Janet Christie's Mum's the Word – fliers, fly-pasts and tartan flares – it’s the Festival
With the Festival in full steam it’s like Covid never happened and you can’t move in town for people in fancy outfits - are they in a show or just busting out that stetson and chaps or carrying a coffin through the streets because they can. I’ve always thought the Fringe would be ideal for pulling off a major crime - a heist or disposing of a body as no-one would bat an eyelid at your clown masks or nun outfits, maybe just tut a bit, move to one side and mutter, ‘it’s the Festival’. The Apocalypse could happen and no-one would bother.
I thought it had the other night as I crossed the Royal Mile and the sound of war planes screamed overhead making the doors of my tiny rust bucket vehicle rattle on their hinges. With buildings rising high there was nothing to see above and the crowds continued streaming, chatting and silent discoing. The only sign of alarm was a woman in a tabard running out of a chip shop to glance skyward, then muttering ‘it’s the Festival’ and returning to deep fry Mars Bars for the tourists.
Back home I consulted my pals. “Tattoo,” a friend texts. “Fly pasts.” So not Armageddon and now I sit on a bench in the park at the end of my road and watch the free aeronautic displays, continuing this year’s theme of word of mouth recommendations.
It’s much easier than scanning an online programme to go with shows suggested by other more organised people, as in my kids who now being adults, have friends in shows. Let’s call them my Festival Planners.
So far I’ve tagged along with Middle Child to the awesome Tinderbox Collective who not only put on an incredible music show in the Central Library - (the thrill of so much noise in a library that the leather bound tomes on the shelves squeak), but also have a laudable project to loan out instruments in libraries (I fancy the tambourine) - so donate if you have any spare. I’m also planning to see ‘nonbinary whirlwind’ Andrew O'Neill – Geburah because a friend took me along to their show last year and they’re hilarious.
Then Youngest invites me to a show her friend’s in.
“It’s called ‘Shan’.
“Ok. I’m sure it won’t be.”
Later she updates me: “That show’s called “And They Played Shang-a-Lang.”
“Bay City Rollers?” I say.
“Yes! How did you know?”
“It’s their song. They’re from here.”
“Really? Who knew?”
“Er… Anyway, tartan flares, mullet wigs, sing-a-longs?”
“Yes! How did you know?”
“Well, it’s the Festival.”