_ Fare game

Festival FM has hired London cabbie Ian Moodie to ferry its special guests round Edinburgh. Eddie Gibb flagged him down and tried to get a word in edgeways.

‘So where we going first of all? Down the Bridges? Right you are. Anyway that Dot Cotton, June Brown in real life; a bit posh actually you wouldn‘t think so, would you, from the part she plays. 1 ’ad to tell her to stub her cigarette out ‘cos she does chain smoke in real life and this is a No Smoking cab. But she was alright about it. She‘s a bit of an old luvvie, really.

‘I don‘t know if you realise she‘s actually leaving Eastenders and she’s been offered thousands of pounds by the News of the World to dish the dirt and she won‘t do it but she very nearly started spilling the beans to me. She was a bit surprised to find a London cabbie driving her about and I had a little word about the cab trade in Bartenders. They use mini-cabs a lot and licensed taxi drivers don’t like mini-cab drivers ’cos they haven‘t done The Knowledge, so I took ‘er to task about that. But anyway she‘s saving her story for the highest bidder and a £3.60 cab fare wasn‘t enough.

‘l had George Melly in the back of the cab. Down Chambers Street, is it? Right-o. So i was sitting ‘ere and he was sitting behind me and we stopped at traffic lights and some bloke knocked on the window wanting ‘is autograph. ls he as loud as his suits?

Well he‘s deaf. actually so you ‘ave to shout or he can‘t hear you.

‘That Emo Philips was a bit of a funny one this moming . . . l was interested to see if he‘s like that in real life and he‘s mad. I was going to ask ‘irn what planet he was from but he said he had

laryngitis. So then this woman came over, this normal looking woman who he introduced as his girlfriend and he said, ‘Do you mind taking her back to the escort agency!’ But he was actually a bit difficult to handle.

‘l‘ve been picking that Jenny Eclair up at eight in the morning ‘cos she‘s doing this radio show and it‘s not the best time for ‘er or me. The first day she was violently hung over and was hiding behind these little dark glasses.

‘Who else ‘ave I had in my cab this week? I tell you what, people keep trying tojump in ‘cos they think I‘m really for hire and it‘s quite difficult dealing with that sometimes ‘cos you pull up at a set of lights and before you know it there‘s someone in the back. I did pick up a woman the other day who got in and started chatting and I didn‘t ‘ave anything to do so l took her over to George Street ‘cos she had a knitwear exhibition down there. Oh you know her, do you? How funny, it‘s a small world.

‘A lot of the other cab drivers in Edinburgh, they‘re as sweet as nuts. They‘ve all got pictures of their families and tartan blankets on their back seats and stuff like that. You don’t get much of that in London. And I tell you what, i ‘aven’t yet heard anyone tooting their horn in Edinburgh. You do take a few liberties in a cab, but they‘re calculated liberties l‘ve done a few U-turns but no one honks their horn, they just maybe raise a few eyebrows. it‘s all very demure in Edinburgh.

‘This you, is it mate? Right then, mind how you go. Oh, thanks very much. Cheers.‘

FEST CyEST Chisholm

iii, diddle-de-dee, an actor’s life for me! tip at 8.30am for a quick breakfast of coffee and Marlboro, then off to a disused, deserted public school on the outskirts of town where I indulge in the weird, sado- masochistic behaviour that we thesps refer to as rehearsing. As l’nt currently working on a one-urea play this consists of three hours of alternately screwing at, then suliring with, the vicious bastard known as the director. Then it’seffteiunchatalocal hosbeirywherewearetheonlyBritish people present out of a seething reuse of hungry T-shirts (advertising Fringe shows in every language haginable) all prepared to pay three tinres as rnuch for lunch as it would have cost last week. Cone two o’clock, it’s back to the classroonr for rnore discipline but,withgoodbehaviour, Irnayiust avoid detention andgetoutbyfive. Since by this tirne I’nr still not feeling tired, I figue en a quick drive across

town for an early evening designer lager with some lovey churns. FORGET IT! An hour and twenty minutes later l’rn still at a standstill in the nose-to- tall traffic, footing and honking round Princes Street looking to all intents and purposes like a bustling city centre scene from Paris or Athens or even itonre (yes, more of that international flavour for which the Edinburgh Festival is fanousi).

7 ~ an» -,

Everyone in these traffic (ares is so pissed off and unfriendly, with the exception of the taxi drivers who sit grinning lnanely, singing popular selections of Scottish folk songs as they watch their meters whining round. At last I reach my destination, The World’s End on the iioyal Mile (five pounds for the advert please, Davie) only to find that the rest of the traffic )anr must have been heading

there as well and I now have as nruch chance of getting a quiet pint as your average Japanese tourist has of keeping his burn dry at the Tattoo.

Still, by now it is 1.30pm and tirne for rne to go back to the iietherbow Theatre and get into costurne for the other extravaganza l’ru involved in, purely on a profit-share basis, as none of this international fun-money lining the pockets of our shopkeepers, hoteliers and pubilcans, seents to find its way to supporting the Scottish or even Edinburgh-based theatre co- operatives who still rnanage to turn out quality work which Scotland can be proud of, even in this shan constellation of international talent - wrro CARES?

After playing the straw to the usual sixteen danrp spectators, including the writer and his fully, seven friends of the cast and four others who have cornetothewrongshowand can’t be bothered leaving since they’re here now, it is eleven o’clock and flute to start relaxing for the day with a few quiet drinks, before getting an early night aroud 3’, ready and refreshed enough to indulge in the sanre routine the next day and the next dayforawhoiethreeweeksof Festival madness. I live for it.

.lirnnry Chisholm appears in The Adnrirai Jones (Fringe) Ietherbow Arts Centre (Venue SC) 556 9579, until 4 Sept (not Sun), 5.30pI, £6 (£4)


an The fluid Fella (Fringe) Ietherbow Arts Centre (Venue 30) 556 $79, until 4

Sept (not Sun), 8.30pw, £6.50 (£4.50).

I The List 27 August—9 September I993