Miles’s better Edinburgh

Life as a Fringe audience can be somewhat stressful but if you go easy on the meat pies and get yourself barred from the Fringe Club for life, says Miles Kington, you’re well on the way to surviving another year. Here are his top twenty survival tips.

1. Avoid any show is about to embark on a nationwide tour.

2. Go as often as you can to the Fringe Club.

3. Try to avoid any show that was a hit in previous years.

4. Don’t miss the Glenlivet fireworks. 5. if you have brought any boules to the Festival. the top of Calton Hill is a good place to play.

6. Never go to the Fringe Club.

7. One of the most fascinating shops in Edinburgh (if it‘s still going strong) is at the bottom ofthe Royal Mile. it’s called Somervilles and is the only shop in the world which sells nothing but playing cards. (i once asked the proprietor if he stocked any obscene

Miles Kington finds ‘Britain’s strangest magazine' a good alternative to the Fringe programme playing cards. and he said he had some Dutch ones which, when held up to the light. revealed some unusual pictures. but i would have to take his word for it and buy them sealed. i didn’t and so cannot vouch for them . . .). 8. Go easy on meat pies. (ie cut them out altogether. And if you find yourself eating from chip shops, remember that the Scots have the worst diet and worst health in the civilised world.) 9. Hire a bike from Sandy Gilchrist’s Bicycles, London Road. 10. Go only once to the Fringe Club. 11. Avoid any useless speculation on the Pem'er Award. 12. Don‘t be afraid to go to at least one bad show.

13. ifthere is a circus on the Meadows.


go. Borrow a child if necessary.

14. Go into areas you are not tempted by. i once on impulse went to a concert by the Edinburgh Silver Band in Greyfriars Kirk. playing music by Elgar and Holst. it was out of this world. I was one of only fifteen or twenty in the audience.

15. Another unlikely area: the Acoustic Music Centre in Chambers Street. where you hear some great stuff. I first heard harpist Savourna Stevenson here and i once also heard the jazz bagpiper Hamish Moore and saxophonist Dick Lee do unimaginany wonderful things together. (Hey i see they are there again in 1994, on September 2 at 7.30pm!) 16. Try to get yourself banned for life from the Fringe Club.

17. lfyou really want to get away from the Festival and Fringe types fora while. go to a Hearts or Hibs football match. i once went to a Hearts v Hibs match. It was very exciting. especially the bit where six Hibs supporters relieved me of all my cigarettes.

18. Or go for a swim in the Commonwealth Pool impossible to tell whether people are Festival. Fringe or normal when in bathing suits.

19. When trying to read what it says about a show in the Fringe programme, have a small magnifying glass about your person.

20. Remember when you finally decipher it. that all descriptions of Fringe shows are written by the performers themselves.

Miles K ington (‘an be seen in Bizarre (Fringe) Antidote Theatre. See hitlist

for details.

Backgreen Belter

Who can torget it? It’s like one of those trigger words that they implant in your mind during brainwashing programmes. See if you can read It without immediately wiggling your shoulders, racing up the vocal pitch and singing along. “iii-Ills, your love is lifting me . . . higher and higher.’ Writer/director John Binnie sure knows how to hit a softspot on the collective unconscious. His latest play (the ninth one to premiere at the Fringe) is titled Backgreen Belter, the belter being a young girl and the belted being that very song which is now pulsating through your bones as it once pulsated through the land. To Binnie the song is more than lust a strong beat and crap lyrics: it’s about sex, personal fulfilment and sell destiny. And so, not surprisingly, is his play. The adolescent girl is enjoying what is to be her final summer of innocence -1985 - in the company of

her dress designer/make-up artist friend and a young German boy who is spending the summer in Scotland. These areas at childhood, sexuality and friendship have been firmly mapped out by Binnie as his own dramatic turf, but with each new play he commits himseli to pushing those boundaries out a little more. ‘I think i’m growing up,’ explains Binnie, ‘i’ve definitely been branching out: Accustomed To iler Face was an all- women play, which was compleme unknown territory for me. likewise in this play there’s a wonderful, tender, sexy love affair between a man and a

kgreen woman, which is quite a new avenue for me.’

So with the growth of his company Clyde Unity into the Euro exchange market, what does Binnie think his themes will be in the next decade? ‘I hope l’m writing happy gay comedies with lots oi music and tap dancing and prize bingo throughout.’ And i wonder if the audience will have got that tune out of their beads by then? (Stephen Chester)

Backgreen Belter (Fringe) Clyde Unity Theatre, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 226 5425, 15 Aug—3 Sept, 5.30pm, £5.50 (£3.50).


Ellie Carr seeks out some serious culture between three and six in the afternoon.

I Tartufte Poet/comedienne/ playwright extrordinaire Liz Lochhead’s work appears in several Fringe guises this year. Look out for her now classic Scots translation of Moliere's Tartuffe. Hardly a premiere. but a stormer nonetheless.

Tartujfe (Fringe) Li: Loehead. Gilded Balloon Theatre (Venue 38) 226 2151. 12 Aug—3 Sept. 5pm. £7.50 (£5).

I Bizarre ‘Time travel again possible.‘ ‘Bleeding nun captures Jesus on film.‘ These and many other headlines worthy of a Sunday Sport journalist on acrd get a new lease of life in Miles Kington and Simon Gilman’s ‘witty. satirical revue' of Britain's strangest magazine The Fortean Times.

Bizarre (Fringe) Pleasant‘e (Venue 33) 556 6550. [0—29 Aug. 4.45pm. £6 (£5)/ £6.50 (£5.50).

I Kittens go (irrrrr! Laugh in the afternoon with those kittens of comedy Mel and Sue. Merciless attacks on Purley PE teachers. Dutch MTV presenters and Emma Thompson (Meeow!) have earned them the perverse but impressive mantle of ‘the thinking woman's Dick Emery.‘ Catch them while you can.

Kitten go Grrrrr.’ (Fringe) Melanie and Susan, Pleasant'e (Venue 33) 556 6550. 10 Aug—3 Sept. 3.30pm. £6 (£5)/£7 (£6). I The Odd Couple Gerard Kelly (of City Lights fame) is a neurotic hypochondriac and Craig Ferguson (he of The Ferguson Theory) is an anarchic slob. Watch the two top Scottish comedians drive each other up the walls of a Glasgow fiat in this updated version of Neil Simon’s comedy classic The Odd Couple.

The Odd Couple (Fringe) Borderline Theatre Company. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 15—27 Aug, 3pm. £8 (£6.50)/£9 (£7.50).

I Festival in Focus A chance to hang on the every word of your favourite Festival performers. have it out with the big name directors and mingle with the media. Edward Vilieia, Tim Albery. Mark Morris and Jean Pierre-Perrault are just a few of the stars appearing in this series of special Festival debates chaired by Sheena Mcdonald.

Festival in Focus (Festival) at Edinburgh Festival Theatre. 225 5756. I4. 2]. 28 Aug. 3pm/5pm. £5.

The List i2—i8 August 1994 33