Why make it so difficult to buy Fringe tickets? - Readers' Letters

We arrived on Monday for our first day at the famous Edinburgh Fringe. We dropped into a venue to ask what was on and finding the next show to our taste asked to buy a ticket. We couldn’t buy at the venue (although we always have before) but the Fringe Office in the High Street sold tickets.

The Fringe box office on Edinburgh's High Street is not selling tickets in perspn this year
The Fringe box office on Edinburgh's High Street is not selling tickets in perspn this year

There I found that a sign pointing to the Fringe Ticket Office led to a very closed Fringe Ticket Office.

Round the front, the solitary woman fielding questions said that they were not selling tickets in person “because of Covid.” Handling paper tickets was too dangerous, apparently. I had two International Festival tickets for that day in my hand, which seemed to disprove this point, but maybe Fringe-goers don’t wash their hands. More people came in and asked where the ticket office was. They were turned away.

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How many more people will be put off buying tickets? Assembly were selling tickets in person, so why not the Fringe Society?

The Fringe Society got over a million quid last year from the Scottish Government to prop up a substantial number of full-time jobs. It’s unfortunate that none of these jobs involve selling tickets to a public that even on a very rainy Monday morning were in the High Street trying to buy them. And there are many more days yet to go.

The Fringe Society is there for the primary purpose of (a) giving support to Fringe companies to put on and publicise shows, and (b) selling tickets. The ticket office needs to reopen tomorrow. As a service to (paying) Fringe companies, not to mention the public that Edinburgh so desperately needs to woo back, this makes no sense.

Michael Dale, Fringe Administrator 1981 to 1985, Glasgow

Funding sport

Much has been made of the comparative success of ‘Team GB’ at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but there have been few comments expressed in the mainstream media about the disproportionate funding by UK Sport. The pursuit of sport-specific medals above the health and wellbeing of the general population is certainly an ambition that should be questioned.

A sport such as badminton which is played by significant numbers of people across the country, not only in sports halls but even in church halls, received less than £1 million of funding, while sailing, rowing and canoeing together received over £63m. Equestrian, shooting and modern pentathlon received over £24m, while diving alone, also hardly a mass participation sport, received over £7m.

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Clearly prioritising medals, especially via selective sports with low if not exclusive participation levels, is not helping to reduce the numbers who are overweight or obese which are approaching alarming levels (in total over 60 per cent of adults) across the UK.

If this highly selective system of allocating sports funding is not to be significantly changed going forward those who wish more egalitarian principles to be applied across our society, including sport, will have another reason to vote for independence before the next Olympics begin in Paris in 2024.

Stan Grodynski, Longniddry, East Lothian

Sour grapes

t must be so frustrating being a Scottish nationalist like Grant Frazer (Letters, 10 August). You do your very best to put down Britain and it just shrugs you off as the irrelevance that you are. The Scottish people, when asked, said very clearly that they want to remain British.

The economy is taking off faster than any other G7 nation. The Covid vaccine created in Great Britain is keeping the people of the UK safe and has been given across the entire nation, funded by the Government of the UK faster than any other major nation. Our Olympic athletes have taken fourth place despite Great Britain being a fraction of the size of those nations above and of most below us. Mr Frazer says that we are "neither a nation nor great" and says we are "faltering". Come off it.

Apparently, he thinks of the UK as being "cobbled together". Can he name any other nation that is not? How about the USA? What about France, or Germany? Italy, perhaps? Russia?

Well, then, how about Scotland? What are the criteria that make a country? One language? That would rule out Scotland. One tribe? That would rule out Scotland. One single kingdom? That would rule out Scotland. One religion? The same.

The suggestion that GB is not a country is nationalist rhetoric which breaks down at the most basic level when comparisons are made. Does Grant Frazer have any idea how many “nations” make up Scotland?

Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh

Dead ducks

The prospect of an independent Scotland in Europe having to adopt he the euro is no red herring, as Alex Orr suggests (Letters, 10 August) it is three dead ducks in a row. There is much chance of any of it happening as me winning a Highland Games medal in the synchronised sword dance.

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth, Fife

Is Gillespie next?

Eric Melvin’s very measured letter (Scotsman, 10 August) regarding the naming of Edinburgh schools has prompted me to ponder, after this extraordinary 15 months or so, when statues have been pulled down and plaques put beside monuments apologising for connections with the slave trade, why no one has questioned the name of that eminent Edinburgh scholastic establishment, James Gillespie’s?

Gillespie made his fortune from the milling and retailing of snuff, a smokeless tobacco made from ground or pulverised tobacco leaves. Surely Gillespie must have had a strong link to the slave trade to obtain his raw material.

J Lindsay Walls, Edinburgh

Out of tune

Oh deary me. In response to my tongue-in-cheek letter (“Going for a song”, 7 August) your contributors D Mitchell (Letters, 9 August) and Gill Turner (Letters, 10 August) really exemplify the sorry state of SNP supporters and their ability to take a humorous jibe at both the leader of the SNP and Rangers FC in the same sentence and use it to propagate more nationalist nonsense.

Anyone who read my contribution and did not see what I was saying and the manner of how I was saying it really needs to get out more.

But to show how low these people will really go is highlighted by the pathetic suggestion that I would also sing along to the Billy Boys.

Having been brought up a working-class Protestant and having attended football through its bleakest years for bigotry and hatred (I was at Celtic Park when Mark Walters was racially abused – one of the most horrific things I have ever witnessed), I do not need ridiculous, pious nonsense to shape my views, beliefs, or for that matter my idea of humour.

I have throughout my working life seen every facet of society, from a deprived family home in West Pilton in the early 1980s to Holyrood House and everything imaginable in-between.

Might that your correspondents have had such experiences, they may well realise the stupidity of trying to break up the most profitable partnership in world politics.

David Millar, Lauder, Scottish Borders

End encores

The National Youth Orchestra (who seem to get younger each year) played as superbly as ever in their Prom Concert on Sunday night, with Beethoven’s 3rd symphony as a fitting finale.

But I believe many listeners, and maybe also the musicians, would agree that such a magnificent climax as in the “Eroica” should be left ringing in our ears for us to savour, rather than being followed by an encore of any sort. This unwelcome practice has become more common.

John Birkett, St Andrews, Fife

Climate action

The IPCC’s Assessment Report (Scotsman, 10 August) reinforces the likelihood that its renewable energy policies cannot halt the rise in global CO2 emissions. The main effect of these policies has been to destroy manufacturing in western industrial nations such as Scotland while exporting production and CO2 emissions to areas still using low-cost fossil fuels such as China.

Boris Johnson will be harangued for lacking willpower but it seems to me as both a scientist and an economist that current “climate” polices fail because the technologies involved are not only ineffective but absurdly expensive. France’s gilets jaunes, the Swiss anti-carbon tax referendum and our own resistance to a gas-boiler ban suggest public resistance is growing.

Our politicians have repeatedly been misled as to the true cost of renewables by the likes of the Committee on Climate Change. Natural gas and thorium reactors are by far the most practical means of reducing emissions and if we are serous, that is the way to go.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews, Fife

Fishing fears

It is very easy to understand the attitude and importance which both UK governments attach to the renewable energy sector of our economy but at what price does it come for the Scottish fishing industry?

It would appear that access to vital fishing grounds are being considered by approving construction of further offshore wind farms.

On a recent visit to Shetland Prince Charles commented that more fish products pass through the Shetland markets than all of England Wales and Ireland combined.

Auctioning off huge areas of seabed to developers would exclude Scottish fishermen from some of the most valuable fishing grounds in Europe. We are not talking about a small area of seabed but an area equivalent to half the land mass of the Scottish mainland.

One can only hope that the potential harm to our Scottish fishing industry will be considered before the rush for approval for licences begin.

DG McIntyre, Edinburgh

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