Festival Frolics and the parents

The annual invasion of Edinburgh is now well underway. Every August the population of Edinburgh doubles and every spare room, sofa bed and bit of floor is filled with entertainers and tourists. If you go away in August you can pay for your months holiday by renting your home out for bags of cash.

The festival is actually a number of festivals rolled into one, there is the actual Edinburgh International Festival with "the very best in international opera, music, drama and dance". Lovely but much less exciting than the other festivals that run along side. We have the Edinburgh Book Festival ("the largest public celebration of books in the world.") and the Edinburgh festival fringe (widely acknowledged to be the biggest arts festival in the world). Its all very exciting with the main problem how to decide what to go and see.

Every year I have my own personal invasion when my parents visit to do the festival. The length of this visit has gradually stretched from a weekend to its current length of 6 days. It's nice to see them and do some festival things but it puts me under a lot of pressure for a few reasons:

- I am assigned the task of selecting shows from the festival guides. "Find some good shows for us to see".
OK, the fringe guide contains details of thousands of shows all described as the best of the fest. I trawl through this trying to psychically decide which will actually fit my Dad's definition of good. That means comedy, he is a comedy channel addict and uses the festival as an extension of his home viewing, but how do you know which of the many many comedy shows will be a riot and which will be less than a titter?

- I have to find restaurants that serve great food for a low price in Edinburgh city centre during our busiest month.
My parents are fortunate that they have two really good pubs near them that do great food for reasonable prices. Everywhere I take them is either not as good as The BlueBell or too expensive. I hate this bit because I quite enjoy going to nice restaurants but can't take my parents to the places I go because they are too expensive so I end up in places I haven't been before hoping that they are better than average for the price they charge.

- I have to become an unofficial tour guide.
Questions like "What's that building?" "How long will it take to get there?" "Is there a place we can get coffee on the way?" "What are they doing?" And on, and on and on.

But, apart from the pressure to produce a top rate festival experience it is always a good week. This year was no exception although it did have some slightly dodgy moments. Like the show in a massive room with less than 20 people! No guilt here, my dad picked this one.

Onwards to the second night when I had picked Jo Caufield who was pretty funny. She is often on TV but her stand-up is far better than her appearances on quiz shows. Here's a quick Jo clip:

My personal favourites in the comedy shows were Danny Bhoy and Steven Caton. Steven taking about his families reaction to his decision to become a stand up comedian even though he has a degree in architecture. Very funny. Favourite part was his tale about the realisation that his doctor has him registered as a woman. What I can remember it went like this:

Who reads envelopes, even if you do you just assume the Mrs is a typo. So I get a letter from the doctor "Dear Mrs S Caton you are invited to a cervical screening, please attend the surgery at 9.30 on 6 August" Screening = movies, the doctors have invited me to watch a movie about pussy. Cool. So I arrive at the surgery and I'm so excited about seeing the movie that I don't notice the waiting room is full of women. I go to the reception and say "Hi, I'm Steven Caton and I'm here for the cervical screening". The receptionist says what? So, in the manner of the English, I say the same thing louder and slower in case the receptionist is deaf or stupid. "I'm Steven Caton and I am here for the cervical screening". By this time the receptionist is laughing and I turn around to see a room full of women wetting their knickers, laughing and pointing at me.

Funny? Well maybe you had to be there!

We had a miraculous zero arguments. Although the where are we going to eat debates were close. I knew my dad wanted to go to the pub so he could have a couple of pints with lunch but he wouldn't / couldn't just say. The conversation went:

Dad - "Where are we going next?"
Me - "Well it's starting to rain so we could just go and get a drink or some lunch?"
Mum - "I'm quite hungry"
Dad - "OK let's go for lunch where should we go?"
Me - "Well what do you fancy to eat, we can get anything around here"
Dad - "I don't mind, whatever you want."
Me - I live here, I can go anywhere here when ever I like. Is there anything you fancy, Chinese, Indian, mosque food (yum yum), fish and chips, anything?
Dad - "We'll just have whatever you want."
Me - "OK, there is a cafe just over the road they do great food, we'll go there."
Dad - "Ah, do you not fancy a drink."
Me - "no."
Dad - "Well if that's what you want, I just thought you might want to have a drink with lunch."
Me - "We can go to the pub if you want."
Dad - "No that's OK, we can just go to a cafe, I just thought you might want a drink".
Me - "Dad, if you want a drink we can go to the pub over there and have a bar meal."
Dad - "Well, if that's what you want to do we can go to the pub."

That's the edited version, I don't know if it's clear but I didn't really fancy going to a pub. I don't drink much and it would be a really rare experience for me to have wine of something with lunch. My dad just keeps the discussion going until he feels secure in the knowledge that he is doing what you want and it is definitely your choice. Deluded me thinks.
Anyway a successful visit to the festival.  Here is another clip to give you a taste, head to 4mins for the bagpipe bit:

I do have some other festival comments but I have muttered for long enough so will save some for later :0)


#1Nana said...

Oh, it's sounds lovely! I love live entertainment, but in rural eastern Oregon the best we get is washed up country western singers during the county fair...and I hate country western music!

PS I loved the cervical screening joke.

Miss Melicious said...

Ok...the Steven Canton bit...was hilarious! even in print! And I have those same discussions about where to eat with my husband...but I'm your dad in the scenario! eek! I don't know why i don't just say what I want instead of pussy footing around...oh well..add that to my list of thing to work on in the next millenium.

Kate Mohler said...

I enjoyed this! I love getting an "inside look" at life in your country. I wonder...do your parents have as good of a sense of humor as you do? My mom doesn't like to be written about...my dad doesn't care.

French Bean & Coffee Bean said...

Mm. :-/

Good luck with your new job, Mrs. Midnite!

-French Bean

Mrs Midnite said...

August in Edinburgh is pretty special and they make a big effort at Christmas. Been here nearly 10 years and I still love the festivals. It's a great place to live.

Kate I suppose that is the main reason I don't use my name on my blog. I doubt my parents would be able to find it, there are things on here they don't know. And writing about them, my mum wouldn't mind but my dad it would very much depend on his mood.

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