Edinburgh Diary – Wednesday 23 August 2017

I’m visiting the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe from Monday 21 – Friday 25 August.

Whilst I’m here I’m making appearances as co-host on Ewan Spence’s Edinburgh Fringe Podcast.  And I’m keeping a diary, just as you’d expect every good blogger to do. 

I’m feeling a little frazzled. I get like this sometimes when I’m ‘on the trot’ on a trip. I try and pack in as many things as I possibly can, forgetting that part of the process of coming to things like a Festival is to get into the vibe. I end up getting a little wired.

I imagine that if Edinburgh was all on the flat, then my stamina would be a little better.

Second Edinburgh Fringe Podcast

The addition of a full suite of photographs from the podcasts (taken by Vikki Spence) makes this trip to Edinburgh a special thing.

The show goes in a flash, but the visual record makes for a lovely series of picture postcards. My mantra, the roots of which are far too boring to go into here, is always to never assume you’ll get a chance to do this sort of thing again. Treasure the moment accordingly. The pictures (yesterday‘s and today‘s) help do that.

Listen to the second show (well, really it’s number 19) on the Edinburgh Fringe Podcast page on PodcastCorner.com, It’s a bit of a corker. And for the most part I wasn’t rude to any guests.

Alfred Brendel Lecture / Edinburgh International Festival 

I’m fascinated by Alfred Brendel. I find his promotional pictures fascinating and slightly terrifying in equal measure. Listen to his many recordings and you discover another facet of the man – the exquisite musicianship. It’s something I find he distances himself from – or rather he distances himself from the performances and recordings.

It is as though he the master of modesty, taking it to such a level that I get strangely frustrated with him.

He was fascinating again today in his Edinburgh Festival lecture. The audience was appreciative. His considerable back catalogue spanning 60 years is next on my listening list.

Lord Dismiss Us / Boys of the Empire Productions

I said yesterday that it was the writing I was interested in coming to Edinburgh this year. Twenty-four hours later, I think that needs a bit of fine-tuning. It’s the characters I want get a handle on, and more specifically to get a sense of how characters develop during a story. It’s the one area I find really challenging in my writing, because I’m never entirely sure whether I’m being realistic enough. Seeing lots of other characterisations helps – strangely enough – develop confidence.

Lord Dismiss Us (Boys of the Empire Productions) is a case in point. It was a fast-paced stage adaption by Glenn Chandler of Michael Campbell’s famous 1967 book of the same name, about homosexuality in a public school in the late 60s. The dialogue shimmered with wit and emotion. The characterisation was blistering. When you’re sat in an audience and finding yourself emotionally engaged with the protagonist, then you know you’re onto a winner.

If I can subsequently find a way of distilling the immediacy of a beautifully engaging piece of theatre into prose, then I’ll be happy chap.

 

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