Armchair Festival

Alastair Mabbott watches the box and listens in to the radio waves for special Festival coverage.

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Can’t face the crowds and the awful decisions of the cultural jungle? 1 know how you feel. And the broadcast media understand as well, so with the help of a plethora of programmes you could (should you wish) follow the Edinburgh Festival from the comfort of your own armchair.

NB (Scottish, Thurs 10.35—11.05pm) returns for a new series, moving its base of operations to Edinburgh for the duration of the Festival, where the usual crew of Bryan Burnett, Alan Campbell and Janice Forsyth will be checking out what’s on offer in the International, Fringe, Film, TV and whatever other Festivals they can unearth. So pOpular has the series proved that plans are afoot to run it throughout next year.

The List’s very own film editor Trevor Johnston will be working his way through the movies on offer at the Film Festival and interviewing their makers no doubt unleashing his own ‘bizarre sort of hybrid of Swedish, Esperanto and (occasionally) English’, as one outraged reader had it - in Festival Cinema (Scottish, Tue 15 & 22, 10.35—11.05pm). Incidentally, Trev’s own pick of the season, when he came gasping back from Cannes with possibly the worst set of holiday snaps in history, was Santa Sangra, though legal problems might prevent it coming to Edinburgh this year.

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Still, he’s got plenty of boffo films to praise and bury.

Over on BBC Scotland, we have Tracey MacLeod, on holiday from The Late Show, hosting Edinburgh Nights (BBC2, Mon, Thurs & Fri 11.15—11.55pm, extended edition on Fri 25). The Monday and Thursday slots are forty-minute magazine-style views of the Festival, but the Friday editions take the step of presenting a complete work. On Fri 18 there will be a performance by insanely reckless Mad Max refugees and List cover stars Archaos, followed on Fri 25 by a full-length screening of this year’s Communicado offering, The House With the Green Shutters, already looking like it will be one of the most popular shows on this year‘s Fringe.

On the same BBC2 slot on Monday 28 there’s to be a special programme

looking back at the 3-day TV Festival, finishing that day, which is where I’ll be, for better or worse.

The main Radio Forth coverage will be Bob Currie’s Forth Festival (Radio Forth, Weds 16, 23, 30, 6—6.55pm) , but plenty of items will be spread throughout the day, with morning and afternoon presenters reading out reviews compiled by the station’s 30-strong team of reviewers, and giving ticket rundowns. There will also be a ‘fair number’ of interviews, though not every day.

Back with the Beeb, Radio Scotland promises more than 30 hours of broadcasting from the Festival this year, starting at breakfast time, when Neville Garden, assisted by another team of reviewers, presents the tenth series of Festival View (Radio Scotland, weekdays, 8.40—9am).

And then from 9—10.30am, though only for the first fortnight, Head On (Radio Scotland, weekdays, 9—10.30am), will be presented from Edinburgh by Colin Bell, who will be taking time out to examine some of the controversies arising from the Festival and the arts world in general.

And let’s not forget Tuesday Review (Radio Scotland, Tue 15, 22 & 29, 7.30—8.30pm), a lively arts programme in the first place, and therefore bound to have its hands groanineg full.

Live music will be spirited across the airwaves on Travelling Folk (Radio Scotland, Mons 14, 21, 28, 8—9.25pm), which will be broadcast from the Fringe Club in Teviot Row. Bite the Wax (Radio Scotland, Thurs 17 & 24, 9—10.30pm) will be based

there as well, with two shows of comedy and music from such celebs as Emo Philips, John Sparkes, Jeremy Hardy, Kit Hollerbach, The Real Sounds, That Swing Thang and Tom Robinson. Frank Chickens will be in attendance on Thurs l7, reprising Kazuko‘s hit karaoke series with songs from Fringe Administrator Mhairi Mackenzie-Robinson and film director Clive Barker. An invitation to exercise his vocal cords has also been issued to Festival Director Frank Dunlop, but he hasn’t yet confirmed. Free tickets for both Travelling Folk and Bite the Wax will be available from the Fringe Office.

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Channel 4’s excellent Right To Reply programme, which has been soliciting responses from the general public for some years with its Video Boxes, is now looking for an ‘articulate viewer’ to appear on the first programme of its new series to discuss the Edinburgh Television Festival.

The viewer will be asked to attend the Festival (25—28 August), where a Right To Reply camera crew will be in attendance, and listen to at least some of the sessions. No written report is required, but he or she will be expected to take part in a studio discussion in London on 1 September on some of the points raised there.

Anyone interested should call Right To Reply by the end of 15 August, either on 01 927 8784, or outside office hours on 01 631 4444 (ask for Right To Reply).


Thundetball, Lyceum Studio, Grindlay Street (Venue 7). 11 Aug-2 Sept (Every night except Sun), doors open midnight, £3 (£2.50). Thunderbail, Edinburgh's most elusive and popular nightclub has leapt out of its normal furtive underground burrow and is set to transform Festival nightlife. The itinerant club which has packed them in at venues as disparite as Stirling Castle and the Fruitmarket Gallery has settled in a permanent home at the Lyceum Studies for the entire three weeks of the Festival. Fred, the DJ, who seems to have wildly creative ideas as easily as most of us get out of bed in the morning, insists ‘The whole point is to get everyone to join in and enjoy themselves to forget they're a punk, a trendy or an old codger.’ To this end he has concocted bizarre and quirky cocktails oi entertainment that have previously included Scalectrix races, bouncy castles, Blind Date Shows, Gary Glitter lookalikes, Father Christmas.

The running theme for the Festival



nights will be the deconstruction of the TV media ‘Deconstructlon’s one of me favorite things' claimed Fred I

productions, which will form the main course of his Festival least. ‘lt let’s us do whatever we want really. There’ll be the liitwoman and Him’ (a sort of feminist version of the brilliantly awful ITV show) ‘we'll have treasure hunt with an Anneka Rice lookalike shouting at passers by fHave ye got a clue' and our roving reporters will be out on the streets covering the Festival. There’ll even be a chance to see relive the night before when a recording, made of the whole evening, is shown as your hangover sets in, next day at the

Isn't a club that thrives on its originality and underexposute worried about the possibility of becoming old hat by the time the Festival is over? ‘tiah this is a one off for us we'll be going back underground afterwards, Fred and his-partners in good times' once in a lifetime offer is one that shouldn't be refused. (Ross Parsons)

9 must for any

of the Festival,


a Madisons, Greenside

2 Place, 557 3807. From 12

Aug-2 Sept, llpm—4am.

' £3.75 (£3). Large crowds jammed with Fringe performers fill both floors of Madisons for the Latin,

| Jazz and Hip Hop played

I by a variety of fairly well

i known London DJs. A

self-respecting Clubber. I hiainly Motown at the , Mission, Victoria Street, 225 6569. Every Tuesday

llpm—3am. £2. Specially for the Festival the popular Soul Funk Disco club returns to pay homage to the famous Detroit record label.

I This Way Up at the Pelican, 209 Cowgatc. 225 5413. Every Thursday. lOpm—3am. £2.50. Unusual venue with contemporary dance

IThunderball at the Lyceum Studios, Grindla)

5 ,2299697. E n Deacon(Struction). Such an ambitious FEST'VAL nigh,” sun)‘ “y theme for a nightclub will, he hopes, be NIGHTCLUBS midnight—3.30am. £3 realised by the in-house TV I cum Sandino at (£2.50). Possibly the

. world‘s most creative club. See panel.

I III: Toc Club at Marco‘s Leisure Centre. 51 Grove Street, 229 7898. 12 Aug—2 Sept (not 20 Aug). 1 1pm—1am. Well known cabaret acts appear alongside less well known comics and singers. see daily diary for details.

I Women Only Disco at Top Os, Grindlay Street. 229 6697, 19 Aug. 9pm-2am. £2.50 (£1 .50). Dancing without the lcering. well without any male leering anyway.

The List I l 17 August 1989 67