_ l A COUP IN THE DAY OF MIKHAIL GORBACHEV
Mikhail Gorbachev. Soviet politician of uncertain status. shares with us some holiday memories.
First thing in the morning. I like to sit out on the verandah looking towards the haze coming off the Sebastopol
, nuclear processing plant. munching
the potato and beetroot blinis spread
with Kirghizstan reconstituted animal fat. and browsing through my English paper. the Daily Star. I used to get the .llurning Star. but Boris changed my order. saying it was much the same anyway. but had ‘Starbirds' and bingo as well. After reading the fashion tips. I always turn to the Star stars.
‘l ley. Raisa. look at thisfl shouted. “(‘hanges at work are likely.” Raisa‘.’ Raisa'." [Everything
f went quiet for a while. until Raisa came onto the verandah with a
couple of hoods in suits and shades. ‘The shit‘s hit the fan. Mikki. honey. she said (some of the language she picked up from Nancy R. is atrocious). "l'hat asshole Yanayev says he‘s boss. and you and me are under arrest. These are l.exei and Dave from the K(}B.’
‘Mornin‘ chief.‘ says Dave. ‘is that the Daily Star‘.’ Look at that. Lex. Strewth. you don‘t get many ofthem to the pound. phooar.‘ Apparently. the British show EastEnrlers is very
popular in KGB headquarters.
I shall not dwell on the hours of torture that followed. Lexei showed us the saucy. bikini-clad pics of his girl taken on the annual outing to the Black Sea. while Dave told us the one about the Latvian. the Estonian and the party sub-chairman of the agrarian committee. Things came to a head when they cracked open some imported Watney‘s Brown Ale. and tried to get us to sing along to the ('has 'n' Dave video they had brought along. My little Irina broke down in tears when they asked her to do the 'rabbit. rabbit. rabbit. rabbit. rabbit' chorus. I was on the point of breakdown myself. and might have contemplated suicide ifl hadn‘t lent Pugo my service revolver the week before.
Then the phone rang. It was Boris. ‘()K. beetroot head.‘ he said. ‘l’ve sorted the monkeys out. (iet your ass on the next plane back and pay me tribute.' My. were we relieved! “What do you want. Boris. Anything. anything. . . ‘ ‘Well. now you mention it.‘ he said. ‘your Dynamo Moscow VIP season ticket. maybe that Porsche you’ve got hidden in the dacha. Raisa’s Platinum American Express (‘ard . . .oh. and that litre of rum ‘n' raisin llaagen Daazs you've got stashed in the Moscow Party headquarters' freezer. That'll do for starters. . .'
I took one last look at the glorious chimneys of the Sebastopol (‘ommunal Lard recycling works. and sighed. I didn't need the Daily Star astrologer to tell me that the months ahead were going to be tough.
I TUC Lobby: The unemployed
Workers‘ Charter, a London-based
i group campaigningtoimprove rights for people out of work, are organising a ,' lobby of the TUC conference at
Glasgow‘s SECC, between 93m and
11am on Monday 2 September. They ; will be calling on trade unionists to end
co-operatlon with Government training
’ schemes, to campaign against
restrictive benefit regulations and
‘light for real jobs with real pay’. The previous night, the UWC are holding a concert and social at Maryhill Arts Centre, Gairbraid Road, from 6pm until late, which promises music, comedy
and theatre from the likes of The Blues Poets, Gary Stevenson and James Kelman. Tickets cost £4 (£1 unwaged). For more information, contact the UWC on 081459 7146 or Maryhill Arts Centre : on 041 945 3995. ‘ I Festival Extra 1 : All of the 1991 PerrierAward nominees—Avnerthe Eccentric, Lily Savage, Jack Dee. Eddie lzzard and winner Frank Skinner —will be performing at three special shows in the Music Hall at the Assembly Rooms at 9pm on Thursday , 29—Saturday 31 August. Tickets, priced £7.50 (£5), are available from the
Assembly box office (220 4349).
I Festival Extra 2: Following last week's sell-out success, Big Top Comedy will return to the Assembly/Wildcat tent on the Meadows on Sunday 1 September, with shows at 7pm and 9pm. Confirmed so far are Arnold Brown, Norman Lovett, Avner the Eccentric, and Lily Savage as compere, with other big names to follow. Five acts will be on each bill, with different material in each show. Tickets, priced £7 (£6) are available from the Assembly Rooms (220 4349) and at the Meadows box office.
I Festivals Meeting: Edinburgh District Council is to call a meeting of all of the city’s festivals- including those outwith the summer period, such as the Science and Folk Festivals- in order to examine ways of improving co-operation between them. Recreation Convener Paulo Vestri is keen to ‘ensure that the success of one programme of events is not undermined by something else planned forthe same time. Edinburgh has put in a bid to become City of Festivals in 1999 as part of the Arts Council of Great Britain's Arts 2000 initiative.
That was the Festival that was
It‘s not over until the fat lady sings. as they say. Well. the Jessye Norman concert isn't till Sunday I September. but what the hell. we can still look back at the things you wish to hell you‘d forgotten about Festival ’91.
I That List Party The stars turned out in force. found they had to queue to see the cabaret. and grumbled morosely to each other. Tracey ‘I-ate i Show‘ Macleod was not amused. 1 Those in the know stayed in the beer tent. making the occasional ill-advised foray onto the stomach-churning waltzers.
I That Film Festival opening gala The Film Festival organised a piss-up in a brewery rather well. The gay female country and western band went down a storm. especially with the assorted branches of Frank (‘larke's family who had assembled to celebrate the premiere of Blmrde Fist.
I Lager Festival fuel for the masses. Stella at the (‘ounting House. Gold Bier at Archaos, or Pilsner Urquell at the Film Festival. it all went down (and occasionally returned) the same way. Next year sees the amber ﬂuid get its own programme and reviews. I Third-rate circus The Fringe according to Frank Dunlop. who tried to calm things down with a press conference. We'll miss him. especially as his successor. Brian McMaster. is believed to he dull enough to make John Major look like Richard Demarco.
I Oh yes, Richard Demarco His last Festival (or is it?) before he heads off for the banks ofthe Danube. llis programme offered the usual blend of the adventurous. the powerful and the terminally pretentious that will take a lot of replacing. The man who launched a million press conferences deserves a rousing send-off.
I Edinburgh Yawns The BB("s posy arts round-up flopped badly. The serious bits were over-reverential. and the ‘funny‘ hits the sad result of people with no sense of humour trying to be witty. A turn-off.
I Eau, what a surprise! List cover star in Perrier Award victory shock. Broad humour from Brummie stand-up Frank Skinner won the Perrier. despite supposedly more suitable competition. ‘Your review swung it my way,‘ he told The List. although he was almost certainly taking the piss.
I Cynthia Payne (‘aptured by Archaos and held hostage for the duration of their show (audiences are hard to come by. but this is ridiculous). Cynthia narrowly escaped being the bore of the Fringe
.1 with her tired old tales ofsuburban shagging.
I Sean Hughes and Owen O'Neill Patrick‘s Day was savaged by both The .S'mtsman and The List. yet won the Scotland On Sunday (.‘ritics‘ Award (how?) The latter contest won the vandalism award for shoving its annoying stickers over everyone‘s posters.
I This one will run and run Mandela Theatre won acres of media coverage for their (admittedly excellent) Inferno when an enraged punter complained about their rather striking poster. Things got out of hand when he threatened to inflict serious physical pain on those responsible. The police were called in.
I The ViC queues No freebies for the press (a dangerous precedent that should not be encouraged) so assorted hacks were seen rubbing shoulders with the readers in the lengthy line for Vic Reeves tickets. Vicmania is obvioust still a healthy phenomenon.
I That coup The Kirov and Bolshoi were in a bit of a state (independent or not) for a couple of days. as the world waited for news from the Soviet Union. By the Wednesday. though. the coup was merely the source ofpoor topical jokes for the stand-ups. and everything was hunky l dory again. Wasn't it'.’ ‘ I That boil Nigel Kennedy decided to have that unsightly neck growth (no, not his head) removed. Unfortunately. it turned out to be ‘monster'. having extended roots deep into the Kennedy torso. The resulting agonising surgery left poor pain—in-the-neck Nige unable to
fulfil his Festival dates. although by way ofconsolation. he was able to recite hits out of his autobiography. I The Book Festival The biennial Book Festival passed off successfully. although William Mclllvanney was accosted in the gents by a lubricated fan who wished to tell him how ‘fucking great’ he
I The TV Festival Shoulder pads and
Armani suits gathered to bitch about John Birt and franchise bids in the Queen Street (iardens marquee. Edinburgh sixth-formers talked the most sense on the opening day in the ‘Youth and TV‘ discussion. French guest Marcel ()phuls stormed out in disgust at his poor hotel room. 'l'emperamental artists. . .
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The List 30 August- I: September WW 5