell BentTheatre Company have cancelled.
Link Theatre Australia have
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At the time of going to press the Edge have not gottheir late licence. Theircabaret will therefore start at 8.30pm. not 10pm. Contact venue to confirm. 557 6010.
ONE QUIET SUMMER’S DAY IN THE CITY. . .