Edinburgh Festival Diary: Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer; Phil Wang; Fringe Central; Adrian Howell; John Malkovich

The marrying kind

There are many ways to prepare for a month at the Edinburgh Fringe. For most, early nights and a healthy diet are key but Neil Gaiman and his wife, the Dresden Dolls singer Amanda Palmer, decided to kick the August slog off with a wedding – their third. Having had an "art-surprise flashmob" wedding in New Orleans, and a proper wedding in January, last week the couple threw a family wedding party on Skye, where Palmer has relatives on her mother's side. "It made me happy watching Amanda's white-bearded gentlemen in kilts encounter my North London Jewish relatives," wrote Gaiman on his blog. "At one point Amanda and I were hoisted on to chairs for a Jewish chair dance, while the bagpipes played. I do not believe this is something that has happened a lot in human history." The fantasy writer is appearing in several events at the Book festival, including one with Audrey Niffenegger, while Palmer's cabaret show, Evelyn Evelyn, featuring "the world's only conjoined-twin singer-songwriter duo", starts next week.

Peers pressure

Footlights has long been a breeding ground for new comedy talent and this year's crop of Cambridge students is no exception. Their current president, Phil Wang, has signed to Avalon, following his win at the 2010 Chortle Student Comedy Awards, and is now preparing for his first television spot, on The Rob Brydon Show next Friday. This year, the third-year engineering student is appearing in The Comedy Zone at the Pleasance and on the Free Fringe and he has written and co-directed The Life Doctor. He is not, however, appearing in the Footlights show, Pretty Little Panic. "It's open auditions for everyone," he says, "and if they like you, you get in. Sadly, I didn't get in this year. Never mind, I have plenty of other things I'm doing."

Two's company in a crowd of three

The Fringe can be a lonely place at times. Never fear, though, companionship is at hand for performers and punters alike. Fringe Central is running weekly events for solo performers where they can meet other one-man or one-woman bands and buddy up, sharing their experiences and flyering one another's shows. "It's particularly good for overseas and first-time visitors who may not have their Edinburgh network ready made," a Fringe Central spokesman tells me. Punters, on the other hand, can log on to Festafriend, a free-to-use website which finds you a companion so you don't have to watch a show alone. Set up by James Baster, a former venue manager for the Forest Fringe, the site connects people according to the shows they want to see, offering two options: "conversation only" or "a romantic drink afterwards".

Pleasure principal

Is Edinburgh taking revenge on the critics? An inordinate number of "interactive" shows have cropped up this year, from a public dance competition in Dance Marathon to a humiliating piano lesson in What Remains. These are nothing, though, compared to Adrian Howells' shows, which open next week. In The Pleasure of Being, Howells bathes participants in a tub of essential oils and rose petals before wrapping them in a big fluffy towel, feeding them Belgian chocolates and hugging them "for a prolonged period". "Participants can choose to be either naked or wear their own bathing suit". Good. In his other show, May I Have the Pleasure?, Howells reflects on being a best man eight times with a wedding party in the penthouse of The Point Hotel. Between anecdotes, he'll invite audience members up for a slow dance. I'm not sure which sounds more terrifying.

Come flyer with me

For the hardened Fringe-goer, the Royal Mile and its gauntlet of wacky flyerers is to be avoided. Last week, though, the cobbles were congested as John Malkovich took to the streets to promote his Pinter tribute. He has long since left town but countless others remain. On an early-morning run around the Meadows, I was chased by a student thespian, who tried to shove a flyer into my hand. Nowhere is safe.

Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL are releasing Plectrum Electrum next month

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Arts and Entertainment
John Kearns winner of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award with last years winners: Bridget Christie and Frank Skinner
comedyJohn Kearns becomes the first Free Fringe act to win the top prize
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Sue Vice
booksAcademic says we should not disregard books because they unexpectedly change genre
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Muscato performs as Michael Crawford in Stars in Their Eyes

TV
Arts and Entertainment
‘Game of Thrones’

TV
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?