August is my favourite month of the year, for the simple reason that it’s the month that I visit the Edinburgh Festival. If I could, i’d go there for the whole month.
I actually went later in the month than I usually do. The latest i’ve been since I first visited in 2009.
This year, for the first time, I bought my tickets in advance rather than waiting to purchase when I arrived. I got everything I wanted, barring having to rearranging my Saturday night and Monday night choices.
All I had to do when I arrived at the ticket office was to swipe my Debit Card, and my tickets printed off. It wasn’t totally problem free, as the printer ran out of paper when printing off my tickets. Only a minor hitch in an otherwise efficient system.
I flew out on the Saturday morning, and after getting my tickets and getting checked in, Saturday afternoon was all about football, as I headed to Tynecastle to watch Hearts take on Partick Thistle.
Despite being an Edinburgh veteran, I managed to get lost en route by not paying attention at Haymarket Station and taking a wrong turn.
I managed to make it to the ground in plenty of time for kick-off regardless, and saw Hearts maintain their lead at the top of the SPL with a 3-0 win.
I only went to one show on the Saturday, Stewart Francis at Assembly George Square. You will recognise him from various panel shows, specialising in bad puns. Groans and laughter were plentiful in equal measure.
On the Sunday, I decided to head to Glasgow for a few hours, while taking in Rangers v Hibs. Before I set off for Glasgow, I got some photos of Street Art in Edinburgh, near Waverley Station.
Every year that i’ve visited Edinburgh, i’ve always wanted to visit another city or town in Scotland, just to escape for a few years.
I have in my head to visit Stirling some time. Maybe next year?
I was a bit delayed getting out of Glasgow, I missed the start of John Lloyd’s show. That, and the fact I got lost en route to the venue. I am an Edinburgh veteran, trust me. It’s just that there are so many venues called Assembly.
Turns out it was Assembley opposite Hotel Du Vin rather than the one at Potterrow.
You probably know more about John Lloyd than you think you do mostly famed for his work behind the scenes on Spitting Image and creating QI. His show was an entertaining look at trivia and knowledge.
Later on Sunday, I headed to Pleasance to see James Acaster. I’d previously seen him do a slot at a charity gig in London a few years ago, so I was looking forward to seeing him.
His humour is very deadpan and surreal. This year, he has made a breakthrough into panel shows. This show focused on him sharing celebrity gossip about the Chilean Miners, and his experiences on jury duty.
One more show followed on the Sunday, and I managed to go to the wrong venue. Again, a case of two many venues called Assembly.
That show, was a live recording of Josh Widdecombe’s XFM Show. I’m a big fan of Widdecombe, and actually listen to the show when i’m getting ready on a Saturday morning.
As a bonus, James Acaster was on it. Double Acaster in the one night.
There was one bonus of my getting lost, as I found out where Roxburgh Hotel was. On the Monday morning, I headed there for a Record Fair. I didn’t get anything, but if I didn’t go, I knew I would have been annoyed at myself for not going, and thinking that i’d missed out on something.
I spend Monday morning wandering around the West End and visiting my two favourite shops in Edinburgh – Fopp and Football Nation.
One of the best things about Edinburgh is, that you can escape from the Fringe for a few hours if you wish, and you don’t have to go very far to do so.
One year, I spent so much time in Cowgate, Potterrow and Pleasance, I didn’t even spend a minute in Princes Street/George Street, so it’s good to get a nice mix of Edinburgh.
My first show on the Monday was to see Mark Watson do a show called Work In Progress, which as the title suggests, was to try out new material.
I’d seen him previously, as well as him hosting the Comedywealth Games last year. It was classic Watson, moving from one topic to another in rapid time.
I’ll be keeping an eye out if he does a full proper show next year.
From there, I quickly legged it from The Stand to Pleasance to see Batfan, about one performer and his obsession with Batman, and his quest to create the perfect Batman film. He’s not a fan of Joel Schumacher.
Not enough 60s Batman in it for me, but it was still enjoyable, especially some of the obscure/forgotten/unknown references. You didn’t need to be a massive fan of Batman in order to enjoy it.
I’d wanted to spend Monday night seeing FFS in concert, but unfortunately, all the tickets were sold out. I didn’t want to spend the evening at the venue in the hope that some tickets become available, so I decided to just go to a comedy show instead.
Quite literally, a case of FFS.
If you don’t know, FFS are a supergroup comprising of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks. They are rather good. Looks like i’ll have to cross my fingers for a Belfast gig.
So what would fill my FFS void? Aisling Bea. You may have seen her on various panel shows. She was very good. The audience got a bit of a fright when they entered to room, to see her dancing in a morph suit.
Tuesday morning was spent walking around Princes Street Markets and Rose Street, before going to see The Man Called Monkhouse, set in the mid 1990s around the time of the theft of his joke book and the 20th anniversary of the death of his writing partner, Dennis Goodwin, sees Monkhouse looking back at his life to that point.
The voice was good but not perfect, but the look was. It looked like Monkhouse was in the room. As a bonus, we got some classic Monkhouse one-liners as well.
That was my only show on Tuesday, as Tuesday night was spent watching football, making a short train journey to see Dunfermline Athletic take on Dundee.
On Wednesday morning, I was curious and went for a walk around York Place and ended up in Leith. Even though this was the seventh year I had visited, it’s always good to explore new parts of the city I haven’t seen before.
One part of Edinburgh i’d love to visit is Arthur’s Seat, a hill which offers some spectacular views over Edinburgh. I’d planned on going on the Thursday morning, but the weather had started to turn. I didn’t quite fancy a hill walk in the rain. Maybe next year.
It was great though to have a trip to Edinburgh without having to wear a raincoat for the first four days. There were short periods of rain in my last two days.
My only show on Wednesday was to see Matt Forde. He specialises in Political Comedy, but he’s not a preachy type of comic, instead focusing on funny things in politics and amusing observations.
I’d previously seen him on Rory Bremner’s Election Report, and was not disappointed. He began by saying that he supported Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to be Labour Leader, not for political reasons, but for the material it will offer.
Wednesday night was spent at Princes Street Gardens to see James in concert. James doing a gig was part of the reason why I chose this particular week to go to Edinburgh.
Thurdsay was my last day, where I went to Edinburgh University to browse through the various charity shops for possible bargains.
Thursday lunchtime saw one last show, Pippa Evans celebrating the guilty pleasures of life, through the medium of song, even briefly bringing back her character of Loretta Maine, who I saw make a guest appearance on MacAulay and Co a few years ago.
Talking of MacAulay and Co, it wasn’t on this year. It was cancelled by Radio Scotland, and they didn’t even bring it back for the Edinburgh Festival.
In it’s place, was Kaye Adams. I’d love to be able to tell you if it was any good, but I slept in each morning I had a ticket having stayed up too late the night before. Maybe next year.
After Pippa Evans, a wee brief stroll around Princes Street, before getting the bus back to the airport.
That was it, that was my Edinburgh adventure for 2015. I didn’t see an awful show, which is almost disappointing. Already looking forward to 2016.