BLUE MOON CAFE
‘Edinburgh‘s cheapest and friendliest cafe' is the boast in the Fringe programme about the Blue Moon in Broughton Street. ‘Oh (iod. it wasn't me who wrote that'. says owner Alan Nicholls. 'Still. a cappuccino is only 55p. so I think it‘s fairly cheap.‘
Known. under previous management. as the Stonewall ('afe. the Blue Moon is part ofthe Lesbian and Gay Centre. ‘Because of that'. says Nicholls. ‘we do tend to double up as an information centre for visitors to Edinburgh. But we don‘t deal exclusively with that crowd — at lunchtime. for instance. most of the customers are straight.‘
Last year. the Blue Moon put on one-man shows at lunchtime. which Nicholls accepts was a bit chaotic: this time. the earliest show is at 2. 15pm. although people are still welcome just to drop into
the cafe. have a drink. and. if they wish. politely ignore the performers. The shows are free. although there is a ‘suggested donation'. Does this mean we will be confronted at the door by a troupe ofexperienced Hare Krishna street sellers — you know. ‘I lave a free record‘. ‘Free'.". ‘Yes. that will be £5 please"? ‘No. not at all.
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The plays will be staged in the main cafe area: the performers will introduce themselves. then simply pass the hat round afterwards.‘ says Nicholls. ‘I do think we are one of the friendliest. most informal venues. It's also very important that we are a free space for women. where they can come on theirown without being hassled.‘ (SB)
‘We ask the staff and the theatre groups not to fight in public.‘ says Noreen Farrell. organiser and arbitrator for the thirty-one companies which constitute this year‘s Diverse Attractions at Riddles(‘ourt.
In the week before the Fringe. the little courtyard and the warren of rooms linked by twisting stairways were empty; save for the institutional scent which. along with plastic chairs. grows up overnight in council-owned properties.
Stepping out ofa taxi on the top of('a|ton llill. Eduardo Lipschutz- Villa. a mouthful of a man. shakes me by the hand and exclaims. ‘I can‘t believe it. That taxi-driver. he has lived in Edinburgh 28 years and this is the first time he‘s been up here.‘ Eduardo. on the other hand. has spent a lot of his time on the site of Edinburgh's Folly: ‘I feel really relaxed here. When l first saw it in winter. it was so green I fell in love.‘ Showering the object of his affection with tributes. Lipschutz- Villa has arranged for the work ofeight Dutch sculptors to be scattered across the once—green. now lightly-toasted sward. Statuesque on the skyline. he waves towards an outcrop of polychrome sculpture: ‘You see against Arthur's Seat. it is like a gallery wall.‘ We watch a young girl curling into the metal curves of another piece: "l‘his. for me. is becoming
fruitful.‘ he muses.
(‘hance threw (‘alton Hill and Lipsehutz-Villa together: ‘I just found some steps and followed them up.‘ but they have. it seems. a good relationship. (‘asting a benevolent eye over a detachment ofbcer- crates. an Amsterdam ~ urinal. and casual groupings oftourists. he smiles: "I‘his is not serious. like in a gallery. It is a surprise. This is friendly art.‘ (JM)
Transformed into a venue open main-midnight. with ten shows a day. exhibitions. workshops. cafe and buskers. it is. says Farrell. ‘a fantastic venue but a nightmare to run.‘
In only its second y car on the Fringe. Riddles ('ourt hosts 126 performances and has twenty companies waiting in the wings for a gap in the programme. lts popularity is due to its policy ofcharging no rent to groups from l.othian (instead they are asked for 30‘? oftheir box-office takings): to its prime position offthe Lawnmarkct; and to its low ticket prices ( top price £2.50 £1 .25). The only restriction placed on the companies. says Farrell. is that ofspacc: ‘we'vc told everyone they can't have an exact scale model of the Empire State on stage.‘ (JM)
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_ AIR FRANCE
There are two reasons
why the French Institute hay e chosen l-Cdinburgh Airport as an exhibition venue this year. One is that it was the only place available at short notice. and the other thatSally Schofield of the lnstitute. had to wait two and a half hours for a plane with nothing more entertaining to look at than the luggage carousel.
During the Festival. delayed passenge rs and wishful thinkers will be able to imagine themselves in Paris courtesyol an exhibition ()l photographs commemorating the binldingol the liilfel 'l'owcr. I he airport think it‘s great. says Schoticld.
Who knows. the idea may take nil. l.l.\l)
The List ll 17August Mb") 11