A SOMEWHAT unusual assortment of items arrived in the post this morning: a pair of black, frilly knickers (new), a pair of yellow-tinted glasses (cardboard) and a £5 note (used). Not exactly the makings of a good night out in Vegas, perhaps, but certainly a recipe for an entertaining afternoon in Portobello, and also a sure sign that Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe is just a few weeks away.
The pants come courtesy of a young Edinburgh-based theatre company called Cathartic Connections. They’re putting on a show called Gob Shop at the Sapphire Rooms, “an intimate promenade performance in a strip club” which they hope will make audiences question their preconceptions about “those people who work in and visit those places.”
I had the pleasure of reviewing Cathartic Connections’ first Fringe production, Pale Moon, back in 2010, and as I said at the time, I though it showed real promise. It’s also worth noting that Pale Moon was set “20YAEF” or “20 years after the Economic Fall”. Back in 2010, a 20-year recession seemed like something out of a sci-fi movie. Funny how it doesn’t seem quite so far-fetched any more.
Anyway, on a brighter note, on to our next mystery item: the yellow specs. These, I should add, arrived in a very splendid Yellow Submarine lettercard. They say “YELEVISION” along the top and I’m wearing them as I type this, squinting slightly and giving myself a mild headache.
The glasses are from Rob Auton, a comedian who’s bringing The Yellow Show to the Banshee Laryrinth on Niddry Street. In his letter – handwritten, incidentally, which automatically makes me like him a little bit more – he says his show’s all about the colour yellow, and that if I like the colour yellow I’ll probably like his show. He also includes a quote from Paddy Considine, which simply says “A very funny man”. Yes, that’s Paddy Considine, star of the uber-bleak revenge thriller Dead Man’s Shoes and director of the even bleaker domestic violence shocker, Tyrannosaur. Did Considine really describe Auton as a very funny man? If so, I’m sure he’s right because I’m a little bit scared of him. And if not, well, in that case Auton a brave man indeed for risking the wrath of a guy who does such a convincing impression of an avenging angel, practically frothing at the mouth with righteous indignation. Either way, Rob wins.
Oh, and the fiver? Well, suffice to say it’s going straight back where it came from. We don’t take bribes from Fringe shows here on The Scotsman arts desk. Entertaining press releases, however, are always welcome.
IN CONTRAST to the annual publicity blitz that accompanies the Fringe, the Pittenweem Arts Festival tends to sneak up unannounced. Usually ignored by the mainstream media for having the temerity to happen at the same time as the World’s Biggest Arts Festival™, it is nevertheless a major event, and somehow manages to attract thousands of art-lovers each year without generating gazillions of column inches beforehand. John Bellany, Will Maclean, Joan Eardley and Ian Hamilton Finlay are just a few of the big-name artists to have shown work here, and every year at the beginning of August the town itself becomes an art installation of sorts, as every available space is pressed into service as a makeshift gallery in order to accommodate work by over 100 exhibiting artists.
This year the festival is taking place a little earlier than usual, from 28 July to 5 August, and it will be celebrating its 30th anniversary with an appropriately impressive programme. John Byrne is the headline name – he’ll be showing paintings depicting the rock’n’roll years at the Old Town Hall. Other invited artists include Jake Harvey, former Head of the School of Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art, and the award-winning landscape painter David Mackie Cook.
For the Diary, however, the highlight of a trip to Pittenweem is always a visit to the home/gallery of Reinhard Behrens, creator of an alternative universe called Naboland – a world not dissimilar to our own which is traversed by a plucky little explorer in a toy submarine in an ever-expanding series of paintings. This year it looks as if a long-running Naboland film project is about to be completed. I can hardly wait. For full details of this year’s festival, visit www.pittenweemartsfestival.co.uk
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Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
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